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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A New Perspective

I can't believe that my journey started almost a week ago! It's unbelievable to see how fast time flies. This whole week has been very stressful and hopefully my journey will be better as the week passes by. The morning was very rushed because Chiamaka, Jun, Elexis, Justeen, Rudy, our new friend Emily, and I were rushing to finish our breakfast so that we could be on time to get to class. Justin and Rudy had to rush to get to their physics class since it was around a block or two away from the 1920 Common (Cafeteria). Like yesterday's morning, we started off the morning with Qi Gong and did some exercises. Half of the class went to the Village of Arts and Humanities while the other half stayed behind for a lecture. 

In the lecture, we learned about the hedgehog and fox theory where the hedgehog represents someone who knows one big thing while the fox knows many things but not in depth. For instance, Plato was a hedgehog and wanted to make the best republic and gave the big idea to how to govern. Today's focus was about how theories and philosophies from the past have evolved to what they are today. The  professor talked about some philosophers who I have never heard of and I was lost the whole time. I should have asked questions but one thing I learned from this is that the professor likes to assume that we know who he is talking about but some people don't. Perhaps I can research this on my free time.  John Locke from the previous day was mentioned today. Locke believed that Fourth of July did not include slaves in the celebration and denied them. One of the professors said that Locke believed that the slaves were denied humanity and freedom so Locke would ask "what is a human?" We talked about a philosopher from the 19th Century named Georg Hegel and he believed that nothing exists as an individual in society. Some of the later philosopher's believed that this was not true and apparently had debates about it. 

After talking about philosophy, we had a short lunch break today because the academy was going to take the students out to South Philadelphia to watch a play. I have not had any Chinese food in a long time and I was craving for some today. With my friends, I bought some beef and broccoli rice and it was very cheap for the amount I got. The food was alright but it was worth my money. 

At 1:30 PM students had to go back to their class and we learned about sustainability and how that relates to Social Justice. The professor talked a lot about the environment and how ever civilization relied on a farming in order to survive. He said that every major river in the world is experiencing a decline in livestock and diverse ecology. This is partially due to global warming. If I had understood the context better then I probably would have had a better time listening and understanding the lecture because I knew nothing about this topic but it was great to hear some of it. We had a guest speaker today named Nati Passo (sorry if I spelled his name wrong). He came in to talk about the ancient Jewish farming traditions and how they were structured. As a Christian, I did recognize some of them because it was talked about in the Bible so I understood this lecture the most and this lecture was the most intriguing to me. The complexity of the ancient world societies farming techniques amazes me and to think that we still use some of these ideas as the foundation for our farming techniques. 

We headed down to South Philly right after the lecture to go see a play done by a local restaurant and group. The play was very weird to me and I did not understand most of the humor or the play so it would be very difficult for me to explain it. It was a good stress reliever though and a great group hang out. I really liked how the restaurant and play was outside in an open environment and people in the community could watch from the outside instead of paying to see the play. 

Downtown Philadelphia seen from a distance

The outside restaurant

The setting

The play in action
The play was done within two hours and some stayed behind to eat Philly Cheesesteaks but the cohort (except for Justeen and Rudy) and I decided to go because we didn't want to eat cheesesteaks. After getting off at the station by UPenn and walking with the academy for a little bit, we split off from them and went on a Wawa run and bought a "hoagie" to eat. Then all of us went back to the Quadrangle because we all had to attend a meeting with our RC. 

I think I am slowly getting adjusted to my life at Penn but there are times when I start to get a little homesick. I guess within a week I will be adjusted to life at Penn and by the end of the trip, I will miss being here. The great thing about this academy is that I can learn and hear about people's opinions. I do not know what tomorrow's day holds but I hope that I will be able to understand the topics that the professor talks about a little better and work up the courage to ask questions. 

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