Swallowing My Fears

In order to adequately appreciate the cultures of others, we often have to face our fears and recognize that fear is ignited by ignorance. Once we turn ignorance into knowledge, we realize there is nothing to fear. It is at that point that we can begin to make informed decisions.

I mention this because during my travels in Indonesia, I realize that I will have to face a few of my fears, mostly a fear of what I will eat. Anyone who knows me is aware that I am one of the world’s most picky eaters. I am more worried about what will land on my plate than anything else. However, I am sure that as the days go by, I will be faced with new fears that I will have to conquer.

Here are photos representing some of my Indonesian fears (conquered and unconquered).

I tried to be brave and order the rice porridge for breakfast. After a few spoonfuls, I decided to pass.

Because I picked over breakfast, I was starving by the time this snack was distributed on the airplane. I had to face the fear of being embarrassed and ask the guy sitting next to me how to use the daggone chop sticks so I could eat!

Next to the cauliflower is a piece of tofu. I thought I was brave enough to try just one little piece but as soon as I cut it with my fork, I changed my mind. I couldn’t get over the unusual consistency of it.

Steamed fish should not be anything to fear. But, I have not mustered up the courage to try one. Oh, and this was on the buffet for breakfast.

One would think you can’t go wrong with simple noodles. That’s until I bit into something with a slightly thin, rubbery texture. At that exact moment, I remembered the episode of Vice where people in Columbia made a lot of dishes with goat intestines.

A few of my colleagues had to face their fear of the world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon. I felt right at home.

I tried to coach Uzma and Lauren through their fears of the 10 foot python. It didn’t work.

I had a great biology teacher that helped me face the fear of creepy crawly things a long time ago (unless they have more than four legs).

I faced my fear of the religious practices of non-Christians. I just took my shoes off and faced that fear one step at a time.

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4 thoughts on “Swallowing My Fears

  1. Your pictures with the Komodo & Python are perhaps the best of seen. You look so naturally calm with each of them. I was the first one in the Komodo pit with my group last year and I was terrified; especially walking through all of those snake cages to get to the pit. I have major snake issues so no python for me.

    Additionally, I just love the way you write. Your narrative is 1) helping me to live much of my experience again, 2) very personable and readable, and 3) is, thus far, a major champion for the reason we need global ed (i.e. the stepping out of comfort zones and exploring fears). I’m now a dedicated reader!!

    • Thank you David. I’m glad TGC requires a platform for us to share our experience. I am also glad they have created an overall blog for the program. Maybe it will help connect our classrooms within the U.S. I am sure my students can learn a lot from all the other wonderful teachers in the program.

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