The Road Not Taken

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The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This is a post I wrote after my first module of my training to become an professional intercultural coach. Thought I’d share it with you on this new website today!

 

This poem was one of the first poems I studied as an English student in high school. I have always liked the poem very much because it reflects a part of my personality: I don’t like to choose but, well, sometimes you just HAVE to. I always try to satisfy the multiple wishes I have within me. I don’t like to decide because… well, the other choice could be cool, too! You never know. And so, over the now almost last 40 years (ouch, did I REALLY just say that?), I have and will always wonder: what if?
It’s not a positive nor negative decision, it’s just a decision to be taken since we simply CANNOT always go down two paths at the same time. Physically, you just can’t, though I promise you, sometimes I do try hard… and of course get lost and split in half by doing so.
Last Wednesday (February 2012), I started my training to become an intercultural coach. 3 days of intensive studying… well, mainly yourself without really knowing it, and also techniques and theories, of course! We have to and had to get to know each other and myself over three days and form groups that will work together between sessions. And I kept wondering for three days if I had made the right choice going down this path rather than just going back to teaching at the engineering schools and thus taking the path ‘well-traveled’. This new path with all its uncertainty is enticing and scary, fun and freaky. I know where I want to end up (i.e. intercultural coaching), but I don’t know exactly how I will get there. It’s a new adventure, a “path less traveled by” and I will see (and tell you) if it made the difference!
cheers

(the original post is here: at “a path less travelled…”

 

My reasons for being what I am becoming…

Germany (birthplace), USA and Brazil (child), Germany (youth) and Germany, US (studies, sort of adult), France and Egypt and France again (parent and still searching the adult)….     Having grown up with multiple languages in multiple countries within a multicultural family, I had to learn to bridge the differences between cultures: my parents culture, which was the “home” culture and the “outside world” culture.Sometimes, I didn’t have much of a choice but to bridge those gaps for my own sanity. In your own culture, you grow up with certain codes that you apply to life around you to be able to understand and thus to cope. I had two sets of codes at home and outside our home… multiples sets of cultural codes for that matter as the cultural codes in the US are quite different from those in Brazil. And then, at age 10, I was thrown into the set of codes in Germany. But those weren’t the codes my parents had taught me; my parents had changed and adapted to the system(s) around them and their codes had been altered… leaving me feeling like a… well a misfit almost… sometimes. Though sometimes that was cool, more often, as is normal when you’re a teen, I didn’t like being different… at ALL!

It took a long time for me to realize that all of this was a positive thing. It took time and energy to get there. But it is one of the many reasons that helped forge the idea of turning my experience into my future job:

     Raise awareness that the world is not a in a box, but a “box of chocolates” (thanks Forrest!): as an intercultural coach, I would like people to “taste” all those different flavors that make up our world. Maybe at times we don’t like what we taste but have to accept the fact that the flavor exists. Or whilst we don’t like the taste of it, others do for whatever reasons. Other flavors we enjoy or even love, but we would like to understand why. Going beyond the tasting part is not an easy thing. But that won’t stop us, right?

   My job? Make people become aware of (their own) cultural differences and similarities; create a climate of mutual understanding with insight into the complex world of intercultural communication.

My inspiration for the name of this blog and new adventure?
                 Edward T. Hall’s book “Beyond Culture”

Couverture“Beyond Culture is a proud celebration of human capacities. For too long, people have taken their own ways of life for granted, ignoring the vast, international cultural community that surrounds them. Humankind must now embark on the difficult journey beyond culture, to the discovery of a lost self and a sense of perspective. By holding up a mirror, Hall permits us to see the awesome grip of unconscious culture. With concrete examples ranging from James Joyceʼs Finnegans Wake to the mating habits of the bowerbird of New Guinea, Hall shows us ourselves. Beyond Culture is a book about self-discovery; it is a voyage we all must embark on if mankind is to survive.
http://books.google.fr/books/about/Beyond_Culture.html?hl=fr&id=uTJOGq_DI5QC