Do I Know What I’m Saying?

escalators-594463_1920

Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

For my last blog post I’m going to talk about this Postmodernist world we are living in once again. I’m not ending on the highest of notes but some things we discussed in American Literature today got me thinking.

We’ve been discussing White Noise by Don DeLillo in class and some of the themes that come up in it. The theme of consumerism in particular made me think.

Our society is entirely branded. For example, everybody (maybe I shouldn’t assume) knows brands like Coke, McDonald’s, Nike, Hilfiger etc. The list goes on and on.

Consumerism gives us ideals about life, well at least about the life we should be living. Who decided that these brands were a necessity?

Is there a certain way we should be living? I think there are some moral codes we should all follow, like treating people with respect as one example. If you were to live your life entirely based off what you THINK you should be doing, then that’s not going to be a happy life.

Maybe you’ll feel fulfilled momentarily or feel some sense of achievement if you ‘consume’ the ‘right’ things but is this real happiness…

I’m starting to get really philosophical and I am wondering if anything I’m saying is making any sense. Also, maybe I’m asking too many questions. I think you need to question yourself sometimes though.

We discussed how consumerism is making people homesick for things that they’ve never had and maybe never will have. I think it’s natural to want more for your life, but maybe we need to step back and consider what’s actually going to make us happy?

Is a brand name really that important to you?

Postmodernism?

murals-657519_1920

Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Postmodernism is a word that’s been floating around in my life for what feels like a long time. Previously if anybody had asked me to describe what exactly Postmodernism was I don’t think I would’ve been able to make a very good stab at it. Now, I can make a pretty decent stab at it but I’m still no expert.

We’ve discussed Postmodernism this semester in Film Studies and today in American Literature. I find Postmodernism interesting.  I like Postmodernism. I’m beginning to think that I have a Postmodernist mindset? If that exists?

We discussed Postmodernist buildings in particular. I like the way our lecturer David described it, “Playfulness for playfulness’s sake”. Aspects of Postmodernist buildings serve no functional purpose and yet there they are.

Postmodernist buildings have unnecessary decoration and elements to them. You could say its needless but I would disagree because I think life needs an element of crazy.

Here is a picture of the dancing house in Prague. I have been here and at the time was unaware that this was what you could call a ‘Postmodernist building’. The things you learn…

building-922531_1920

Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

If there’s a post, there must be a pre, and in this case that is Modernism. I don’t think I’m a fan of Modernism’s simplicity and need for functionality. Maybe sometimes we need the confusion.

BudaBest

blog2A picture I took from Buda Castle ft. The Danube and the Hungarian Parliament

Disclaimer: I know how to spell Budapest…

To begin on my reflection of my third year in the University of Limerick, I’ll go back to the beginning.

My third year in college began with a semester abroad in Budapest as part of the Erasmus program. Looking back on Erasmus almost two months later I realise how much it benefited me. Despite the disappointment of failed expectations, I generally look back on the whole experience fondly.

I’m glad Erasmus was a mandatory part of my New Media & English course because I don’t know if I would have gone for it otherwise. Living in a country where a vast majority of the people I came into contact with had little to no English meant I paid more attention to the other ways I communicate. It’s funny how a mixture of hand gestures and facial expressions can say so much. It was frustrating at times and especially at the beginning when I was unfamiliar with my surroundings but it created a lot of funny situations.

The relaxed atmosphere made college more enjoyable. I had few hours each week, so I was never under a lot of stress when it came to my workload. I took a Communicating Across Cultures seminar that was full of other Erasmus students. I learnt in more depth about cultural differences and how the way we communicate means different things in other cultures. It was interesting to talk to others about Ireland and the differences between our cultures.

The class mirrored the changes I was experiencing whilst living in Hungary and helped me to understand them. I had never heard of the term acculturation before, but I learnt it refers to the stages you go through when you move to a new country or enter into a new culture. I think I remained in the tourist phase of excitement for most of my stay because there was so much to see but I definitely entered into the culture shock phase more than a few times.

bloggErasmus was a multitude of things but overall a positive experience. I think it’s important to note that it wasn’t everything I wanted it to be and every day wasn’t a good one, but I look back now and see how much I gained from it. It would be hard to put into one blog post everything that Erasmus was.

I think whether the experience was a good or a bad one for you that you can take something from it, even if that something is that you never want to do anything like it ever again. Being able to travel to countries such as Slovakia, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic is something I don’t think I could have achieved at this point in my life without Erasmus.  I feel an attachment to Hungary and I definitely want to visit again soon.

(All images are my own)