Osimiri was awarded the Vira Heinz Scholarship, and went to study abroad in Thailand for 7 weeks. They studied Thai Language, Thai Culture, and Public Health at Chiang Mai University. They were happy that they got to wear the boy's uniform. They met Meah, Fun, and Phurn, the Thai ambassadors at their university, and became friends with them. They went to see elephants. During their first class, the did a homestay in a rural Thai village. They rode the iron buffalo (tractor) to plow a rice field, learned traditional dance, and did a ceremony binding them with the spirits of the village. They loved their host mother P'Nong, and talked to her about how hard it is to be a woman in Thai society. They laughed with their host grandpa, Pa Soad, and helped him learn some English. They found their host sister, Nong Ping, hilarious, and named her "nok hoo", which means owl. They traveled to Krabi, and saw how beautiful Thai beaches are. They traveled to Pattaya, and went to some of the best the water parks on the planet. They ate interesting foods, like chicken blood, and even ants! They spent a week in Kohn Kaen with another class, and toured hospitals. They met traditional Thai doctors, got acupuncture, and Thai massage. They love Thailand, and hope to return someday!
CEE Title: Mytos: The Creation of the Self
“Mythos: The Creation of Self” was a writing Workshop focusing on the usage of mythology in poetry and other artforms. The workshop was split into two primary components. The first portion was a lecture style presentation which established important terminology and examples of artists who used either mythology, biomythography, or poetic ethnography in their work. Biomythography is a form of writing where a person mythifies their own lived experiences. Poetic ethnography is the documentation of personal or observed experiences through poetry.
The second portion was a writing prompt way people could incorporate either of those methods or images, stories and themes from various cultures and pantheons into their work.
The workshop highlighted three poems by various spoken word artists and highlighted the way that they used either mythology, biomythography, or poetic ethnography in their poetry. All of these artists are children of either immigrants or refugees of color. This choice was to deliberately highlight the relalities of people with cultural backgrounds originating outside of the West. This directly connected to the thematic question of “Whose culture is seen as mythical?”, which attendees were asked to interrogate for the duration of the workshop. The other artist featured was Beyonce, due to her usage of various motifs in her most recent album. The portioned featured was her personification of the orisha (Yoruba goddess/spirit) Oshun in one of her music videos. The writing prompts were broken up into 3 “levels” of difficulty so that newer writers and established poets has both accessibility and challenges in their writing.