Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Space and Perception

The idea of perception and the space you live in definitely has a direct correlation with one another. Living in a certain space defines how you perceive the world. The space you live in determines how you are able to show your talents, qualities, mannerisms, and how you react in foreign surroundings.
Since my parents were in the Navy, I moved around a lot. Living abroad in Italy, my perception was very different from most. Italian life is very religious and puts a huge emphasis on the family. Family time was very important and the Italian culture requires you to have a more personal relationship with each of your family members. Thus, my family and I spent a lot of time together.
After moving back to the states, my family and I moved to Tennessee. It was quick for us to realize that life in the states was very different from life in Italy. Life in Tennessee was very laid back. Living in a small and semi-rural city outside Memphis, I was exposed to a very calm and friendly atmosphere. Strangers said hello to each other, invited you to eat dinner with them, and overall, showed others the goodness of southern hospitality. Driving to the biggest establishment my city had, the local Wal-Mart, I could always look out my window and see corn fields, cows grazing the pasture, or deers running freely through a forest. Crime was not abundant in my area, so most people left their doors unlocked and welcomed anyone in their homes; It was a town where everyone knew each other.
However, I went to middle and high school in Memphis, so I had to commute to the city daily. Bringing the emphasis on family that my parents learned in Italy, my family continued to have very close ties and I became very dependent on them and they became very protective of me. Driving through Memphis to go to school, I saw a whole different view of the world. Unlike my small rural town, Memphis had huge buildings, extreme traffic, homeless people, and a huge crime problem. I was completely shocked on how different life was just a couple minutes away from my town. This showed me how living in a space effected my perception. I was so accustomed to everyone being very friendly, but I quickly found out that this is a false perception of the world. Memphis was very fast paced and people walking down the street barely said a word to each other.
After graduating high school and moving into Ward Hall at Rollins, I definitely saw how different life can be. After meeting new people around campus, and telling them about the provincial life in Tennessee, I would always get weird reactions. For example, in Tennessee it is tradition to go to a "haunted" corn maze during the month of October in celebration of Halloween. I thought everyone did this, since it was what I always did growing up. However, I was informed that people in Florida do not go to those type of things, and that corn does not even grow properly in Florida soil.
In conclusion, the space you live in effects your perception in a huge way. As you move from place to place, you grow accustomed to those values installed in those areas and you start to believe that they are present everywhere. I have learned that the space you live in determines how you are able to show your personality and how you react in foreign surroundings.

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