The Curiosity Of Noticing The Things Around Us

l.JPGA few months ago I wrote about learning from the past, planning for the future, and staying in the present. Curiosity makes me think of Alice in Wonderland, wondering into the Rabbit hole. It makes me think of adventure, exploring, experience and learning. When we’re a child, we’re always curious and constantly asking questions. Having curiosity is part of an education that lasts a lifetime. It’s the desire to learn and understand the world around us. We need to be present in order to truly live a fulfilling life.

When we’re curious about our surroundings, we’re more engaged and present. We don’t dwell on the past but focus on what’s happening in the now. It’s a spark that’s within all of us. A light that carries us and fuels us with energy. Imagine when you meet someone for the first time, you’re often curious to ask questions and know more about the person. Curiosity makes me think of a cat because they’re always very aware of their surroundings. In anything, we need balance. If we’re interacting with someone, it’s good to be curious, but not too much that we become intrusive or nosy.

I was walking into the city earlier this month, and there was live music playing. The band consist of a drummer, electric guitarist, bass player and singer. It was incredible to all experience standing there listening to the music. Some passerby would stop for a song or two to listen. I was curious to go to a jelly bar a week ago, held in a clothing store on High Street (below is a snapshot) I had a fig, honey and thyme jelly which was delicious. It was a lovely experience, and many people would wonder in wondering what event was happening. 17741046_430234223997531_433632794_n.jpgCuriosity is also important when we’re walking. When I wrote about the beauty of walking, I mentioned how walking creates awareness, presence and discovery into the unknown or a familiar environment. That is if we allow it to. We can give ourselves the choice to be aware and interested or be in a state of daydreaming and drifting. Curiosity in learning is largely seen as beneficial and important, as it makes our mind active, motivated, inspired, energetic and open to storing information. It encourages us to be creative and make new discoveries.

In socialising, it’s important, because it shows that you’re interested in the other person. Curiosity means living a far more fulfilling life, as opposed to a boring one. It broadens our mind and allows us to be more open minded about certain things. Curiosity can bring us out of our comfort zone and try something new. It means not being afraid to ask questions and having persistence in your goals. It can make us happier people because it makes us interested in life around us, the way the simple things like seeing a hedgehog walking across the garden could deeply amuse us as a child.

Photography by ! FlOrEcItA !

The Curiosity Of Asking Someone’s Ethnicity

b6a6f7dc454666b0e826e23b347f2d53.jpgOne of the questions I get asked frequently from strangers or meeting someone new is Where are you from? What’s your background? Where are your parents from? or What’s your ethnicity? It’s understandable, because it’s tricky to tell what my ethnicity is, especially when no one has ever guessed Taiwanese. I commonly hear Malaysian, Thailand and Japanese. It’s natural to feel curious about a person’s ethnicity. I was working yesterday, and a customer asked me out of the blue “Where are your parents from?” and I replied “Taiwan.” It would of been fine, but that was the only thing they asked before walking off.

I’ve talked about the question Where are you from? and how it can be innocently disrespectful at times, as it imposes the idea that you’re not from where you currently live. On the other hand, asking someones ethnicity, is often out of curiosity, but sometimes it can be quite strange to suddenly open a conversation first thing by asking someones background. It can be invasive in asking someones racial makeup, before having a good conversation. When I watched the video What kind of Asian are you? here, it allows others to have awareness of how you ask certain kinds of questions.

There’s nothing wrong with asking someones background, but it’s having that layer of sensitivity and letting go of any assumptions. It’s asking the question in a way that’s respectful and polite. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve gotten offered to join an international group or how many homeless men say “Konichiwa” to me on the street. I still remember when someone asked me if I was from the Philippines. As soon as I said I wasn’t, they stopped talking to me. It sort of makes me smile thinking back to it, but it makes you realise how some people do feel more comfortable speaking to those who have the same cultural background as them.

There was a moment at a sushi store several weeks ago, where the checkout person asked me if I’m from Thailand. I told her no, but that I hear it quite often. She told me “You look like our people!”Most people may be curious, because they often say “I’m wondering what your background is, you have quite a strong Kiwi accent.” I don’t mind, because I’m used to being asked. The only thing I find is that sometimes asking someones ethnicity, can bring about certain stereotypes. There are aspects of my backgrounds culture, that I can’t relate to. For example, I was born and raised in New Zealand, and feel more Kiwi in many ways. It’s harder for me to be able to truly connect with a lot of aspects of Taiwanese and Chinese culture.

We’re all visual creatures, and when we see someone we may become intrigued by their features, appearances and the way they speak. Those are all the external aspects we can see and hear. Especially when you’re living in a multicultural society, it’s common that these curiosities will happen frequently, and you will have others ask you, or you may ask others about their background. It’s natural that we want to know, but it’s important to think before you ask, why you want to know. Sometimes we might be interested to know what other languages they might speak. Every individuals story is different.

image via alice roxy