April’s New Thing
During a typical evening, I feel like I am doing upwards of 10 things at a time. I suppose you could call it a form of multitasking. It is not uncommon for me to carry around my phone in order to listen to podcasts, an audio book or even a youtube video while doing laundry, helping kids with homework, researching sports camps, cooking, picking up clutter, planning lessons, and skimming the contests of a few blog posts after a long day at work. Technology provides opportunities to be able to connect, grow personally and professionally and seek out unlimited resources to enhance our lives. Unfortunately, one thing it sometimes interferes with is our ability to live in the moment and really be present.
Using technology to grow as well as find creative ways to stay present has proved to be a challenge in my life. When I originally set out to accomplish my April goal, I was most focused on what it would look like at a literal level. I would watch a movie with subtitles. As the month started to come to an end, I realized that I simply needed to find a new experience that would work amidst a busy work and family schedule. There was something about the idea of watching a movie with subtitles that seemed intriguing. It felt worldly and different, yet something that I could accomplish quickly. Since I studied Spanish in college, I was looking for something completely new.
The last foreign film I remember seeing was 19 years ago, when I studied in Guadalajara, Mexico. Three friends and I caught a bus and went downtown to see a movie on the big screen. At the time, my Spanish did not allow me to fluently translate the entire movie; but the movie provided an incredibly rich cultural experience. I gained a whole new appreciation for the cinema. We laughed and cried and really did have a deep understanding of what the movie was about. I noticed that not understanding the language completely allowed me to really focus on the actors.
The night I decided to start watching a movie with subtitles, I realized that I could access a movie in several languages very quickly. I had always been drawn to the French language, so it seemed like the perfect way to start. I realized that I could utilize my phone to access netflix and begin viewing my foreign film instantly. Watching my movie on a phone was even new. I was “Stepping into the way my kids utilize technology today”. It was pretty surreal to be able to log into Netflix, and continue a movie whenever I had time. I realized how incredibly convenient our world is. A few taps of my fingers; and the magic would begin.
Deciding on which film to watch would prove to be challenging. The first movie I started did not hold my interest, so I opted for an inspirational movie that would showcase an athlete finding his way. I figured that I would not only have the experience with language, but one that would enrich my awareness of the grit needed for someone to achieve great things. La Dream Team ended up being a terrific choice for my first movie in French. Initially I felt bad that I had not saved it for the whole family to watch. However, something told me I needed to preview it first. Sure enough, you can never go back and “redo” something you should not have shown, according to one of my former professors. I learned that foreign films do things a little differently; and I was glad that I had not just shown it to my kids without watching it first.
One of the things that surprised me during the movie, was that I could really only do one thing at at time. I really could not look away for more than a second. I needed to not only watch the screen but also really listen to the tone of voice to complete my experience. Technology was providing me the gift of forcing me to do one thing at a time, and really be present to enjoy an experience.
I enjoyed watching a movie with subtitles so much, that I realized that I will definitely watch more movies this way. I was surprised to re discover my love for learning a language. It was how I met my husband, an opportunity for personal and professional growth, a way to feel connected to the world; and an excellent way to be present and really live in the moment.