donderdag 10 oktober 2013

Release your inner nerd

Sometimes I get so tired of culture. True, it is important, it is one of the things that seperates us from being animals, it is enjoyable in most of its forms, but still, I sometimes so wish I could take a break from it.

The reason why I feel that way, is that as an immigrant/expat/foreigner/international, culture jumps on your back and breathes down your neck at every corner. Many of the problems you encounter in everyday life have to do with cultural differences. These differences range from what you put on your bread to how you beat your wife, so to speak. Or how to make and interpret jokes, how greet people, how to write an e-mail, how you knit, how you talk – I could go on and on about it, but I actually do not want to do it, I want a break!

Another reason is that as an immigrant (expat/foreigner/international), all the facilities that the Danish state kindly offers us, have to do with coping with culture and/or cultural differences. And very often that is extremely helpful. But how much H.C. Andersen, Kierkegaard and hygge with kaffe og kage kan you stand? I know this sounds blasphemous, but as I said: I need a vacation from culture every now and then.

So I thank Moem on my bare knees that she introduced me to the phenomenon of the hackerspace, shortly before I left for Denmark. It liked it so much that I decided to find a hackerspace in Aarhus, and, just as luck would have it, a hackerspace opened there: Open Space Aarhus, a.k.a. OSAA.

I could sing the praise of hackerspaces in general and OSAA in particular for hours on end (I took a stab at it here), but a very important one is that it helps you integrate in a very down-played, effective way.

Hackerspaces are all about technology, a sense of the practical, and looking at reality from an angle. Language and culture are not the subject, but tools. 220 volts hits the same whether it's in Danish, English or Swahili. And you can look, and point, and do something with your hands. You are operating on the same level as the other people, mostly Danes, around you. And that is nice.

I am not a practical, technical person, but I like unscrewing appliances. There is something mindful about voiding warranties. At OSAA, people understand that. If you find that attractive, or you have other nerdy tendencies, then feel free to drop in at OSAA on Tuesday nights, when it's open night and lots of nerds are present.

Also, next week on Thursday night, 17 October I'll be holding a workshop on making jewellery from computer parts. We've done it before, and this time's challenge will be making something from ferrite - sign up here. If you want to find out if you have an inner nerd, this is the time and place to release him! Or her!

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