Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What are You Afraid of???

I was over at one of my Uyghur friend’s homes tonight. This girl has just recently moved into an apartment on her own. When I heard she was living by herself my natural first question was “Are you scared?” I have lived in several places on my own out here, and each time my local friends learn that I am alone, they always ask if I am scared.

I normally answer the question with the amusing antidote of how my old shower use to sound just like a cell phone when it got hot, and how my first night I was sure there was a stranger in my house. I didn’t sleep well that night, as I listened to every bump in the night and tried to convince myself it wasn't an intruder.

My friend tonight admitted to being afraid too, but not of someone breaking in. She is scared of evil spirits or ghosts. She started to tell me of all the things she does, or has heard of to do to protect yourself from evil spirits. She places a Koran at the entry way of her bedroom, she has a knife under her bed. She said that one of her friends suggested that she spit in all of the corners of her house. She went on to share several other seemingly useless sounding rituals for protection. It surprised me because this girl is very educated (she is looking into doing her Phd in America) she is also very modern and trendy, and yet she believes these tales, and has actually tried a number of them.

She wisely summed up our fears by saying “I was afraid of things I could see, and she was scared of what she could not see”. This of course led to a very interesting discussion. So what about you? What are you afraid of?

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