“The body travels more easily than the mind, and until we have limbered up our imaginations, we continue to think as though we had stayed at home.

We have not really bridged a step until we take up residence in someone else’s point of view”

– from The Complete Life by John Erskine


Sign seen at Sedona Art Supply

John Erskine (October 5, 1879 – June 2, 1951) was an American educator and author, pianist and composer. He was an English professor at Amherst College from 1903 to 1909, followed by Columbia University from 1909 and 1937. During his tenure at Columbia University he formulated the General Honors Course—responsible for inspiring the influential Great Books movement. He published over 100 books, novels, criticism, and essays including his most important essay, The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent (1915).”

Text and photo from –

Aloha, Renée









Tags: ,

About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

2 responses to “Imagination”

  1. Patricia Rouse says :

    …..take up residence in someone else’s point of view…such a timely thought you posted. I was listening to public radio, a program called humankind, another fab interview show that is thought provoking.
    In brief, but to the point of your posting, the head of habitat for humanity is a neighbor of Jimmy and Rosyln Carter and, while pitching to the listeners what a piece of humanity IS the project Habitit for Humanity, the interviewee talked a bit about Jiimmy.

    He recounts he heard the former president say that he learned more about the poor from living with the people for whom they were building homes than all the times before that in his life. It took sleeping in their beds, eating with the recipients, learning the names of their children, making the actual human connection to get what HE needed to get from the project.

    Jimmy does actually work every year on a project building in various locations in this country and Mexico as well. He does not come to work from a hotel in the area. It becomes a transforming experience for each person there to be a part of constructing decent housing for people who cannot otherwise obtain this. It becomes also a transforming experience for those receiving a real home and finally some place to feel rooted.


  2. reneeriley says :

    Hi Pat: I love the ideas we hear through public radio. A couple of Sundays ago, as Barry and I were driving across the West, we were listening to NPR’s “On Being” (, a program you told us about a couple of years ago. We heard Civil Rights veteran Vincent Harding, who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. Mr. Harding says that America is still developing and that “Love trumps all.” It’s when we get to know people that we can feel love instead of seeing them as stereotypes or those very different from us. Part of the wonderful aspect of traveling is getting to see how much alike we are with people who somehow seem very different. Thanks for sharing what President Jimmy Carter continues to do to increase love in the world. He’s a wonderful model for us all. Aloha, Renee

Leave a Reply to Patricia Rouse Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: