Deeper Dive: A Writer’s Study Abroad Experience Expands Her Creative Paradigm
Amontaine Aurore tells us how Egypt and Bali transformed her paradigm and cracked open her creativity.
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Summary: Below is the interview transcript of my conversation with Amontaine Aurore discussing her study abroad in Egypt and Bali. This is a deeper dive interview based on the original article “Seattle Playwright, Amontaine Aurore, Says ‘No’ To Flat, One-Dimensional Characters and ‘Yes’ To Exploring Their Full Humanity.”
Beverly Aarons 00:07
This is Artists Up Close. Thank you once again for tuning in to the audio version of Artists Up Close. This month, I have something special to share. I interviewed Amontaine Aurore in November, about her experience as an artist, as a writer as an actress, and she had a lot to say. But I felt like I wanted to go a little bit deeper. So we did a little interview, to delve a little bit deeper into her experiences. Specifically her experiences studying abroad in Egypt and Bali. So. let's tune in to what she had to share with us.
Amontaine Aurore 00:58
I was sort of scared because I don't swim. These boats are really tiny. They're small boats. So you're, you're right next to the water. It's not like being in a in a big in a big boat. And we would get off into the Nile Valley and stuff like that. And I believe that there was a, there was a family that was living off of off of the Nile. And we went and talked with them. And they were very, very nice people. I remember that there's very smiling and gracious as so many people there are. But it was just it was conducted by an Antioch professor. He's not there anymore. But he was there for many years: [Dr.] Farouk Seif. And he's from Egypt. And I believe that he developed this program to do the study abroad.
Beverly Aarons 01:58
Oh, wow. Was this your first trip to Africa?
Amontaine Aurore 02:05
It was. First and only. I have not been back. So, I want to I definitely want to go back to some different parts of Africa as well. But yeah, this is my first trip. First trip to Africa. Yeah.
Beverly Aarons 02:21
And so what was your like? Describe to me the feeling that you had when you arrived?
Amontaine Aurore 02:33
Well, it's something that was very interesting that happened. We went, we went, I don't remember where we were, we might have been in Cairo. And I went, you know, we went on a bus everywhere. So we were kind of traveling around and staying in different places, different hotels and stuff like that along the way. And we had gone on this on this day trip. So, there was myself and another African American man that went and then there, the rest of the students were white. So, we got off the bus. And these Egyptian people, an Egyptian family started running towards me. And they were like, 'Sister, sister! Welcome! Welcome!' Yeah, it was interesting, because, you know, some of the white students were like, 'Well, when we go to Europe, nobody's like, running towards us saying welcome home.' So that was kind of surprising for us, and for me, as well, because I had always heard that African people don't like African American people and stuff like that. But that that wasn't what I found when I when I went to Egypt. So, to be there, I had always wanted to go to Egypt. From the time I was a little girl, I remember looking at... My father had a book about Egypt and I just looked at the pyramids and stuff like that. And I was just fascinated. Like, 'I want to go there one day! I want to go there one day! So, I had always wanted to go there. So, when I got the chance, I jumped at it. And it felt very familiar. Like when we were driving into Cairo and seeing the Great Pyramid off in the distance. And seeing the Sphinx off in the distance. And maybe it's because I had just studied so much about it and looked at a lot of pictures but it was something about it that felt very familiar, very home like.
Beverly Aarons 05:07
When that family came up to you and was like, 'Welcome home, sister. What did you think? What was your initial reaction to that?
Amontaine Aurore 05:26
Joy. Just a feeling of joy, of happiness, of love, of being embraced, and surprised.
Amontaine Aurore 05:44
Oh, that's just something was very just felt very genuine. It was just a genuine gesture, I didn't feel like it was like, anything contrived, it just felt like it was very spontaneous, and open and beautiful gesture. Travel in general, as far as my work as a writer has just generally expanded me to feel more comfortable writing about things that are outside of like, for instance, the way that I grew up or the people that I knew, like, I can reach out and I can also embrace other cultures, other people. And I can, I can bring them in and make them a part of a story.
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