I remember laying on the grass and staring at the sky for hours when visiting my grandmother, in her small and beautiful farm in Albania. My mind would take on a journey that I couldn’t even control it. I remember floating on my dreams, my curiosity, my wonder about the world and the universe. A feeling that even now, can open up a door to the part of the brain where the word Time and Space doesn’t exist, at least not in the form we consciously describe it.
I was eight years old when I started writing, and 13 years old when I published my first novel “The moon and the stars fell in love”. Somehow, I could see and experience the world around me differently, and I remember how scary that was for me sometimes. I loved spending time with my grandmother and listen to stories. She taught me how to be practical in life, and only today I can better understand and appreciate how much I have gained from her wisdom. Back in the times, reading people, being empathic was part of survival. During communism and dictatorship in Albania, people couldn’t say much, but they could read each-others eyes, they learned how to understand the unspoken words and feelings, which connected people more – at least it seems so from my perspective.
I had a rich, beautiful -full of wild experiences- childhood. I combined the practical time where I would explore the world and experience my role as a farmer with my grandmother, with the time used to read, write and explore my internal world. I was curious to know why some people think and feel different, why was I so driven to learn, so hungry for knowledge in a time when education wasn’t even the main goal for a girl in my country. Girls were supposed to get married and have children. That was the goal. (Thankfully that has and is continuously changing) I always wanted to understand what lies underneath the behavior of people. What is the thinking process that makes them accept, or rebel towards specific decisions. What drives and motivates them. Why some people take risks and some not.
When I came to America, in my twenties, on my own, I started to become a lot more retrospective, and all the questions and wonders I had about humans, I turned them inward. And I learned how to deal with my surroundings and myself. And I followed my dreams; and I am finally here, to continue what I started when I was a child: Study the human brain, mind and behavior. This is the beginning of a journey that started 20 years ago in my dreams, but now I can share it with you!
This is the platform where I will write about a research project I am working with Professor Maryam Bamshad, as an Honor Senior of Biology, Brainsciences at Lehman College. Join me and be part of scientific thinking though neuroscience.