Travel Log 2: “Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Rites of Separation” by Marc Capparelli. Eastchester, New York

In exactly one week I’ll be on my way to Perugia. Crazy to think I will be separating from my comfortable home here in Eastchester, New York. In order to smoothen my separation from my home, I shared the separation letter with my mother, the person who (arguably) would have the most difficult time watching me leave. I chose to share it with her during the afternoon when we were just relaxing at home. While she understood that studying abroad was a learning experience and that I want to immerse myself in the new culture, she was not a big fan of me not talking to everyone back home constantly or being a yes man. However, I know she is just worried and only wants the best for me. She knows to give me my space and that I’ll be fine.

I used the quote by O. Henry to describe my separation and feelings toward my experience: “The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate.” I really like this quote because I feel it describes me perfectly. I do not have an idea of what my experience will hold and it is very unknown to me. With that being said, I am not spending my time trying to figure out what will happen. Instead, I am going to be open to the opportunities and experiences that come my way and explore the unknown. This way, I will be able to create my own adventure and welcome the unknown with open arms.

While I shared my separation letter with my mother, I felt like it was really more for her than for myself. After I say my, “I’ll see you later’s” to everyone, I think I will be fine to separate. I am ready for a change that is different from the routine life that I have been living for so long, so when I say goodbye to my friends and family, I will be completely ready for the trip. Since we live in such a modern time with advanced technology, we are always connected through our phones and the internet. This may hold me back from separating because if I really wanted to talk to a friend or family member back home, I could just shoot a text or make a call. I am going to try and keep that to a minimum, though.

A successful study abroad experience would include things like being truly immersed in the culture, getting involved in many different activities while there, and learning to speak the local Italian language with those around me. I would want to branch out and explore instead of just merely “surviving” it. By surviving I mean making it day by day and not really doing much besides just living in another country. To be successful, I want to separate from what is comfortable to me in a healthy manner and learn the Italian way of life. A successful experience constitutes learning and growing in a positive direction.

In order for this success to take place, one needs to be open-minded and patient. There will be many things I am not used to in Italy, so I am going to have to be open to new things and take a moment to appreciate the differences that I observe while studying abroad. Being patient is important too because sometimes not everything will go my way but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With every door that closes, another one opens. Sometimes the cheesiest of sayings really say it great. Lastly, I think you really have to be strong and confident. It’s hard to leave everything and everyone you know to go somewhere you do not speak the local language and have never been. That takes some guts.

The picture I chose to represent my feelings and thoughts is a picture of a man torn between his brain and his heart that I found online. I see this picture and think of it as a man trying to control his emotions and his observational thoughts at the same time. I am a heavy thinker but, like anyone, my emotions can get in the way of things. While abroad, I will be thinking and feeling so many different things and in turn, this will control my behavior. I am fully
prepared to be flustered by my emotions and thoughts, but like this man in the picture, I know I can grapple with them and control them to act accordingly. 

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