I have a week until the holiday break; I can’t even fathom the thought that my time here is almost up. I mean I’ll be here until January, but time has passed me by without a wink of remorse, but rather with the hope that I found what I was looking for. I hope I do.
I’ve become part of the community here, I know the faces and I know the names, but it wasn’t like that back when I first got here. Obviously, coming to a new country and trying to establish yourself in a foreign community is going to be hard, but I was lucky that people were welcoming and willing to help me. That’s some that I know personally doesn’t really happen back home. Like Blumenkrantz and Goldstein discussed their really is a lack of meaning community-based rituals for the American society. I feel like its more of the overwhelming need to leave your parents house and build up you’re reputation. There’s no transition into adult but rather a hands off, you’re on your own attitude. It doesn’t breed community, it breeds this illusion of doing celebrating these negative checkpoints that mark adulthood, the fake-based rituals (having your first kiss etc.). In America there’s always those stupid high school rite of passage that hold no worth and instead of promoting community and unity, promote peer pressure and bullying. It damages not only the health of the community of the present, but also sets the stage for even darker futures to come because it’s only getting worse. Adolescence and young adult stages of one’s life are the most crucial in raising the next generation of the world, the impact on their lives now determines our future. We should try as a community to fix these problems now, to provide a positive environment that builds on community and unity, rather than racing to the finish line survival of the fittest style. America has become too materialistic, its time we start our own health traditions, bridge a new positive path for the sometimes-scary life transitions, and grow together instead of competing against each other.
The three elements that I have chosen are adversity, silence, and time alone. I think when it comes down to my experience thus far these three elements have been key players, not in a negative way, but in a positive way. Whether they be a part of my potential theme or not these elements were ever present in me accomplishing my goals while abroad and changing who I was to who I am.
Adversity has played two separate roles. It was both physical as well as emotional in it’s targeting. Coming here on my own away from my family, wasn’t too bad, acclimation was fairly easy for me. However, while climbing Mt. Snowdon it dawned on me, not only was I moving forward overcoming and reaching the top, but I was also dealing with the emotional turmoil of leaving my familial responsibility behind. All the feelings that I had kept at bay were rearing they’re ugly head at me, and the only way to overcome it was to keeping moving forward, just like I was physically climbing Mt. Snowdon to the top. When I finally made it to the top I breathed a breath of fresh answer and like that all the turmoil I kept inside, slipped away floating away with wind. I had overcome my obstacles and let go of the past, returning back down from the mountain renewed and refreshed.
Silence was my clarity and my peace. There were no more distractions, no sound just the awakening of my other senses taking in the new world around me. It was peaceful and quiet, no boisterous yelling or obnoxious shouts but the symphony and presence of clarity. My problems were no longer big, but small and my decisions no longer seemed loud and daunting, but calm and refreshing. The sea of opportunity waving my down, inviting me to explore it.
Time alone is something I needed. However nerve wracking it was to come to a new place on my own, I needed to do it. I needed time alone, away from the people I once knew and from the thoughts and voices that kept chasing me. I find that I often go on peace walks here and although I may feel frustration and bubbling emotions rise in me, its my chance to let it all go, to lose my self in my surrounds and truly be rid of the burden I carry. I relish these walks, this time alone, to scream all the breath from my lungs with tears of happiness because for that moment, for that time that I am alone I feel free. Free from obligation, free from the person I’m supposed to be, I’m not a student or a classmate, but I am myself the vision that I imagine and dream for myself. I don’t have to pretend and I don’t have to live up to anybody’s expectation. I am just Alexandra, a girl that can walk freely in freedom granted to her by the precious time, someone out there was kind enough to send my way. I’m steadily finding myself and growing little by little, day by day.
The Paris digital story really resonated with me, the backbone on which it was built, of how she grew seems similar to my own experiences except in the same way completely different. The student really captivate her audience with her woven story of her growth and experience, in a way that you lived that change with her in those 4 minutes. Those 4 minutes that held those 3 precious and life altering months, it made one realize that emotional pain is part of growth, you lose and you gain in order to rebuild yourself in the image you imagine.
The differences might not be visible to you at the time and all hope might be shrouded in darkness, but once you except what happened in the darkness you see stars, stars that lead to a new path in life. You grow and learn from your past, you keep moving forward. That’s the change she went through and the one I feel I myself am going through. She bore her soul and invited you to join her in the journey she experienced.