Travel Log 2: “Rites of Separation: Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Expecting and Accepting the Unexpected” by Kathleen Flynn. South Berwick, Maine

Although sharing a “Separation Letter” was part of this week’s assignment for QU301, I knew it was something that needed to be thought of and discussed in one way or another before I left. I have recently started dating someone whom I spent every day with this past semester, and once I leave for Italy I won’t get that same time spent together that I’m so used to now. I knew that a conversation would have to come at some point talking about the same details contained in the Separation Letter. Before talking to him about leaving for four months, I had to plan it out in a way that showed this wasn’t necessarily going to have a negative effect on our relationship and could make our relationship even stronger. I decided that using the Traditional Rites of Passage “Formula” would be the best way to visually explain what I would be going through while I was away. Additionally, the way that a negative separation can affect the transition from the liminal status to the new status is clearly illustrated.

I read him my letter straight from the format and we laughed throughout it as it sounded so scripted and serious. When it came down to it though, there was a lot of truth in it and things that really did need discussion. I expressed that openness and honesty would be very important from both of us, and that a balanced amount of communication would be key. I would be annoyed by a bombardment of texts every day, but not speaking for a few days would be concerning. After getting all of my concerns off my chest I really think that I am prepared to separate from everything I was used to this semester. As long as we remain honest with each other, this separation can help us focus on ourselves for a while and possibly strengthen our relationship together more.

To me a successful education abroad experience means that I am able to live comfortably away from my family and everything I’m used to for four months. Because of this level of comfort I would be able to face new challenges that arise from Florence itself. I hope that during my time I become friendly with some of the locals who could teach me more about the city from their point of view. This means that I will have to push myself out of my comfort zone that is interacting with English speaking American students like me. I would also hope that by living in Italy for a semester I become comfortable with speaking the language at least at a beginner level. To take everything that has been suggested to do while I’m abroad and go even further than that will really determine how successful my trip has been. For example, if someone recommends trying one type of food, I could go even further as to learn how to make it myself.

Being the open-minded person I am, I am willing to accept that there will be multiple challenges facing me, no matter how much I try to avoid them. Furthermore, no matter how much I avoid them I think I will accept and embrace the challenges because of the knowledge they will give me. While I’m abroad, I will try to live by my motto that everything happens for a reason and this will only lead me to meet new people, try new things, and learn from my experiences. Being from a small town in Maine and never having left North America, I think I will fully appreciate the diversity of my new surroundings, lifestyle, and friendships.

I have chosen this picture of a yield sign that says “Change Ahead” because it depicts my feelings of understanding big changes are coming in less than a week and although it is only a warning, there is nothing telling me not to move forward. If you look even further into the picture, there’s a light shining on it as well. When I see this there’s nothing that scares me or makes me feel uncomfortable, but I feel so much excitement. This picture is also symbolic of my motions in the past few days and in the way I will probably react to arriving in Italy. I will most likely be cautious in everything I do, but the excitement and eagerness for new adventures pushes me forward. And in all the busyness that has been occurring in my last few days here, there’s always that constant reminder and thought in the back of my head thinking “Change is coming!”



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