The global community is a concept that I thought I understood prior to engaging in the Rites of Passage course. I reckoned that the global community had to do with different cultures, different languages, countries; anything that had to do with dissimilarity from myself and the immediate people around me. As a class, we constructed a definition that we will revise throughout the course: what the term global community means; A shared living space of interdependent individuals endowed with universal human rights, while choosing to act upon them, embracing differences, and working toward common goals. Although I have always understood that we as humans all posses the same human rights, its so easy to look at someone halfway across the world as someone entirely different, failing to be comprised or pertain ownership of anything that you do. We as a world need to begin to try and understand one another in order to one day deem world peace, acknowledgement, and appreciation of one another and our differences. I really enjoyed the clip “Crossing Borders” by Arnd Wachter as it portrayed how much we misinterpret one another due to preconceived judgments that others have made for us towards different races. Attempting to understand different cultures and recognizing people as individuals rather than labeling one another based on where one comes from is a challenge for all, but doing so, permits a successful liminal passage. In the movie crossing boarders, when the Americans first began debating with the Moroccans in regard to political and societal differences, it was difficult for one another to comprehend why they held the preconceived notions about one another than they did. However, they began to accept one another’s differences as they listened to one another. For example, Moroccans encompassed strong emotion and American’s often failed to disagree at ease with opinions they didn’t share. The idea that Americans tend to abstain from openly disagreeing with one another was a very interesting idea that I had noticed and find to be true. It is interesting how different cultures, such as the Moroccans, encourage differential opinions where it is frowned upon in other cultures. I would love to learn to be able to more readily be able to challenge another’s opinion with pride without the distress that my opinion should not be heard. I can do that by challenging myself and embracing what I have learned through other cultures just as Slimbach mentioned how individuals must learn to reexamine the assumptions we hold in regard to the world and ourselves (5). I hope that I find small notions, such as the ability to challenge one another, that urge me to expand myself culturally and individually for the better.
Although there are variations in cultures to make them distinct, many cultures are influenced by one another just as Slimbach mentioned how the rest of the world can appear to be a reflection of ourselves due to cultural convergence. However we must learn to engage in both what is “half strange and half strangely familiar” (4) as Slimbach quoted as that will permit enlightenment to occur. Reading about how to permit change to occur cannot happen simply by reading what one ‘should’ do to make a difference. A difference can only be made if we put our words and aspirations for change into actions and travel to another country, like I have the extraordinary opportunity to do. This will permit myself to begin my liminal journey of change to understanding myself, and the world in an entirely new way by transforming by status.
The travelogue that I chose is “Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy” by Frances Mayes. Mayes is an author from Georgia that chose to live a simple life in Tuscany. I have always heard how the Italian lifestyle is very relaxed as opposed to the busy, fast-paced American lifestyle, especially in New England. I find it fascinating how differently Americans and Italians view food and taking the time to eat. Italians idolize a human’s time to eat whereas Americans view it as something that should be secondary to another activity that they are engaged in. On account of the large disparities in the pace of lifestyle and what Americans versus Italians find important in everyday life, I thought this travelogue would portray the importance of relaxation and enjoying the simplicity of life that is so often declined by Americans. I want to learn to appreciate life in a more effortless way, Italian style.
Mayes, Frances. Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996. Print.
Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, Va: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.