I believe that traditional American culture does not have many traditions to mark life transitions. Some may say that the first beer with a father is a coming of age, or perhaps getting your license. Although during these life transitions there is a lack of culture and rituals to usher the person into the new phase of their life. Perhaps this takes a lot of meaning out of ones transition from childhood to adulthood although I never noticed it until I saw my cousins bar mitzvah. This ceremony was completely overwhelming as the entire extended family came together to celebrate the transition from youth to adulthood. The entire day was filled with culture and rituals that dated back centuries and haven’t changed since, traditional torah reading, Jewish food, and other activities surrounded my cousin. During my time in Spain I did not personally witness any coming of age ceremonies, but I was present during the festival of Sant Jordi which was a rich and culture filled holiday that some compare to American valentines day. Throughout the day the city streets are filled with people and boys exchange roses with the women while women give the men a book. This holiday seems much more meaningful and cultured than American valentines day, there is many more traditions and the thought that is invested with the gifts are much more meaningful. I do not believe that the absence of these cultural traditions impedes the global community but having them definitely accelerates growth and increased ones quality of life as well as connection to the community. Perhaps because America is such a young country there is the lack of culture, the most prevalent American ceremony I can think of is thanksgiving, it is unique to our country and is a gathering of ones family and friends together to celebrate life and all the gifts that they have.
I believe my digital story will help me develop and remember how impactful my time abroad has been for me. “Time Alone For Reflection” is a big one that has been and will be very impactful for me, being able to sit down alone and reflect and absorb what has occurred will help me to remember and really let it sink in. While being abroad life moves 100 miles an hour there is so much going on and you are trying to take it all in as quick as possible, taking the time to be alone and step back was essentially and now taking the time to be alone and write my digital story will help finalize my time abroad and reincorporate back into my home life. Connection with environment directly related to the previous element as when I typically took time alone I would hike the mountain near my school on the edge of the city. It overlooked all of Barcelona and was a beautiful place for reflection. Lastly “Play” and engaging in playful activities that I enjoyed such as soccer were huge for me and allowed me to bond with the local community to develop my digital story.
Lastly the digital story which I enjoyed the most was Caitlin Murphy in the Netherlands. I enjoyed how the connected her time abroad to a bicycle ride, especially because during my time in the Netherlands I confirmed that the “cities of bicycles” are true. She related how the moment that she let go of her handlebars was resembling of how she let go of her home community and fully immersed herself into her host culture. I am going to try and find some sort of inanimate object or activity that I can relate my digital story to as well as it may help to explain my experience.