I have dreaded this day for far too long, the beginning of separation from Dunedin, a place I have begun to call home. Over the past week I have found myself in a rather confusing state. I am excited to return to the familiar environment of my US home, but sad to leave my New Zealand one. As a result I have put off the dreaded rites of separation blog for as long as possible, as if writing down my bitter sweet thoughts would make my dread yet excitement for leaving more real. Sadly it is time to move on to new adventures and a familiar routine, so here it goes- thoughts as I prepare to depart and return:
Today I began saying goodbye to my city, each time I walk my favorite streets, order from my favorite café, or poke my head into my favorite shops I find myself wondering if this time is the last time I am going to do it. In order to actively participate in my separation I decided to take a walk through Dunedin like I did during Travel Log 4 about getting oriented. Saying goodbye is tough; However, by walking through the city I was able to consider the best and worst parts about separation and how I wanted to conclude my rite of passage. My stroll made me appreciate the wonderful times I have had over the past 5 moths. Dunedin has become my home base, a familiar place to return to following my many adventures across the country. If I return later in life I will look forward to walking these now familiar streets once again. On my walk a quote I had come across about travel came to mind. I couldn’t remember the exact words, so when I got home I looked it up. It is a quote by Miriam Adeney and describes my emotions throughout the week perfectly:
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
When I think about returning home I am eager, but is home going to be home? As Adeney states, I don’t think I will be fully home again; there will always be a part of me longing for travel. I have caught the travel bug, it has changed me so much so that home can no longer be home in the same way it once was. However, it is this distinct change that quantifies a rite of passage, a new status as a global citizen.
There are multiple examples I could use to explain how I am more aware of my global citizenship than I previously was. However, Slimbach expands on his ideas about the global citizen by arguing that the real journey is finding our true selves through our great dreams. He argues that external exploration leads to internal discovery of our intentions, ideas, and impulses (Slimbah, 53). He states, “the psychological stress associated with cross cultural learning actually carries the power to expose us, heal us, and complete us. Instead of trying to numb the pain, we allow ourselves to feel our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.” The global connections I have made throughout this semester not only developed into a global citizen status but also prompted me to think about my own political and social opinions. I am now an avid believer that conversation can change the world. Simple conversations with the people I meet with all semester created a space where world issues could be discusses in a positive and informative way despite varying views. As a result I agree with Slimbach’s claim that global citizenship also includes a degree of self-development and discovery. My rite of passage this semester can be described by the transition of global citizenship. However, it was much more than that; I learned more about who I am, who I want to be, and my opinions of the world. Although I still dread leaving Dunedin, I also look forward to my return home so that I can introduce my friends and family to the new version of myself.