Travel Log 15 “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Chris Wilner, Wallingford, CT

As defined in class, rites of reincorporation involves a person being newly reborn, they return to their community with a “new status”, there are new expectations for behavior and there is a transformation for the individual and the community. Coming home and becoming part of my home community I can say has not been easy on myself. The largest change that I have seen since coming home, and this may be just for me and no one else, is the fact that I feel like my family has become complacent. I feel as though now that I am home I am expected to do so much more because as everyone says, “You have been gone for so long, so it is your turn to take care of this…” What gets me is that I had responsibilities to take care of while I was away and everyone had their responsibilities to take care of while I was away and somehow they all managed to progress in life while I was gone, but now that I am home no one can function without involving me or making me do it because they are just too busy or I think the better answer is that they don’t want to do it so I am stuck doing it.

I could easily say that I am a liminal being. I have gone to a new land and found a new way of doing things for myself and now that I have come home, I have to be mindful of everyone else that I live with and adhere to the rule and regulations that are set forth. I am used to doing things on my own time and the way that I want them done and now that I am home I have to get used to everyone else’s ways of life as well as the new aspects of life they have gained while I was away.

The letter of reincorporation went similar to the way that the letter of separation went for me. It seemed like more of a class activity and was only something to listen to because it had to be listened to. I decided to share this letter with my girlfriend because the was the person that I feel as though I have been apart from the most and she was the person that I wanted to share everything about my trip with. I think it was important to share this with her because she was so worried about what would happen with us while I was gone and I think this opportunity allowed us to talk openly and without any interruption about the things that we did and what it means for me to be home and the things that I will have to get used to since being away. Something that was important that we talked about was the fact that it is important to be patient and understanding of the changes that may have occurred while I was away as well as the routines and ways of life that I got used to while I was away and that it would take time for me to get back into the swing of things.

“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.” I chose this quote because I think it is important for both sides to realize that a transition occurred and whether it was good or bad, it is important to realize that a change occurred and without recognizing that change no progress would be made. Coming home has not really changed anything, everyone was excited to see me, but I don’t think many people understand the things that you do while abroad except for the people that have studied abroad. Now that I am home it seems like I haven’t even been gone, everyone just expects me to do more because I have missed out on so much. I feel like now that I am home, I am still being treated like a child and that I need to be told what to do on a daily basis because I guess that’s what makes my family feel better about me being away. At this point in time I wouldn’t mind returning to the life that I had in London, except I would rather that my girlfriend came with me. It has been hard this first week being home because I have these inner battles in my head whether or not to say what is on my mind because I am afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings or starting a fight.

From the chapter reading, one way that I think that I would be able to carry forward the “gems” I have collected on my Education Abroad experience is to rediscover “place” in my local community, while I was abroad, it seemed like everywhere I went was a new experience even if I had been there before I think there was always something new that I could learn even from just watching people in Trafalgar Square. I know my hometown because I have grown up here and spent so much time in its streets but I feel like I learned so much more about London in my short time there and know more about the place than I do about the place where I take up residence. My goal is to rediscover and continue discovering the place that I call home and to expound upon the traveling that I have done. This experience has created a thirst for knowledge, I did not go to many places while I was abroad but I went everywhere in London and learned the streets as if they were my own and in fact they did become my own by the time I left.

I can’t honestly say that there are any streams that I need to divert in order to carry forward. I catch myself saying terms and phrases that I learned while I was in London and then I realize those aren’t things that are really said here or people wouldn’t really understand what I am saying so it is more of a conscious decision not to use those phrases or words more than something that I need to get rid of. I say cheers instead of thank you sometimes and call French fries chips, but those are only small things. There more of a think that I do to annoy my girlfriend because she says in back in the states so I have to use the right terms but I can still get away with saying them in some contexts.

As Smilback said on page 205, “Your hometown hasn’t moved, and your network of family and friends is still intact – but both feel different, almost like a foreign land.” At this moment in time, I can honestly say that that is how I am feeling; more so for my family than my friends because I talked to my girlfriend every single day but I feel different being home. My room feels huge compared to my dorm, I’m not used to there being food in the house all the time and not having to cook my own meals is very different to me. I am not sure if I like being able to come home and do nothing and have nothing to worry about or go to the store to buy my groceries and make sure that I bought vegetables or if I have enough toilet paper. Right now there are a lot of uncertainties for me but I am trying to take everything in stride.

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