Rites of Separation: Looking Back and Looking Ahead: Expecting and Accepting the Unexpected

I wasn’t sure what the separation letter was as we didn’t discuss it in class so I instead decided to just sit down and talk with my mom about separating from home for when I go abroad. We talked about thoughts she was having and thoughts I am having as well. She said she wasn’t necessarily afraid of me going abroad although there have been some acts of terror in Europe more recently. She explained that she shares my sentiment that if you chose not to travel due to these things then we have lost and terror of the unknown has set in. She also said that she trusts that I have grown to be a smart responsible person that knows not to put myself in harmful or dangerous situations and that I am generally very aware of my surroundings and situation. I told her that I was a little nervous but mostly excited. What is most nerve wracking to me is that I will be living in an apartment and will have to be totally responsible for myself when it comes to getting sheets and towels and also feeding myself on a daily basis. I plan to cook a lot, I like to cook, but I have never had to do my own grocery shopping entirely. I think it’s interesting because generally I wade into new things but I am doing it now in an extreme as I am starting all of this in a new place in a foreign country. I think this is what is going to make me feel most separate but it is also nice to hear that my parents are comfortable and supportive with me going abroad. I chose the quote, “The very act of moving from one place to another helps create a space where we can bump up against strangeness and reexamine some of the settled assumptions we hold regarding the world and ourselves” (Slimbach 5).

The US is going through a turbulent time in its history politically and socially and that will be interesting to experience from a bit more of a foreign perspective. I won’t be hearing the opinions of the average American I will be hearing the opinions of people well removed from the immediate situation. I’m sure I will be asked a lot about Trump just as I was when I was in Israel last summer. I think potentially this is what may keep me from entirely separating. I will want to look back, to check in, to see how the country is doing. It will definitely make it weird to come back and to “reincorporate” with society in the US. However, that is a long way away and right now my focus is on the upcoming.

I think to make my abroad experience successful is to take in the culture of Spain and the other places I visit in a natural unforced way. I won’t know everything about the Czech Republic by visiting Prague for a few days nor will I know everything about Spain by living there for a few months, but I plan to be open to learning what I can in the time I am there. I think by doing this my experience will be successful. Along with growing my understanding and knowledge of cultures it would be beneficial for me to learn to be more comfortable relying on other people. I am very independent and once I figure something out it is fairly easy for me but once I do that it is hard for me to accept help. So I think accepting help from something as little as someone else getting groceries or cooking me a meal would be a strong opportunity for me to grow.

For the challenges I will face I plan one utilizing many of my own personal strengths. I want to use my flexibility, empathy and optimism to push through and to problem solve my way through different situations. I chose the picture above because I wanted to show how I have been deliberate in how I have prepared for my time abroad but at the same time I am creating my new horizons.

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