Travelogue 14- Global Connections – Mitchell Trulli, Barcelona Spain

Global Connections is the fabric that connects people across the world, as stated it is issues, trends, and ideas that span across boarders. “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us but also into this world within” (P.54) Global learning not only allowed me to learn about the amazing places I can see and discover in the world and how little I really have seen, but it also allowed me to realize how much I have to grow, how many people I still have to meet, things I have to learn, and it lit a fire inside of me to work harder so that one day I will have the opportunity to return to traveling the world and discover even more. It reminds me of the quote that knowledge is a curse, as to learn of the amazing world there is out there is also a curse because you are constantly yearning to  return. Having this opportunity has changed me completely, I feel as if I am a changed person who now knows of the incredible world and people there are to be discovered. It has been an experience that connects me with every world traveler, study abroad student, and “eye opened” person.
I believe in order to be a global person you must be much more accepting and open to others ways of living. I remember my first few weeks here I was quite aggravated at the way they live. Being a tall fast walker with long legs I would constantly trip and stumble over others who walk extremely slow as they do in Europe, its just the way it is, everything is more slow. As the semester comes to a close I find myself slowing down and enjoying things a lot more, walking slower and absorbing my surroundings, appreciating the scenery and sounds of the city around me. It is essential to not let your first impressions stick, and to give the changes a chance, to fully immerse yourself.
For my “saying goodbye” the friend group we had established went out to the “bunkers” which are the highest point in the city that overlooks the whole town. We grabbed some wine and watched the sunset over the city while we reminisced on the amazing four months we had abroad. It was a beautiful experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. We all made plans to visit one another when we returned to the states, whether we follow through and actually do so, who knows.

The emotions prior to leaving were more of excitement to get back to my friends back home and share the experiences I had. I have wrote down all of my favorite stories and I can’t wait to share them. As weird as it sounds I am excited to go home so that I can look forward to the next big adventure and travel experience. I do not think that my reincorporation will be tough, the only thing I worried about was that I would never stop sharing all my experiences! I am excited to see my family and look forward to being back to “reality” as these past four months have felt like a dream.

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Travelogue 15- Theres no place like home- Mitchell Trulli North Reading Ma

My mother studied abroad in London when she was in college so she had always encouraged me since I was little to study abroad. She remembered how weird it felt to return home 25 years ago when she was studying and was well aware of how different it would be for me. I returned home to a house full of my friends surprising me for dinner. I spent the night sharing stories and encouraging them to study abroad, I basically demanded all of them to go. I could definitely see how nobody or anything has changed since I left which is in a way a good thing, but also very strange and I feel I am a completely changed person.

In carrying my experience forward I will be an advocate fort everyone I encounter to study abroad, my family and friends and eventually children will all be required to study abroad and enjoy the incredible experience. In addition I hope my future job will allow me to have an incredible amount of international experiences. The abroad experience has acted as a motivational factor for me to work harder and dedicate myself to my studies and businesses more so that I can again have the ability to afford to travel Europe.

Everything seems to move faster now, its no longer waking up every day to an adventure but now spending hours driving, watching Tv, working, etc.. The “normal” life has come back and it is quite a shock that some people live without a break or incredible experience their whole life. I now see how someone can go crazy without taking a vacation or a break from the daily routine, the only difficulty is it is so hard to realize you are in a daily routine. I need to make sure that I reincorporate myself as a changed person back into home, not to just flip a switch back to who I was, but absorbing the changes and incorporating them into the life I live now.

I believe I will have a few habits to change as I move forward. I will have to be much more organized and goal focused, setting what I have to complete for the day.week.month and completing it. When I was abroad there was little concept of time or assignments or to-do’s it was almost 24/7 fun which was amazing but is completely un-productive. I will have to buckle down the next few weeks and put myself in work mode as I prepare to go back to school next semester, although that 24/7 fun will come back one day as I travel again or take a vacation. What I must learn most of all is life is a balance of work and play, and what I experienced abroad was not a balance, but it was tipped heavily in the play side.

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old. Familiar pillow.” – Li Yutang
This really struck me as I never really understood fully how amazing of a lifestyle I lived the last four months until I returned home to see how I had always lived. I will use this knowledge as people I know go study abroad to preach to them how they can truly absorb the experience in the moment and realize what they have. Most people are not gifted with a class like this to guide them through the process and open their mind to the beauty of the experience, to truly reflect.

 

 

Travel Log #14: “Global Connections and Rites of Separation” Kathleen Flynn

In reflection of Slimbach’s quote, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” I think that it is important to relate the aspect of a story being formed during our abroad experience. Our stories upon returning to the US are all individual to us and highlight what was most significant to us. However, what Slimbach urges is that we realize something much deeper than just a story of what we saw, touched, tasted, or heard. We must allow ourselves to embrace the raw vulnerability of being in a foreign place, surrounded by people we have never met. By embracing how clueless, lost, and alien we feel the emotional walls stopping us from interacting with the locals around us diminish. As stated by one traveler, Henri Nouwen, “When we become aware that our stuttering, failing, vulnerable selves are loved even when we hardly progress, we can let go of our compulsion to prove ourselves and be free to live with others in the fellowship of the weak” (Slimbach, 65). In this way global learning carries us into the “world within” by exposing us to weaker sides of ourselves that we have never been forced to experience. Most importantly in this process, we interact with locals of our abroad community that perhaps we wouldn’t have normally. For example, one night in a panic after almost causing a small fire in my apartment’s circuit breaker room, I was faced with having to ask for help from another resident of the building. The first door I knocked on was opened to an older man who knew not a word of English and could barely understand the little Italian I knew. I was embarrassed thinking what the man thought of me: typical American student causing problems. However, as it turns out there was a much larger issue that I had drawn attention to, and one that could’ve caused much more damage had it not been fixed. In the end, the landowner visited my apartment to apologize for the occurrence and let me know that there was nothing to worry about. I will never forget his concern when he saw how shaken I was and his kindness in not making me feel bad for the occurrence.

While traveling as a global citizen we must “welcome local residents into our lives, to know them by name, and to bridge some of the deepest differences” (Slimbach, 67). This is one of the biggest challenges for American society where we are taught to be cautious around strangers, but we only limit ourselves by doing this. A global citizen should be able to realize that they are just as much strangers to other people as strangers are to them. In other words, we are all human so why not get to know one another and try to understand what makes us different. I’ve learned that sometimes all it takes is a smile for a local to stop and answer a question or strike up a conversation on the bus. I’ve also found it extremely to accept that you can’t understand everything on your own (especially abroad) and it can never hurt to ask a local. Many times this led to further conversations such as which restaurants to eat at or where to visit the hidden gems of the city.

Before leaving Florence I made a special visit to one of my favorite locals that I befriended abroad. Marco actually sold me my leather jacket at the beginning of the semester, but he always welcomed me back for a glass of wine or for someone to confide in when I missed home. On this last visit to the leather shop, he urged me to speak as much Italian as I could with him and said that he couldn’t wait for me to visit again and again, maybe one day with my children! Visiting Marco will for sure be my first stop the next time I’m in Florence.

As my time for departure draws near I am torn with separating from my home for the past four months, but I keep reminding myself that I have the rest of my life to come back and visit, or possibly live in, Florence. I have found myself taking in everything around me in every detail as if I will never see these things again. I’ve walked to my favorite spots, taking my favorite routes through the city and stopping for one last taste of my favorite pizza, gelato, and pasta. I think in this process I am happy realizing how connected I became that saying goodbye to Florence was hard. And as my final quote before I leave, “Goodbye may seem forever, farewell is like the end, but in my heart is a memory and there you’ll always be.” This to me is a reminder not to be upset about parting with Florence, but to find happiness in the fact that I had such a great experience that will always be a part of me.

Travel Log #15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” Kathleen Flynn

Looking back on my arrival to the Boston Logan Airport brings back a strange feeling that I can’t completely pinpoint. As I walked through the long empty halls from the gate ramp to customs it was hard for me to process that I would be exiting to Boston, Massachusetts and not Barcelona, Nice or some other European city. Even as I walked through customs my mind was slow in registering that I was no longer a foreigner, but a US citizen returning to my home country. My mind was wandering all over the place between reflecting on my past few days in the Amalfi Coast to thinking about what seeing my family, friends, and boyfriend would be like. I began looking around me at all the people in customs and wondering what their story was: Were any of them coming back from studying abroad like me? Was this their first time in America? In that moment of waiting in line to see my parents on the other side of the exit door I felt alone. There was no familiar sound of the Italian language around me, no abroad friends or members of my communitas to confide in. Fortunately after seeing my parent’s smiling faces and big waves through the exit doors I was able to take a deep breath.

I was quickly met with my first challenge when I turned on my cellphone data. Texts and phone calls immediately began vibrating my phone in a way I hadn’t been used to in awhile and I became extremely overwhelmed. I rarely used my phone while I was abroad and it has been hard realizing how much they are used in America. Some of my friends and family have taken it personally that I would forget to respond to texts or that my phone would constantly be dead. The amount of attention that is centered on cellphones is an aspect of reintegrating with my home community that continues to be difficult for me. In addition, I found myself easily bored in my small town where there a very few surprises and changes. I began working as much as possible, visiting friends in other states, and doing anything to fill my time the way it was in Florence.

I decided to focus my attention to my family in my Reincorporation Letter as they will be the ones around me most this summer at home. I explained as simply as I could what the stage of reincorporation meant and how it was important to completing my rite of passage studying abroad in a way that would not only benefit myself, but also them and the rest of our community. They were surprised by how important their role was in my reincorporation and how much they could help just by asking about my experience and checking in every once in a while. My mom even suggested Italian family dinners where I can share what I’ve learned about the food in Florence. To summarize my many emotions I showed my family a picture of girl sitting on her suitcase and staring out at an airplane taking off. The girl’s expression looks slightly lonely and almost as if she’s thinking “what next?” or dreaming of the next adventure. The difference with the girl in the picture and me is that I have my family to comfort me through the process.

I would love to be able to carry forward the ‘gems’ I have collected during my abroad experience in Florence. For me, being able to participate in events at Quinnipiac that bring together past study abroad students as well as students who are thinking about studying abroad would be very rewarding. For example, being a panelist to answer any questions that students may have about studying abroad and give them some further insight from my experience. In this way I could also help excite students about studying abroad for the right reasons instead of just to party freely. Another way I have begun carrying forward my experience is cooking traditional Italian meals with my family and explaining the history behind the recipes and ingredients as I learned from my History and Culture of Food course while abroad.

I would also like to carry forward my experience by emulating my art teacher’s passion for art and integrating it into his life as much as possible. I have always loved drawing, however I find myself wasting time on my phone that could be spent focusing on my artistic expression and possibly “contributing something meaningful to the world” (Slimbach, 233). This focus on drawing would also be very meaningful to me as it is something I spent a lot of time doing in Florence.

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” Part of my heart will forever be in Florence, but I would pay that price again and again to experience loving another part of the world that is so different than where I’m from. I never knew that I could feel that way so deeply about a city and the culture and people that make it so unique. I can’t wait to feel it again.

Travel Log #13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” Kathleen Flynn

In the article “Rites of Passage as a Framework for Community Interventions with Youth” the authors clarify what the term “rites of passage” means and how they should be properly applied. They describe the misconceived idea of the term today as simply, “A ‘first’ or otherwise special experience for the individual, a moment with meaning.” However, the difference of experiences that are rites of passage lies in the depth of community involvement. In fact Arnold van Gennep coined the term: “community-created and community-directed experiences that transmit cultural values and knowledge to an individual.” Unfortunately, the absence of rite of passages in American society may be partly due to the lack of physical “home communities.” With the ease of transportation from one place to another and the Internet to show us what lies beyond our small towns, geographical barriers that normally form a physical community no longer limit us. Furthermore, with more focus being directed through our screens to other places and people there is less focus on the place and people currently around us every day. As a result, community members such as adolescents are not receiving the attention and approbation from the community that they need to properly become adults. Instead these adolescents turn to media and their peers to develop their own markers of development, which can be detrimental.

As a clear reflection of the community’s importance to an individual’s growth, a comparison between my school district and the district just a short drive north of me is a striking example. My school district is comprised of two small towns and has been rated one of the highest performing public schools in Maine where top students are accepted into ivy leagues every year. Oppositely the school district north of me is much larger, containing more towns, and sees many students drop out. Teen pregnancies are so frequent that a day care was even established at the high school so that teen moms could continue going to school. Growing up, it was shocking for me to see the strong differences in two bordering areas. Looking back, I see that perhaps it was a lack of strong, clear community values and morals from the vast range of towns that attended that school, whereas the two small towns of my district are very close knit and highly interactive as a community.

In expanding this thought to discuss the Global Community I do believe that problems could be presented in its healthy development without community-based rituals. If we can think of the Global Community as a much larger version of our own local communities it is easier to understand how a lack of rites of passage could affect it. Simply put, without at least one community ritual that demonstrates clear values and expectations there is nothing that binds all of us to one another on a global scale, and nothing shared that can give us the feeling we are all members of a global community.

Creating my digital story that depicts my personal growth in all stages will enhance, at the least, the physical existence of a village, connection with nature, and giving away components of rites of passage. The physical existence of a village was personally a very important element for me during my abroad experience as Florence became my home and the place that gave me a sense of self and security, especially after returning from weekend trips to other cities or countries. The connection I had to this definitive geographical place grounded me during the process of being abroad. To expand from that, the connection with nature element was very profound for me as the food I ate, the views I saw, and the old Renaissance structures were all a result of what the nature surrounding Florence had to offer. Lastly, I would like to enhance the giving away component in my digital story because of the life lesson I will always carry because of it. As attached as I became to Florence and its culture it was important for me to realize the changes that would occur not only during my experience, but also upon my return home. Studying abroad has changed me because of the realization that change is always occurring, that people and places come in and out of our lives as we must give them away to move forward. I feel that I matured by letting go of the fear of change and understanding that “leaving something dear in the past behind is an integral part of (life) transitions.” In order for me to complete my abroad rite of passage I had to let go of Florence and cherish the memories that were made there.

Travel Log #7: “Global Responsibility Part 1” Kathleen Flynn.

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This political cartoon of the Rwandan Genocide is a disturbing reflection of how other nations turned a blind eye to the clearly horrific events that were occurring in Rwanda. The genocide was the result of an ongoing civil war between the Hutu-led government and the Tutsis of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Though there were attempts by the UN to create peace between the two, all failed miserably; specifically the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) led by Romeo Dallaire who was sent with little background, knowledge or briefing. Immediately upon his arrival to Rwanda, Dallaire was thrown into the task of guiding a peace agreement between the Hutus and the Tutsis. However, as a foreigner facing a language barrier no one took him seriously, and peace between two groups that so strongly wanted to continue war was nearly impossible.

In the documentary “Shake Hands With The Devil,” Dallaire returns ten years after the genocide “to be liberated from the devils that haunt him” and recounts the naivety of the UN in believing that a ceasefire would ever occur. He describes his frustration with how little support UNAMIR was given by other nations as is shown in the cartoon. A woman (labeled Rwanda) shakily lifts her hand in defeat waving goodbye as a group of people watch from afar. She is nothing more than skin and bones and this accurately depicts the torment that Tutsis and other Rwandans went through in being starved, raped, and abused. The people are asking questions such as, “Now what’s she doing?” and “Does she want something?” Sadly, it is only a worm sticking his head above the ground that realizes she is dying. The people curiously watch the woman die alone representing the ignorance of other nations for allowing close to a million Rwandans to suffer in the mass killings without stepping in to help.

The Rwandan Genocide violated many human rights as depicted in the cartoon, most obviously “subjection to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The Tutsis were “subjected to arbitrary interference with (their) privacy, family, home or correspondence” without any protection from the law and were deprived of their right to an adequate standard of living. These rights listed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should have been protected from the UN, but fear and a lack of resources led many nations to avoid an intervention.

Today those nations, including the US, look back on the Rwandan Genocide with disappointment and shame for their lack of action. As a result, there has been much more mobilization in assisting populations in crisis. For example, beginning in 2014 at least 5,000 Yazidi people of Iraq were massacred by ISIS in a “forced conversion campaign” leading the US to airstrike against ISIS as well as make emergency airdrops to those who were able to escape to a mountain range. The attacks against ISIS continue today in an international effort to dissociate the terrorist organization.

 

Travel Log 15 “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by: Stephen Sharo Hillsborough, New Jersey

The challenges I have faced since returning home from New Zealand were surprisingly harder than I imagined. The discrepancies between New Zealand and American culture were evident before my flight home even landed. On my flight from Los Angeles to Newark everyone was in a rush to disembark the plane which resulted in pushing, arguments, and yelling. I was suddenly thrusted into an environment completely opposite from my experiences in the past 5 months. In New Zealand everyone was polite and would go out of their way for almost anyone, but in the United States it seems that everyone puts themselves first.

Some of the other challenges I face result from other’s lack of understanding of my host country’s culture. Since I have come back and described my experiences and what was “normal” is in New Zealand there was some backlash. One of the biggest criticisms was the lack of footwear in public places. People close to me, especially my sisters, saw this as disgusting and unsanitary, however it had become commonplace for me during my time in Dunedin. Another challenge I face while reincorporating into my community is driving. In New Zealand they drove on the left side of the road and there was practically no traffic. All of the dashboard controls were switched and all the highways were one lane. Returning to 3-lane highways with bumper to bumper traffic is certainly a major readjustment.

The quote I decided to share in my letter came from Slimbach which stated “home” isn’t just a physical space we inhabit but a lifestyle we construct. It’s a cherished set of values, relationships, places, and rituals that we learn to assemble wherever we are. Just as we had to construct a home in our host culture, we must now learn to reconstruct a new home in our home culture,” (Slimbach, Kindle Locations 3796). I think that this quote accurately describes the process of my return home. None of my friends and family members have ever lived in another country before and it is difficult for them to understand the challenges I am facing. I think that this quote highlighted the process that I am currently going through and also illustrates the results of a successful reincorporation.

My home community has steadily began to accept the growth that I have garnered during my time abroad. When I was first describing this assignment my sister said, “I don’t think you’ve changed at all.” I don’t think she realizes that the growth and learning from this experience isn’t superficial, but rather a deep emotional change. I think that the more time I spend in my community, the more they realize how much I have changed.  As I share my ideas and experiences they begin to accept these changes more and more. I think I prefer this gradual discovery and acceptance because it gives myself time to reflect on my experiences and share everything that I have learned.

One of ways I will carry back my “gems” from my study abroad experience is by sharing the different perspectives of my host country. Engaging with the beliefs of my host country while at home will help ensure I don’t lose everything I have gained from my experience. Specifically I think I will take a bigger part in conserving the environment.  New Zealand was highly active in preserving and protecting its ecosystem. I think that taking a larger role in environmental awareness at home will help me retain an essential piece of my knowledge from studying abroad.

As Pascal Mercier once said, “We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” I feel that this quote accurately describes my feelings after leaving New Zealand. Although I can try to retain the “gems” from my study abroad experience, there will always be a piece of myself left there. My return to New Zealand will be just like my return home to the United States, somewhat familiar but drastically different.

 

The Dunedin Railway Station during the weekly farmer's market

The Dunedin Railway Station during the weekly farmer’s market

Travel Log 15: No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation – by Ryan Flagg, North Hampton, New Hampshire

Being back in the United States has been an interesting experience for me. So much of what made living in Japan amazing was that most things were wildly different than here at home. I’m already missing the food, the people and the streets I’ve memorized to a T.

I became so well known with my host culture that it was strange coming back to America. The second day I was home I met up with some friends and got 5-cent chicken wings at a biker bar on Hampton Beach, New Hampshire’s worse version of Venice Beach. I think in terms of reincorporation, this was a shotgun to the feels for how much different I felt away from Japan, which works out pretty well to get me back into American culture. I felt, and still sort of feel weird speaking all English, where in some cases in Japan I’d be speaking all Japanese. Ordering food, for example, was a real shock, as I no longer had to point out items or say certain things. The clothing is a lot different too. I’m used to seeing everyone in everything from business suits to the most fashionable people I’ve ever seen. Here in my beach town of North Hampton there’s almost none of what I remember from the casual Tokyo attire.

While I do consider myself to be a liminal being, I don’t think this reincorporation phase has been all that difficult. Living and doing things here at home is like muscle memory. I got into my car and having not driven for a good half of a year, I did fine. The adjustments haven’t been hard, so much as just weird. For example, I’ve been so used to the tight, narrowness of Tokyo that coming back to a beach town I forgot how open everything is in the States. It’s things like this that are the strangest, because sometimes I can’t always put what I’m feeling, in terms of coming back from study abroad, into words. Going back to liminality, I’m definitely an adaptable person, or liminal being. I said this in earlier travel logs and I believe it still holds true. I think studying abroad and this whole experience has certainly made me realize that I don’t belong to one area of the world, despite permanently living in the United States (for the foreseeable future).

I decided to share my Reincorporation Letter with my parents, like I did my separation letter earlier in the year. The whole experience of sharing this letter was similar. My parents both understood the differences in society and culture (my mom most notably, since she visited toward the end), and know it takes some time to get back into the swing of things. I chose to share with them JRR Tolkien’s quote “Home is behind you, the world is ahead.” Even though in practicality it’s a bit backwards, I still consider Tokyo as a chunk of home that I’ll always carry with me, and combined with the study abroad experience, I feel I’m absolutely ready to take on more areas of the world, so in essence, my journey’s really just beginning, even though it’s recently ended.

Slimbach talks about “gems” carried over from the study abroad experience, and I definitely think a lot of what I did and learned will stick with me for a very long time. In terms of physical gems, I’ve purchased a lot of figures, gachapon, posters, flags, and countless other memorabilia. The mental gems though are the most important, and I think one of the biggest ones is the Japanese cultural difference in general. I learned so much about the value of community, patience, peace, and acceptance that my personal being will be able to impact others here in the States with those things, whether I’m making a film or simply having a conversation with a friend, relative, or some complete stranger.

The quote I’ve chosen is one from a recent film called “Boyhood,” directed by Richard Linklater. “You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment? I don’t know, I’m kinda thinking it’s the other way around. You know, like the moment seizes us” (Boyhood, 2014). I think this is a perfect quote to cap off the travel logs and the study abroad experience. It’s a bit self-explanatory in what the character is saying, but it drives the idea that life is about the moments, like when I first learned to surf and when I talked to an old man about cats on top of Mount Fuji. The moments, big or small, happen on their own, and I think accepting these and taking them as we go creates this liminality and adaptability that’s so important for all of us both in the present and in the future. That not to say don’t carpe diem, but I think the other side of the coin is just as important.

Travel Log 14 – Global Connections and Rites of Reincorporation by Ryan Flagg, Tokyo, Japan

In many ways, the idea of Japan and “Japaneseness,” along with “Japonism,” is one large global connection. Everything from art, anime and other forms of popular culture all have western influences and motivations. From my Visual Media course, we’ve been talking about how Japan both influences the international world, and vice-versa. Popular culture, like Pokemon, for example, is a direct product of the government and Japan trying to appeal to a global audience in order to increase both tourism and boost their economy. This sort of understanding of the different mediums of art created here isn’t really looked at in depth through a western audience like in Europe and America. Even for me, as someone who loves to consume Japanese animation and video games, I’ve come to be aware of the fact that this is consumption is precisely what the Japanese markets intend for success internationally and for travel into the country itself. Especially when you take a look at post-WWII, where all of this really began. Japan needed a way to reinvigorate culture and the economy, and they found the best way to do this was to sell all of these ideas from a media convergence mindset to a western audience, plus bringing western ideas into Japan. For example, Disney is a massive cultural phenomenon here, much like Pokemon, and more recently, Yokai Watch. Although it’s interesting to point out that while Yokai Watch is incredibly successful in Japan, the show and games have yet to take off in the US. Pokemon on the other hand is absolutely a global phenomenon. I’m sure most of you are playing the recently released Pokemon GO game on your phones. The franchise took over the world in the ‘90’s, and has done so again (despite it not being available in Japan right now). I believe that what Slimbach says in the proposed quote for this travel log is entirely true when you look at what Japan does in order to allow a connection between the country itself and the world around it. It isn’t just video games and anime though; it also has to do with the food, business world, fashion and everything someone from outside associates with Japan. Although I haven’t travelled to many places in the world, I’d like to think that this is common with other countries. These connections and influences are what draws us all to travel and for us Quinnipiac students, to study abroad. Firing off of that, I haven’t taken a single film class here. Filmmaking is ultimately my career choice, but the classes, lessons and insights I’ve learned here have made me appreciate becoming a global citizen. One part of the entire experience of studying abroad, I think, is to truly understand global connections and use these going forward in whichever direction we choose, be it career-wise, emotionally, critically when we travel, etc. I’m able to now take what I’ve learned through the connections I’ve made and apply those to my work in school, in my career, and in the future. I could teach my future children the lessons I’ve learned, which allows global connections to reach beyond the span of five months to a more generational education.

I’ve made a lot of friends here during my time studying abroad. I’ve made friends with Japanese people as well as those who are in my program, who are from all walks of life all around the world like China, South America, and of course the US. I’m not really into the big “send-off-event” type things. A simple low-key thank you and goodbye always works. Some of the people I’ve met who live in Japan certainly live further away from others, but with technology like Facebook, Instagram and LINE (a messaging app we all use here), I’m connected with these people in a way that wouldn’t have been possible ten or twenty years ago. In that, I won’t really be saying goodbye; I can still contact people with ease and we can all equally be aware of what we’re doing around the world. In terms of my “goodbye plan,” I’ll probably be going out to dinner with some friends next weekend before I take off. I will also want to take one last walk around some of my favorite places, such as Matsudo and the backstreets of Harajuku (which are ridiculously awesome for cool, artsy murals and shops).

I’m definitely ready and excited to return home in two weeks. I’ve been here for a long time, and I’m missing my friends, family and American food (OH GOD CHIPOTLE AND PIZZA.). In bringing a meaningful closure to this experience, I’m not really sure what I could do. I’ve already been to where I wanted to go, like Kyoto and Hiroshima, and I don’t have time to visit further places like Okinawa in the south or Hokkaido in the far north. I can absolutely see myself returning here though for a solid week or two, either surfing in Okinawa or skiing up in Hokkaido. In terms of reincorporation, I think I’ll do just fine. Granted, the first week being back will totally be a reverse culture shock. I’ll mostly just accept that for what it is, and since I’ve lived longer in the US than in Japan during the span of my life, I really don’t think the transition will be any earth-shattering explosion of emotions.

For a quote in this weeks log, I’d like to use a famous one from JRR Tolkien: “Not all those who wander are lost.” I think this encapsulates our discussions of global connections and our experiences in other countries. For although we are each individual and have different things to do in our lives in wandering this earth, we all share a common human connection that spans countries and ages of everyone.

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.