Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Steven Schnittger Huntington, NY

“My Mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.” – Forrest Gump

So, I am officially back home in New York and although I completely enjoyed my time in Switzerland it really does feel great to be back. I was really surprised when I got home and saw that my mom had set up little decorations for every holiday that I had “missed” and my birthday that was 7 days before I got home. It was a really sweet gesture and, I thought, a fitting way for me to begin my reincorporation process.

I really did not have any reincorporation issues and I think this stemmed from being so busy from the moment I got home. Right off the bat I had a big Memorial Day Weekend party with my mom’s entire side of the family. There was a good mix of me talking about “surface” experiences with some members of my family, and slightly deeper conversations that relate more to this class about the people I met and cultures I encountered, which I really appreciated as it allowed me to reflect on and reaffirm some of the things I learned while I was abroad. I am gracious that all of the questions weren’t about the lower drinking age and my time spent “on vacation”

Next, I shared my reincorporation letter with my mom because I knew she was missing me the most as she had not seen me for the entirety of my trip. My mom has been intrigued with this class since I told her that I was taking it so she asked a lot of questions and was very curious as to the reincorporation process. I showed her the roller coaster illustration that we got during the predeparture workshop to really illustrate to her my time abroad and what she could expect from me in the coming weeks however, I think she has been surprised to find that I really haven’t had any negative effects to being home. Sure, I miss some of the friends I made abroad, and I miss looking at Switzerland, but overall I am happy to be home.

So, carrying this experiences forward in the short term I think will be very easy. Everybody is curious about the adventure I’ve been on over the past four months and they hope to hear my stories, learn my opinions, and gain my insight. Right now I would say these are all external ways of carrying the experience. What will instead be difficult instead, is going to be a few months or a year from now when the “novelty” of studying abroad has worn off. People will stop asking questions, I won’t be showing anybody pictures, and the interest from others will die down. This is when it will become far more important for me to internalize my experiences. I went on this trip for me and therefore I need to make sure I get the most benefit out of it even now that it is over. I have been doing this by constantly reflecting on what I have been done and looking at pictures lately has really helped with that. I am already beginning to forget some of the memories that I made early on in my trip and I need to make sure I am making a conscious effort to not lose those memories.

One of the biggest things I learned was to take care of every opportunity and don’t always prioritize work over everything else. I really learned how to appreciate my free-time abroad whether I was alone or with friends and that is not something I do back home. I worry about the next due date or next test constantly and looking back at my “college career” I feel it has really held me back. I know it will be a tough habit for me to break but enjoying life a little more will be high on my priority list until it becomes a habit.

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Travelogue 15: “There’s no place like home,” Breanna Hegarty. Whitehouse, New Jersey.

While on the plane back home my biggest fear was that everything would be different back home, that everyone has changed and that I wouldn’t fit in. Yet as I sat with my friends and family during my welcome home (reincorporation) barbeque I realized that my biggest struggle wasn’t with those who have changed but those who have remained the same. Unlike most people who come back home from abroad to the same lifestyle and home, I came back home to a mostly different life. I came back home to a new house, a different car, a new born baby and a new job. For me, everything was different and new, which made my reincorporation a little easier because I was so focused with adapting to all of those new changes instead of going through the same old routine. It wasn’t until being around my parents, who haven’t changed at all, did I realize how much I actually changed. They acted as if I had never left and wanted me to pick up exactly where I left off, yet I found myself unable to do that. It felt wrong, I wasn’t that person anymore. My Parents cared little about my experience abroad and focused more on the fact that I was finally back. The best way I could explain myself and my experience to them was that “I found a new self” (Simbach, p. 210). I couldn’t exactly describe how I have changed, it just felt as though I am more awake, aware of the world and what it has to offer. I didn’t find myself caring about frivolous things and cared more about the bigger picture of my life. To better help both myself and my family and friends adjust to the new me was to tell them and myself to be patient and open to the changes to come and to not force myself back into the old routine. One change that I intend on taking from my experience abroad is to limit the amount of waste we produce on a daily basis by: walking more, limiting the amount of electricity we use while also emphasizing recycling and compost. Also the most beneficial daily practice that I took from abroad and Simbach, that I want to incorporate into my new life and the lives of those around me, is taking time from the day to connect with nature and reflect. I also intend on bringing global knowledge and awareness to the QU community through the Irish club that I am now president of.

 

Although my experience abroad has forever changed me and will be with me forever, I do not find myself homesick for it, just like I did not find myself homesick for America while in Ireland. And I think it’s because for me home is where I make it. I will never forget Ireland and the home I made there, but now it’s time for my next adventure. I also know that it is never goodbye, but simply, till next time. Simbach perfectly depicted my idea of what home means to me, he states “Home isn’t just a physical space we inhabit, but relationships, places and rituals that we learn to assemble wherever we are” (p.208). My goal throughout life is to expand my “home” as much as I can. I want to continue traveling and learning about the world, because the more I learn and experience the world, the more I begin to notice who I really am as a person.

 

 

Sources:

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub. LLC., 2010. Print.

Travel Log #14 “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” By Andrew Rivera Barcelona, Spain

 

“If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” said by Slimbach. Throughout all of our readings he has provided us with numerous quotes that we can relate back to our study abroad experience. And now that it is coming to an abrupt end we can really reflect on our time overseas. In my personal experience I was able to travel to other countries and saw many cultures that were different from the states and from my host country. This connects back to the quote, I was able to see the world and dive deeper into the culture by the food, people, museums, and sites. Also by many of the videos and readings throughout the semester had an impact on me because I was able to see many different sides of cultures around the world.

All of my experiences have molded me into a brand new person. Before my time abroad I have never been to Europe, I have only heard stories from family and friends, and seen pictures from their travels. But now that I have lived in Spain for four months and have gotten to know the culture, values, and social norms of Barcelona I feel as if I am in the slightest bit a local. Towards the end of my time abroad I was the one getting mad at the amount of tourists in the city, and how many people were in the streets in general. But at the start in January I was a tourist myself. It was funny to me how in such a short span I was able to adapt and change to a culture that was so much different to what I was used to for my entire life.

As this journey comes to an end I can truly say that I had the time of my life, and it was a life changing experience. I met people that will be my friends forever, and that I will definitely meet up with in the future. I traveled to places that I wouldn’t have even imagined going to, and I have memories that will last me a lifetime. Now that I have to say goodbye to the people that I have built relationships with and not know when the next time I will see them is very hard to do. We will probably go out to a nice dinner with some drinks for one last hoorah. It will be a sad time, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

My emotions at this point are very mixed. Since my family visited just two weeks before I got home I really missed them for the last weeks, but I really felt like I could live in Barcelona forever. I have been talking to my friends back home more since I will soon be with them, and my parents have been preparing for my return home as well. I am very anxious to go home since I haven’t seen my extended family in four months but I still want to travel and explore more. But I know that I have to snap back into reality when I get back home.

IMG_5677One quote that I would say highlights my emotions after studying abroad it would be from a travel article that I found online. It is by Ibn Batutta, “Traveling – leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller.”

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections and Rites of Separation” by Steven Schnittger Paris France

“If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” (p. 54).

 

I whole heartedly agree with the statement above. Just last night I was at a dinner here in Paris with one French woman, two Japanese men, one Japanese woman, and my father and I learned more through listening to their stories and viewpoints than I have during an entire semesters worth of classes. The things that we talked about ranged from American politics to daily commutes to tipping etiquette to the cosmetic industry (which was the purpose of the dinner). Sitting, listening, and contributing to these conversations forced me to look inward and examine my own beliefs on those topics and whether I considered them to be right. Earlier in the day my father and I were discussing if he saw any sexism or racism in his industry and he explained that it was such an uncommon occurrence that it was completely looked down upon whenever it did happen. Then sitting at dinner and seeing this completely diverse group of people talk to one another it really backed up what he had said and had me reaffirming that it does not matter what a person’s background is as long as they are kind people.

Going forward I know I will seek out different and global perspectives when it comes to stances I take. It is easy to fall into confirmation bias in today’s world when there is so many different viewpoints. Often times people fall into echo-chambers where their beliefs are reaffirmed and whenever they hear a differing opinion the other person must be crazy or uneducated on the topic. To take a look at a challenging viewpoint and truly take it into account is an important and powerful skill to have. And even if I don’t agree with the new perspective, understanding it and taking it into account will make me a better communicator.

There were two people that I truly bonded with during my time here in Lugano, one of them was another study abroad student and the other was my Freshwater Conservation professor. I quickly bonded with both of them while being here and it was very bittersweet to say goodbye to them. When saying goodbye to my professor I was only able to do it immediately following the final but I shook his hand and told him thank you for everything. Later in the week I sent him an email detailing what he had done for me, not only in terms of the class, but in terms of building a close relationship. He has gotten me interested in a completely new topic and has really inspired me to explore the Western United States. As far as the other student went he left a few days ago while I am still here in Europe. The night before he left we just sat in his living room, talked, ate, drank, and laughed. It wasn’t exactly a memorable night but it is something that I value being able to do. I really hate saying goodbye to people so it makes me feel uncomfortable but I understand the necessity of it. Saying goodbye to my professor was especially tough because the chances of me seeing him again are so slim. That is why it was so important for me to let him know he had made an impact on my life.

Because I am in Paris now and will only be spending a few more hours in Lugano I have already said goodbye to the city itself. I went and walked around downtown, going to the square, the park, and the small beach that I have so many memories at. Although I am fully prepared to go home Lugano has made a lasting impact on me and is still one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I will go back there one day and I know that the memories that rush back when I do will be emotional.

 

Forrest Gump said, “My mama always said, dyin’ was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t. My mama always said, dyin’ was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t.” and this is how I feel about goodbyes. I never know the right time to say them or what to say when they are actually happening. It never seems fulfilling enough. Putting an end to something is probably a thing I will never be good at but I suppose it will encourage me to make sure that there is always a “next time.”

 

Works Cited

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.

 

Travelogue 14 “Global Connections & Rites of separation<” by Breanna Hegarty. Galway, Ireland.

Initially when coming abroad I thought I was the only one that decided to come abroad, not simply because I wanted to travel and have fun, but because I was hoping it would help me discover who I am or at least who I want to be. It wasn’t until reading chapter 2 of Simbach’s Becoming World Wise did I realize that I am not the only one who enters a new world, a world of liminality, to find myself. He states, “The sudden vulnerability we experience as we arrive in an unknown place stripped of familiar surroundings, people, and routines, renders us acutely aware of who we are, or at least who we are not. Except this only truly works if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to open ourselves to the culture and the new world, without pre-conceived notions or comparisons of our homeland. As Simbach states, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (p.54). But in order to acquire global learning, we must question and consider how this new world you have embarked on works: what do they value, how do they function. How they are looking to improve. For-instance in Ireland they value history, knowledge and using and maintaining as much natural resources as they can, which is why their land is filled with preserved ruins and acres upon acres of fields and stonewalls. Coming from America in which our daily routine is filled with unnecessary waste and damage to the land, and then coming to Ireland in which they are extremely dedicated to limiting waste and pollution, was an extreme change for me.  Ireland was also extremely international in culture, forcing me to adapt to all types of cultures on a daily basis. Being here in Ireland and living by their culture and values has definitely made me realize that I want to be a more conscientious person in regards to the environment as well as when interacting with people of other cultures.

 

As I come closer to the end of my stay here, I begin to realize all the little things that I am going to miss about Ireland: how green and lively everything is, how nice the people are, how regardless of where you go you will always either hear music or see dancing, and you will always hear laughter throughout the streets. But the thing I will miss the most is the home that my friends and I have built for ourselves. Simbach states, “that ‘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” (p.208). I didn’t realize how strong the relationships I built with these people here were until we were all sitting around a dinner table laughing. Before anyone left we all had a “family” dinner like the many we have had before, except this time it was our last. There was a lot of laughter and stories but then it became quiet and sad once we realized that we had to start saying goodbye to each other. In the five months living here, we had all became a family, this had become our home. It wasn’t until saying goodbye did we realize that we will never be coming back to this home again and that we will most-likely never see each other again, or at least all together like a family. It’s crazy how quickly you can grow attached to people and how they imprint themselves onto your heart, when they were complete strangers only a mere few months ago. As sad as it is saying goodbye, I will never take this experience or my relationship with these people for granted and I will always cherish the home I have made with them.

famthe girls

 

Travel Log 12 Service by Steven Schnittger Lugano, Switzerland

For my community service I chose to spend my Earth Day cleaning up a lake near Switzerland. I was actually very happy to do it because it had been my first time since January doing any sort of manual labor which is something I really enjoy doing when I am home. I should clarify however that this was the only community service even I could find in the Lugano area. Lugano is a truly wealthy area with some of the lowest unemployment and poverty rates in the entire world so soup kitchens and clothing drives were hard to come by. The lake clean up was put on by my school and ran by my Freshwater Conservation professor, who I had just recently spent two weeks with in Slovenia, and a woman from one of the environmental societies in Switzerland.

They explained that for all of the things Switzerland does right, especially in terms of the environment, Lugano in particular occasionally has a tough time balancing being environmentally friendly and things looking nice. The issue we were tackling that day was getting rid of two of the most destructive invasive species in Lugano, bamboo and palm trees. The real kicker though was that both of these plants are still sold in nurseries and stores around Lugano. These two trees out-competed and eventually suffocated the other plants around them leading to much less biodiversity which is horrible for the ecosystem. So our crew went to pull out and cut down these plants and hopefully give back to an area that I have enjoyed running in all semester long.

I find great personal and communal benefit to volunteering at home but especially here abroad. I always feel great after working a hard day and enjoy the idea of giving back, but contributing to a community that I have been calling home for a few months now was invaluable. I really hope that the hours we spent down by the lake will have a lasting effect on the area because I felt that we did the right thing. In general, it is important to give back to the communities that have given us so much in terms of experiences and memories. Being a part of this Global Community it is important to work toward certain goals that move forward the world in the right direction, and making areas more environmentally-sound is one of them. I really appreciated this experience because without having it in my head that I should give something back I likely would have never done this. Having this class to make me more aware of my surroundings and the great opportunities that studying abroad have given me has made me infinitely more gracious.

Some of my key takeaways that cleaning up the lake and my freshwater class in general have given me are a greater realization to how bad the rest of the world has it. The biggest problem facing a place like Lugano is what kind of plant life they have growing around a lake, and the biggest problem facing the Quinnipiac Community is a lack of housing. Meanwhile I just did a project on how over two times the population of the United States does not have access to even remotely clean drinking water and the entire country of India will likely be in poverty for many years to come because water companies control the government with an iron fist because the monopoly that gives the water threatens to shut it off every time the government doesn’t do what the company wants. The class, community service experience, and study abroad as a whole has really put into perspective how good I have it.

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Enter a caption “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It takes certain kind of people to actually serve their community and that is why I enjoy the company of those that do serve.

Travel Log 13: Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling

I am not sure if I agree or not that there is an absence of rites of passage within the American community and even further if I feel that it then hurts the Global Community as a whole. If we are set up to only expect change during rites of passage do we not then as a society eschew change when it comes in other forms or from unexpected places. By confining ourselves to change only at certain times it keeps people from being open to change in many other ways during many other times. “Rites of passage cannot be seen as “just another program.” It requires rethinking the connection between youth and community development,” (Blumenkrantz, 5). There, however, I agree needs to be a clear distinction between a rite of passage and change that occurs throughout life.

I think in the United States rites of passage come more from religions. A communion, a bar/bat mitzvah or a confirmation. Besides these religious rites all I can think of popularly in America is a quinceñera. What is interesting is that in general religious participation in the US is on a very strong downturn. In general I think that people need to find more assurance in their own ability to change and feel more comfortable in themselves and their own change instead of basing it off their commitment to a specific organization. It is easier and more meaningful to change for yourself instead of for outside pressures.

Silence has been a very big space for me to change while abroad and in general it has become a larger joy of mine. I am very outgoing and can carry a conversation with most people but over my time here I have learned to appreciate silence. In many moments I even prefer it to sound. After putting your body under the constant strain of travel it is nice to just be in quiet for a little. When you see something truly amazing it is more meaningful to do so in silence because you get to take in the full effect of what you are seeing in all of your senses.

Giving away one’s previous behavior has been a large base of change for me as well. I was bullied when I was younger and this has had a lasting effect on my growth. Since then, I have always worked to have the most amount of people like me as possible, holding things in or bending over backwards for them. I let people walk over me in a way. Recently I have been working to be authentically me in all ways and this means that if something makes me unhappy I have the right to express that. These two things can come into direct contention with each other and more and more frequently do. It is in this shedding of niceties that I am finding more ability to be authentically how I am and want to be. I stand up for myself and if someone is rude to me I will say something instead of letting it just go.

Connection to ancestral roots has also become more important to me. I have been thinking a lot about my grandparents and how they act. All of them are very successful and have become, seemingly, who they want to be. It has been interesting looking at them as examples and role models to live my life by. The courage with which they ask for things or move about the world is very interesting and clearly comes from how they have been raised and gone through life.

Travel Log #13 “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” By Andrew Rivera Rome, Italy

the difference of cultures, and values that each country and cities have compared to the United States. Many times in the states it is always on the go, going from place to place, activity after activity, never slowing down to smell the roses. Here in Europe the culture is much more laid back, and not so on the move. Personally when I was in elementary school and all throughout high school I can specifically remember that my parents and siblings tried our best to have a family dinner every night. With school, after school activities, and work for my parent’s dinner was the only time for us to spend together during the weekdays. My mother always tried to have all of us at the dinner table, and that was a time you didn’t want to miss out on. Even when I am home from college in the summer and on long breaks my family continuously tries to be at dinner five days a week. Now being in Europe, spending time with family and friends is very important to their everyday lives. Specifically, their lunch time is very long so they are able to see each other and take time out of their day to do so.  I love seeing this because family time, and just family in general is very important to me. My mother instilled that value on me at a very young age and it has really stuck with me. Back in the states I don’t see much of community based rituals and gatherings taking place very often. Usually it only happens for a big occasion, like a graduation, birthday, anniversary. And this to me is very unusual. Not having dinner with family and not having family outings almost every weekend is weird for me. My family tries to meet every day, and we also try to meet my aunts, uncles, and grandparents on Sundays. I believe that the people that don’t do this is a problem for themselves and the global community. This is a huge problem because family is the most important aspect of life. From birth to death, the people who are with you the whole way is family. You are connected by blood, and no one can else can have that connection.

Digital stories are a way to express yourself through pictures and videos, and put your own twist on the video. Here you can be a creator and make something that is completely yours. In this day in age where people are shying away from television and watching more Netflix and YouTube videos the power is in your hands. From the beginning of the semester up to this point in time, many things about myself have changed. The placed I have visited, people I have met, experienced I have felt, have made me change for the better. I saw the world and now I will be able to share it through my perspective and how I saw it. The three elements that had the most impact on myself is community values and ethics, obligation to a larger community, and lastly personal change. These three elements are the ones that I feel impacted me the most. In my digital story I can talk about my new values, volunteering, and how studying abroad changed me for the better. I think that I can create a moving digital story that will convey many meaningful messages.

I connected with Rachel Cox’s digital story. The dialogue that followed the pictures were very truthful and honest. They were relevant and were able to get her message across with the pictures providing something to look at. She was just a small caterpillar starting a new journey in Paris, now she is a butterfly that is able to fly and explore and not be scared of anything.IMG_5620

Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Steven Schnittger Venice, Italy

In terms of Rites of Passage, I agree with the authors Blumenkrantz and Goldstein that, “In the absence of meaningful community-based rituals, youth will define and create their own marker events based on peer or media values, many of which may be destructive both individually and communally.” When young people have nothing to strive for they either become lazy or mischievous. When there is nothing to do, and no person around to guide you to do something you will think of something on your own and these things are seldom constructive. When considering what kinds of people usually end up as criminals they usually had a poor upbringing that involved an absence of family and involvement. This is why I think parents should push their kids to get involved with extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, religion, or hobbies. It gives a sense of purpose and goals to work toward.

This is why I am happy that my parents always pushed me to be involved with the Boy Scouts. Although there were certain times that I no longer wanted to be involved because it seemed like too much work I am glad I did what I did and met the people I did. I truly look back on scouting with the fondest memories of any other portion of my life. Constantly having another hurdle to overcome with my friends really gave a sense of doing something even if a good portion of it is arbitrary.

The three Elements of Rites of Passage that I picked are all potential themes for my Digital Story. First is, you can only bring someone as far as you have been yourself. I think one of the most valuable things that people can do is share their experiences with one another. This entire time abroad has been one huge experience that I can share with friends, family, coworkers, bosses, interviewers, and a whole slew of other people. The amount I have grown and got out of my comfort zone has been huge for me and given me new ways that I hope I can inspire people. The second is silence. I spent lots of time during study abroad quiet and observing people. It is important to realize what the people around us are doing so we can act accordingly but also to see if anything they are doing can positively change us. And that brings me to my final theme which is, Giving away one’s previous attitudes, behaviors, etc. This has been the biggest change for me although I am not sure how to completely express it through a digital story. I have always quickly jumped to conclusions about people and decided very quickly whether or not I would write them off. What Switzerland and Franklin in particular have forced me to do is to take a second look at people and value them more for what makes them good people, rather than look down on them for something that may rub me the wrong way. Looking at Swiss people in particular, it has taken me awhile to get over the fact that very few people smile when they walk past you, yet if you stop to talk to them they can open up and give you a different opinion than the first one you formed.

Daniel Raza’s digital story was the one that resonated with me the most. Him talking about living with a family and biking to school a half an hour every day was something that I could not imagine. It really made me respect the comfort that I had back at school in Lugano where I had been complaining about the air-conditioning not working and the road outside being a little bit too loud. I think he did a great job at expressing what his living conditions were like so that when he went home people could understand a bit of the transformation that he underwent. I really respect him for doing what he did and coming out of it with such a positive outlook.

Travel Log 13 “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Nicholas Daniele. Split, Croatia

Community based rituals are not something that I have previously thought of before. In the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice reading that we were instructed to read, I highlighted several parts that stood out to me. The authors talk about the importance of community based rituals, and their importance in adolescent development in regards to rights of passage. Blumenkrantz and Goldestein state that “adolescent development is connected to a community development process rather than being seen solely as an intra-psychic phenomenon” (Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice). This “adolescent development” necessary in order to make seamless transition into adulthood – a right of passage. What the authors talk about in the journal is not the passage itself, but the lack of assistance in the transition in American society.

First, it is important to note how the authors describe their view as to what a right of passage is. The author’s definition is: A modern day rite of passage is achieved when parents and the community create and participate in experiences which are perceived to be transformative by youth and, in fact, offer them increased status within the community and facilitate their healthy transition through adolescence (Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice). This is important to note because this is where they say the problem lies in American society. This is where I found the journal to be very interesting. In the United States the rite of passage to adult hood is not clearly established, and the journal talks about it. They say that when a child becomes an adult is not clearly defined, which removes the significance of the rite of passage. An important quote that I found said that “the ages at which youth receive certain adult privileges…are rather arbitrary and are not related to any actual competencies or maturity on the part of the individuals who gain those privilege” (Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice). I agreed with everything this quote and journal had to say. It makes no sense that I can join the military at age eighteen, but cannon have a beer until I am twenty-one? When am I an adult? Technically speaking you are an adult when you are of eighteen years, but it doesn’t feel like that. The transcendence from boyhood to adulthood is unclear – the passage is unclear, and I don’t like that. Reaching adulthood does not feel as rewarding as it should because it is so divided.

It is now time to talk about the digital story. The one that I connected most with, surprisingly, was the girl in Paris. Initially I was not too interested in it, and found it quite slow. I still do find it slow, and my digital story most likely will not be similar, but that’s not the point. I connected with this one because it highlights the little things that happen every day that we take for granted. It made me think about what tiny conversations I wont be able to have anymore when I return to the states. For example, she talks about an old lady she lives near. They periodically talk about the trees and the flowers… how they are changing throughout the weeks. Eventually she comes to the conclusion that she will no longer be able to have those small talks. That is similar to me in Barcelona. More than I like to admit, I get a croissant for breakfast from this cafe next to the metro stop. I help an local named Buddy who works behind the counter with his English. He helps me with Spanish and he helps me with Spanish. I won’t be able to continue that relationship when I return home. This digital story made me realize that. I think I am going to include rituals, change of appearance, and celebration of status in my digital story. These are the ones where I can visually show through my experiences while abroad. I think they are going to make my digital story a lot more engaging than if I would have use most of the other ones.