So I've been thinking long and hard about what I want to do this summer. I wanted to travel but at the same time, I also wanted to starting interning and getting some work experience. After taking some time to think about it, I thought about interning abroad; I'd get the best of both worlds. The place I wanted to study abroad would be the next step to decide. I was looking into all the places I wanted to go, which would be more economically convenient for me, and which would provide me with the greatest culture shock. Which is what brought me to decide on Thailand. There are so many beautiful sights to see in Thailand and the culture is vastly different from my own. So I'm applying to this program called World Endeavors and if everything goes well, fingers crossed, I will be in Thailand by the summer.
There is this traveling tradition that I have followed for over five years now. Every time I travel someplace I buy myself a postcard. Every new destination, I make sure I keep one for myself. When I get home I put the post card in my travel box, along with maps and any tickets I might have gotten abroad. This travel collection has been going pretty well; so far I have twenty-seven post cards. I love looking at them and knowing that I’ve been to these places, it is very inspiring.
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was one of the most profound books I have ever read. The first thing that drew me into this book was the heritage of the author, Dominican-American, which I relate to. Reading deeper into the story line, I found myself relating to so many things that resembled my childhood. Junot Diaz is absolutely brilliant in they way he conveyed our Dominican culture in this book. I enjoyed the way that he included the family stories through different generations; that is something I’m jealous about. I never had the opportunity to really find out the history of my family further then my grandmother. Further more, the character that made a really profound impact, surprisingly, was Lola. Many people will read this book and just see Lola as a girl who was too rebellious. However, I really understood her point of view. Family is very important in Latino culture; this can cause a very severe attachment between mother and child. Sometimes this attachment prevents their kids from growing into themselves and becoming independent. I understood why it was absolutely necessary for Lola to break this attachment with her mom, find herself and learn to accept herself. I am so happy I got the chance to meet Juniot Diaz and listen to him speak he is truly brilliant. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I never thought the world would be interested in the story of a first generation Dominican-American, but Juniot Diaz proved that you have to break those barriers and let your voice be heard.
On November 19th, I took somewhat of a spontaneous trip to London. A few of my friends were studying abroad there for the semester and offered me an apartment to stay in. After thinking about it long and hard, I decided to just take a chance and do it because ‘carpe diem’ right? I bought my flight and I tried to tell the bare minimum of people about my trip, until the day of when I posted a picture of my flight ticket on my Instagram So I boarded my flight and headed out to London where I had the most amazing experience, and met awesome people in the process. I only spent a week in London, so I tried to jam pack as much as I possible could. Coming back from my trip, I took a bit of time to self reflect on the notes section of my phone and this is what I wrote: Everyone tells you that traveling abroad changes you and they were right. However, I was under the impression that immediately after you landed in an unfamiliar place and noticed the different culture you would feel it. I was wrong you do not immediately feel this change in yourself, nor do you feel it half way through your trip. I attempted many times to self reflect but I still felt like the same person. I was afraid that this feeling everyone always talked about, that inspired me so much to travel was either just a myth or I did something wrong. It wasn’t until I arrived back in NYC, went home, went about my normal routine that I was able to wake up and realize I had changed. I cannot say exactly how I have changed but I feel different. Just looking at normal things I used to look at every day, I saw them differently. Even talking with some of my friends I felt that I couldn’t talk about the same everyday thing. Through this self reflection I learned change isn’t just about leaving your county and experiencing something new, the change existed consisted in taking everything you experiences and coming back to your everyday life and seeing them with a different view or a different mindset.
As the year 2012 was coming to an end, I came across an amazing project. Most people refer to it as, the Memory Jar Project. What you do is, start the new year with an empty jar. Anytime you try something new, complete something you’ve always wanted to do, or just want to remember something you felt was meaningful you’d “record it”. Write it on a piece of paper, fold it and toss it in the Memory Jar. At the end of the year, pull out all notes and reminisce at all the amazing things you accomplished and got to experience that year. For the year of 2013, I decided to take on this project and note down all of my important memories for the year. Now twelve months later, I cannot help but stare at my memory jar and reminisce over the experiences I’ve had this last year. Not only does keeping a memory jar help engrave amazing memories into your brain, but it also gives you an idea of what you, as an individual, consider significant. This project has also allowed me to get a bit out of my comfort zone; I am not much of a risk taker but ever since starting of this project I’ve found my self more willing to take a leap of faith for the things I wanted to accomplish. This project left me eager to try new experiences and really work on becoming a well-rounded individual. I am a person of many interests and passions; there's so much I want to know and want to learn. I want to read, travel, learn and explore as many things as I can. So that is my new challenge, this is the purpose of my blog. I plan to go out and travel, read, learn about different cultures, teach myself different subjects. This blog will serve as my new memory jar and hopefully inspire others to do the same. So sit back and wish me luck on my journey towards becoming a well-rounded individual.