I sit here trying to figure out what to update friends and family back home on. It’s been a while since I wrote anything. So much has happened, I don’t know where to start, how much to share, etc., I hate to make this into a blog about the touristy adventures of studying abroad because this program is so far from that.
People back at Creighton constantly ask me if I’m having fun. Well, sorta. The student life activities are fun; for example the trip to the waterfalls. My past weekend was incredibly fun. I finally got to see Enrique Iglesias in concert. There was an open bar on the bus ride to the venue in La Romana. This is the stuff that people are hearing from me; the student life activities are fun, adventurous, exciting, but it’s not all I do with the program. I tried sharing information about campo, but people won’t understand unless they go through the same experiences that we are having here.
One of the most helpful activities we have done so far happened after our trip to the border. We took the opportunity of having the new president of CU down here in ILAC to talk with him about everything Encuentro. As a comunidad, we had a small group talk with Father Hendrickson over our recent trip to the border and a reflection on our past experiences in the program, what is currently going through our minds, and what the future holds for us after this all ends.
Through more reflection on this experience, I have come up with a summary of how I am feeling, how I am doing: I’m busy, tired, stressed, joyful. I’m contemplating things about my life; vocation, advocacy work, social justice issues, friendships, relationships…There’s a lot more to this story that is so hard to put into words, and that makes sharing the depth of this experience that much harder.
So much of this program is solidarity. So much of it deals with seeing and experiencing. The epitome of the program that encompasses what I have just mentioned, in my opinion, is campo immersion and a trip to Dajabón. The most recent academic trip to the border was beyond fun. It was struggle, it was harsh, it was hopeless, it was confusion and despair. No one back at home wants to hear of the struggles and the confusion of life that happen here, but that’s the reality of the situation, one that is hard to explain.
One of the hardest things is having this program for only one semester. We have a glimpse of real and genuine dominican life. We experience some of that. We try to be in solidarity. But that is only for one semester. Personally, I could continue doing this for a longer period of time. There are approximately 39 days until I hop on the plane and get back to the completely opposite world that is the US. I have 39 days to try and digest everything that has happened, which is not enough time. I need Comunidad 20 at my side for the next 39 days so we can try and decipher what all of this means. I now realize that we will be a pretty close group, along with past encuentro alumni, once we return to campus. They understand what we have experienced, what we are going through because of it, and what it can mean for our future. We are all just trying to experience, learn, integrate, and interpret this experience so it can be something that will stick with us in our futures in whatever way possible.
One thing that is constantly bringing a smile to my face is the music that Profe Edwin is introducing us to. Many of the songs, I already know. But, today, I was introduced to a new song that is currently on repeat because I love it so much. It’s a fun, catchy, happy, joyful, romantic, and full of love song.
So if anyone needs a little pick me up on this wonderful Tuesday, I would suggest watching this…