Wednesday, September 11, 2013

EN 101.16 Blog post 1

John Jacob
EN 101.16
Blog post 1

Out of the comfort zone

In the summer of 2011, I went on a family vacation to the Philippines where a majority of my relatives reside. It was a month long adventure in a part of the world I’ve been to a few times, but this time was different because I was old enough to remember and become fully immersed in the Filipino lifestyle. On my trip I learned a great deal of culture, and the difference between myself and all of the other Filipinos. Reading the Mending Wall, by Robert Frost, I was reminded of this “wall” that kept me between the Filipino culture and the American culture. In the Philippines I felt uneasy and divided. “He is all pine and I am apple orchard” was the line that flashed me back to the moment I was standing at the downtown basketball court with my brother in my father’s hometown getting looks from all around. I didn’t look that different, at least that’s what I thought. The natives knew I was American somehow. Whether it was my stance, the shade of white on my t-shirt, or my hair, I don’t know, but it was a very awkward experience. Of course, we did end up playing basketball, and started to get the to know the natives more, and it was very enlightening. I learned that even though our cultures may be different, we can always come across the “wall” to play a little ball.
Accident, Mass. Ave. by Jill McDonough, was so wonderful to read. I am not going to lie it was very heartfelt. I feel we all have those sudden moments of panic and stress like the narrator had in the poem. It is always so interesting to me how situations like this can change ones life in a split second. The moment of transition when the narrator says “the thing to do” in Boston was “get out of the car, slam the door as hard as you fucking can and yell things…” to “There was nothing else for us to do” brought me realize that life gets scary. In the narrator’s predicament, she would have to worry about the damage, insurance; maybe she thought she totaled the car. We become so afraid of change in our lives that we start to think ahead of ourselves and not realize what is in the present.
            Frances E. W. Harper’s, Learning to Read, is about a sixty year old woman, Chloe, who was a slave in the south and wanted to learn how to read. Chloe said that “Our masters always tried to hide Book learning from our eyes” implying that reading was not encouraged. However, she said that “…some of us would try to steal a little from the book.” They would never give up learning how to read. The northerners would always send teachers down to teach on how to be literate. Chloe had a yearning to read, because it took her away from where she was and she became “independent.”
            Kolvenbach’s The Service of Faith and the Promotion of justice in American Jesuit Higher Education brings into perspective the theme I believe ties all of the stories together. As a Jesuit University we are taught the core curriculum where we are encouraged to step out of our comfort zones and go to classes that won’t only “…transform its goals, contents, and methods,” but our own, the students, “goals, contents, and methods.” All of these reads reminded me that I can expand my horizons by crossing the “wall” to live in a different culture; remind myself that I can learn something new everyday if I put my heart, mind, and soul into it; and even though things may spontaneously happen, everything will be okay.  

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