First time experience, life changing indeed.

Hi family and friends,

I’m sure many of you, including my friends here on Global, don’t know this about me. Not even my family members know this. Though I’ve seen this place multiple times in my life, I have never stepped a foot inside of it. You know what that place is? It’s a cemetery. I know I know, I’ve been living my life for 20 years, but yet I’ve never been inside of one. What’s the reason? Perhaps there is no reason. Maybe because I’ve never lost someone so dear or close to me.

During our excursion in Alexandria, something hit me deeply. We visited a cemetery where the soldiers who fought and died during the second World War were buried. Walking amongst these gravestones and silently reading the names and dates of those who perished, I placed myself in the perspective of a mother or wife who had lost her son or husband in the war. “How tragic.” I thought to myself. I honestly do not know the words to describe how I felt at that time, but I can say that I was emotionally moved and torned by the thought of it. I was sad. Hopeless, too. Yet, I’m proud. Proud of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives and fought for their countries. They are indeed heroes.

This leads me back to something I’ve had in mind since the moment I crossed borders that were foreign to me. With a month already into Global Semester, this experience have deepened my perception of the world around me. The culture here in Egypt (as well as in Turkey) is really different from that of America. Is that a bad thing? No, not technically. Because for one, I’m happy to be here and take note of these cultural differences. And two, because of these differences, I finally came to appreciate the country and culture that I originated from. That is my home, the United States of America. I guess the quote of “you never truly come to appreciate your own culture until you’ve witness another” is quite true. With all that said and done, a song came into mind and I want to share it with you all back at home. If you haven’t already, I hope you too will come to appreciate this land of freedom and sing along with Beyonce:

“…I’m proud to be an American
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up
next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA…”

I am proud to be an American. With love and sincerity,
Kia Chiyoko Vang (Click my name to visit my blog on our adventures!)

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One Response to “First time experience, life changing indeed.”

  1. Thank you for sharing this.

    I was on Global ’04-’05, and I also found myself struck speechless by the sacrifice of those young soldiers, by the sight of so many gravestones reading “husband” and “father”.

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