A collection of
international experiences 2013
A note from Souvenirsâ€™ Editor in Chief
ince 2008, Souvenirs has strived to create an outlet for students to share their travel stories. This year, I am proud to present to you a journal featuring stories and photographs from all corners of the world. I encourage you to take some time to see the world through the eyes of UW students. Hopefully, their stories will inspire you just as they have inspired me to never stop exploring. From building houses in Argentina, to finding the confidence to travel to a continent, the pieces featured this year will inspire you to book a flight and travel to all ends of the world. If you have been so fortunate as to travel abroad in the past, I encourage you to read these stories and reminisce about your own trip. If you have not had the opportunity to travel, use the journal to inspire a newfound wanderlust! As someone who has never travelled abroad, I use Souvenirs as inspiration. I feel invested in the stories presented here, almost as if I experienced them myself. Some day soon I will find myself wandering the streets of Paris at midnight, but for now, I will enjoy the memories that have generously been shared with me through Souvenirs. Thank you for reading our journal. Bon Voyage!
â€”Allison Kucek, Editor in Chief
Souvenirs 2013 Staff List Editor in Chief: Allison Kucek
Christin Whitener David Jones Francesca Bonifacio Lauren McCrimmon Megan Michel Mendonca Jenny Falk Christian Medina
Assistant Editor in Chief: Sabina Badola
Webmaster: Meghan Stark
Christin Whitener David Jones Francesca Bonifacio Megan Michel Mendonca Jenny Falk Olga Bednarek Christian Medina Emilia De Vries
Photo by: Jackie Peppoorn Untitled, Sevilla, Spain
Cheers to...—Souvenirs Staff
The one that led home—Olivia Thompson-Davies
Where I’m from—Anita Gonzalez Ben
Journey to heaven—Emily Hilts
10 things I learned during my semester in Ecuador—Emily Hilts
A matter of milk fruit—Katharine Place
La Alhambra—Lauren Hodkiewicz
No expectations— Zoe Andrews
En Casa— Emily Temple
Un techo para lautie—Emily Temple
Cheers to...—Souvenirs Staff
Falling in the Arno—Ryan Lehrman
Photo by: Taylor Prinsen Siesta, Arequipa, Peru
Photo by: Taylor Prinsen The Lollipop Gang, Chincha Alta, Peru
Cheers to the small boat that had a bottom strong enough to resist the scrape of a giant iceberg in Greenland that the captain wanted to get closer to in order for me to get a good photograph. Emilia De Vries
Cheers to the church by the mountains in Dama Jagua in the Domincan Republic. You provided us with a gorgeous backdrop for singing songs and playing games while teaching English to kids. Jenny Falk
Cheers to elaborate Indian marriage ceremonies. Never before had I seen a wedding that begins with the bride and groom arriving by elephant and ends at 3 am. Sabina Badola
Cheers to getting home from one of Madridâ€™s clubs at 8:30am and vegging with the roomies the whole next day. Christin Whitener
Photo by: Aaron Heimann Untitled
Cheers to my French mom for feeding me nutritious Nutella everyday for breakfast and traditional French cuisines for dinner. I could have gone without the eight month old cheese, though. Olga Bednarek
Cheers to hitchhiking across a mountainous Greek island in the back of a pickup truck. Christin Whitener
Guiri By Lauren Hodkiewicz I zipped the leather up my calf, an identity – Milwaukee a plane away. Granada’s December rain squeaked against cobblestone. We ordered foreign teas in a dimly lit house of scarves. We talked about home and snow. English would no longer be our secret. There would be conifers in our living rooms and the stocking chocolate wouldn’t be as good. I could taste memories in my teacup. I watched them become future conversations as they billowed and disappeared. When I saw them last, we kissed cheeks and played card games. I heard they were used to guiris and their tendency to leave. It was a normal night. We drank foreign teas in a house of scarves and pretended we belonged. Plum, feathery strands guarded the Alhambra’s last night in my life. 4
(Continued on page 6)
Photo by: Kenda Burpee Untitled, Colon, Panama
Lauren is a senior studying English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing and Spanish, with a European Studies Certificate. She spent a semester in Granada, Spain during her junior year and fell in love with its architecture, its food and its people. She has also darted around to other cities in and out of the EU, including Prague, Paris, Vienna, Venice and a handful of stops in Morocco. She is former Editor-in-Chief of Souvenirs. 5
Photo by: Emily Hilts Prayers Illuminated, Baños
I watched the sun close, knowing its light wouldn’t show me the city once again. We ordered shawarmas from the Arabic man and another goodbye turned the corner to sleep at her señora’s. It was a normal night. Life became boxes and plastic. I was swallowed by puffy bagels and florescent lights. I learned how to read the nasal tones of my family, to copy them. I had never seen so many level squares. The world morphed into a concrete grid filled with busy, proud people. It was a normal night. There were mashed potatoes. There was refrigerated milk. I was given cookies for dessert instead of a chirimoya. I was asked if it felt good to be home.
Photo by: Emily Temple Lautie 2, Lujรกn, Argentina
Photo by: Emily Temple Lautie, Lujรกn, Argentina
The One That Led Home Olivia Thompson-Davies I sat on the same bus I had arrived on two months before. The same make and model, the same seats, and maybe even the same row – but nothing about it felt the same. I looked at the same city: the Alhambra softly lit by the morning light, the park by the river where we used to meet; lastly, my eyes fell on the street, my street, the one that led home. Nothing about this felt the same. Nothing about me felt the same. The shy girl who had sat on that bus two months ago was gone. She wouldn’t have recognized the girl sitting in her place now. I shook my head, remembering the night we celebrated Spain’s Eurocup victory until the sun rose, the people doing flips
from the bridge into the river below, and the red jersey I wore as I screamed, “¡Vale España! ¡Somos campeones del mundo!” because I belonged. I remembered the time that we spent Fourth of July in the mountains, where stars like fireworks, and friends who had become family, seamlessly took the place of Uncle Sam hats, tubing, burgers, and brats. That shy girl would have never flown from Granada, to Rome, to the Balearic Islands in six days, or dared to tapa-hop all night. That girl would have never climbed to the “mile high” point in the Sierra Nevadas, surfed in Portugal, or motorcycled through the vineyards of France. She never would have found herself at an authentic Spanish barbacoa, watched a whole bullfight, or dangled her feet off the cliffs in Ibiza as the sun set. But that was her, and she Photo by: Heather Sieve Switzerland at Sunset, Montreaux, Switzerland
Photo by: Olivia Thompson-Davies Untitled, Granada, Spain
had nothing on me. I sat there, still staring down the street remembering what my Señora had said the night before. She had said no matter how early I planned to leave, she would be up to see me off. I had smiled that night, knowing deep down our true goodbye might have been the one we said before bed, but when I woke up, there she was all the same – waiting. My bocadillo (or lunch, as we call it) was in the place she always put
it, and fresh fruit sat on the table for me the way it always had. “Olivia,” she said. “Esta casa, siempre es tu casa.” She kissed me on both cheeks and walked me to the gate. I admit it was at the gate that I realized this was really goodbye. Every time I looked back she was still waving, standing on the street, my street, the one that led home.
Olivia is a senior double majoring in Spanish and Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Traveling abroad to Spain this past summer was a journey of discovery for Olivia. It changed not only the way she viewed herself, but also the world. She hopes to never stop pursuing her passions of traveling, photography and experiencing different cultures. 9
Where I’m From By Antia Gonzalez Ben Where I’m from, time passes by very peacefully. However, we always arrive late. Where I’m from, elders never ask for your name, they ask for your family’s nickname. Where I’m from, even the toughest sailor says: “I don’t believe in sirens…but they exist.” Where I’m from, we sing and dance every July 5th, because it is Cape Vert’s Independence Day. Where I’m from, we talk loud, we hug often, and we are not afraid of big smiles. Where I’m from, we go for a swim at the beach before breakfast is ready. Where I’m from, we play bagpipes and we dance muiñeiras around the family house’s hearth. Where I’m from, we all know how to speak Spanish, but we usually speak Galician instead. Where I’m from, one who is “not really into soccer” knows the name of all the stadiums in premiere league. Where I’m from, only the sunrise is allowed to say when the party is over. Where I’m from, Dad goes fishing Monday mornings and we eat squid for the rest of the week. Where I’m from, every Mum knows at least a dozen ways to cook squid. Where I’m from, we have been so poor throughout history that it is possible to find a Galician in every corner of the world. Where I’m from, I might be considered a good example of this.
Photo by: Emily Hilts Between Surf and Stability, Manabi Province
AntĂa is a graduate student in Curriculum and Instruction, Music Education who loves her hometown, Burela (Galicia, Spain), as much as she loves discovering new places around the world. Her most recent discoveries have been New York City and Brussels, Belgium 11
Photo by: Jackie Pepoon Untitled, Sevilla, Spain
Journey to Heaven By Emily Hilts After one week at my internship, there was still nothing for me to do in my free time. I was living in a remote fishing village on Ecuador’s northern coast in a town without running water but enough electricity to keep the lights on. At 9AM, I was swinging in a hammock, thinking of things to do while swiping at mosquitoes with one hand and wiping sweat off my face with the other. However, I was not to be bored for long. Three fishermen about my age came into the house and invited me to join them for the day. I had only met Davicho, Over, and Moises briefly before, but they were good friends with my supervisor and were obviously pretty friendly. I thought, why not? What did I have to do today, anyway? We started up the road, made our way to the river, and started hiking up the maze of tributary streams. I had lost all sense of direction but it was clear they knew the way. They stopped at deep pools to hunt down freshwater shrimp, donning 12
snorkel masks and arming themselves with thin metal rods. All seemed fine until they decided to continue to Over’s family’s farm. We hiked another hour and I began to get a little nervous. We had no water or food with us and it was midday. We were two hours from town, plus another hour’s drive and ferry ride from a hospital … if something went wrong, what would we do? I pushed these thoughts aside when we arrived. They wanted to go to a waterfall, but that meant a treacherous hike up a steep muddy slope… then another… and another. I couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous I felt. I was dripping sweat; my hands and knees were covered in mud. I was pulling myself through tropical vegetation with a bunch of strangers, and I had no idea where we were going. Every time we reached a level area, there was another slope waiting for us. There was no sound of running water and no stream in sight. What were we doing? Did cascada not mean waterfall as I thought? After what seemed like an eternity, we made it to the falls. Facing the beauty of the panoramic scene, I could do nothing but stand completely still, filled
with bliss. Clear liquid flowed endlessly between pools set stepwise into the lush vegetation, filling the air with a chorus of trickling. Sunlight peeked through the leaves like beams through a stained glass window. I stepped into the cascade and abandoned myself to the icecold water rushing down over me, instilling peace right into my soul. In that moment, I was so overcome with awe and humility in the face of nature it was as if I had left the earth entirely. Surely it was not possible to feel this way as a mortal. Yet the water still flowed with unceasing gurgle, uninterested by my revelations. Apparently, neither were the guys. Discontented with hanging out at the bottom of the series of waterfalls, they wanted to keep moving up and I was going with them whether I wanted to or not. The only way to scale the ten-foot
falls was to climb slick rock faces, and I didnâ€™t have nearly enough strength to make it. They helped by lifting me up by my hands or my feet. I was suspended midair by people who were anchored on slippery wet rocks with nothing but hard surfaces to hit my head on if I fell and zero medical attention in reach! Yet my face didnâ€™t betray the slight panic attack brewing within because every time we reached a new height, my heart grew more enthralled with the scene. We were now enclosed by walls of stone, carved out over centuries by this water like the hand of a sculptor. I was no longer hungry or concerned about being lost or injured. Those worries were gone. Fear of discomfort or struggle in the future, even in the next hour, would only ruin the moments I still had left in the forest by the waterfall.
Emily Hilts is infatuated with tropical forests but truly loves the wetlands and rivers of Wisconsin. As a junior in the Wildlife Ecology department, she believes that the scientific study of nature should be coupled with a sense of wonder and awe. Photo by: Peng Yilang Kathmandu River, Kathmandu, Nepal
Photo by: Krystal Greven Roma Piazza Navona Statue, Rome, Italy
Photo by: Krystal Greven Roma Tiber River Bridge, Rome, Italy
Photo by: Krystal Greven Roma Piazza di Vittorio, Rome, Italy
Photos by Olivia Thompson-Davies Granada, Spain
Photo by: Emily Hilts Resting on the Church Steps, Cuenca, Ecuador
10 Things I learned during my semester in Ecuador By Emily Hilts 1. Eggs do not have to be refrigerated. Grocery stores stock them on shelves, and people keep them in baskets on the counters at home. For side effects, see number 4. 2. When you are on a bus so crowded that when you lose your balance you remain upright because the whole things is packed with people, it is always possible to fit at least five more passengers at every stop. 3. The scientific name for a llama is Lama glama. 4. The digestive tract can remain in a state of discomfort for over a month straight as it adjusts to the microbial fauna of the tropics. Yay for bacterial diversity! 5. In Spanish, there is no word for “awkward.” 6. It’s possible to feel Déjà vu in a place you’ve never been before. 7. All the Sacagawea coins from the United States disappear to Ecuador, where the U.S. dollar is used as currency. Because counterfeit is prevalent, vendors prefer to use coins, apparently more than we do. 8. A ferreteria is a hardware store, not a place to buy ferrets. (Imagine my disappointment.) 9. Even after using nothing but biodegradable soap for two weeks, your hair will still look fine. 10. Ron Pasas is an ice cream flavor, not a person’s name. 17 Author bio on page 13
A Matter of Milk Fruit By Katharine Place Climbing up steps and wandering down corridors of the ancient temple of Angkor Wat, Cambodia, took my notion of grandeur and ﬂipped it on its head. The sheer size of the pillars and the unbelievable scale of the temple were remarkable. Coming from a very small southern Wisconsin town, attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison had seemed to me like a leap into new territory. Never had I imagined that I would be walking through archways wrought in stone, carved with the history of a people on the opposite side of the globe from where I call home. Yes, my three-week journey through Vietnam and Cambodia brought many new scenes to my eyes and new tastes to my lips. But looking at that journey, at all the beautiful places I saw, it was in a hotel room that I had my most personally meaningful experience. A simple encounter with a woman from a different life made me pause and reassess how I see the world and, more significantly, how I see myself in it. During my ﬁnal week in Cambodia, our group stayed at a hotel in Siem Reap. The hotel had only about ten Photo by: Peng Yilang Lotus, Chengdu, China
rooms, of which our group occupied ﬁve. I often saw and spoke to the staff there, all local Cambodian residents. They had shown themselves to be conversational, polite, efficient, and extremely accommodating to myself and to our group. I noticed, with combined gratefulness and reluctance that they waited on us at every opportunity, making small gestures like turning on extra lights when we used their computer stations at dusk. After a long day of exploring the ruins of the ancient city of Angkor Thom, I was exhausted and opted not to go out looking for dinner along the streets of Siem Reap. For 2,000 Cambodian riel – the equivalent of ﬁfty cents – I could buy dinner from a vendor along the road. That night, however, I ordered a fruit platter and papaya salad to room 109. It quickly came, beautifully arranged on a wooden tray. The young woman carrying it entered with a knock and left after a brief interaction. I tried the fruit, some of which was unfamiliar and some of which I had already been introduced to. One unknown type in particular was delicious, a sweet yet tangy selection with light purple ﬂesh and a darker blush along its edges. A while later the woman brought the bill,
Photo by: Allie Brown Lupine, New Zealand
and I asked for the name of the fruit out of curiosity. It was milk fruit, she explained, and I told her I loved it and thanked her as she left. The following day, I asked my professor how much the hotel staff made each day. To my surprise, I was told that they typically earn the equivalent of $1.50 per day for a full eight-hour shift. While in the Cambodian economy that is considered a fair amount, I tried unsuccessfully to wrap my mind around working an entire day for what I unthinkingly spend on a Pepsi at the Memorial Union. I watched the staff’s efforts with newfound appreciation. Two nights later, I again chose to order a fruit platter to my room as an evening snack. The same woman again brought me the tray. This time, however, there was twice as much milk fruit among its offerings. Pleasantly surprised, I looked up and she stated simply, “I saw that you ordered the fruit tray and I remembered how much you liked the milk fruit, so I had the chef add extra to your plate.” I know that I looked at her with an
expressionless reaction. I managed to thank her as she took my bill and made her way back out the door, bare feet plodding softly on the deep ombre hardwood. While it had been a simple gesture, it amazed me. This woman, working for $1.50 a day, had not only brought me my food, but had also remembered my simple comment, had noticed and remembered my room number as I ordered, had realized I was again ordering fruit, and had thought to request that extra milk fruit be added to the platter. And for what reason had she done it? Practically a stranger to me, she had been so thoughtful as to not only listen and remember, but to go out of her way to do something that was solely a nice thing to do, in no way benefiting her. While we are from different continents, different backgrounds, and different situations in life, we shared a moment of unique, simple understanding in which it didn’t matter how foreign our lives were to each other’s eyes. We were two women, one kind and one grateful, and as such we remain.
Katharine Place is a junior Psychology major and will be applying to Physical Therapy programs later this year. She relishes the chance to sneak poetry and creative writing workshops among her science courses. Her first time leaving the United States was actually her study abroad in Vietnam and Cambodia—but she hopes it is the first trip of many to come.
La Alhambra By Lauren Hodkiewicz My veins push the travelers through â€“ my dusty insides rattled, another forbidden flash to wake my walls from centuries of sleep. Inscriptions to Allah are framed and shot. I breathe in the cooing pedestrians as they trace my private prayers, my defeated hopes for peace, and a forgotten outcome. When they see my gardens, my lush fountains and flowers, they swallow a fantasy created by someone I never knew, a dream never known to my beloved NazarĂ, my defeated King. His soul burns in my Catholic pillars, his image hidden in the eyes of stained glass. He haunts the corners beyond rope-paths and whispers a suffered apology. He shows himself in wilted roses that suffer in the Granada sun. Buy some tickets from the men speaking Spanish. They will tell you about my rich and vibrant history. They will give you a map of my intestines and sell you a postcard filled with roses and fountains. Author bio on page 5 20
Photo by: Cassie Naughton Shelter, Guilin, China
Photo by: Olivia Thompson-Davies The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Photo by: Kendra Burpee Untitled, Colon, Panama
Photo by: Krystal Greven Roma Opera House, Rome, Italy
No Expectations By Zoe Andrews This, I decided quickly, was not a story I would hurry to tell my parents. My friend is pestering me to make a decision. She knows I’m terrible with them, especially when given literally hundreds of choices to choose from. I have a two Euro coin pressed tightly in my palm in anticipation, but I find myself at a loss as to what to do or pick. When I left home two months earlier to study abroad in Galway, Ireland, staring at a board listing more than five hundred different shots of alcohol with Spanish titles in a Barcelona bar called Chupitos was not exactly where I thought I’d end up. But if my experience abroad taught me anything, it is that things rarely match up with your expectations. And that proved to be a very, very good thing. Otherwise my experience would have been drastically different. Riddled with the fear of being in a new place surrounded by strangers had me panicked that my semester abroad would be spent studying, Skyping home to kill the loneliness, and waiting to get back to normal life. One day in Gal22
way taught me that it was going to be almost the opposite. While I did study, and call home to tell every one of my adventures, the semester gave me the most enriching experience of my life. Before I left, I figured I’d be eagerly anticipating the day I returned home. I never would have guessed that come December, I would be pushing that date backward by another two weeks to try and have one final go around Europe, finding that three months just hadn’t been enough. When I left in August, the thought of dropping off into the unknown had terrified me. It only took a few weeks to learn to be excited by the prospect. Without that sudden wanderlust, I never would have wandered along the canal in Venice, or darted off to Spain for a long weekend, impulsively planned a trip to Edinburgh, or found myself surprisingly at home with the cuisine in Prague (their traditional dish is fried cheese—who knew?). I never would have taken car trips to Bruges, or rang in 2013 wandering lost in Paris. I never would have discovered Jazz Night at our favorite club, and spent every Wednesday dancing like a ridiculous fool with my friends. I never would have learned the legends
of medieval Ireland, watched a game of hurling, or learned there was a holiday entirely devoted to Guinness. I never would have walked across the Irish cliffs, or befriended some of the most passionate, good-hearted people I’ve ever met. I never would have realized just how much of this world I have yet to experience, and how badly I want to do so. Galway, thankfully, had proved all my expectations incredibly wrong. More than once, my friends and I discussed how going back to the States felt like we were leaving our real lives behind in Ireland, to be picked up again on a phantom someday when we could reunite. My definition of normalcy had changed drastically over the few months I spent in Ireland. Normal had become facing daily torrential downpours, taking the bus to the Dublin airport once every few weeks, and finding a new life with new friends who came from all over the world. The fear I had experienced before I left
translated into opportunity: being in a new place with new people allowed me to be myself from the very start. Part of that required finding out just who exactly I was—I discovered that I have never doubted myself more than while studying abroad, thinking I couldn’t do something, or that it might be too much. And by pushing myself to do it anyway, I learned how much I could just trust myself when jumping out into the unknown.¬¬ I suppose that applied to me standing in Chupitos that night, trying to pick a shot that would seem like a good choice. None of them offered descriptions, and while some shots flamed, some involved no-hands, and some were just downright disgusting, we hadn’t gone wrong yet. Ultimately, we decided on the “amigos” shot. We shuffled up to the bar and dropped down our coins. For a few brief moments, I once again did not know what to expect. It tasted surprisingly like cinnamon.
Zoe Andrews is a junior studying English and Communication Arts who spent an incredible fall semester studying abroad in Galway, Ireland. She has been lucky enough to have traveled to eleven amazing countries, and hopes to continue to expand that list.
Photo by: Peng Yilang Untitled, Bhaktapur, Nepal
Photo by: Olivia Thompson-Davies Nasrid Palace, Granada, Spain
En Casa By Emily Temple More than the month I spent backpacking through Patagonia, more than the touristy tango shows where I learned to dance El Ocho, more than the days when locals asked me for directions …I valued the moments I spent in the company of new Argentine friends, forgetting I was studying abroad. Forgetting I was the foreigner of the group. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with having your
heart in two places, your
mind in twelve, and your world.
spirit all over the
When Emily travels, she enjoys trying new things on for size. Some of her best fits have been pigeon dumplings, portuguese, acoustic guitar, and dreadlocks. She is a 5th year senior studying Spanish, French, and the art of having no idea what she wants to do when she is “up”. In the meantime, she’s content continuing to try on new adventures until she finds something that fits. 25
Un techo para Lautie By Emily Temple Un techo. a roof. How often have you thought before going to bed at night that a significant number of families in our world sleep without a roof over their heads? To be completely honest, I hardly ever considered it. Not because I was unaware or indifferent, but because it truly overwhelmed me to think of the quantity of people living in such inhumane conditions. All too often, I clumped these people into a single group. “Them.” “The poor.” and it wasn’t until getting plugged into Un Techo Para Mi País last semester that I began to put faces, smiles, laughs, and personalities to what I formally referred to as “them.” In October, I took part in my first
construction with Un Techo, a Habitat-for-humanity-like organization that is expanding through most of Latin America. Recently, I took part in my third construction. I thought I had seen poverty, but the waste and misery in La Matanza is unlike anything I had seen before. The neighborhood suffers from serious flooding. The streets are mud baths, making it impossible for buses to pass through. And with no sewage or septic system, you never quite know if you are trudging through mud or last night’s polenta. Kids often miss out on days of school, unable to make the trip. Medical emergency? Forget about the ambulance reaching your house. Drugs are rampant in the neighborhood, and theft is all too common— hard to believe with families possessing so little. Instead of seeing kids racing each other
Photo by: Emily Temple Un Techo Para Lautie, Luján, Argentina
Photo by: Emily Hilts Sun Over Cathedral, Cuenca, Ecuador
up and down the street on their bikes, you see them sitting on the side of the street, picking out nails or hub caps from one pile of trash and throwing them into another. Together with six other students, I built a temporary house for a family that was living in a three by three meter room (without a floor, I don’t know if you could call it a house). The stove was perched on top of the nightstand, next to a twin bed, where mamá, papá, and three-year-old Lautie all slept together. The laundry was washed in the same tub used to wash hands, to drain pasta, to flush the toilet, and to feed the dogs. And the water was carried over from a neighbor’s tank. By building a three by six meter one-room house, were we really changing that much for this family? The more I thought about it, by giving them a floor below their feet and a roof over their heads, yes, their lives would be changed. But more importantly, I could feel something changing as we were chatting with them about life, their experiences, about their hopes for a better future, about going back to finish grade school. They were changing us; our attitudes, our indifference, our views of the realities of poverty. This family was no different from my own. More than sawing, hammering, and building a house for Charly, Sabrina, and little Lautie, we built a foundation.
Together. We built relationships, we sawed through indifference, we broke walls between the neighbors, and we built a new beginning. By the end of the first day of building, I noticed it was no longer “us and them.” We were all one, building together. While we shared in mate, our family opened up about their struggles. And even though we were staying in the neighborhood for the weekend, I had a hard time picturing actually living this reality. I knew that after three short days, I would be back to the comforts of my own home. Sabrina shared with me that their next-door neighbors have been dealing drugs, not to mention using in front of their two-year-old daughter. I then understood why Lautie was not playing outside with little Carolina. And just when I started to judge those neighbors, Raul, another neighbor, came by to take part in a mate and lend a hand with the construction. In a mixture of sadness for the realities these families live in, and joy for the amount of happiness they radiate, we built our house, our relationship, our future. And the best part was when little Lautie appeared after we put on the last chapa (roof panel)...stood wide eyed...and exclaimed, “Mi casa!” Author bio on page 25
Cheers to... Cheers to waterfalls in the Dominican Republic. I didnâ€™t think a half hour hike in bad shoes and a skirt through rivers over rocks seemed like a good idea until I saw you. Jenny Falk
Cheers to attending middle school in Singapore, where going to school meant driving across the country every day. Sabina Badola
Cheers to meeting unforgettable people in unforgettable places. Portugal, France, Guadeloupe - I will return, and it will be glorious. Olga Bednarek
Cheers to the 2012 FIFA Worldcup finale between Spain and the Netherlands which I spent watching in a small village in Spain. As the only Dutch person in a large group of Spaniards, I cheered silently for the Dutch team at the beginning, but partied like a Spaniard when they scored the winning goal. Emilia De Vries
Cheers to water and air conditioning, which I realized are crucial in a tour bus through Andalusia, Spain in the summer. As we drove through these wonderful dry lands, a forest fired came awfully close to our path while we were without air conditioning or water. Emilia De Vries
Photo by: Allie Brown Sound, Millford Sounds, New Zealand
Photo by: Emily Temple La Boca Habla Sola, La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Falling in the Arno By Ryan Lehman I lay naked on the bed of an Italian hospital. The nurses are rushing around noisily. They give me sheets and a garb and plug my arm with an IV. They tell me they’ll be right back, I think. Spanish is close to Italian, but not that close. Two policemen walk in through the curtain. They start talking forcefully. One of them reaches out his hand holding a yellow paper. I am being fined 180 euros. I start yelling back, “No me entiendes. Señor, fue un accidente.” The sun was high. I laughed with three friends while we were sitting on the brick railing along one of the bridges that hangs over Florence’s river, the Arno. I had been traveling with them across Italy for spring break. My friend DK clapped me on the
shoulder and asked what about me. “I went to this Doris Night Club. On Via de Pondolfini. It was almost closed when we got there.” “We tried meeting you. How was it?” “There was this old American guy who kept buying us drinks and talking how he missed his daughters back home and how not to look so American, touristy. “You take his advice?” “In my pocket.” We started towards the Duomo, the giant red cathedral and last sight to see, when DK pointed out over the river to a concrete dam. We smiled. From the street we hopped a ledge onto the grass path that led down to the water. The dam was narrow, with a flat part then a slope. On the far side ran a small waterfall with a one-story drop into the water below. Some Italians were lying on towels tanning on the concrete. Some were playing cards.
Photo by: Jackie Pepoor Untitled, Sevilla, Spain
Photo by: Aaron Heimann Untitled
Some were listening to the radio. You could see the stretch of colorful Italian low-rises that line the streets. It was all a terribly gorgeous view—the river was like a vein curving through the heart of the city. My friends were already up ahead near the waterfall shouting something back. I tried catching up, but as I put one foot on the slope it was as if I was stepping on a slate of ice. It was covered in moss. My feet came out from under me and I fell over immediately, sliding down the slope on my stomach. My hands clawed frantically against the floor of concrete while I scoured for rocks to latch onto. Nothing. All of a sudden I was hurled backfirst off the drop. When I open my eyes I’m in the water. My arms are beating against the surface as I try to gather what happened. The soles of my shoes fill with water. My jeans become bricks around my legs, yanking down. After every kick, I hear my friends yell. I see them
along the embankment not knowing whether to laugh or scream. My eyes flit over the flat wall of the dam. There are no steps, no ladders. I panic as I search for a shoreline. The shores are close, but not that close. “Where should I go?” I shriek to my friends, half pointing left, half pointing right like a scarecrow. I kick at the thick water; it keeps tugging. If there were fingers pulling me under I wouldn’t know. Nearest land is behind. This is you, I tell myself. This is you, but my head floods with images of drowning. I can’t tell you if I swallow water. I don’t see everything come before me like we’re supposed to. My whole childhood, my little-league games, my parents at my 15th birthday lighting the cake—none of that. I don’t see my dad’s face trying to hold together when he buried his father. Or my brother singing before we dropped him off at college. There are no blinking images. No yelling. There’s only one soft, 31
humming image, without time (we are given nothing but what we need; everything). As my arms push the water outwards, I picture with infinite clarity myself in the deep end of my pool in the backyard at home, the sky-blue lining reflecting up through the surface capped gold from the summer sun. Swim to the shallow end. There are rocks and broken glass on the island, the most beautiful you’ve seen. Relief bursts through me. I throw my darkened shirt onto the rocks. I’m on a small island on which one of the pillars of a bridge stands. Above on the bridge, against the sunlight, two women are leaning over. I do not know it then but the bridge is roped off, clamoring with an ambulance, five cop cars, and two news stations whose cameras are pointing
over the railing. All along the streets crowds of pedestrians look on. I lay on the hospital bed for five hours, waiting for the doctor to return through the curtains. He never comes. Finally a nurse hurries by and, seeing me yanking at the cords in my arm, shouts something and removes them. I look up close at her face, she reminds me of a girl I would like to have known. It is only when we do not know things, do they appear far. And in a moment of death, like in life, we soon find that what we don’t see frames what we do. In my blue scrubs, I walk down the cobblestone streets of Florence holding a bag of my wet clothes, and as I turn the corner towards my friend’s flat, I know I have made it back to the shallow end.
Ryan is a senior majoring in English Literature and Spanish. Last spring he studied in Sevilla, Spain where he lived with a Spanish host family and spent time getting lost around Western Europe. Photo by: Heather Sieve Sailboats at Sunrise, Montreaux, Switzerland
Photo by: Peng Yilang Boudhanath Worker, Boudhanath, Nepal
Photo by: Emily Temple Boludas, Argentina
A warm and resounding thank you goes out to all who helped make this journal possible. Thank you to the Memorial Union’s Marketing and Graphics staff for helping get the journal into print. Thank you to the Wisconsin Union Directorate’s Publication and Global Connections Committees for their continued funding, support, and collaboration, to ISS (International Student Services) for their sponsorship, to Heather Heggemeier, the Publications Committee Director, for her patience and helpfulness (and for responding to my mountains of questions), and to my wonderful and attentive staff, who had to endure a succession of my sleepy (and sometimes bilingual) emails and my often verbose way of running meetings. None of this would have been possible without the help I’ve received from all of you! And don’t forget to visit our website!
Resources for traveling abroad Studying Abroad
• International Academic Programs www.studyabroad.wisc.edu • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences International Programs http://www.cals.wisc.edu/ip/ • University of Wisconsin System International Programs www.uwsa.edu/acss/abroad/index.htm
Working and Volunteering Abroad
• Global Studies http://global.wisc.edu/ • Go Global! http://go.global.wisc.edu/ • Morgridge Center for Public Service http://www.morgridge.wisc.edu • AISEC http://www.aiesec.org/unitedstates/AIESEC%20MADISON 35
Photo by: Emily Hilts Whirl of Wonder, Kicker Rock