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Editor’s Note “Wanderlust” is often described as one’s hunger to travel, the urge to leave one’s home and explore the world. Our generation has grown up in a time where it’s almost expected to travel abroad in some capacity. We are told that international experience and living as a global citizen will benefit our future career choices. But whether it’s to build experience or revel in foreign wonders, students travel all the time, fulfilling their wanderlust through programs to study and intern abroad, to volunteer, or to vacation in a foreign country. For four years now, Souvenirs has strived to tap into the excitement of these students, and every spring the journal shares stories and photographs of student international experiences. This year we travel from a police station in Argentina to a college in Spain, from a luncheon in France to the slums of South Africa, and from the dunes of Morocco to the bustling streets of Cambodia. So, grab your passport and let your own wanderlust take over as you share in the sights, the happiness, the frustration, and the wonder of this year’s edition of Souvenirs. All the best to you, wherever you may travel.

Editor-in-Chief Gayle Cottrill Operations and Marketing Manager Kerriann Ehlen Layout Editors Patricia Mo, Kristina Rozenbergs Copy Editors Zoe Cooper, Kiran Gosal, Catherine Martin, Christie Ott, Melissa Sharafinski Web Editor Tian Cao

Submission Reviewers Chloe Clark, Zoe Cooper, Shira Flesch, Kati Garness, Monet Goudreault, Lauren Hodkiewicz, Isabel Jilk, Carolyn Lucas, Catherine Martin, Melissa Sharafinski WUD Directors Publications Committee: Sarah Mathews Global Connections Committee: Lily Atonio Advisors Susan Dibbell, Jim Rogers Contact

Talk the Talk 2 Brett Bernsteen

Hong Kong 7 Meher Ahmad The Culture of a Nice Hot Bath 10 Taylor Nye

Fingerprints 14 Charles Godfrey Will It Ever End 20 Matt O’Brien

Cooking Lunch in a 15th Century Barn 23 Elizabeth Crawford Arriving in Cambodia 28 Grayce Forsythe Into the Diamond Sky 30 Peter Allen

Green Sea, Algarve, Portugal by Pati Mo

Venezia, Italy by Kayla Schwalbe

by Brett Bernsteen Of my study abroad experience so far, people often ask if I’ve experienced culture shock. I tell them that for the most part, I’ve adjusted pretty easily to living in a foreign country, especially since this is my first time across the pond. But if there’s one thing I continue to struggle with, it’s definitely... Spanish.


My time here in Spain can roughly be divided in two: being at home and at school (speaking only Spanish, all the time) and being out and about with other Americans (speaking an odd mix of English peppered with drunken Spanish phrases). It’s a strange process for the brain. Americans walk in droves to our school, speaking English amongst each other the whole

way there. When they walk in the front door, the Spanish switch is turned on and no English is heard. And when class is over, they walk out the door, and once again English rears its ugly head. I feel like I’m living a double life. Obviously, this isn’t the best way to learn the language, but my fellow study abroad students will most likely agree with me when I say that speaking a foreign language all day long can be EXHAUSTING. When my host mom first picked me up from the hotel, it immediately became obvious that she spoke no English. At all. During the first few days, I was on the receiving end of a lot of blank stares, heads shaking in confusion, and on many occasions, the “I have absolutely no idea what you just said to me” declaration. So I often

simply stayed quiet. I felt I’d rather not speak at all than say something stupid or incorrect. My first day in Madrid I didn’t eat until ten p.m. because it took me that long to muster the courage to order something at a restaurant. It was then that I realized two things: 1) I was hungry. 2) The only way to go about not being hungry was to assimilate and speak. It seems as though my Spanish proficiency develops in cycles. Some days I can communicate with my host mom and my teachers just fine. I have few problems understanding them and sometimes even get complimented on my speaking ability. Yet on other days, it’s as if I’m in the seventh grade again. If I’m tired, hungry or generally just not in the mood, my skills seem to go down the toilet. I forget the most common of words, confuse pronouns (the devil of the Spanish language) and sometimes trail off midsentence because I suddenly realize that I have absolutely no idea how to go about saying what I want to. The most difficult thing about Spanish for me is not the dialects, the grammar, or even the speed at which people here speak. It is my lack of vocabulary. I’m generally good about asking how to say something with which I’m unfamiliar, but often times the new word leaves my mind faster than you can say “brain fart”.

I’m pretty sure I’ve asked my host mom how to say “kitchen sink” at least five times and still don’t remember. Nothing is more frustrating than when you realize you don’t know how to say a certain word in Spanish and there’s no chance in hell the person you’re speaking with is going to know what you’re talking about either. That’s when you have to resort to the wonderful process of circumlocution: trying (usually unsuccessfully) to describe the meaning of the forgotten word the best you possibly can using words you do remember. Take, for example, a discussion I had with my host mom while watching a basketball game. Her name is Angelita, and I will translate our conversation into English. Angelita: Brett, what is the name of your school’s basketball team? Brett: We are called the Wisconsin Badgers. Angelita: ....What? What is Baaahhhhjjjuuuh? Brett: Uh...I said Badger? Angelita: Patriot? Like red, white and blue! Brett: No, Badger, like the animal. Angelita: I’m not familiar with


this animal. Please describe it for me. Brett: (Sighs) Well, it is furry, black and white and has very large claws. It can be a very vicious animal. It lives in the forest. Angelita: Like a bear! Brett: Well, sort of, but much smaller. It is roughly the size of a small dog and has striped patterns.

box, twist logic and brave the day-today struggles of a fish out-of-water. Already I’m noticing the fruits of my labor. I’ve become a better listener, a more concise communicator and overall a more patient person. This experience has changed me forever, and that’s what studying abroad is all about. n

Angelita: Like a raccoon! Brett: Um. Not quite. It is much more aggressive than a raccoon. It lives in burrows underground? Angelita: Ohhh... I understand. Like a skunk! That must smell horrible. What a silly choice for a school mascot. Brett: (Shrugs shoulders, surrenders in defeat) That day, Spanish won the battle; but I refuse to let it win the war. In that instance I may not have been successful in conveying my thoughts, but every encounter like this one is a little victory in itself. Living and learning in a foreign language has challenged me in ways I could never have anticipated or prepared for—it has forced me to think outside the

Brett Bernsteen is a Junior pursuing degrees in American History and Spanish Language. He is currently studying Liberal Arts in Sevilla, Spain with the hopes of someday mastering those Spanish pronouns. 4

Members of Grupo Cultural Arte Consciente, a program that works to give children a safe and productive after-school environment, work on a piece of graffiti art.


A Habitat for Humanity group carries a beam into the work site.


Sevva Hong Kong Island by Wei-Li Hsu

by Meher Ahmad Hong Kong is remarkable in every sense of the word. It’s a beautiful mash-up of Oriental tradition, high-speed technology and raw capitalism. One part of the city stumbles home at five a.m. from the nightclubs of Lan Kwai Fong as the other rises for morning Tai Chi exercises. The lush hillsides are coated with cement in some areas to stop landslides during the rainy season, and I remember when I first moved there, in the fall of my sophomore year of high school, I thought it looked like the Jurassic Park ride in Universal Studios. The whole city was an awesome theme park for the tween-me. By spring of that year, I had made my best friends. We were wealthy expatriates, all of us. We paraded through the city, laughing and talking obnoxiously loud, because it

was ours. As foreigners, there was a sense of empowerment, like we could do whatever we wanted and get away with it. In most cases, we could. It’s an unfortunate age for a situation like that to occur, though, because every 15-year-old thinks they’re the s--- already and the last thing they need is for that notion to be validated. The first time I was ever caught drinking by my parents was that year. I put on my sequined, scoop-neck “clubbing top,” which in retrospect looked absurd for a child of that age to be wearing. I looked out into the Hong Kong harbor from our 40th floor apartment, knowing full well I was going to climb up and down that hill, up and down those stairs, in and out of clubs and bars. There was no plan, not even the usual fake sleepover. I was invincible; it didn’t matter



if I was going to get in trouble. I listened to my “club mix” playlist on my iPod on the metro across the harbor, into Central Hong Kong. I met my friends at a restaurant inside of Admiralty Mall, in between luxury stores and Lane Crawford. We ate an absurdly expensive dinner no high-schooler should ever have. We drank. We left the restaurant and went to a bar and continued drinking. We went to some sort of “exclusive” rooftop party in Midlevels for someone’s 15th birthday, and drank more. We left the party and went to Park View, a secluded high rise apartment full of investment bankers. We drank more. The city fed into our fantasies. We had the money to keep doing the endless things Hong Kong kept throwing at us. More clubs, more bars, more restaurants, more rooftops, more drinks, more drugs. Whatever we wanted, we got. But we were still fifteen. My dad called me that night, wondering why I hadn’t come home. It was clear by my speech that I was extremely drunk, and he came to pick me up shortly after. I remember passing out in the car and waking up to a large flash. A speed-detecting camera had taken a picture of our car, freezing the image of my father and I hurdling through Hong Kong’s Rainbow Roads. If you found that picture now, you’d be able to see that he was more shocked than disappointed, and I

was far too inebriated to register emotions. I went back up to our apartment, to my bed next to our floor-to-ceiling windows facing the harbor. Sometimes looking out across a city’s skyline makes you feel small, but not then. I towered over the city; it was mine for the taking. I moved back to the American suburbs the year after. It was probably the most depressing year of my life; a drawn out come down from a huge ego trip. I didn’t have the city, and without it I was just another kid in Indiana. I alienated my friends from back home because all I could do was gush about Hong Kong. I still fall into that trap, years after the fact. It’s worth gushing over, though. I’ve often thought about whether my life will ever be that great again, in terms of how much was at my fingertips and how every night felt new. I don’t think I’ll ever be as happy as I was in that delusion. My eyes were glazed over from the bright Cantonese signs, the alcohol and most of all the boundless energy Hong Kong had to offer. I was blissfully unaware of how we really fit into the city, but back then we were the kings and queens of Hong Kong, and the city let us believe it. n Meher Ahmad lived in Hong Kong her sophomore year of high school because of her mother’s job.

The pagoda of the Great Wild Goose was built in the 8th century out of earth. It still stands today as an incredibly impressive work of architecture. 9

by Taylor Nye If there’s one thing I’ve learned abroad, it’s to take a quick shower. The French would never say they enjoy a bubble bath, and the Italians I’ve stayed with have barely even had a tub. My mom reads magazines in the bath until she steams the pages from their glue and the corners turn pink with mold; in Italian households, on the other hand, I have to adjust the water knobs with scientific accuracy to get something between scalding and frigid. One Roman apartment I lived in was on the sixth floor, so anything that came out of any faucet was a trickle due to the lack of water pressure. “But can’t you do something about it?” I asked the family. “No,” they said, “we’ve asked the


landlord to put in a pressurized system, but he says it’s too expensive. He said the same about getting a fireplace.” In the United States, nothing would be more important than making sure we had continuous and copious amounts of water at whatever temperature and pressure we wanted. After all, we build shower-spas and buy $2000 baths that fit two people and have massaging, swirling jets. I found the same attitude in other European countries as well. In a Belgian dorm after a cold shower, my friend informed me, “The heater’s been broken since the beginning of winter break, almost a month ago. You just have to go fast.” I couldn’t help thinking that in the U.S., we’d have that fixed

Photo: Colosseum Rome, Italy by Kayla Schwalbe Taylor Nye is a sophomore majoring in biological anthropology. She studied abroad in Ecuador in the summer of 2010 and goes to Europe every winter break to visit friends. Her favorite place to travel is Mexico. after a day or two, tops. One afternoon I was laying in a tub in France, gazing out the small window at the smoky Vosges mountains rising from the bare white willows at Christmastime, when suddenly the door to the bathroom flew open to my friend screaming, “What are you doing?! There’s water pouring through the kitchen ceiling!” And in Denmark, a friend told me that if I continued to take lengthy showers, the wallpaper in her poorly ventilated governmentsubsidized housing would start to peel off. In the back of my mind, I thought that if I couldn’t take long showers in a nearly free apartment, I’d move somewhere I could. When I’m in Europe, people sometimes forget that I’m American because of how I dress or the politics I support or the fact that I speak their language. And maybe I like that a little, to think I’m one of them. But in the end, no matter how European I think I’m becoming, I’ll always succumb to a hot soak in the tub. I can never give

up this luxury, so instead I try not to splash around too loudly. And if an Italian friend asks why I was in there so long, I’ll just say I couldn’t read the bottles to figure out which one was shampoo. n


Cheers to watching the Rose Bowl in Paris with a bunch of Badger alums...and then walking for 3 hours back to our hotel because the metro station shut down at 2 am. Double-cheers to Badger pride all around the world! Cheers to my father, an unlucky traveler. Slipping in the shower and breaking his ribs in Prague three days into our trip, he trudged along all the way to Vienna, where he contracted pneumonia 12

and a terrible cough. By the time we reached Venice, the insides of hotel rooms had become his European adventure. At least, when he felt up to it, beers were cheaper than water.

Cheers to the gypsies on Petrin Hill in

Prague. As much as I wish I had entered your hut of “art”, I am thankful that I made it back to the States in one piece instead. Sorry for never returning as I’d promised.

Cheers to dancing to the Macarena,

being perfectly acceptable in classy French restaurants.

Lunching Llamas Lima, Peru by Amjad Asad

by Charles Godfrey


A bit south of Comodoro Rivadavia, the soft-spoken, middle-aged trucker who had given me a ride all the way from the Pampas to the heart of the Patagonia turned off of the coastal Ruta Tres and headed inland, leaving me at a YPF gas station. Getting dropped off by a driver always made me feel fresh, as if everything was beginning again, or else as if nothing had ever really happened because essentially I was in the same position as before, only further down the road. I went inside, got a café and looked over a newspaper, trying to warm up. It was some regional paper from Provincia Santa Cruz, and nothing caught my eye, just a bunch of bureaucratic intrigues and local public interest pieces; but it added a sense of place to the gas station’s corporate lack-of-

personality. I stepped outside and sat on a curb, watching the cars and trucks pull in to fill up, and slowly, casually, innocently sidled up to the truckers, politely inquiring where they might be headed. It didn’t take long. Soon I was headed down the road again, the sun was beating down on the rocky Atlantic coast, and for a glorious half-hour the highway hugged the sea that shimmered with blinding flecks of light off into infinity. Later, the sun was dipping, and we had worked our way inland through the arid desolation of Santa Cruz, the wildness, the vast undulating brown-green land. There was a cluster of pine trees and a few buildings that marked an intersection with some rural highway, and as we approached, a black-clad police officer waved us down, just another

ubiquitous checkpoint, but still a cause for some concern. The trucker, who had been nothing but friendly, even chummy, gave me a narrow glance and asked if I had papeles; I assured him I did, but he was understandably a little on edge. The highway patrol officer walked over to the driver’s-side window and gave this trucker the standard shakedown. He asked for the documents, the trucker handed them over, the cop asked what he was transporting, the trucker told him, the cop in a rehearsed and haughty tone, the trucker’s responses all practiced and submissive. All of this was going quite smoothly, given that it was a degrading aspect of the daily life of a trucker, until the cop asked about the passenger, and the trucker said that he was just giving me a ride, that he had picked me up a couple hours ago. He told this cop the truth, and I couldn’t blame him. The cop walked around the front of the car, taking his time (I could hear his heavy boots on the ground above the idling engine), and asked me to roll down the window. Where am I from? ¿Los Estados Unidos? Do I have documents? Of course, I gave him my passport and he looked it over intently, scrutinizing, scrutinizing me, and asked me what I was doing. Paseando, no más, conociendo. ¿Puedes bajar? This certainly wasn’t my

first run-in with cops; being on the road hitching around is a surefire way to attract them, and being a gringo ensures a few shakedowns here and there. Most of them are just looking for something out of place so they can solicit a bribe (again, I couldn’t blame them). The trucker told us he’d pull forward to the truck stop for a few minutes, but he wasn’t waiting around all day. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, I knew there was nothing they could really give me hell for, as I was documented and not carrying anything illegal, but it was getting dark, and getting rides in the dark is not impossible but far more difficult. Not only is there the problem of visibility, but psychologicallyspeaking, people are a lot more wary of picking up strangers at night. What’s more, it was a cold winter in the Patagonia, temperatures dropping precipitously at night, and here I was, a total vagabond dependent on gas stations for shelter. All of this added up to me being really irritated at this policeman for separating me from my ride, which was not only my ticket a few hundred kilometers south but to a warm place to rest for the next few hours. The cop was a moderately tall, tan, black-haired man with a strong, masculine jaw line, and to be honest was strikingly good-looking. He had the


superior demeanor I had come to know well in police and bureaucrats no matter where I was living, the ego that grows commensurately with power, the sadistic relish taken in inconveniencing others. I thought I could see where this situation was leading and was frustrated to the point that I ignored the voice of reason in my head that said be submissive and just roll with it and don’t make any problems and just be patient and it will all be over eventually. As we were walking into the little cement cinderblock post, I let the policeman know, excuse me, but this truck is my transport south, if he goes I’m stuck here for the night. He told me too bad, we would

be here for at least two hours, in this condescending tone that made me wonder why it always seems like these guys are at the core just bad actors. Inside the station, I was bombarded with questions. What am I doing so far from home, in the first place, so young? Don’t I have parents, don’t I go to school, am I traveling alone? Where are all my things, is one little backpack really all I’m carrying? Do I have money? (A delicate question, to which I usually answered only enough to eat, not more) Two more officers joined us. One of them was a younger guy, clearly the new one on the job, who sat there more-or-less quietly. The other was an older man

A logging boat cruises down the Amazon River. 16

with grey hair who found the whole ordeal quite amusing and asked me a bunch of questions about the States and said the three English words he knew and thought it was hilarious. He was probably the “good cop” of the three. ¿Fumas? Sí, fumo. They passed me a Marlboro Red and held up a light, gracias. At least they were civil. Later the young cop brought out Maté and passed it around, bitter, scalding, invigorating and Argentine. The egomaniacal cop who had brought me in was decidedly not amused and continued to be confrontational, to my delight, because the rest of us were almost having a good time. After I was thoroughly questioned, the young officer with the crew cut began an “identification,” guided by the large and in-charge boss. He asked me for all sorts of ridiculous information: my parents’ names, my address, my high school. All of this was problematic because obviously all of this data was in English and these cops really had not one clue about English pronunciation and spelling. I had to spell out every single word, and after forty-five minutes of struggling through this absurd process, the cop showed me the form he had just printed out, and it was full of mistakes. He had written my hometown of St. Paul as C. Paul, or “say-paul.” I told them this was exactly right. I thought we were finally

through, but was informed that we still had to do huellas digitales, fingerprints. This was getting ridiculous. I was instructed to wash and dry my hands while the policeman got the supplies. After doing so, the egotistical cop told me seca, seca, dryer still, and the young cop applied a thin layer of special ink to a shard of broken glass, of all things, which did not make me feel any better about the situation. He requested my first finger, and I held it out to him. “Relax,” he said and wiggled my hand. I let it hang loose, and he proceeded to press it in the sticky black ink and on to a dry piece of paper. He pushed a little too hard, and the print smeared a bit, to the great dismay of the pushy cop who quickly stepped in and demonstrated, así, suave, así, ¿viste? He was intent on showing this new trainee the proper technique for administering an accurate fingerprint and had demanding standards. The trainee was flustered, beads of sweat forming on his brow, and he was printing my fingers very carefully even though his hands were a little shaky. I could have done the whole thing more easily myself, rather than having them grab my fingertips and try to manipulate them, but I was having fun watching these macho cops


struggle with this delicate process. Every third finger, the power-tripping teacher took over to demonstrate, and I had to give it to him, his fingerprints were flawless. They made two sets and told me to wash my hands. The ink was extremely viscous and even after three scrubbings with soap and water they still looked like the hands of a car mechanic or coal miner. I gave up. When I came back, the maniacal cop was congratulating his trainee on his first fingerprint identification. I was disgusted and amused all at once, and it suddenly became clear: I had just been a convenient excuse to teach this new arrival the procedure of how to identify a criminal suspect. The police at the highway checkpoint had put me through all of that stress and humiliation and inconvenience for a little diversion and on-thejob training. They told me I was free to go, and in one last bit of intimidation, the egomaniac cop told me that ahora ves como están las cosas en Argentina, that now I’ve seen how things work in Argentina. I told him that sí, ya lo vi, I already saw, but I think we were referring to very different things. There was


no goodbye, they didn’t even show me the door, and I picked up my little backpack and nearly stomped out the door with a parting que le vaya bien into the cold, dark night. As angry as I was at that moment, rideless and walking towards a sorry little gasolinera at a crossing in the middle of nowhere in frigid Patagonia, after some contemplation of the whole bizarre scenario, I had half a mind to go back and thank those three lonely highway policemen; they had taught me something fundamental about people, about men, and the way that power corrupts. From dictators to bored, stranded cops, it’s all the same. n

Charles Godfrey went to Latin America last year for eight months looking for a real-life adventure. He spent his time in a Spanish immersion school, volunteering, hitchhiking, and generally bein somewhere between lost and found.

Cheers to receiving watermelons from Belizean cowboys, not being bitten by a fer-de-lance, finding endless ceramic shards and no jade skulls, standing on top of Maya temples, being the only ones crazy enough to be at the beach during a tropical storm, and discovering a future career. Cheers to Hector, the hottest

tour guide in Costa Rica, who fixed our leaking bus windows, caught poison frogs, led us through a jungle and “cocodrile”-infested river, taught salsa dancing, and was a player pimp with girlfriends all over the country.

Cheers to the director of

my study abroad program, a Frenchman who had gotten his doctorate at the UW-Madison and always talked to me about the “uneeOn terrAs” in the cutest accent.

Cheers to finding out the hard way that the French speak English in their Canadian pubs.

Cheers to finding out that not even Italians know the words “That’s Amore.” Cheers to the Tube in London for prompting American tourists to laugh like little girls with one simple statement: “This is a Piccadilly line service to Cockfosters.” Cheers to the taxi drivers

in Jamaica who serve as tour guide, travel agent and concierge – managing to take me to all the best places in Negril and Montego Bay, while simultaneously stopping at all the little shops along the way (without needing to be asked) because “they sell the best jerk pork/jerk chicken/ handbags/sandals on the island here.” Turns out they really will let you through customs with a carved wooden statue of a naked, anatomically correct (yet absurdly disproportionate) man.

Cheers to eating Valomilks by a waterfall in Canada...Oh Canada, do you really count as abroad? 19

Mismatched Metal Maladies by Matt O’Brien

by Matt O’Brien

Minutes from suburban peace of mind and the majestic Table Mountain, miles of corrugated metal shacks overwhelm the eye, hugging either side of the highway: this is where a disturbingly large proportion of South Africa’s population calls home.  For six months, I studied in Cape Town and traveled into the adjacent township of Khayelitsha twice each week to tutor.  As the sea of iron broke down into individual houses and the inhabitants assumed the faces of my students, this view became difficult to tolerate.  These words express frustration with the public’s interaction – beating hearts, township tours, momentary donation, and ultimately disengagement. The culmination came as the World Cup drew near and the government joined in by extending toiletries to freshen the breath and clear the stubble from the townships, providing but a patchwork to a severely fragmented façade.


Mismatched metal maladies Protrude, swell, engulf Peaks set against peaks Spreading, spanning, spinning No end in sight Relentless rubber rotations Escape, hesitate, chase Fretful, fearful glances Through glass, through more Where will it end? Ceaseless camera clicks Capture, distance, repeat Eyes look, hearts beat Hands still, mouths yawn When will it end? Tacit toothbrush torment Neglect, pause, continue A sandwich, a smoke, a Rand Conscience cleared, move along How will it end? Obvious oblivious observation Stare, peer, never see Outside the fence, the mind Beyond reach, losing sight Will it ever end?

Matt O’Brien studied at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town South Africa in the spring of 2010, in the months leading up to South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup.



by Elizabeth Crawford

The six of us sat under the arbor in the moonlight until every last detail was ironed out. Lunch was planned for around one o’clock the next day. Someone would go to the market early in the morning with the revised shopping list; the cooking sequence was carefully determined because pots, pans and stove space were limited. The kitchen was pleasantly idiosyncratic, and I looked forward to the challenge ahead. The menu: wild mushroom and saffron risotto that I would prepare using saffron I brought from home, and then the golden Bresse chicken with olives that Rose would do for

the main course. Those would be followed by the requisite salad course and cheese course, stinky and unctuous, and finally, dessert. The first, Le Tarte Tatin, the classic upside-down apple tart made famous by the Tatin sisters in 1889 in a small town in central France. We decided to finish the whole event off with a chocolate cake and a bottle of champagne. That would be the lunch for the special guests from Toulouse and our friend’s big birthday bash. It was his 60th, and enjoying the company of close friends with excellent food and a bounty of wine made him the happiest. In June of the previous year, he traveled first to Paris and then to Toulouse before he ventured east to Beziers on the western edge of the Mediterranean, where the madam of the property collected him at the central train station. He was driven down narrow country roads, to small lanes cut through rich grape-growing soil and finally through the gates to the worn and regal walled property that 14 of us would make our way to the following June.



In Toulouse, he was hosted by the parents of a French student he befriended at the New York University, where he worked. He discussed this lunch with us intermittently during the months preceding our arrival, and we vividly understood his desire to return the hospitality they extended him during his short stay in their home. The enthusiasm we had for the preparations was our gift; the uncomplicated addition of the cake and champagne would be a surprise befitting the gentleness of the days we were spending together. The days during the week in Domaine de Beausejour unfolded in a pattern. Some would elect to drive to the market in the early morning for bakery, while others were showering, reading, doing laundry or dishes, rearranging flowers or morning stretches. After breakfast, while lunch plans were created, the first bottle of wine of the day was uncorked. We drank wine by the shopping cart full. It was very cheap and very local. Inside, our kitchen looked like an Impressionist oil-on-canvas hanging in a museum in Paris. The walls were stucco and the floor was smooth, earth-toned ceramic tile and the lighting was very soft. Small stone windows like portholes provided views of distant vineyards and the cathedral on top of the nearby town.

After each long repast, the group dispersed and settled into activities that provided an interlude of quiet and aloneness. Some of us swam and sunned or read and eventually dropped off for a nap. I took long walks on the narrow lanes in the intense early summer warmth, breathing deeply the aroma of wild herbs and flowers releasing their new-bud scents. The only sign of humanity was the one or two pairs of men conversing over old grape vines. When I returned, everyone was awake and reclothed. I shook off my solitude, rejoined the group, and within moments, wine flowed and serving platters were layered with slices of tomatoes, cheese remnants, cooked potatoes and olives while the long table was wiped clean of twigs and newspapers, cameras and books. What lay ahead were hours of languorous dining with conversation rich with familiarity. The next day came quickly and I awoke to the sound of low voices and footsteps below my bedroom window. The car doors opened and snapped shut on our VW rental. It motored over courtyard stones, past the 12thcentury barn and Grandmere’s 18th-century villa, and idled while the faded, teal-blue iron gate slowly opened like a large woman gesturing to her brood to run along, while reassuring them she’d be there when they

returned. I drifted back to sleep and they drifted back through the gate in no time. I jumped from my bed and bolted down the stone stairs to catch the image of the three jubilant women walking toward the terrace, arms weighted with sheer plastic sacks. The stunning little chocolate torte was immediately brought out for previewing while croissants were pulled from bags and coffee rapidly distributed in mugs set on the long terrace table. On this day, it was especially important to relax after breakfast. We jested about the pressure ahead; French guests were coming for lunch and in this part of the world, it’s all about the food. I was tense, which contrasted with the vibrant potted flowers like round and colorful faces surrounding me. Laura stood close to the table holding vases that needed attention. We suddenly heard the familiar sound of the gate opening. We froze and our eyes locked. “Who is coming into the compound,” we pondered. “Who could that be? A worker for the fields, routine maintenance? NO, IT’S THEM!” we cried, “HOURS EARLY!” We all rose and dragged ourselves towards the premature arrivals. Following introductions, Pierre, walking with a cane, was escorted by Micheline, his sturdy wife, to

the table where each found a seat. With our friend, the three began their wait for lunch. In the kitchen, my mind, hands and feet moved to the pace of a 64-piece marching band. I organized the others, and then, sinking into my first task, began rolling out pastry dough so soft and creamy with barely enough gluten to hold the mass together. In frustration, I glanced up and out the French doors which let in the only substantial light. It was mid-day and the floor tiles were already warm under my bare feet and I noticed that everybody was busy either working on lunch or waiting for lunch. For an instant, I watched our friend at the table with the guests and knew he was at once trying to allay our pressure and make everyone feel comfortable while we continued to mount the lunch-time meal. Eventually we took our seats at the table under the arbor and slowly, the courses rolled out of the kitchen. Micheline and I were seated next to each other. Sinking into my seat, I said to no one in particular: “Nothing stays the same,” to which she replied: “Nothing stays the same.” After several hours, Lynn and Rose scurried into the kitchen to grab the champagne and chocolate cake and carried it back outside with candles flickering in the summer sun, so that the moment which described our being so bound together, could be fulfilled. n


Once a badger, always a badger! Nearly 30 years after attending UW Madison, Elizabeth Crawford still finds ways to stay in touch with the campus community. Souvenirs is happy to publish her piece, and we asked her to write a short piece about her life and travels after college.


I was a UW-Madison student in the early 80’s. Young, confused and not too academically oriented. The alternate program, in my young mind, was the road. Even prior to those years, just following high school, I spent one year living on a kibbutz in Israel. It was there I met people from many countries. We worked and played together in the arid desert climate, surrounded by camels and Bedouins, the nomadic Arabic people. I was comfortable with the exotic and unknown. I continued working, studying some and traveling throughout the 80’s. In the 90’s, I did many things. I got married, had two children, finished my undergraduate degree and got hooked on the culinary industry, which fed my desire for more travel. I dove head first into classic French cuisine. I would fantasize about all the markets and chefs that I read about, and decided I would go to Paris. At the same time, I was working at a small

spice store in Milwaukee, owned by two wonderful people, who offered me the freedom to explore the magnificent world of spices. Slowly, the two worlds began to coincide. I spent a decade returning to Paris every year, not unlike many cooks, to taste and explore the country that fed me my life, so to speak. In 2010, I spent some time in Sicily, with the specific goal of tasting the food of a country so revered for its simplistic cooking style. Currently, I teach cooking in several venues in the Midwest. I bring all my years of experience as a traveler to my classes, with an emphasis on social responsibility in our food choices. I am a traveler. When the desire to explore strikes, I think a day spent walking, or a drive to a town unvisited in your own region, satisfies the human desire for something new and inspiring. And, nature is the great, cheap tourist attraction, in my mind.

Cityscape of houses atop a hill in Oia. A view out of the back of a rickshaw on a city street.

by Grayce Forsythe

I am bleeding inside from the cracked skull on the street that the on-looking locals have oozing at their feet and I am bleeding, my brain is crying, the man on the bicycle in the road is dying and his cracked skull is letting his brain oxidize and turn black as his body’s nature tries to heal the time back. Our guilty bus driver is gone-a life for a life in this land is law and it seems like the authorities will never come. If the locals get him before the police arrive he also will be done. In reality after a half-hour


they have entered the scene, but at that point it doesn’t really matter. The surrounding jungle is sweltering and it does nothing to prevent the bleeding. Goddess Luna is pulling and constricting the tides of my insides. The full moon provides the stage lighting, to make sure that we can see, that here in the tropics there is not just green but much red as well. Her soils are stained brown with his blood and that of millions of his countrymen so I have been told, and so I have felt, and so I have seen. The difference between me and them is that I have had the privilege to not have been forced to desensitize myself to the same extent as they have to the people who we have now both watched bleed to their death. My privileged soft life allows me to silently cry for this stranger of a man who they, by my age, can watch perish and not just not cry but can laugh.

It is a coping mechanism they have acquired, and I am not sure if it is beautiful or horrifying but it belongs to them as my uncalloused white hands belong to me. Next week I board a plane but a part of me will never really leave. I feel so naive. Grayce Forsythe is a freshman who backpacked in South-east Asia during the spring of 2010.


Hierve el agua Oaxaca, Mexico by Kelsey Sohrweide

by Peter Allen


March 24, 2010 I am sitting alone in a café trying to kill the next four hours until my bus to Marrakesh leaves. I don’t know the name of the town I’m in or what you’d call this region of Morocco. What I do know is that I’m about an hour or two from the Sahara desert somewhere near Algeria, but I couldn’t point it out to you on a map if I had such a luxury. No one understands me here – all communication is body language, which works all right unless you want to buy toilet paper. I try broken Spanish, pero un burro sabe mas Español. No one speaks Spanish in Southern Morocco. If I knew French, Arabic or Berber a conversation with a local could be possible. My four compatriots left me here alone in this dusty Saharan village for an early flight home and I’m

going Han Solo in the middle of Morocco. The plan is to head west over the High Atlas Mountains to Marrakesh, then to the coastal town of Essaouaira and back to Fez for my flight home – seven hundred miles in four days. From where I sit I have a lovely view of a park in front of the bus station, where four little girls play in the shade of palm trees. They walked up to my table earlier and stole my pen right from my hand. I was caught off guard by their adorable smiles, not expecting a gang of kleptos.  I see that they’ve snapped the pen in two by arguing over it. There’s a numbing sensation on my tongue from the sweet chamomile tea. It’s perfect out on the patio; early spring is a brilliant time of year to come to Northwest Africa.

E. B. White is keeping me company on the café table, though I don’t know what his opinion would be of the hash stains on his pages; he’s no Gonzo. What would Mr. White think about his collected essays used to roll joints across 300 miles of mountains and desert? Would he scold me or join me? The waiter with the bill disrupts my thinking.  Numbers are a universal language. As I reach to pay for my meal, red Sahara sand spills out my pocket onto the concrete under my chair. Yesterday lingers in my brain. Eighteen hours ago I was on top of a camel riding through the Saharan night on a new moon. The stars dripped down like butter, having almost three dimensions as they spiraled around the North Star. Someone had spilled the Big Dipper; the Milky Way splashed across an astronomical cobalt canvas. Millions and millions of twinkling dots of light winked red or blue above me, their different colors discernible with a naked eye. Shooting stars were constant celestial visitors, some are so impressive they looked like fireworks I watched as a kid at Warner Park on the Fourth of July.  The spacerocks would tear across the sky trailing a magnificent red plume until finally exploding into a thousand glimmering shards. The five of us swayed back and forth, chins in the air as we gazed in silent awe at the

cosmic jewelry above. The train of camels tied together was led by a Berber guide named Abdul, who walked in front with a faint flashlight, winding us through valleys and peaks of sand. I was at the front of the queue for most of the journey. Behind me I had a new friend named Winfred, Spencer’s camel that walked a little quicker so his head would be within petting distance. He nuzzled my leg whenever I would get too distracted by the big show in the sky. I had named my own camel Edgar. He handled himself fluidly across the 100-foot-tall sand dunes. Camels have a strange bone right where you sit on them that spreads your ass cheeks wide. The camel has lived for enough time alongside man to have evolved a nice butt-rest. For a man it’s not uncomfortable, but the ridge makes a camel’s rhythm a little awkward. In the “driver’s” seat, I managed to stop the whole train by tapping my foot against Edgar’s side to the rhythm of Sigur Ros on my headphones. Later along the treck, I or Edgar – fault was never determined – set the whole convoy off walking into the desert after Scott got down to take a trip to the Saharan toilet. Abdul ran to catch us, but I made it a haphazard getaway, accidentally egging Edgar into a faster pace, calling out “doesn’t he stop when I kick!?” Edgar



or more likely Abdul probably thought I was being a damn fool. We had no reason to rush this journey into the diamond sky. After an hour and a half of sand, wind and sky, we reached camp and were treated to a delectable three-course meal of soup, bread and tangine. Abdul showed us card tricks and we taught him and his friends how to play the game Bullshit. After some rousing rounds and three bottles of wine, us North Americans came up with the hair-brained scheme to climb a sand dune. Abdul pointed us to the 500-foot-tall mound of sand right next to camp. Upon further reflection I think it might have been a joke. If you have ever tried to climb a sand dune, you know that it’s like walking up an escalator going down. Your feet slide back half as far as you managed to step up. To make matters worse we had the dippy idea of running straight up the middle instead of the gently slopping sides. Nikki and Caitlyn made it halfway, but Spencer, and Scott and I pressed on. I separated from the two boys slogging straight upward favoring a 45-degree angle that followed the wind. The force at my back pushed me forward and down to all fours. I began to scramble up towards the spine like the monkeys in the Atlas Mountains did for our peanuts. Upon reaching the spine the

wind picked up dramatically, knocking me over the ridge and sent me sprawling spreadeagle on the other side. Sand found its way to impossible places. Eyes, hair, teeth, lungs, butt crack, throat; nothing was safe. The air was thin near the top, causing me to take ever exponential amounts of breaks to admire my hard-fought, but sluggish progress. My shoes were filled to the brim, which added significant weight. Unable to abandon them in the shifting sands, I trudged onwards. I took an extended break to look back down the previous four-hundred and fifty feet and noticed I couldn’t see the lights from the tents at the bottom anymore. The dune’s curve was massive enough to block out any glow from camp completely. I turned to look back up the mound and saw my goal silhouetted against a quilt of unearthly candles. As I sat there, muscles inflamed and wheezing in sand, a shooting star cut across where the dune’s tip met the sky. Taking it as a sign from the gods, I took a deep breath and charged the summit, first on two legs, then to four, and eventually down to my belly. Not the most valiant manner of conquest; I snaked my way to victory. Once I reached the peak I flipped onto my back. I did my best to look at the heavens despite the wind’s sandblasts. As I stared up at the Big Dipper

balanced upright on its handle, I began to laugh. It started as a small chuckle, but it grew little by little into a deep rolling roar from the gut and eventually turned into a long drawn out howl. I could feel the yell resonate in my chest as I arched my back to squeeze out every last bit of air from my diaphragm. As I breathe back in more sand, an unbreakable grin fixed itself firmly to my face. I couldn’t get any higher. I was perched on top of the world. Spencer and Scott joined me after about ten minutes. The 45-minute war upwards had left the three of us exhausted. We sat in a row at the summit watching towns twinkle miles and miles away on the far side of the dune. Scott told us the lights were from villages in Algeria. I took off my shoes and emptied my own little sand dune. For a good 15 minutes we surveyed the impossible scene in breathless admiration of what we had achieved. We reached above what was possible. Above trivial concerns, above love, above pain, above God, above anything I’ve ever known. I dug my toes in the sand and pulled my hoodie tight until only my eyes were left uncovered. Eventually, our muscles still burning, we turned to descend back to Earth. If walking up a sand dune is like a Stairmaster from hell, walking down is the like taking a stroll on a cloud, each step cushioned and exaggerated.

It’s a march that wouldn’t be out of place in the Ministry of Silly Walks. With each footfall my stride lengthened until I broke out into a run. Soon I was flying, taking tens of feet with every leap. We tumbled down the hill, laughing and sliding in the cool sand. I was the first down, the others still shouting and whooping up the hill. I stumbled over to the nearest tent with a light on. As I blinked dumbly into the brightness, I realized there was a young Berber we had played cards with earlier standing in front of the entrance. I had made it back from such great heights to solid ground. He motioned for me to follow as I spoke in splintered Spanish sobre las estrellas. After realizing I wasn’t making much sense I looked up and noticed that he had led me to my own tent. I thanked him and dragged myself inside, promptly falling asleep, eager for Abdul to wake us to watch the sun climb from its sandy Saharan bed. n

Peter Allen, a Madison native, is a Senior who studied abroad in the Netherlands last spring. He traveled widely during these seven months, making it to 14 different countries across Europe and Africa.



Studying Abroad • • • • •

International Academic Programs: International Engineering Studies & Programs School of Business International Programs College of Agriculture and Life Sciences International Programs University of Wisconsin System International Programs

Working and Volunteering Abroad • • • • • • •

Global Studies Go Global! AIESEC Morgridge Center for Public Service Peace Corps-Madison STA Travel (to contact a Madison representative) Habitat for Humanity Abroad


Souvenirs would like to extend many thanks to a few groups who have helped make this edition of the journal possible. First, to Memorial Union and its marketing, communications and graphic staff. Thank you to the Wisconsin Union Directorate and the Publications and Global Connections Committees for providing funds and resources, and for continuing to work together to produce Souvenirs every year. Thanks to STA Travel for sponsoring the journal this semester. To the wonderful staff members who have put so much hard work into reviewing and editing the submissions, creating this beautiful publication and planning the release party: thank you. And finally, to the lovely Susan Dibbell for all her help, encouragement and enthusiasm.

Visit our new website This year Souvenirs is now publishing work online! For those submissions we just couldn’t quite work into the print journal or were submitted too late, the new and improved website will be home to many of them. Turning to online publication allows the journal to accept and publish more student submissions year round. The site will also feature the current and past issues of Souvenirs, campus travel resources, student travel blogs, stories from past graduates and much more! Visit and explore the extended version of Souvenirs: a journal of international experiences. 36




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Colorful spice tins in Marrakech, also known as the red city, because all of the buildings are made of rich-colored red clay.

Souvenirs 2011  

A Collection of International Experiences

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