This work was written over the course of nine months, during my senior year of college. It was, I think, my attempt to make sense of the overwhelming disconnect that I was experiencing at the time - with different people, in different places. The instant you begin seeing the world in international terms instead of national ones, a frenetic dismay kind of takes over. Processing those feelings that come with trying to find your place in the world is hard. And it is difficult to draw the line between too much embellishment and too little in creative non-fiction. However, I would like to make clear to the reader while many of the things in this piece are non-fiction, some events have certainly been reconstructed to fit the narrative style, and some personalities have been re-imagined. Despite this, the recollections of emotions, memories and places make it, for me, an honest and truthful piece. I hope you enjoy the journey.
Being human, it is easy to see our strengths in great clarity, but be blind to our weaknesses. Thankfully, I had a few pairs of extra-perceptive eyes. I could not have written this piece without the constant mentorship of my advisor, Professor Cathy Shuman, who met with me many times, first on campus and then at varying cafes off campus. She slashed my clichés, tightened my sentence structure, and corrected my typos, week after week, with a seemingly endless well of patience and kindness. My writing is stronger for it. Thanks given to the Karsh Scholarship, whose financial support sent me to work and learn in the places that inspired this creative piece, and to my wonderfully supportive parents who were somehow convinced that sending their naïve daughter overseas was a good idea. I’m not sure who I would be without them, but I’m glad I don’t have to find out. And finally, to the legion of so many masterful writers – Ernest Hemingway, Junot Diaz, Lydia Davis, George Saunders, and hundreds more – who first showed me the infinite ways one can feel, the infinite ways the world can be seen. They set into motion the passion that led me to write this piece.