Germany: The road less traveled, now more traveled

So, Germany. This has been a hard last week. I still remember the first day I arrived. I was absolutely terrified. Had it not been for my fellow Oregon State students, I don’t think I would’ve made it out of the airport. Yesterday? I navigated the airport with ease. I booked a train, took a bus, and then caught a flight to Chicago and then a transfer to Portland. Absolutely no problems. And now that I’m back in the United States, it feels extremely weird. I actually feel like a foreigner! That’s something I never expected. But if you saw me now, you’d see my demeanor is completely different. Not only do I act different, I also speak and look very different than the last time you saw me. I’ve been mistaken as Australian, British, French, and German during my time over here (now there). So how was my last day? It was sad. The moment I went to city hall to say I was leaving was the moment it really hit me that this was it. 4 months were over and it was time for me to go. The flat I had spent living in for 4 months was empty, everyone trickling out one by one until there was me. I arrived with others yet the final stretch of my journey was taken alone. A fitting, if not somewhat somber end to what has been an absolutely fantastic experience. And my night? That was spent in the red light district. Now, before your imagination runs wild, that’s where I booked my hostel because it was a 4 minute walk to the train station and the hostel itself got good reviews. So…

I’ll Tell you all about it when I see you again…

Goodbyes. I hate goodbyes. Goodbyes are messy, awkward, and almost always never fun. A genuine goodbye? Heartbreaking. Now imagine yourself spending 4 months together with a group of individuals. Taking class together, living together, eating together, and hanging out together. You did pretty much everything with these people. And then? In a heartbeat, it all comes screeching to an end. That’s me. I had fun till the bitter end. Heck, I spent my last week in Berlin! But the goodbyes… Once someone starts crying everyone starts crying. Normally I just get choked up, you may even see tears start to form. But to straight up bawl my eyes out? That is extremely rare for me. We had our “official” goodbyes a few weeks ago, where I said goodbye to most of my German friends. That was extremely hard. Then came the non-Germans. The first to leave was my roommate, Javi. That was painful. I was upset but didn’t cry. The next to leave was Florian. That was when I started to really get choked up but still didn’t cry. At that point I was starting to feel pretty sad; luckily after a few days I left for my first (and last) solo trip, Berlin. There I caught up with an old buddy that I hadn’t seen in a few years and that was extremely refreshing. When I came back? Almost everyone was gone. Thank God Derick was there. We grabbed a few beers and chatted about the term for our last few days. And then? Derick was gone. So on Wednesday after I told city hall I was leaving, I wandered back home, sat down, and realized everyone was gone. And what did I do? I absolutely cried. I must’ve cried for a good hour. And then? I was gone. As quickly as I came, I left. So… what now?

Journey’s End

Of course, that was extremely depressing, so I can’t end there! So… memories. Years ago I heard that you may forget what someone says to you, but you’ll never forget how someone made you feel. And I have to say, I’ve never felt happier. My experience abroad has absolutely changed me. When I arrived, I was the shy, socially awkward guy who as a good friend told me, his first impression of me was that I was “weird”. That same friend was also willing to pay me 5 euros on our first trip to go talk to a cute girl at the train station. Of course, I refused and almost jumped in front of the train to save me from the horror of talking to a girl. In Paris, the city of love, another good friend told me to go talk to three cute girls in front of the Eiffel tower and what did I do? I literally ran. And then… in Berlin. Well, let’s just say Berlin was a lot of fun. My love life aside, that is just a small taste of how much I’ve changed. Another friend has described me as being a caged animal being set free and I think that sums it up perfectly. What’s more is, I could’ve of never done this alone. While I may have not learned how to become a cool girl, I think I learned how to become a cool guy. I was surrounded by cool people, so it only makes sense. In the U.S I was a tense dude, preferring to give you a handshake rather than a hug. But with a little help from my friends, I learned to relax and simply enjoy the present moment. It really is hard to believe it’s over. But how these lovely people made me feel… That, I’ll never forget. And every time I feel alone… I can always look back and remember that I’m not alone.

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See you Later

 

A Donald Trump America: A nation divided

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” – Abraham Lincoln



The Road Ahead

As an American, I’m disappointed. I’ve taken some time to sit and collect myself as not to say anything I might soon come to regret. In fact, normally I would say nothing at all. Throughout my time in college I’ve learned to be politically correct and avoid controversial topics as not to set any fires. I’ve always had great respect for those who have advised me throughout my college journey and am forever grateful in the role they’ve played in helping me become the man I am today. Yet in this chapter of my life, I must do what I feel is right. So with that, you may be asking…

How did this happen?

Many laughed when Donald trump first announced his bid, and although I thought it was a long shot, I’ve never ruled out the possibility of Trump becoming our president.It was a nice diversion, a distraction from routine and quite an entertaining show to watch. This has not been the first time Donald Trump has made a bid for the office of presidency. In the past he’s always said he will run and “fix” this country, but as I would joke in elementary school, he simply needed ratings for celebrity apprentice.

The Media

Like I said, it was a great story. You’d be crazy not to cover Donald Trump. People love drama and excitement, and Donald Trump definitely provided plenty of it. Every week you could count on something new. Whether it was the Republican debates or simply whatever Donald Trump did in between, there was always something. But the thing is, the media covered Donald Trump too much. Instead of letting his 15 minutes of fame fade into the abyss, they propelled it towards space. And with all the news, Donald Trump could cherry pick. And he did. So he created an image of “evil” media, so that whatever was said, it would be “bad” and “untrustworthy”, or better yet, “rigged”.

The Silent “Majority”

Believe it or not, The electoral college does not represent the majority. It’s an outdated system meant for a bygone era. It worked in its time, but now it poses a detriment to democracy. Take a step back and think. Does it make any sense that someone can win the popular vote (which Hillary did) yet lose the  presidency? The popular vote, as its name implies, represents the entire nation. The majority of us did not vote for Donald Trump, we voted for Hillary.  A small minority of bigots (yes, I do not use this term lightly) used the electoral college to their advantage. Groups, such as the KKK, endorsed Donald Trump and showed up at the polls to cast their votes. I’m not saying all who voted for Donald Trump are bigots, I am simply saying that the majority of the minority is. Yes there is an appeal for Donald Trump as champion of the common man, but that he is not (that image is built on a foundation of lies).

James Comey

James Comey, the director of the FBI. Some may hail him as a hero, but a hero he is not. Comey directly (or as some might say, indirectly) intervened with the election process. I find it hard to believe that Comey couldn’t wait until after the election to continue his investigation into the Clinton emails. I am so sick and tired about hearing about the “emails”.  If you want something to talk about, let’s talk about Donald Trump being on trial for fraud, where he ripped off God knows how many students of not only their money but their future with Trump University. And perhaps (not perhaps) even worse, he’s due to stand trial for sexual assault after he is sworn into office. He has dozen of charges against him; what message is this sending? Hillary is by no means perfect, but my God. However, coming back to James Comey, I would like to say that it is a sad day when the FBI has become above the law, where the rules of democracy simply don’t apply and they’re allowed free reign. I used to have so much respect for our national security agencies but after this… So James Comey, instead of reading emails, how about you read this; if you’re any kind of decent human being, you should resign from your position. You should absolutely be ashamed of yourself. You claim Hillary was negligent (which she was and she admitted) but have you taken a look in the mirror?

Not my president

I love my country and I am proud to be an American. There is no need to make america great again because we live in one of the greatest countries in the world. Yet Donald Trump tore this nation down and made a complete mockery of us, played us for fools. Donald Trump found the biggest loophole in our system (the electoral college) and exploited it by focusing his campaign around bigotry. The world doesn’t see the majority of Americans, they see the man who is now in “charge”.  I personally will not stand by and watch democracy fail, to watch Donald Trump undo a decade worth of progress under Obama.

We the People

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke

We have a voice.  I am not going to sit idly by and watch my country burn. It is time for change and we are that change. If one man can tear down a nation, then imagine what a collective of progressive individuals can do. America is the land of the free and we have a right to exercise our freedoms. Our constitution and declaration of independence insure these rights. If we do not like our government, we have the right to do something about it. But as a united nation. Donald Trump led a campaign of hate and this is not what our forefathers fought for. United. States. Can it be more self explanatory? So instead of tearing each other down, lets plant our feet firmly and fight. We will not go quietly and we will not go alone.