September 21, 2018

There are certain months that have a greater meaning than others because of some special event that happens during the month. December is treasured because it serves as the home to Christmas, July is famous for the Fourth of July, and the month of April […]
Life is a highway, and I want to drive it

September 18, 2018

When I was sixteen, my mom had saved up enough money to buy a brand new minivan straight out of the assembly line. For my sixteen-year-old self, this was the equivalent of winning the lottery, since this meant that I could now inherit my mother’s […]

Adapting to a Different Culture

September 17, 2018

My mother lived a pretty straightforward life back in her home country of Panama. Originally born in the rural Panamanian countryside, my mother and her family migrated to the metropolis of Panama City when she was a young girl for the greater economic benefits that the city provides. From that point on, my mom would embark on the journey of trying to further her educational opportunities as a young women in the big city while also helping to provide for her family. However, everything in my mother’s life changed when she met an ambitious American soldier who convinced her to trade the life she lived in Panama for another in a foreign land completely different from her own. Fast forward over twenty years to the present, and my mother is the poster child for the ideal American citizen and fully immersed herself in this country’s different culture. But the transition for her was anything but easy, and this struggle of adaption is a problem experienced by someone new every minute. Trying to adapt to a different culture and a different way of life may seem like a simple issue from the outside looking in, but in reality words really cannot describe how difficult the transition can be for someone who has only known one way of life. Whether it be the food, the language, the physical environment, or even the societal values, these cultural differences can easily shock someone into despair as they try desperately try to make sense of the new universe that they now find themselves in. At my old high school back in Fayetteville, we had a foreign exchange program in place that provided the school with students originally from South Korea who had minimal experience with the American culture. Without questions, one of the greatest sources of pride from those affiliated with the school is the remarkable development of these exchange students, whose personas gradually change from lost and confused to confident and successful. This process is certainly not the same with everybody, but there are few feeling better than witnessing someone who has come from so far finally reach their goals. As of the time of writing, my mother is currently working as a English Second Language teacher throughout the Cumberland County school system. On a daily basis, my mom works with young children from different backgrounds to try to overcome some of the same cultural issues that she herself once battled with. Some children succeed more than others, but either way the results are often tangible improvements in at least the child’s willingness to explore the new way of life that they are surrounded in. We all have values and beliefs that make up who we are, and oftentimes these values are intertwined in the environment in which they were formed. Once that environment changes, it can be hard to hold on to the core of who we are while also trying to adjust ourselves to the values of a new environment. The next time you see someone who is going through a period of adjustment, keep in mind the personal struggle that they are going through and try to turn their attention to the bright possibilities of the future.

The future is hard. So let childhood be fun

September 15, 2018

Within the fibers of American culture, there lies certain customs and institutions that build up to form the world-renowned American DNA that is known around the world. Think about things like fireworks on the Fourth of July, or a greasy cheeseburger sizzling on the grill, […]

Always Ready, Always There

September 15, 2018

During my freshman year of college at Chapel Hill, I was reluctantly doing laundry late one night when a prototypical ROTC army cadet walked in to toss his huge pile of dirty clothes into the laundry. Given how the guy had apparently had a long […]

Seeing Life on the Other Side

September 14, 2018

Let me be crystal clear here, I truly believe that Fayetteville, North Carolina, is a pretty unique and special city. While it may be true that Fayetteville doesn’t have the towering skyscrapers of New York City or the attractive southern charm of a place like Charleston, there are special qualities to Fayetteville that are hard to grasp until you experience them. And while it is also extremely valid that Fayetteville has a ridiculously high crime, drug, and poverty rate, I believe in the efforts that the city is making towards a better future and choose to embrace the city’s damaged pebbles ratter then shun them. As someone who has spent their entire life living in a single location, until recently I had never been fortunate enough to travel to different parts of North Carolina other than the Piedmont and Coastal regions. However, thanks to a good friend that I have grown close to during my time in college. everything for me changed this summer when I had the opportunity to visit him in the western town of Boone. I might as well have been visiting another planet. A small college town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Boone is surrounded by absolutely breathing taking views and has a charming personality that could win over even the most stubborn of zealots. Given the beautiful location that the town resides in and the lack of urban expansion, nature is everything in Boone is a way of life that consumes every individual. Although the weather in Boone can vary from perfect and balmy in the summer to a special kind of cold that will make your insides freeze in the winter, the impact of nature on the daily life of those within the Watauga (the county for which Boone resides) community does not waver. The population of the town doubles when the local college of Appalachian State is in session, and for some, this connection to the university serves as the only possible gateway into a world and culture that truly has a brand of its own. For someone who has never seen a mountain before, the initial drive up to Boone was eye-opening to say the least. As my ears were popping at a sporadic rate due to the rapid increase in elevation, I remember being overwhelmed with the raw beauty of the scenes around me as I soaked in how special each mountaintop looked as they reached out into the golden sky. Being able to look down at all of creation below from an elevated platform of serenity seems like the type of situations to only happen in movies, but experiencing it personally was a moment that I will cherish forever. However, what struck me most was the attitudes of the local people. Everyone was incredibly kind during my visit and seemed to have significantly different priorities than what I was accustomed to. Rather than focus on the stress and uncertainties of life, the focus of the local people seemed to be on enjoying the special moments that we have been given today. With life on the other side of the state, beauty seems to exist not only with nature but also in the soul of the communities.

It's More than a Game

September 9, 2018

If a religion is a set of beliefs and rules that a person devotes themselves to because they believe in a greater importance, then the raw passion that I witnessed on February 8, 2018, made it obvious to me that a religious-like devotion can come […]

Silent Sam matters. But its location does not

August 23, 2018

As part of a message sent to the Chapel Hill community on Friday, August 31, under-fire school Chancellor Carol L. Folt issued a statement attempting to explain the increasingly toxic situation of the Silent Sam memorial. For those who are unfamiliar with the conflict that […]