August 1st, 2010
As I’m sitting here in the hotel lobby at the Marriot Washington DC trying to savor what is left of my time here in the United Stated, it means that the SUSI program is coming to an end. So far, I’ve seen small towns to big buildings in the cities. I’ve experience a taste of what some may call as the the American dream and I have tasted the food. It has been an amazing experience to say the least but other than the material things, I believe that the most important (which will also make me sad the most) is the people. I’m so gonna miss everyone.
What makes this experience here in the United States so special is the locals and I believe that in traveling it is the local people that will make the trip a more fulfilling one. Those that I have met should it be either our graduate mentors, our lecturers, our host family or even the local towns people, they have really gave me the opportunity to learn so much about them.
After all that is said and done, I have only one conclusion and it is that the American people are one of the nicest, most honest and strong people I have ever met.
Thank you Dr.Foster, Dr.Jackson, Mrs. Foster, Mrs. Jackson, Drew, Cary, Onur, Joel, Jennifer, Dr.Brown, Emily, Selin, the Wagners and to all those who had work so ahrd to made our experience an unforgettable one.
To the people of the United States, I say this to you for I shall return…one day.
July 31st, 2010
This may be a late update on my part. Been really busy with the program so it is pretty difficult to find time to sit down, edit pictures and write my post. In anycase, on the second weekend in the US, as a part of the program we were then be staying for a night with a local family in Chester, Illinois as part of a homestay activity.
I had the proud pleasure to be staying with the Wagners with Billy from the Phillippines as two participants will be staying with each family. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect before I met them. What would they think of me? Would I mess things up? Would I embarrass myself?
In the end of the day, the answer was no. The Wagners they were great!!!
The Wagners are decended from German immigrants during the 1800s and had settled on the very same land for way over 150 years. Spending most of their life in Chester, our host father Ronnie or Ron Wagner works as a trucker for a local food manufacturing company and travels the entire continental United States distributing food items while Cindy Wagner our host mother works at the courthouse in Chester together with Barb Brown our host for some parts of the program.
The Wagners are what they would call a typical working class American family living in a small town in the heart of the United States. Living with them gave an interesting insight on how a family in live and operate together here.
Individualism is ingrained in the American culture and can be seen as family members usually live far from each other due to work or other reasons. But as a family, they are very close and tight knit. They would always sit together for meal or had intellectual discussions about current events.
Ron Wagner had prepared a few catfish for dinner for us by catching it from his fish pond he had dug a few years ago. It was a wonderful meal eating with them. It was simple but very healthy. In fact, I have now changed my opinion on the American diet. There would always be vegetable at every meal.
It is interesting to also notice on how informed that most Americans are on current issues and world events. They are very opinionated and also very vocal to the happenings around them even though as normal citizens they are mostly powerless to governmental decision making. Apparently, most Americans have no idea on how ex-President Bush could have won another term in office but then…meh…so did everyone else around the world.
Overall, although we did not do anything overly exciting or dramatic, it was relaxing and by talking and interacting with them we both shared our views and got to know each others culture a little better. It was really an unforgetable experience that I would never forget and I would continue to keep in contact with them for as best as I can.
Thank you Wagners.
P/s: That dear head you see in the first picture is REAL. It was shot on a hunting trip earlier this spring. Trying to sleep while having it look at you is not very does not make it any better mind you. XP
July 13th, 2010
The 4th of July is a day in which Americans regardless of faith, race or even ideology set aside their differences to celebrate their victory against evil alien invaders that blasted most major cities around the globe independence from British colonial rule and at this year’s celebration we got a taste of what it is like to celebrate Independence Day.
To see and experience how a small community celebrate the 4th of July, we were taken to Kaskaskia Island located in Randolph County in Southern Illinois. Kaskaskia Island was once a major French colonial town and then it became the first state capital of Illinois. Now it just has a very sparse population surrounded by farmland.
July 7th, 2010
After a short briefing/orientation session and getting our documents in checked, we finally started our classes located at the social science building called Faner Hall a short walk away from the dorms. The Study of the U.S. Institute’s New Media program is spearheaded by Dr.John Foster and Dr.John Jackson both from the Political Science Department of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
July 3rd, 2010
After 20 hours sitting on an airplane I think I have reached my yearly quota for air travel. Sleep was almost impossible for me with the cramp seats and the loud engine noise but I persevered non-the-less. After transiting at Changi Airport in Singapore we had a 6+ hour flight in a Boeing 777 to Narnia Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan. Then it was a 9+ hour flight on a very cramped Boeing 747 to San Francisco plus another almost 4 hours of additional flight time on an Airbus that has seats that are not screwed/attached onto the plane. Lost my confidence on United Airlines by the way. Lastly it was a 2 hour drive from St.Louis Airport to the small town of Carbondale.