Thursday, May 7, 2015

A New Lesson in a New Country

When I signed up for this Shakespeare in England course, I was expecting the most intellectual experience of my life. We've come into this beautiful country watching play after play, yet I've gone to more pubs than class discussions.
Rather than the conversations circling around a Shakespearean play, my friends and I turn to what most people turn to: gossip. In addition, I've gone from discrediting the gossip, to listening to the gossip but not saying a word, to now any chance of not being overheard allows me the liberty of saying a few mean things.

I'm not a nice person. That's what a peer of mine joked about getting a tattoo of on her neck. But philosophically speaking, that's what is invisibly etched in all our necks. As strong a person I thought I was who thought I could stand up against injustice, the line wavers and becomes most unclear when friends are involved, or should I say acquaintances. These acquaintances of mine resolve to gossip even when the person is just a few feet away. I worry for a bit whether they talk about me. But then I decide, screw it. They are. I know they gossip and I shouldn't be surprised if they say a bad word about me. So what is the logical reaction to this? Should I turn away from the only group of people I think I fit in most with in this group?

The problem morphs into something bigger than what it would be if I were back home because if I were there, then I have places to turn to. Here, we are forced to be with a group of people 24/7. And with me and my sense of direction, I would get lost instantly if I were left alone even in this tiny city of Stratford. I cannot just go to my room and lock my door from all the bullying that's secretly going on in this trip.

No, this study abroad spring term has never been an intellectual journey. I've realized that this trip is a challenge in the area of social interaction. An introvert like me has no choice but to put up the extrovert face 24/7. Because even my roommate requires my patience and slow explanation of why I sometimes have periods of silence that calm me throughout the day. No, I'm not NOT talking to you because I don't like you. I'm staying quiet because I need a rest from the strong force of social activity.

It's funny how one of the plays we watched was 'School for Scandal.' Now, I need to analyze it, record my observations, and expand on my analysis because the secret to my solution to my gossiping addiction lies somewhere in that play.