This weekend I was able to take a short trip to Croatia. I am privileged. I am also naïve. Crossing into Croatia, I witnessed a border patrol act in a way that I was surprised by. I’ve never witnessed or experienced that before; I have a U.S. passport. With our bus stopped, we could see directly into the stopped bus next to us. It being past midnight, the border patrol had to wake quite a few people up. To do this, she hit them on the head. She then had six or seven people get off the bus to be searched. Someone then came onto our bus, and when reached the five of us, the conversation went as followed:
“You guys are all from the US?”
“Where are you going?”
“How long are you staying?”
Full stop. The end. Nothing further then that.
To be honest, I do not even know what to write next. How damn easy is it for me? How about the fact that I can even up and decide on a whim to take a small vacay to Croatia while I am spending the summer in beautiful Bosnia.
There have certainly been other times that I’ve realized my privilege, as well as my naivety. A classmate on this trip with me told countless stories of his experiences going to new places, experiences that I could never even fathom. It’s funny because I learn about privilege in my classes, quite often actually. And none of that compares to the reality of the feeling that I feel after seeing it, witnessing it. Even my time spent in Guatemala during undergrad, it is as if I knew it then, but did not feel it. And I am not quite sure why that is.
My privilege with money has also shone through. As fore mentioned, I was able to take a semi-impromptu trip to beautiful Croatia during my time in beautiful Bosnia. How fortunate. There have been other instances where people I have been with have alluded to the high price of something, that I did not really think twice of. It’s a weird feeling…writing this, admitting this.
To be honest, this blog post is taking me a long time to write. To process. To understand.
And what I really want to know is, how-what is the best way- that I can apply this new found understanding, realization, experience, to my every day life? These are all questions that I will continue to ponder, and do not feel equipped enough to state their answers in this post, as it is certainly a work in progress.
What is a summer abroad if not for really incredible realizations and understanding about myself, other people and the world.