Shaylyn - West Hills, California
Entered on April 25, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: place, tolerance
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I believe that learning exists in and outside of the classroom in everyday life. With every person that I talk to, every moment and day that passes me by, I take in something that I have learned through my own experiences and apply it to my own life. Throughout my last summer before going off to school at Purdue University, my friends criticized me for going so far away, especially to a place like Indiana. They would incessantly ask me why I would ever want to leave the sunny, breathtaking, and beautiful California. How could I possibly want to trade the stunning beaches and grand city life for a slower lifestyle that consisted mostly of flat, dreary corn fields and freezing cold weather?

When I arrived at the Indianapolis Airport, on August 9, 2007 I expected warm, friendly embraces, but instead I was greeted with a cold shoulder and little to no help with my luggage. As I stepped out of the airport the weather was stifling hot and irritable, which coincidently was very similar to the overall feel I received from the people. I was a little surprised and disappointed at this due to hearing how friendly and hospitable Indiana was said to be. I quickly acknowledged that I was not in California anymore and that I needed to overlook this incident and become excited for all the new experiences I was going to embark on. After living in Indiana for quite some time, I noticed that much of my first impression had stayed the same. I instantly became aware of the quiet classrooms, stone cold looks, and people’s strong resistance to small

On October 5, 2007 I jetted back to San Diego, California and was completely shocked when not just one, but four people offered to carry my bags at the airport, on the train, and up to my boyfriend’s door step. The mood was so completely different there I was blown away! When I looked around everyone was smiling, and waving their hands to say “Hello!” I had forgotten how welcoming and warm people were in California. After experiencing both extremes I realized that these two places are poles apart. At that moment I knew that I needed to be mature and realize that I must learn to accept and understand both places. Neither culture was right or wrong, but just very diverse from what I had been accustomed to. I believed that in order for me to grow as a person I needed to be mature and experience both of these cultures for what they were. I learned that no matter where I live I have the ability to accept other people’s cultures.