How Are You Going to Change Your Life?
Upon returning home from the headlights immersion trip, I was asked by my mother “how are you going to change your life after going on this trip?” I really had to think about this question. It made me reflect on all that I have experienced during this past week.
One experience that really impacted me happened at the Mother’s Day celebration. This celebration took place at the beautiful plaza next to the Dolores Mission. During the celebration we had the privilege of listening to beautiful music sung by young and old alike as well as heartfelt poetry. The highlight of this gathering was a clown who interacted with the audience and delighted the children with magic tricks and jokes all of which were in Spanish. At one point in the show he wanted to get the ladies of the community involved and started to drag them up to the front one by one. During his selection he grabbed my hand and my cries of “no, no, no.” did not seem to persuade him otherwise. When I got to the front he was having us do activities and asked us numerous questions all in Spanish. All of the questions I had no idea what he was talking about. During this experience I felt so uncomfortable and left out of all the jokes. Most of the laughing directed at my inability to answer the simple questions he asked. This was one of the first times in my life I felt truly uncomfortable and left out. This experience made me think about many people in the community that only speak Spanish. How they must feel uncomfortable in many situations, not just this one time for me.
The joy I felt and saw on this trip also impacted me greatly. I saw the joy in the giggling children that ran around the playground at recess. I saw it in my host mother’s face when she showed off all the delicious food she cooked for us at our Thursday night dinner. I saw it in our tour guide at Homeboy when he spoke about his new job and all he had planned for in his future. And I saw it in the other students and Alumni that came on this trip throughout the entire experience.
To answer my mom’s question there were two things I will take away from this trip that will maybe change the way I live my life. First I want to acknowledge how hard it is for individuals who have many barriers in their lives, particularly a language barrier, and how strong they are because they do not let it hold them back. I hope that I can learn from their example and overcome some of the simple barriers I have in my life such as preconceived judgments I have about people who are different then myself. I hope to take time to listen to other’s stories instead of form an opinion right away. Second I want to look for the joy in my community and to help foster joy in others lives. The joy that people had even in times of hardship was truly amazing and I hope to emulate this infectious joy. I feel honored and blessed to have the opportunity to go on this trip.