Can’t Help But Brag: Study Abroad Struggles

We live in a society where everyone asks, “What’s new?” or “How are you?” but no one seems to care about the response. We reply with a dull “not much” or “good, how are you?” And then wait for another meaningless answer. We ask these questions to be polite, but how often are people genuinely interested? Especially when your response is a lot more exciting than theirs would be. We are jealous, bitter people– it’s in our human nature. But we ask these questions because it’s common courtesy, and we don’t want to seem rude (even though we are).

The worst case comes when you study abroad because you have so much to share, but to be honest– no one back in the small town of Glenside, Pennsylvania wants to hear anything about your life-changing experiences because while you spent a weekend partying in Amsterdam, your friends went to another shitty house party that probably got busted before midnight. Your constant traveling and experiences in a foreign country will never fail to make everyone sitting back home hate their boring, routine lives. And you.

Some people who study abroad understand this, while others think that everyone is fascinated by their experiences. This doesn’t mean absolutely everyone isn’t interested. I’m sure your mom and dad actually care. But the stories you really want to share are probably the ones best kept from your parents. But how many times can your friends handle listening to you go on and on about your beautiful foreign roommates before they start ignoring your messages. You can’t be mad at them for this. They want to be interested in your life. But while they’re staring at the same four walls of their Oak Summit apartment, you’re out getting a taste of all different parts of the world, and they’re going to get tired of hearing about it.

Even if someone is honestly interested in your trip and wants to hear “all about it” you would never be able to describe it all. Too much has happened. I would never be able to explain in detail all the amazing opportunities I’ve had, the people I have met, and the adventures I’ve taken without wasting hours of someone else’s time. When someone back home asks me, “How’s Australia?” I couldn’t even begin to describe the highs and lows and craziness of everything that has been happening.  Maybe I could tell them about how I spent an entire weekend on North Stradbroke Island learning how to surf and sandboard and kayak, and didn’t have to pay for a single thing (thanks Arcadia!). Or I could mention how last weekend I went to the most beautiful beach in the world, got to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, and found my potential Australian husband (just kidding, maybe). I could tell them about the first time I got to hold a koala and pet a kangaroo. Or explain the difference between a nice Australian accent and a bogan one. But no matter what I tell them, it just sounds like I’m bragging. Instead, maybe I could tell them how I felt really homesick so I stayed in bed all day watching Netflix and eating overpriced Nutella out of the jar. Or that even though I’m in Australia, I still have classes to go to and essays to write and all-nighters filled with red bull WITHOUT vodka.  But how lame doeDSCN0530s that make my entire semester seem?

We can partially blame social media. Most likely everyone has already seen all your pictures on Facebook and read all your tweets and hate you enough as it is. The constant upload of beautiful pictures from weekend excursions and simply everyday life in a foreign country is enough to drive anyone crazy with jealousy. Especially when it’s somewhere they wish they could be. Or somewhere they’ve already been that they wish they could go back to. Or when it is winter in PA, and your friends are dreading leaving their heated apartments, meanwhile I’m posting pictures of the beautiful, sunny beaches around Australia.

But what else are we supposed to do? We have to share our experiences with someone. And we shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it. I guess that’s why blogging has become so popular. But while it may seem like we are having a much better time than those of you at home (and not gonna lie, we probably are), we still get that FOMO too. Sometimes there is nothing I want more than to be hungover on my best friend’s couch eating mac n cheese and watching Food Network. No matter what great experiences I have abroad, there will still always be a nostalgia for people and places (and pizza) back home. So to all the friends who haven’t had the opportunity to travel and are stuck listening to our awesome stories, try to be patient with us. We’re not bragging on purpose. And I’m sure you have cool stories to share too. Even if it is just about another drunk night at Towers. And to anyone who has studied abroad and has had this problem, try not to brag TOO much to your friends. Keep it subtle. Start a blog. Or share your experiences with us at WanderLUST. And in the midst of all the bragging, don’t forget to remind your friends back home how much you still love and miss them.

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If you check out one thing today, make it {my lingerie play}

By: Kara Mendez

Feminism. One four-syllable word can represent an over one hundred year movement of women and men fighting for equality; a fight we are still fighting today.

Diana Oh, a new york based actor, singer, songwriter, performance artist, and feminist has comprised a collection of visual and performance installations called {my lingerie play}. If you have yet to guess, Diana performed/will perform all 10 installations in her lingerie. What originally began as a script for a solo show turned into an amazing, head turning, emotional, eye opening experience right in the heart of NYC. Diana- and later a group of women and men alongside her- stand on soapboxes in different NYC locations with cardboard signs explaining their mission.

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Photo credit: Hye Yun Park

As seen on {my lingerie play}’s Facebook group, Diana Oh is standing on a soapbox holding a sign that says “I’m standing here in my lingerie because I’m a woman who enjoys wearing lingerie but does not enjoy: being catcalled, being trafficked, being sold, being owned, being told to be unhealthily thin, being told to age unnaturally, being street harassed and followed home by a car full of men at 2 in the morning (1), being asked to f-ck you like a b-tich or to suck on these n-ts and lick the d-ick (2), being called a hoe (3), a tramp (3), a stupid girl (3), or a little Asian friend (3), and being told that you love my lack of self respect (3), and that you got these b-tches all tipsy trying to sex you (3). I’m standing here in my lingerie because I’m a woman who enjoys wearing lingerie and many MANY other things (4). HAVE AN AWESOME DAY!
(1) actually happened. (2) actual lyrics (3) actual lyrics that aren’t from hip hop songs (4) see you next time!” (Installation 1/10. Times Square, New York). 

When asked about {my lingerie play} Diana released this manifesto: “The solution is not to tell women to cover up. The solution is not to tell women to keep chaste. The solution is not to tell women to stop being sexual beings. We are not asking to be harassed, abused, talked down to, or violated no matter what we are wearing. The solution is to change the way we are talked about for being a sexualized woman does not strip us of our humanity. The problem isn’t sexualization, the problem is the DEGRADATION that comes along with women expressing it. #mylingerieplay

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Left to Right: Diana Oh, Kana Hatakeyama, Kim Gee, Mariah MacCarthy, Colleen O’Connor, Parker Leventer, Lillian Meredith, Melissa Lusk, Hye Yun Park (not pictured). Photo credit: Kacey Stamats.

Anyone in the NYC area should try to catch an installation before it’s over. Support and show love to Diana and her entire crew of people and performances who- through art and performance- are taking steps towards equality. Spread the word. Show your friends. Stop the catcalls, slut shaming, and harassments alongside Diana as she stands on her soapbox in her lingerie.

LEARN MORE:
To find the project, more footage, & photos: www.facebook.com/mylingerplay 

To find Diana and to get involved: www.facebook.com/DianaOhisGOINGROGUE
#mylingerieplay

VIDEOS: http://wifey.tv/video/my-lingerie-play/
Filmed and edited by,  Hye Yun Park