“What starts here changes the world.” These are powerful words bestowed upon me as I set foot into an adventure of a lifetime – beginning at the University of Texas at Austin.
As I was sitting in the plane in Dallas ready to fly to Philadelphia, the pilot announced we would be delayed for a few hours. While waiting for the flight to take off, I began to think of the quote above. Never before have I had a flight be delayed, but luckily we were only delayed for 30 minutes. Due to the delay, I missed my next flight. That was the first of many new experiences I encountered on this journey!
During the flight, I realized I would be traveling for the next 11 hours by myself. What an adventure! The feeling of cultural loneliness and misunderstanding was something I feared, but it was now in my path and I had to deal with it head on. Nevertheless, I made it to Leeds that evening, but without any clothes, since my luggage did not get the memo that I had changed airlines. Not as successful as I had planned, but things happen.
The next day I listened to the local professor, Max Farrar, speak about the historical and cultural background of Leeds. Even after the lecture and reading Professor Carrington’s essay titled “Leeds and the Topographies of Race: In Six Scenes,” I was amazed by how much history could be told about Leeds and began to wonder how I cold find answers to the questions I always had about this place before arriving here. According to most social scientists, this is called debunking, something I was able to take from the lecture this past week.
Thirdly, I was able to go to a pub here and immerse myself in the English futbol culture, which in America we call soccer. In the pub, the English were so excited about the Barcelona vs. Manchester United futbol game. The English spoke with different accents, and I was fascinated by the conversations I had with them during my first few hours in Leeds. I know that in America we most likely would not have had the same type of attendance or excitement as they did for a game of soccer.
Since the futbol game happened before meeting with Professor Farrar, I did not understand why the majority of people at the pub were not into mingling or getting to know the people around them. Well come to find out, after reading Kate Fox’s article “Rules of Play,” the English like to socialize in small groups and stay to themselves, which helped me understand why we didn’t get to talk to many people. I understand that was an enthocentric way of thinking since I perceived other cultures to be just like the American culture, yet that is not always the case.
Thus, as my experience continues and I further enlighten you about the English sports and culture, please understand that my views are different from others. This has been a challenging week, but I am proud to say I am here and sharing this wonderful experience with you. Stay tuned for more of this great experience.