I’ve known since October that I was going to go to Japan. However, as I now make my way to board my flight to San Fran, it’s just now hitting me that I am in fact going to be away from Florida until June. I can hardly believe that it’s happening. I’ve been dreaming of going to Japan since I was 13 and now I get to have the full on experience of actually studying there and interacting with native students. I was born and raised in Orlando but when I think of my identity, I am very much influenced by my parents. For them it is the pride of being Indian and having the opportunity to come to the United States to make sure that my sister and I would have the best of everything. The first thing people notice about me is my ethnicity. I’m always happy to answer questions about India and how my upbringing was because of it. I think my identity very much affects how I see the world. When I see other countries and traditions, it’s very rare that I’ve ever thought  that a tradition of country is strange or different from what I’m used to it. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I’ve been on the other end of having others saying that certain customs and traditions that I practice are strange. I expect to meet people who won’t exactly have the same mindset as me when I go to Japan, but I’m eager to listen to their opinions as well as sharing as mine. I’m always willing to listen to why others make not see the world as I see it as long as they don’t come off as insulting. I think one of the challenges that these people might face is that they haven’t experienced anything that was different from the traditional American norms. I believe that once they experience a culture that is different from what they are used to, they might have a different view point. My flight is getting ready to take off and I couldn’t be more excited! 13 year old me is actually shaking! 

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