Monday, November 23, 2015

Culture Corner 11.23.15


I went hiking today and I feel like all the molecules in my body have been renewed.

My cousin Jason, ME!, Josh and my brother Kyle
Lately, I have been a mess of stress. I'm stressed about going to another country, a country in which I do not really know the language, or its culture. Being in a different culture can be scary and even solitary; I am afraid that no one will understand me and worst of all, that no one will get me. It took a while for me to adjust to New York and to its people, to understand its customs, the different way of life. And now I am set out to understand Paris and their culture and their way of life and their customs. But, I am not only afraid of learning a new culture, I am also afraid of missing the people that are here and hanging out with them. I am afraid that when I'm sad or stressed, I won't have anyone to hug me or take me on a hike or let me pour out my overwhelming emotions. I think that a big part in helping me survive New York were my brothers and my family here because I had people to rely on, people that would love me no matter what. For a person that likes to be alone, I must admit, I am afraid of loneliness.  

So, yes, I have been under a considerable amount of stress and so when my brother asked me if I wanted to hike this Sunday I was like YES PLEASE. One culture that has been constant throughout my life has been that of hiking and going camping. I LOVE IT. And New York has amazing, beautiful hiking sites (Bear Mountain, anyone?). In fact, every country that I've ever been to, has amazing sites to hike and camp. If you ever find yourself in Argentina, and you like to hike, you MUST go to Patagonia (when I went there, my friends and I would fall asleep as we counted the shooting stars that fell over our heads). 

Hiking is a way to get away from the constant busyness of the city and its duties. Hiking makes you fall in love with nature and its marvels. It's a way of rewiring and refreshing, a way to reconnect with yourself and to take a deep breath. Whenever I go hiking, I just know that whatever awaits for me, whatever is in my future, all of that, will be okay. 

And one of the greatest things about hiking is that it makes you bond not only with nature, not only with your group, but also with complete strangers. There is something about hiking that makes you open up and also, crack up. Whomever I'm hiking with, we always manage to laugh and to talk about deep things, brah, even with strangers that we find along the way. It also makes you open up when you're alone: hiking is not only a physical exercise but it's also a mental one: a good balance of calories burning and reflections churning takes place. 

Therefore, sometimes I think that if I get really miserable in Paris, I can just take a day off and go hiking somewhere. Anywhere -- it doesn't even have to be a mountain as long as there is some kind of nature, some place where I can disconnect and recharge. And this thought keeps me calm. Because hiking, even if its in the tree mazes of Prospect Park, even if its in the lake by my house in Buenos Aires, even if I am alone, always, always, makes me happy and serene. Hiking is powerful. 

-Alana


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