By Carolina S. Ruiz Austria

The word "Heresy"

was used by Irenaeus in Contra Haereses to discredit his opponents in the early Christian Church. It has no purely objective meaning without an authoritative system of dogma.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Sense of Community

This is just after the first snow storm of the season. It is going to get worse of course. The temperature averages -9 (-12 the lowest so far, and -3 most parts of the day when its not too bad) So who am I to complain? My friends now living in the Netherlands and Finland of course consider this pretty normal. As pretty as snow is when it falls (and when it isn't "wet"), I have to say I like the "all white" look/feel of Boracay more. ;-)

It is of course, stating the obvious.

The toughest part of studying abroad is being away from your family. Before I had my own family, I lived alone for a while and the truth is, it was never this tough. Of course I soon found out that what heightens the sense of isolation is the cold. (Well at least for me it does).

The first time it got really cold, I started noticing a lot of differences with the way I felt about lots of other things. I find that being "hungry" when its cold out somehow feels more terrible than when it is warm. Although I am pretty sure there is a point of hunger when the climate won't matter anymore.

I suppose I just started noticing stuff that makes one warm. Food definitely is one of them. (So is wine and friends you laugh with).

I won't be staying long though. I have my sights on finishing up this course as soon as I can which is sometime around April (If all goes well).

The first term is over but I still have a few requirements to finish (Graduate papers!) but I'm already glad about my decision to study here. To be perfectly honest, somewhere along the way (maybe in mid-semester) I was not so sure.

What changed my mind is actually something really rather simple. I got to know a few of my classmates a little better last night after we had pizza, red wine and talked about our lives at a Professor's house. It was a term ender sort of gathering and many of us probably won't run into each other anytime again soon (although some of us surely will) but hearing all about the stories of other peoples' lives was so wonderful in a way, it was the "warmth" that was lacking in the many months Iv'e been here.

In a sense it made the world a little less complicated hearing about people (who grew up from different parts of the world), speak and care about so many of the same things.(Except movie stars - that one was a tough call and understandably so)

Yes, as diverse the world is, that doesn't get in the way of feeling and having a sense of community. And maybe that is what community is - belonging not necessarily because you are all the same - not at all. It was actually heartening to find out we held some things in common (with a passion) and differed in some (also with a passion) and "movie stars" topped that list. But we certainly appreciated how each one was passionate about the stuff we care about. Yeah, we love the way two of our classmates are more "star struck" than others and this isn't to be patronizing. Really. ;-P

As hokey as it sounds, I remembered how we used to call this kind of "talk" among collective members (as student activists) as "Talambuhay," which literally means (life story). We would gather around and listen to each other's "story" or more aptly, one's "journey." (Mine could be called "How I ended up not being a Journalist" but that is of course only one tiny part of it.)

As big as the world is it will always be good to actually know some terrific others out there and that makes all the inspiring difference.


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