The Cocoon

Tre Nowaczynski
April 14, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016 1:54

Alhamar, Granada

              Entrenched in routine, blending deeper into a backdrop of an old Muslim stronghold usurped by colonialism and urbanized centuries later I ask myself: Where I have been in the midst of this experience, that I may never be able to fully re-tell, like a game of “Where’s Waldo?” streaming online, but as I shed the shell of my Americanness I only become increasingly more indistinguishable. How I have been throughout my time here? I may never be able to remember that either. I can ask friends, reread blogs, journal entries, scribbles, watch videos, look at pictures, and day dream. But the experience can and will only be lived once. It is in this way that our souvenirs and other tangible mementos, memories and stories reflect fragments of ourselves, a fractured kaleidoscope with each section capturing your essence. At times these pieces of us can be misconstrued and misinterpreted and regrettable. These pieces of time can be exaggerated, imaginary, or entirely truthful. The importance of each moment is less important than the collection of them all, forming a ghost of yourself, lingering until the memories fade or the souvenirs have been discarded. My fear is that in losing these pieces to an abyss of memories, I could also lose parts of myself. The parts of myself that are ever present, but locked in the forbidden section of my subconscious. The parts of me that dance on the wires of an invisible ventriloquist, a foundation layered deep between the faces of my existence. These are the parts of me that I want to examine. These are the parts of me that I hope I can explore, perhaps not in pursuit of problems or solutions, but merely as a milestone of where I was and how I was. Markers and scatterplot points dedicated to the projection of my goals and progress. And while I am most certainly living in the moment every day, this type of reflection serves a different purpose than becoming trapped in this phase of experience. This type of reflection allows me to think back on what I’ve done and what I can do in order to make the best out of the remaining portion of the semester. My mom asked me today if I ever pinch myself to see if I am dreaming, years in the future reminiscing on these very moments, trying to catch them like ever elusive butterflies floating away into a pool of intracerebral creation. I do.

Stay with me, I’m going to transition without transitions into another topic. Imagine this bizarre/reoccurring/alternate voice as a ginormous semi colon where the subject of the phrase is the title.

              I’m going to Africa in 6 hours. I’M GOING TO AFRICA IN 6 HOURS. Although I was aware of this trip to Morocco, I have never been more excited than right now. As my excitement grows, my interest in sleep diminishes as I overcome writers block and words spew from my mind to my fingers, shredding the cloak of invisibility they wear in my mind (in run on sentences). This trip will allow me to return to the motherland my racial classification awards me, even though in reality, my life and my experience are far removed from claims to the continent. Even still, there is something bone-chillingly satisfying about journeying to historical sites that are relevant to your own conception. In the same breath, this trip will also be my first insight into a nation that is not controlled by predominantly Christian values. Although deep within our political structures and social organizations of time, space, and worth, religion plays an irreplaceable role in who were are both individually and collectively. At this level of analysis, I am interested in discovering varying values and perceptions of the world as well as the origins of these conclusions. Truthfully, this is what I seek in every new place, but with this angle of social variation I hope to further my knowledge of the world and the people that inhabit it. I hope to push myself to challenge my own ideas, perhaps shedding light on my own existence in ways that I had never considered, pursuing an end to the internal struggle.


I played in my first Frisbee tournament last weekend in Seville and fell in love with yet another sport. I’ve been to new restaurants, discovered new parks, and spaces to write in the city. I’ve met more people and have been lucky enough to share this experience with family and friends both with me and abroad.


At times I feel myself looking too far inwardly in hopes of finding something to pick apart. While I am still able to push my own limits, enabling growth and self-improvement, I find myself often desiring one thing and then pursuing another at the whim of self-consuming thoughts, as if embarrassed by my deepest desires.

Moving Forward:

I will continue to put myself into new situations with new people, pursuing all that there is to be learned on this journey. I will make myself uncomfortable at times in order to push back against my own insecurities, with the ultimate goal of breaking free 

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Tre Nowaczynski

<p>A sociology major at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At school I am a two-sport varsity athlete, sing and beat box in an a cappella group on campus and volunteer in the Twin Cities area. In the future I hope to develop and create safer and more integrated communities, creating equal opportunities in urban centers across the US. Specifically I seek to work against structural racism by reducing disparities that are current outcomes of our social systems. This study abroad experience is a time to reflect and immerse myself in an entirely different world beginning first and foremost with a language barrier. I hope to be successful academically and socially as well as learn a lot about myself and the world around me.</p>

2016 Spring
Home University:
Macalester College
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