Wednesday, October 14, 2009
On Bravery And Other Choices
"It's very brave to live abroad, I think."
-Mira's aunt, this evening
Every time the subject comes up, I laugh it off. My cousin Jaime also said something about it, that living in a foreign country constituted bravery. I remain unconvinced.
I am not, nor have I ever been, what anyone would consider brave. My friend Niki was shocked when I posted photos of me crossing a rope bridge. I am neurotic about hand washing. I urge friends abroad to lookout for ebola and gunfire... even when they're going to Spain. I will not ride a bicycle without a helmet. I won't even climb the rock wall at Oberlin without one.
In Harry Potter terms, I am much more Ravenclaw than Gryffindor, and even that's flattering myself more than I should. (For those rusty on their J.K. Rowling, Ravenclaw's motto is "Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure"-- a sentiment the overall thesis of the books disputes by roundly proving love is the great conqueror, after all. Gryffindors value bravery and loyalty above all else. My personal verdict's still out on this one: you have to live longer than I have to decide which virtue to prize most.)
So living abroad for four months is not what I'd call brave. Apparently, others would, and that's encouraging, but I can't ascribe to it just yet. The biggest problem of my week was using the post office for the first time to send a birthday package to Los Angeles. The only trial I faced today was slicing my finger while chopping an onion. The grandest hazard of my time in Denmark so far was Monday, riding on the back of a bike (sans helmet-- for the first and only time in my life).
Studying abroad in Copenhagen is many things, but one thing it isn't is brave. Those other kids you hear about studying in Cuba and Namibia are brave. Going to Northern Europe for four months would, if I wasn't very much in school, constitute a luxury vacation.