Phoning Home

Jackson Freeman
Universidad de Burgos, Spain
Major: Secondary Education English

To live a successful life, communication is key. I have always believed that language is mankind’s most powerful tool. Some may say the atomic bomb but its construction would not have been possible without proper communication between the scientists behind the Manhattan Project and its detonation would not be possible without an “OK” from the Commander-in-Chief. Others might say fire is our most powerful tool but if you’re on fire for whatever reason you better know how to ask for water. I am a student of English and Spanish and to study the latter is my motive behind my relocation to Spain for these four months and the rationale behind my choice is studies is to pursue a mastery of this communication; for it is only through the wonders of adequate communication can you call home and keep your mother from having a heart attack from worrying about you.

The Streets of Burgos
The Streets of Burgos

It did not take long for me to establish contact with my home in Michigan once I got to Spain. In fact, it was rather instant, as per was demanded by my folks. The Apple application FaceTime has so far been my primary method of communicating with my family and we chat at least once a week, if not more. We converse so frequently for a number of reasons, the greatest of which being that we miss each other greatly. I do not believe I have ever been away from home for more than a month at a time and I am right now a month and a half into my program, so we are all feeling a little far from each other right now. However, through the wonder of technology, I have been speaking to the faces of my whole family through my little magic talky box, so I can’t feel all that distant. It’s a relief to hear their voices and receive updates on the goings-on back home. Even the things that sound routine and business-as-usual are a comfort because such activities are so representative of life back in the States. I miss home, this much is certain and obvious, but I can only imagine how hard it must have been for students abroad (or any international traveler, really) before the invention of such technologies. To have to wait for letters to cross the ocean then return, or even to send a simple, crackly phone call across the Atlantic simply would not have sufficed for me. I am grateful for the communicative resources I have.

My friends and I have been keeping in touch much, as well. I have over three hundred photographs uploaded to my Facebook page so they are all updated regularly on that which I have been doing here. One of my friends, Mike, told me that if I died overseas he would never forgive me and that he’d go to war with Spain if such a thing were to transpire, so I’m glad I can provide constant updates to assure him that I’m still kicking. Facebook, Snapchat, FaceTime, WhatsApp, texting, and e-mail are all luxuries of the modern era that I do not take for granted in keeping me connected with the US of A.

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