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culture treats women well Well if they are educated and cultured they do and I wanted that life. So I demanded it from my own mother. Which was not normal for me to be a demanding brat. Our trip neared its end and I was invited to stay an additional month. I wanted this trip to never end absolutely YES Mom I want to stay My mothers response Ive already paid for the tickets home and an additional ticket to get you home will be too expen- sive for me. Unacceptable. I had to put my foot down. I was a prin- cess now. I was in Turkey. I was no longer that country Kansas bump- kin. Ive been to another part of the world I was now special This is the only real regret I have in life. Treating my mother dis- respectfully because that is how I thought I needed to behave in order to fit the mold. I was wrong our Turkish hosts were not spoil- ing their daughters like princesses they were treating US like guests. The Turkish culture is very hospi- table and holds the ability to have guests to a high standard. It was my LACK of understanding that made me exactly the stereotype I so dreadfully did not want to become. Sheya NEVER behaved the way I did it was I that under- stood wrong. Our trip came to an end me on the plane with my mom and brother. At the time I did not see the importance of the travel as a cultural explora- tion I saw it as a privilege. This is where I was oh-so-wrong. It wasnt until the next semes- ter of university when I met my friend Tamiko from Japan that I had learned the error of my way. Tomiko a student from an upbringing similar to my own. Modest yet education driven. I listened to her express her grati- tude in just breathing the air on the other side of the world. This gratitude of exploration was an insight to her and WHO she was. Look I was 19. I dont expect ANY 19 year old to know who they are but to be able to carry yourself in another culture respectfully is key. Tomiko did JUST that. It was my time spent with her that I gained insight to her culture and her into mine. We laughed about generalizations quirky culture icons and disagreed on several out dated traditions. I was able to learn from Tomiko how to be myself in a strange land. This friendship couldnt have been more important. The next year I was a fish out of water no mom to watch over me and no one to keep me in check other than ME I left dear ole USA and studied abroad in the furthest place geographical- ly I could think of Australia. Upon arriving I thought I can be ANYONE no one knows me here. I smiled laughed out loud and let that thought go. I didnt want to BE anyone else. I wanted to learn about this other culture so that it could ADD to ME. I made friends there that will be friends for life I even learned that trusting yourself is always the BEST self. I came back with heaps of stories those will be for anoth- er article both good and bad I had a different view on the world. There is a LOT out there and I am just a small part of it all. But I GET to be a part of it. Having an international friends can broad- en your horizon or influence you in a way youve never expected. In my experience welcome all from everywhere youll at least have gratitude and thats a whole lot Isabel Herrman is an artist first believes in humanity and strides everyday to make the world a better place. Her experiences and stories are shared to further connect us all. When shes not writing about life you can find her at the beach or in a coffee shop soaking in the worlds beauty or simply people watching. 25 ..F2016