My favorite encounter each day is the interaction with other people from other countries. Sometimes good and sometimes maybe not so good. But the encounters in and of themselves is what teaches us, as a group, so much about ourselves as individuals and also Americans. As an episcopal young adult delegate from Alabama the favorite thing I hear everyday is how hilarious my accent is. I think I pride myself in my accent because it represents who I am. Another way in which many delegates at the CSW represent themselves is in terms of what they wear. This in and of itself is often a story screaming to be heard. Are we willing to listen? A member of our delegation likes to spend an hour getting dressed and picking out the right outfit...matching jewlery, clothes, and even eye glasses...but what does this mean? I think it shows preparedness, organization, and thoughtfulness. So how do we see each other in terms of our own culture let alone people from other countries? Coming from a small town, being able to interact with people from so many different cultures, backgrounds, races, and ethnicities has provided me with a golden opportunity to examine who I am and where I come from.
I feel as though I have become so close with our group so very quickly. Not only the chance to spend time with other young adults, but other young adults that share a common belief as Episcopalians but also a goal and vision in terms of gender quality. No matter where we come from and how different our lives are on a daily basis, the opportunity to come together as a group has meant so much to me.
I am so thankful and prayerful for this week and I hope you all can be too. Not only for ourselves, but for the work that will continue to grow long after this experience.
Lauren Wainwright, Diocese of Alabama