Obviously, “culture shock” is something these study abroad students were prepared for when they journeyed to the other America for the summer. However, what they didn’t expect was difficulty transitioning back into “normal” life in the U.S.A. Even though it was a phone interview, when I asked Margo if she felt like anyone understood what she was going through, I could almost see her confused, if not a little pained, face as she struggled to find words. I think she stated it eloquently when she told me that normal life “doesn’t fit the same again.”
I also liked both girls’s answers to what the first thing they did when they got home was–Margo ate a mammoth American-style meal and Hannah chowed down on a traditional Mexican burrito.
This story is part of the summer relationship series for The Kansan. I enjoyed speaking to this couple–I really got a feel for their relationship and I tried to incorporate their laid-back attitude and competitive nature in the article.
I also included some comments I found from the article that Emilyjane shared on her Facebook. That feedback made me feel like writing this couple’s story was worthwhile and meaningful.
This story is the product of pure journalistic passion. A few days before I started, I met with The Kansan’s adviser, Malcolm Gibson, who simultaneously scared the hell out of me and re-ignited a love for reporting. I dove head-first into this story, asked the right questions and what I came away with is one of the best things I’ve written to date.
This idea was pitched to the Kansan staff back in early February and I was chosen to cover it. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to talk to the AbleHawks, especially when I realized that I knew one the president, E.B.–I had met her in the first month of school at Lewis residence hall and had no idea she had autism. I walked away with more than an hour of interview on my recorder and 5 pages of notes. My editor and I felt that, even though it’s a longer story than they had budged for, every part of this story needed to be included.
A couple of days after the story ran, I got an email from E.B. It’s the little things like this that break the monotony of writing and make me feel accomplished as a storyteller.
I shared in Marcus’s and Emma’s joy when the news that Ad Astra won the election came in via Twitter. The only drawback was trying to decipher the post-celebration interviews over the coalition’s shouting and crying in the background. Although being a member of the Kansan I wasn’t allowed to campaign in any form, I got swept up in the drastically different atmospheres of the evening as it turned from quiet anxiety to victorious camaraderie.