We stayed on campus at Dickinson College where the decoration patterns reminded me of MTV's Real World.
I was specifically responsible for researching the archives at the Cumberland County Historical Society and reporting on related community problems.
In my academic research, I learned much about genealogy regarding the Frost family and social injustice against Native Americans at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. I was thrown into a whirlwind of emotions learning about the community's various historical issues including acculturation and assimilation.
Another egregious abuse toward the community I learned about was that, in the past, no more than two African Americans in the area were legally permitted to convene together in public at any given time.
This did not seem wildly alarming for the time period; nevertheless, I was shocked to learn that this type of racist mentality was still highly evident in some community members.
For instance, upon arrival to Pennsylvania, we'd already experienced overt racism as a group. After I claimed my bags, we learned the flight was delayed for one of the other apprentices. So, while we were waiting at the terminal for her plane to arrive, we decided to have a meal and break the ice given this was the first time we were meeting together. But we ran into trouble because our resident advisors (RAs) were unfamiliar with the area too. Strangely, we could not locate any eateries around the airport. So, the RA driving (i.e., Caucasian woman) and the RA in the passenger seat (i.e., Hawaiian woman) decided it was best to stop for help since it was nightfall. The RA driving then asked a man walking down the street for directions to the nearest restaurant. The man initially obliged her request and began to walk toward our van while giving the directions and pointing down the street. She then turned on the van's interior lights to grab a paper and pen to write down the directions he was giving. However, the closer he came to our van, he stopped speaking. As he approached the driver's side window, he scanned the van and saw the rest of us inside (e.g., two African American girls, one Korean boy and one Mexican boy). The man squinted his eyes at us, took two steps backward, pulled his T-shirt up and displayed his confederate flag belt buckle. I was not fully aware of what he meant by this gesture, frankly I assumed he was 51/50, but luckily the RA driving knew what he meant. She skirted off without hesitation. We found a fast food joint where we ate and bonded majorly at from inside the vehicle until the last apprentice's plane touched down.
Also, in my personal research, I learned from a local psychic that I died in a past life as a child, which is apparently why my face never ages. This was most interesting to me.
All things considered, I truly enjoyed my visit to Cumberland County. I am a lover of learning and travel is the best classroom. The fusion of art, education, rich history and forward thinking that I experienced in PA has always stuck with me.