A Unique Reality

Finding peace after struggle leads one down a unique path. For myself, I faced a year of many personal hardships. Over time, I decided I could no longer continue that way of living. With that conclusion, I had no choice but to let go of them and start anew. Accept that I am human, forgive myself, turn the page, and begin again.

Only this time, I was able to carry a new knowledge. With knowledge came strength. That strength brought me to new places, to new people. It brought me on a trip that I knew would impact my life in a way I was unaware of. It became just one of the many opportunities that would lead me down a ceaseless path to find internal peace.

My journey is uniquely my own and I am grateful for the fertile life that I live. However, the purpose in which I am traveling to Germany is uniquely tied to that of those that I will meet, to write a new chapter.

Opportunity to begin again.

To find peace. To find find strength, love, and compassion in mankind. To find refuge.

I will hear stories of conditions I could not begin to imagine. Through their experience and voices will I only lightly begin to understand just a small percentage of the conflict and suffering that exists on Earth.

As I sit and write in a beautiful park, my mind wonders off. Simultaneously, I watch the ducks swim in the pond, feel the cool breeze roll in after a few days of sweltering heat, hear a mother warmly speaking to her daughter in a language I am yet unable to understand. I think about family back home. This is my peaceful reality.

How at this time it’s early in the morning so my mother is still asleep. When she wakes up, she will make her daily smoothie, then go over to my Grandma’s house as she always does. How my dad is probably the only one awake and is getting ready to go to work, so I will send him a text. I know that my brother is also home visiting them. He is home to gather some items to bring to his new apartment in Chicago. I know they are home; I know home is safe.

I am grateful that when my mind wanders, by default, I don’t have to worry about the conditions of the environment in which my family is surrounded. That when we communicate, the conversation is one that is light-hearted. I don’t go into conversation fearing bad news. I don’t have to worry about hearing if a family member lost their life due to grisly terrorism. I don’t have to question the condition of my house and my family’s belongings. I don’t live with the looming anxiety that I will never see my family again.

This note mainly consists of self-reflection with my experiences here thus far. Coming to conclusions and realizations of these forced, dark realities that our brothers and sisters are forced to encounter on this divided planet that we all call home.

We hear stories through the media, but with that, facts are shared, rarely ever the voices or the emotions of those that are trapped by such destruction and terrorism. A segment or a clip may be showed. For some it could evoke emotion and sympathy. A moment to understand a fraction of the suffering in the world. For others, it’s merely equal to a work of fiction because it is not a reality they have ever been forced to encounter.

While the work and objective of this trip for myself and my peers has just begun, we came in with a general mentality towards the refugee crisis. As the weeks go on we are going to hear stories and listen to the voices of those that are portrayed merely as refugees and less fortunate rather than human beings just like you or me. We have our stories, they have theirs.

I will explore the discrimination. The lack of intersection between one group of people and another. Views and opinions on this subject matter. Understanding the existence of the various realities. More holistically, why there is such a divide and fear of people merely trying to find opportunity and sanctuary.

I will be humbled, I will learn, and I will be ready to help share their stories.





Shannon Sawatzki
Hello friends, I'm Shannon. I enjoy writing, interpersonal communication, and peace studies topics. John Hughes films and classic rock are the backbone of my existence. I thrive off of matcha lattes, seeing a dog in the general vicinity, and day dreaming to the sultry sound of The 1975.

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