Instead of last-minute fact-memorization and writing essays, I packed four-days' worth of clothes. As opposed to eating "shrimp-flavored" Instant Ramen, wolfing down oil-drenched and sugar-glazed donuts, and imbibing Red Bull, I savored linguini with creamy alfredo sauce and marinated shrimp, snacked on cinnamon- and honey-covered pumpkin seeds, and sampled the finest wines on Earth. I, too, crashed on my bed, fatigue and jaded. However, in lieu of doing so from standardized tests and mid-quarter stresses, I did so from this thing called "jetl ag", a sensation I haven't experienced in over a decade.
At the end of October, I attended Slow Food International's Terra Madre, a four-day gathering in Torino, Italy. It consisted of over 7,000 food producers, chefs, academics, seed savers, and students from over 1,600 food communities. I joined over 1,300 youth, who have, are, and will take on the next discussion about our global food system.
Food. Everyone eats it, yes. But it is not until you immerse yourself in another culture that food truly becomes a common language, way of thinking, and lifestyle.