Dinner and Globalization
By Molly Cameron
April eighth saw another of Sigma Tau Delta’s Dinner and Conversation events. The featured speaker of the evening was Dr. Roberta Di Carmine, a film professor here at Western, presenting an informal look at her extensive world travels. As always, the event began with an array of free food and enlightening conversation, both of which flowed forth abundantly. Students talked amongst themselves about upcoming WIU theatre productions, faculty discussed conventions, and Dr. Helwig flitted about the room attempting to cajole newer chapter members into applying for available officer positions.
Slowly people made their way to the parlor where we all sat in a friendly circle, which is great for discussion but not ideal for viewing a slideshow. Dr. Di Carmine began in her thick Italian accent to do a bit of show-and-tell of her many international experiences which included Christmas on Easter Island, conferences in Japan and the UK, fun trips to Australia and South America, and her home in Italy. Because of where I was sitting I found it impossible to see any of the pictures on her laptop presentation, but in a way I was glad of this because I got to focus on her thoughts and memories rather than be distracted by beautiful photographs. She explained that one of the reasons that she enjoys taking so many pictures is that in all of the places that she’s been, the colors are always vibrant and fundamentally different from the ones she’s used to. When Dr. Di Carmine mentioned the fact that she inexplicably ends up in cemeteries whenever she wanders, Zoe Detlaf chimed in with an anecdote about her experience in France. Comments like hers were interspersed throughout the presentation and it was clear that everyone felt a connection to the topic and those around them.
After listening to the presentation for a while, several clear themes in Dr. Di Carmine’s travels became apparent. She takes every opportunity to travel even for short periods of time, she loves penguins and hiking, and she generally travels alone. When asked about her solitary travel tendencies, she said that she likes the freedom that comes with being alone. When traveling with her sister she has to make sure that she doesn’t get bored or uncomfortable, while when traveling alone she tends to wander and do things in her own time. For her it is easier to plan things loosely and not be afraid of spur of the moment decisions.
Listening to her tell us the story of her travels, it was easy to see what a positive impact they have had in her life. She is incredibly adaptable, having moved from Italy to live and work in the United States at a relatively young age. She is level headed through challenges, managing to overcome the language barrier in Japan through determination and vigorous gestures. Most importantly she is culturally aware: she has lived briefly with many people from cultures vastly different from her own, and she has developed an outside perspective of the world, examining it from all angles. That is the benefit of this presentation. It was more than a woman showing a group of people all of the cool places that she’s been and things that she’s done, it was a woman leading by example. She has changed her life by allowing it to include so much more than just herself. I can’t speak for the other attendees, but I know I left that meeting with a tear in my eye and a lust for adventure.