Greetings all this is the first part of my countless stories and experiences overseas in Europe. But before I tell you guys everything as I go on with these posts I need to put down some ground rules for myself so you all know what I am all about. First thing is I am not going to hide anything from any of you, because this isn't some extended vacation in a foreign country, this is about living in another foreign country. And that is a big difference because this typical American style life we live instantly changes once you get on that plane about to embark an adventure of a life time. So with that I asked you all to keep an open mind about what I say to you because it is the experiences of myself and my fellow students who are on the same adventure as I am in and this is not my story but our story.
So now that we got the rules out of the way I am going to give you a little background of myself so you know where I come from because once you do you are going to understand why the things I say in these posts are said and most importantly why this 4 month integration in another society is so important to me. So how about we start with my name. My name is Nick Truog and I am from West Allis Wisconsin in the United States of America. I was raised by a single mother with two other siblings, Jackie Truog (Mother) and my big sister Jennifer Zenke and my little sister Abby Truog. My mom is Nurse which is a good job but when you are raising three kids and paying off student loan debt, its hard to grow up in a way that makes you ambitious and expect unbelievable things to happen to you. So in short terms it is rough growing up for me and my sisters, we are faced with consistent grief and troubled times that we didn't get the opportunities that most children get growing up, but our Mom taught us that behind all of the Bullshit that happens with us it just made us stronger and the love of our mother is the one thing that I can say that is the one thing I have that no other child has in the world and that's the love of my mother.
This is only the beginning of my story so instead of talking to you year by year I am going to skip over years to show the crucial reasons why I thought I would never step outside the country or even go to college or even dream to be something bigger than what I was while growing up. When I was 12 years old I was arrested and put into plank road detention center in Wawautosa Wisconsin and later St. Charles shelter and the best way I can describe this place is that it is where kids go who can't go home and have no one willing to come get them. So when you are put in a place like these a thought of having a future is foolish because I am more worried about getting out alive. Eventually I was taken out in the care of my Dad. Now I didn't know my Dad growing up so when he walked back into my life to take care of me, it was a big shock and cultural adjustment for me myself. Well when I lived with him we really never didn't stay in same place, and what I mean about that is that we never really stayed in the same place for long over the course of the 2 years I lived with him we have had 4 different houses including a summer in a hotel. So just by telling you that you can only imagine the stuff I went through these years. Now when my took me in he was going through his own trials and tribulations and even though he couldn't take care of me like he would like, he never would let me go cause he didn't want me to end up like he did grow up as a kid and that is in the streets. Through this time span of living with my Dad, we struggled with money which is why we moved so much as well as the countless nights we had to power off, so most of those nights we would run a power strip down from the basement upstairs in our duplex just to get some power in our rooms. Just to be in that atmosphere of that life style makes you feel poor, and what I mean by poor, I mean not in a way of being homeless but the in way that you feel like you are damn near being in that life style, where you have to struggle and work your ass off just so you are not homeless, to the point where you have to buy everything you need with all the money you have and when a bill comes out of no where, you finally realize you do not have anything to fall back on when life bites you in the ass. That's how it was for me and my dad but the only difference between me and him is that I had no money. So my opportunities for enjoying my teen years were slim because I was unable to hang out with those potential life long friends I encountered, because of money and due to the fact I lived an hour bus away from school. It was tough but school was all I had to escape the darkness in that time. In Plato's allegory of the cave, he describes our world as a a giant cave where majority of us live in covered in darkness, and in that darkness we are kept from the light which is knowledge but most importantly hope, and it my early teen years school was that light for me because it was only thing keeping me from complete darkness because the influential people I meet through school and in other places like Running Rebels Community Organization are really the ones who kept me going. People like Marshall Williams of that Community Organization mentored me from then and still does today, he would pick me up from my house everyday at 10:00 am just to take me to the library or charity events just to show me what life has to offer when you grow up but in order to get that you need to keep fighting on through the struggle. Another person who was very influential person to me while growing up was my history teacher Jim Liska. Now this man was something else, when you talk about a teacher who shows passion in what he does for a living, no one can get better that Mr. Liska. His Who-Raw give no fuck attitude really put a spark in what he was teaching. Now what this man did for me is actually a pretty funny story, because when I first met him in 8th grade as his student, me and him really did not get along, I can promise you I got kicked out of his class every other day but for some odd reason even though my 13 year old idiotic self drove him insane he always was there to get me out of trouble as well as there to talk to me and find out why I acted the way I did at that time. Liska would do this for me all through high school, I wouldn't piss him off as often but their was a few moments when I did. He was just a good person to talk to about life, but more importantly about history in general because he made me realize that what we learn from history is essentials for us to get us through life and to become successful. Even though the history we learn has a much bigger world wide impact, we connect those events to similar struggles in our life. That is what he taught me and because of the connection me and Mr. Liska had he helped me find out what I wanted to do with my life and that is to get involved in some type of politics.
These 2 years were the most detrimental moments of my life and it really made me think that was no life for me, but after all the struggle I learned one thing, in life their is going to be a lot of people who are just going to want to screw you over for whatever reason they have to do so, but the one thing my parents taught me what my Mentor Marshall Williams taught me what my High School teacher Jim Liska taught me was to never quit and by far they didn't raise no quitter in me. I would go on about my earlier years but instead I will save that novel for another day because this is also pretty vague as it is to me and I am sorry but I just need to get you all up to speed. Well later I eventually graduated High School and ended up spending my next two years at a small school in Decatur Illinois called Millikin University. At this school I began to mold myself in discovering who I am and how I wanted to take my desired career in politics and molding in it in something that can help better other people around me. I really didn't find this out till I joined my fraternity Sigma Lambda Beta. I know it may sound funny to all of you but these great men have really helped me in finding out who I am and what I wanted to do with my life. When I was being educated to become a member of my fraternity my membership educator Chase Plasencia really taught me something that really has been in my head since he first taught me and my line this and that is "Pain is temporary and Pride is Forever". What that meant to me was that everything I've been through in my life whether it was being arrested at the age of 12 or being stressed, all of those trials I went through in my life were very painful but it was temporary but it is my pride that is whats going to get me through those tough times and into the light or prosperity. This lesson stuck with me and with that I quote I treasured it in my heart so that I would never forget it. That lesson took me far because it kept my grades high when I was struggling with my personal life, and it reminded me that something good was eventually going to happen.
When I mean good things were going to happen, I meant good things were going to happen because in Spring 2014 I learned about a scholarship in my honors program that would allow me to study abroad in another country as long as I meant the requirements, and because of that fired up work ethic all of these people put in me while growing up as well as in college, made no question to me that I was more ready for this opportunity so I took it. And well that's how I ended up here and Rome. So now you know a little about me and how I got here, if you want to learn more about it feel free to comment with your question with your email so I can respond or just email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you guys later and stay tuned for my next post.