Editor’s Note: Shortly after Cameron Swallow joined her husband, President John Swallow, at Carthage last August, she decided to get to know her new home. She kicked off a Welcome Home Tour” and invited Carthage students, faculty, staff, and alumni to be her tour guides. She started a blog and traveled with Carthaginians to different spots in Kenosha, Racine, and beyond.
Now in year two of her husband’s presidency, Cameron is continuing the Welcome Home Tour in order to get to know Carthage — and its people and connections — even better. Here is her first post of her “sophomore year.”
• • •
Our first year at Carthage was a whirlwind of new places and faces. John and I traveled in southeastern Wisconsin, Illinois, California, Arizona, and Washington, D.C. to meet with alumni.
This summer, we ventured further. In July, John and I visited Carthage’s partner institutions in Tokyo, Beijing, and Hong Kong, meeting up with Carthage alumni along the way.
Neither of us had ever visited Asia before, never been further east than Israel, and neither of us spoke the languages of our hosts, a disconcerting factor. Yet despite those challenges (and the fact that July is an unpleasantly hot time to travel in China), it was a magnificent trip. We came home with a greatly enlarged sense of the size and complexity of the world. It is both humbling and elevating to realize both how huge and diverse the cultures of the world are, and also how Carthage can reach across oceans and languages to form connections anywhere.
We arrived home in early August — exactly one year after I drove from Tennessee to Wisconsin with a car full of pets and precious objects. I had set myself the task of writing a final post about my Welcome Home Tour before classes began for my second year. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to continue it instead of wrapping it up.
There is still so much I have not seen and done! I never got to play Bingo at the Moose Lodge. I have not yet polka-ed. I missed my chance for local cross-country skiing last winter by being away at the best time, and I witnessed no snowball fights or snow-fort building. I’ve only been to two supper clubs, and I am interested in trying favorites with regulars all over the state. And, while a frozen stadium seat at Lambeau Field does not sound inviting, I am interested in sharing a game-day experience with real fans closer to home — the kind of fans who wear gear!
So I’m signing on for a sophomore year at Carthage, in Kenosha. We can say my declared major is a new sort of “Home Economics.”
The photos here show us on red bridges in Hakone and Tokyo, Japan, as well as on the Carthage campus.
The sight of the red bridges in Japan was a thrill of recognition, a connection back to our new home. Bridges connect in both directions — from home to the world, and from the world back home — and I’m hoping to make those connections deliberately in this second year, strengthening my own sense of home and Carthage’s ties to the community.
Please help me, students, faculty and staff, alumni, parents, everyone, by suggesting places and events at the College, in Kenosha, in other Wisconsin towns, in the greater Midwest, that will contribute to both goals. If there’s not already a bridge, we can build one!