Monthly Archives: March 2017

Who is Dwayne? An OpEd

I consider my first two posts crucial to introducing myself and this project, yet I have failed to discuss the significance of my blogs title. As such, I figure that it is finally time to discuss who Dwayne is and how he has become a part of my experience in Copenhagen. In doing so, the blog will be fully introduced and I can move on to more supplementary topics. To complete this analysis, it is crucial to understand who Dwayne was in the beginning and what he is now. I will conclude this post by discussing the possibilities of Dwayne’s future, although we must remember that his future is inherently unstable and unknown.

I first met Dwayne in Pemberton, Canada last summer in a camping chair eating mac n’ cheese with some friends. He was wearing a green and white rugby jersey with the sleeves cut off and an Indiana Jones hat with a GoPro glued to it. What I first noticed about Dwayne was his sense of humor. It seemed as though his jokes, if you could call them jokes, were designed to make him laugh and no one else. They were packed with obscure references from across the last two decades that few, if any, in a social gathering would understand. Dwayne’s jokes make him laugh like crazy, while everyone else laughs at the confusing nature of the moment. I also recognized Dwayne for his heightened states of social awareness, physical stamina, and musical prowess.

Ice Skating in Frederiksberg

In case I haven’t made it clear, Dwayne was not just some random traveler that I met in the Canadian wilderness. Dwayne was Devin, or at least a persona that Devin could shift into (like the cover of an Animorphs book). The catalysis of Dwayne’s creation is unknown, and I consider this a crucial aspect of his story as a character. He did not come about because of a single event. Instead, he arose naturally from the accumulation of my experiences. Last semester, I continued to notice Dwayne, although there was no doubt that his presence was beginning to dwindle. Part of me felt that this was a sad loss, because I enjoyed having another side of myself that I didn’t quite understand.

Pictured: Nick Horst, another Whitman student studying at DIS.

Prior to my departure from Copenhagen, I decided that I wanted to fully embrace my Dwayne persona. My plan was simple; I was going to introduce myself to everyone, even the teachers in my classes, as Dwayne. Studying abroad would offer me the perfect chance to try to craft an alter ego and live my life under another name for a short amount of time. In order to prepare myself for the transformation, I felt I needed a slight change to my physical appearance, so I grew out my ginger beard and dyed my hair silver. I stepped onto my flight from San Francisco to Copenhagen, ready to begin my life as Dwayne.

A Danish Birthday Party in Ballerup

Ultimately, the plan didn’t really work for two crucial reasons. The first reason is that I underestimated how deeply rooted our names are in our conscious and subconscious memories. When someone would ask what my name is, saying Dwayne nonchalantly was actually pretty difficult. I often stuttered or had to backtrack. Many times I would just say Devin without even thinking about it. The second is that even though I was introducing myself as a different name, I wasn’t acting any differently. Dwayne was no longer really a persona; it was just one of my names. I found myself pondering about Dwayne’s  current nature and significance.

Over time, I came to realize what Dwayne has become to me while I’ve been in Denmark. He is no longer merely an eccentric persona. To me, he represents the characteristics of myself at this stage of my life that I am most proud of and find the most unique. I associate Dwayne with my budding interests in both medicine and filmmaking, because who else would have two passions that are so polar? Moreover, because I’m delving into these subjects so deeply while studying at DIS, it seems as though Dwayne is present within my academics and not just my social circles.

Semmelweis University Heart and Vascular Center in Budapest

I also credit Dwayne with my rekindled interests in fitness and rugby. Since last summer, my passion and interest in rugby and general fitness was starting to fade. In Copenhagen, my desire to push my body to it’s limits has returned. Thanks to the gym at my kollegium, the rugby team at Copenhagen Business School, and the boxing gym of an old British man underneath a French bistro, my body is once again on the path of improvement through hard work.

Boxing Gym underneath La Petanque bistro                     Szechenyi Bath in Budapest

                                  However, these characteristics that Dwayne represents are not separated from my own identity. In fact, they are the most important parts of my identity at this moment. As such, Dwayne is no longer separated from Devin; the two have become conjoined and the line between them grows ever blurrier. You can follow Dwayne on instagram at d.r.dwayne