Friday, June 20, 2014

"Perhaps, Someday, We Will Look Back Upon These Things with Joy"

Last April, I got an e-mail that led my roommate Victoria to recite a rousing rendition of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh The Places You’ll Go:” I was accepted to YASC and was headed to Haiti in a few months. We were sitting with other good friends in Fordham’s Rose Garden, one of the most beautiful places in the world, in my humble opinion. The central feature of the garden is a fountain surrounded by a quote by Virgil: “Perhaps, someday, we will look back upon these things with joy.”
The family and me in front of the fountain on my graduation day. 

The fountain was installed while I was abroad in France to much uproar: students thought the quote was inaccurate. “This is college. It is fun now.” The quote always spoke to me, however. Late nights studying for genetics exams weren't always the most fun, but I joyfully remember my roommates dancing into the room with headlamps on to disrupt my studying. I remember 2 am pizza runs during finals or that feeling of achievement when I finally understood what Plato was saying.

Living in Haiti, I often remember that quote. When the person I want to meet with is 45 minutes late. When I am sweating profusely as I try to eat my lunch (Who serves soup when it is 95 degrees out? The answer is Haitians). When I think I cannot handle another white carbohydrate. When I am having one of those off days where my French suddenly makes me sound like an illiterate five year old or when I really wish that I got the joke at lunch. When it takes four hours to drive me the 26 miles from Port au Prince to Leogane. A thousand little daily inconveniences that make my life so deliciously different. A thousand little daily differences that make life a joy here.

In a little over a month, I will dive into a crazy, incredible, all consuming adventure as a medical student at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, which will certainly be full of its fair share of late nights and will hopefully include some roommates who will dance with headlamps. But in these final few weeks, I find myself becoming nostalgic for the day to day things that yes, have made my life more difficult, but also less ordinary. That have put things into perspective for me. That have challenged me to think differently and act differently, walk differently and speak differently, to think differently and perceive differently.

No, it has not all been rainbows and butterflies. But in those storm clouds and baby tarantulas, there is a beautiful, well lived life that I am thrilled to have experienced. 

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