It was such a joyous moment.
With the garage door thrust open, and the balmy winter wind singing through my hair, I danced around in my socks and sweater to the tune of Bollywood music. And as I danced – singing along to words I don’t really know – I flipped through my new bounty of aged National Geographics, touching the faded pictures of far-off lands and feeling a kindred spirit with those also looking for adventure.
This moment, this seemingly inconsequential moment on a Sunday morning, left me feeling buoyant, energized, and alive. Here I am, I thought, a young woman on the cusp of her dreams, living in a truly connected, globalized 21st century.
It’s now Week 6 in my second spring semester (almost halfway through!), and I’ve never felt more at peace in my new hOUme, Ohio University. I look back on all of the worrying and doubts of my first three semesters and realize that, as stressful as these months seem in hindsight, I don’t have any regrets.
Life is a series of obstacles and pressure points, molding us into the light we were meant to shine. But without those moments of darkness, we forget the radiance of the sun.
And so in the sun I bask.
I’ve made strides in my developments as a Pre-Bachelor of Specialized Studies major, and I’ve jumped at opportunities to explore this wonderfully diverse world around me. Joining the International Student Union this semester has connected with a circle of friends, all of whom share a passion for making their world a better, more connected place. It’s also been a space to marvel at the workings of democracy, a freedom and a privilege I’ve learned to savor as an American.
But more importantly, I’m remembering to cultivate my own spirit along the way. Jumping back into dance classes and Zumba nights at the recreation center may seem as insignificant as breaking a sweat, but I would disagree. Dance has always been a part of my soul – since the early age of 2.5 years – so it makes sense that without dance I lose a part of me. Zumba especially, with its Latin-infused melodies, awakens an even deeper part of my soul. I don’t know what words the speakers are blaring, but I don’t have to. It’s the music and the beat, the wave of lightness and ecstasy pounding through my veins, that keeps my feet moving. I don’t have to know to understand how the music makes me feel.
Lastly, I’m setting my sails and preparing for take-off…literally! As of last month, I have officially purchased my first international flight to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh – and I couldn’t be more thrilled. This semester, I’m working alongside colleagues in the Ohio University Global Leadership Center and the American University of Phnom Penh on a project for the Enrich Institute, a non-governmental research organization dedicated to “green thinking” and sustainable development practices in Southeast Asia. (If this organization doesn’t match my passion for promoting environmental awareness, I don’t know what does!)
And so, I will close with another scene that made me smile.
I’m on my way to the recreation center, a yoga mat tucked gently under my parka-protected arm, and the February air is brisk on my cheeks. As I pass underneath an early blossoming tree (with the dramatic weather changes of late, no wonder the poor sapling is confused), the night sky opens up before me. I catch my breath as I count the stars, etching out the Big Dipper in my mind. Blinking back tears against the biting wind, I’m reminded of just how small I am – a dot on this Earth in the span of the universe.
But that doesn’t stop me from taking the world by storm.
Until next month,
This post also appears on labellamemoir.tumblr.com