What I learned from my study abroad trip to Aghia Paraskevi, Greece is to sit back and relax a little-to find tranquility withing a tantrum of events beyond my control. Not to settle for complacency, or contentment, but to seek a slice of un-rivaled happiness. I found myself overcome with excitement at the thought of my unfilfilled purpose on this earth. But I also came to terms with the hard truth that I will never be able to do it all or have it all in this world. I don’t want to. I want to live for the small unforgettable meet-cutes with strangers I will probably never see again. I want to spend every waking moment living-truly living. I never want to take a deep friendship for granted, nor can I afford to. I learned that money is replaceable but experiences last a lifetime.
Here’s a quick look back at the group of the people who made my experience unforgettable.
And a thank you to the special people who will always remain in my heart.
To Omar: Someone once told me that you are the type of friend that only comes around only once in a lifetime. I think that person was wise beyond their years. You were my rock throughout this journey. Beyond that, you will continue to inspire me with your loving, forgiving nature and the humor and kindness that you show to every stranger, acquaintance and friend that crosses your path. I hope to see you in Egypt soon, my friend.
To Anas: Thank you for instilling in me a new-found sense of pride in my origins, and pushing me to be a better Muslim. I marvel at your dedication to your studies and your knowledge about world history, news, and politics. Although I will never forget the chilling stories you have told me about your home country of Lebanon, I will also never forget the strength and perseverance with which you bore these trials in your lifetime.
To Omiros and his family: Thank you so much for letting me stay with you. Staying with you, I learned the true meaning of Greek hospitality. Someday, I hope to return the favor.
To Alyssa: I hope you will continue to be the powerhouse woman I came to know, love and respect during our wild, Spring Break adventures throughout Europe. I hope you return someday to Paris and live your dream… the city that stole both of our hearts.
To Georgia and Gabriela: You were the best volunteer leaders I could have ever asked for, you taught me that volunteering is simple-it is a way of life and a privilege to those who choose its path. Thank you for putting up with my horrible Greek accent and embodying the true sense of the word: leader.
To Sarah, Elise and Rachel: You may have been my roommates but I consider you family. Deep down inside I hope that our story will echo that of the Sisterhood of the traveling pants, and that we may reunite one day to hear about the beautiful lives that we have all chosen to lead..
Looking back on the trip all I can think is how the time was stolen from me, and incessantly worry if and how anyone will remember me. But this is silly. for It is enough for me to have touched the lives of a few, good people and for them to have touched my life in return.