Summer Musings: Past, Present, and Future

I know I haven’t written anything these past few weeks, but seriously, I haven’t had much to say.  My Spring Semester ended as quietly as it started (like every semester before it), and I can honestly say that I feel like I learned pretty much nothing of interest…except that American History is unpleasant and that Statistics is…lame.  But not as lame as Math & Politics (don’t get me started). Anyway, it was a pretty mediocre four months in terms of grades and academic interest, but whatever. What I will take away from this semester is my internship at USAID, affirming my interest in International Development, and settling on my study abroad location (Ghana). Fun stuff!!

Now that I’m home I’ve begun my little internal countdown until I leave for Africa (August 2).  I haven’t allowed myself to really think about it yet, but I know that will change as the weeks go by. Sometimes I really can’t believe the decisions I make; part of me thinks I’m completely insane for choosing this location to spend 4.5 months in, over more conventional places that would have probably made my mother less horrified. If somebody told me 5 years ago that I would be going to Ghana instead of somewhere like Paris or Australia, I would have laughed. But here I am, less than 2 months away from going to Africa once again. (FYI: Polio, Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever vaccinations are not pleasant to receive at once.)

I can’t help but think back to last June when I was in the early days of my month in Botswana.  Looking back, that was probably the best month of my life and it has taken a while for me to realize that and appreciate that experience. I don’t know if I’m ever going to have another moment like that when life is so completely simple and carefree. I probably wasted too much time feeling awkward and out of place (per usual), but by July 1 I really think that I formed some great relationships with a few people. I really miss being out in the middle of nowhere, seeing elephants every day, showering under the stars, playing ridiculous card games (and gasp! Drinking games!!), baking bread, sitting around the fire, and doing some really meaningful work with so many wonderful people. (Things I don’t miss? falling into the river and down a tree within 24 hours. My life.) It didn’t matter who we were or where we came from. We all came together from all over the world with a common purpose, working together to help in any small way we could. Maybe I won’t return to that place or see those people again, but one year later I can freely say that I will cherish that month of happy memories always.

So here I am, just weeks away from my second trip to Africa in a completely different situation, one that will likely challenge me so much more than my previous travels abroad. I look forward to sharing every experience and will hopefully have a weekly entry under a new blog focusing on my time away.

In the meantime, there’s fun to have!! I was in Cape Cod last week visiting my only friend from school, and I can sum up those days by saying that everything there is better than Long Island, except for maybe their pizza (a pretty huge disadvantage for them). Every single house is more beautiful than the next, and the beaches make Jones Beach seem more disgusting than it usually feels. Plus, there are some wild and angry people there, and those are two of my favorite personality traits!!

Other than that, I’ve done some “reading.” I put that in quotes because for my first Summer Reading experience I chose…50 SHADES OF GREY!! I can probably write about 5 separate entries on the horrors hidden inside every page of that “book,” but I can probably sum up the experience with the following quote: “I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d like to claim your ass, Anastasia.” What the actual Hell?!!? The rest of the book is equally or more horrifying and if I ever read the words “inner goddess” again I will not be a happy boy. But who am I kidding? I will probably read Book 2 soon just so I can hate myself some more. On the bright side, I started Life of Pi so that should be less physically painful.

Also, I saw Once on Broadway with my mom the other day and I can honestly say that it was best musical I’ve seen, probably ever. I don’t remember the film that much other then not really liking it (I must have been insane that day) but seeing it on stage was a really beautiful experience. If you’re going to NYC anytime soon..get tickets!!!

Other then a trip to Vegas this coming weekend (Celine <3) and a couple trips to Florida, this summer is gonna be all about Ghana planning and hopefully some minimal fun in between! I’m looking forward to starting tennis lessons again tomorrow and watching Maria Sharapova probably lose win the French Open this weekend! Let’s pray for that beautiful big bitch Goddess.

Until next time, have a wonderful summer and thanks for reading! Here’s my current favorite song by Damien Rice.