“I don’t have time to be dead”

April 9

I don’t have the most refined palette, I can’t really taste the difference between lemon and lime, or sniff out e Whole Foods cinnamon from the regular grocery store cinnamon but my god, the bagel I just ate was awful. It tasted like eating softly-baked cardboard but since I spent two bucks on it and I’m not sure the ten peanuts Southwest gave me were a sufficient meal I had to stuff it all down my throat. I just hope it doesn’t take a hundred years to break down. Thanks a lot Starbucks. Never again will I look at a bagel in your shop.

Even though I felt after my extended spring break that I was going to be buried beneath an avalanche of assignments, I realized I wasn’t. And with my eye on the calendar, I also found a weekend to run away to North Carolina. What a good trip that has been. Pushing back all the stress and worries, melting away like Magic Pop (or cotton candy) in your mouth, or ink in water, coloring it a beautiful, calm, happy aqua. Just stepping into Aa-zhur’s car and settling into the comfy leather seats – it was the indication of a pretty sweet weekend.

Light, mellow music, Aa-zhur singing along persistently and definitely not too badly, winding roads, very sharp curvy turns (if I sat in the backseat without my seatbelt which is the way I like to roll in the backseats, I would slip all the way from one side to the other when Aa-zhur made these highway exit turns!), rolling hills and fields and thousands of acres of forest land, happy, healthy, green trees. If these trees were using shampoos, they were using the extra-voluminous kind.

“The only thing worse than dog breath is genocide.” The best part about Aa-zhur’s ridiculous jokes was his own amusement and hybrid laughter (manly giggling that was almost guffawing but not quite) that erupted following his own comments.

Reem, I miss you so, so much. I’m sitting in the plane and nursing a very weepy, achy heart right now and I’m using these words like Hello Kitty band aids to my metaphorical wounds. I am so grateful that you came. Hanging out with you was an antidote to all that is bad and stressful. You were almost like pot (not that I’ve had any) the way you made me so happy and relaxed and so damn giggly it was kind of worrying. We really did laugh a lot, right? Starting from that frightening out-of-control fit we got into after laying out the mattress in “our room”.

I miss Aa-zhur’s mansion, and the constant presence and talk of mustaches.

A weekend that involved long drives, great music, tea, apple pie (even if it was too lemony), lots of sunshine, green grass, sitting-lying-wearing flower rings in the green grass, Southern food, and Titanic in 3D. What could be better?

My two years at grad school here are not just about working on 20-page assignments and working with troubled middle-schoolers. It is about appreciating life, and old friendships, making new ones, learning about myself, managing my almost OCD, learning how to live with people, budgeting, traveling and striking balances all over the place – work, play, life, religion, what is the bigger picture?

Must plan more trips. Must thank God for the awesome friends that I have. Oh LUMS, you have had such a huge impact on my life. Packed me off at the end of four years with changes in my way of thinking, ideas about my future career, hand in hand with my future husband, and friends all around to make life sweet and remind me of what I want to be.

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