March 24, 2020

The gentle rumble of the freight train as it passes by my house does not evoke the same sense of reflection as my journey at the start of this adventure. However, in a world upturned by a crisis, the click-clack of the train cars as they whizz by provides some semblance of normalcy. Without fail, especially on late nights or early mornings, when I hear the train pass by from my window, I am taken back to the summer mornings of my childhood. In a half-dazed state, just as the day started to come to life, I remember being woken up by the comforting click-clack of the train to Kyiv. On those hot days, I ventured to the tracks near my grandma’s house, where I would wait in the summer haze, crickets chirping in the tall grass, for the trains. In those moments a train would finally come by, I would stand, in awe, attempting to capture every detail.

We moved. Everything changed. The visits to my grandma faded, but the moments never did. Helping her with chores around the house, going to the bazaar with her, drinking tea at the end of a long day while watching her favorite TV shows. And so I believe it will be when we come out of the woods from this crisis.

Something great was abruptly taken from us, our time together cut short. We had made plans, wanted to spend more time together, and yearned to squeeze the most out of the blissful experience. On more than one night, the cohort sat around, talked, sometimes argued, although never to the point of mean-spiritedness, on the wildest, widest range of topics, sometimes substantive and more times more base. We worked on assignments together, often airing more than a few complaints against our wonderful professors. Lest you think I am being facetious, the professors I had during the program were among the most passionate, dedicated, and knowledgeable people that I have had the pleasure of studying under. I reckon complaining is just a natural part of having to do work while anxious to explore more of the city as much as possible. Speaking of which, we went to some salivating places, both in terms of the food and experience, in our short time. But you will never run out of more places to go to, trust me. We cooked, sang, and danced together, perhaps not all at once. And, we even managed to squeeze in a surprise, at least we think it was a surprise, birthday party. Most of all, we laughed together.

I will treasure these moments wherever I go. Even in the brief time we spent together, another home had taken root, which made it all the more painful to leave so early, and on such short notice. But I know that the ‘home’ will never disappear. A crisis or two cannot destroy our shared experiences.

So, as I sit at home, I do not have any regrets, and instead, am more excited for the next adventure. Sure my internship was cut a bit short, and the future is uncertain. However, I want to make the most of it because I am blessed to be in a position that so many other people are not. Perhaps I will become a professional baker?

In all seriousness, thank you for reading; I won’t keep you any longer than I already have. Thank you Dr. Martinez for the opportunity and for everything else. Thank you to the people I have met and friends I have made. Stay safe and stay healthy! See you.