As salaam alaikum,
I just hung out with a friend of mine from the University of Michigan that I haven't seen in years. The last time I really saw her was probably during junior year or so right after I started wearing the hijab...and the last time she saw me was as a hijabi, actually. I didn't see her on graduation, when I had stopped by then for a week's time.
And man, it was so good seeing her! We caught up for a couple of hours and we didn't even get to say all that we wanted to say...I still have to hear about her upcoming trip to India, for example.
I've been doing a lot of thinking back to college, as the characters for A Rose Much Desired, or RMD as I'll come to call it, are seniors and alumni of the University of Michigan. But there's nothing like meeting up with someone you went to college with to change your perspective of your past, and meeting up with her did just that for me.
Today actually feels a little unreal because I met up with her. It's kind of like the first time that my best friend came to visit this apartment...she'd never come up to see me in Boston before, and she met my roommate, saw my room, saw the picture of her that I had sitting at the time on my heating vent, and...it was surreal.
It felt similarly hanging out with this friend today. I barely know where we left off and what stage of development we were in when we left off. I hadn't yet gone to the Dominican Republic, so I was in a very different place...and now here we are, three years after graduation, three years after I randomly saw her in Boston at the TJ Maxx in Downtown Crossing, probably five years since I really had a chance to talk to her.
And we talked as if no time had elapsed, but so many things have happened. Insha'Allah, I'm on the cusp of beginning my third degree program (I can't get enough of this professional school thing, apparently) and she's getting ready to enter medical school. She talks about working and I realize, wow, working full time is a reality that I've never known...and now she's going back to school. She doesn't realize how foreign a world full-time working is to me. I mean, it will still be, because the 80-hr weeks of residency will be a bit strange, because I'll be working, being paid a fraction of what I'll earn later and learning all at the same time.
And she's starting medical school after being in the real world now for the last three years...I never did ask her what brought her to Boston, specifically, but it's been awesome catching up with her.
We talked a lot about men and relationships, as well, which is pretty much a requisite for single women our age, I think. We're both single at this point, watching age mates, friends of ours, get married. Seriously, on facebook, about five different people are getting married this month that I know of. It feels just a little insane, being that I've been single as an adult for longer than these people have known their future and current spouses, so it feels a little bit like...I've made no progress in life. I know it's not true, but simply stated, that's the way it feels...
But talking to her, even with the both of us being single, I realize...these are the greatest days of my life. The first year of greatest days in my life was 2004, when I met the man. That summer was beautiful, awesome, and it will always be, no matter what happened later in our trajectories. The second period of greatest days definitely had to be 2006, when I went to the Dominican Republic, and that changed my life [which has to be the topic of another post]. Then, definitely, 2008, when I put on FABRIC (the cultural show for my class), went to Brazil, solidified my Portuguese, and did the Second Year Show...oh yeah, and rounded out first year of medical school and began the second year. That year was definitely right up there with 2006 as one of the greatest years of my life...probably even better than 2006.
And so maybe there is a pattern? Perhaps 2010, the year I chose Family Medicine, the year I resumed working out, doing samba in Cambridge, my public health year...I don't know what the rest of this year will bring, as none of us do, but seriously, today I realized that these are some of the greatest days in my life.
I'm in better shape, I'm energized, I'm excited for life...I'm free!
And seeing her, and remembering where I was in college helped me realize...no, I'm not actually standing still. I've come a long way. I've matured, I've maintained my essence but I'm a bit of a different person, I've got goals in my life now, and yeah, forward I go.
She wants to read RMD when I'm done. Oh man, the pressure's on now. I have to make this story good.