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THD 101

For some reason I’ve been reflecting a lot on the saying, one day you will just be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one

…….Actually I kind of do know the reason. I’d like to write about a story that might seem insignificant, but I want to share anyhow.

During my junior year, I had to take one more class to bump me up to full time status. I heard through the nursing student grape vine that Dance Appreciation would be a good class to take.  So I signed up because it sounded interesting, and I love to dance (but really, if we’re being honest, it sounded like an easy A.) Just my luck that the professor everyone had had before happened to break her hip (or was it her leg?) and we’d be getting a new professor and thus did not know how hard or easy this class would actually be.

Long story short, our professor ended up being SO wonderful. I loved her passion for the subject; she was graceful, elegant, and well spoken, and I ended up learning so many neat things. Back to the purpose of this blog post though. In this class, I met a sweet Japanese student named Mizuki. That year, I was a conversation partner for the international students at Murray State and ended up talking to her at one of the speed dating events. After being introduced there, I made sure to say hi to her in class and eventually we started walking down the stairs together sharing tid-bits of our upcoming week or simply just commenting on the weather.

We took a picture on our last day of class and parted ways for the summer. She was going to do some traveling over break and would be visiting Mexico. She’d be staying pretty closed to where I live down there, but unfortunately our plans did not end up aligning and I didn’t get to see her. However, I did get to ask her all about her trip once we saw each other again. This wasn’t a super close friendship; we hardly hung out or  texted. We didn’t even talk in person a whole lot, but every single time I ran into her on campus or off, she would greet me with so much enthusiasm and give me a hug.

Isn’t it a shame that we tend to wait until time is running out to start doing things? I feel like you only begin to get close to people when you know you have a limited amount of time left with them. I think back to my nursing class and how I finally feel close to them but our time together will be ending in May. I wish I was better about this, but just like everything in life, it’s a learning experience. It’s teaching me to stop waiting until I feel like it’s the “right time” to do things and instead act in the moment and get things started.

So that’s what I did. I randomly invited Mizuki to my apartment to have a movie night and make some desserts. “Can I bring some friends with me?” she asked excitedly. “Of course!” I replied. I pulled up to one of the dorms on campus and in they hopped. I noticed that they were carrying a couple of Walmart bags full of stuff. Once we got back to my apartment, they started to cook some food for us. Its difficult for me to put into words how little actions like this touch my heart. We sat around the floor of my living room drinking chocolate Abuelita and nibbling on some sugar cookies. Between sips of hot chocolate and mouthfuls of white rice (weird combo I know, but it oddly worked out) they shared about life in Japan and answered all our questions about their culture. Likewise we also shared our Latino culture with them, and excitedly encouraged them when they spoke Spanish to us (which by the way, was very good.) The night ended by trying in vain to look up a free version of Home Alone and finally resorting to watching White Christmas on Netflix. We all laughed about how long the movie was and I drove them back to their dorms.

Fast forward to my 22 birthday. Although my roommate, friends, and mom tried their best to plan a “surprise” birthday party for me, I ended up finding out about it when one of my good friends tried to be a distractor and held me hostage at a coffee shop for a good 2 hours (and also several friends let it leak when I bumped into them throughout the day, but no matter, I still felt immensely loved and appreciated, surprise or not). However, I was surprised to see Mizuki there! Here was someone who, although I didn’t have a tight-knit friendship with, gladly showed up to make me feel loved.

If you know me, you know I am a big crier. I kept thinking that I was going to cry throughout the day or at the sight of my surprise bday party, even if I did know it was coming. But nothing. No tears. “This is so strange. I haven’t cried at all today,” I thought to myself. But I spoke too soon. I wasn’t expecting to get any gifts because I know we are all broke college students. Besides, what do you even get a 22 year old anymore?

Mizuki kindly asked for a photo with me and then handed me a small plastic gift bag. And here they came. The tears. I finally started to cry. And then she started to cry. And I suddenly became overwhelmed with how much the smallest gesture of kindness can come to mean. “This is for good luck. And here are the instructions for the miso soup!” And then we hugged and cried. And hugged and cried some more.

I hope that one day I will get the chance to see my sweet friend once more, although we may never see each other again. And I started to think about that harsh reality. That to so many people, I never thought I would become just a memory: old childhood friends, neighbors, sorority sisters I never really became close to – even people that I see all the time now on campus or in my Catholic center. One day, I will be just a memory. Even in the age of social media where you can keep up with anybody you’ve ever met, you might never have another chance to make in person memories again.

So I guess I’d end with this: don’t be afraid to reach out and be a friend. I would have never had imagined that Mizuki would be at my 22nd surprise birthday party when we met, and I am so grateful I had the courage and initiative to get past my hesitation and just get to know her, even if it was only in bits and pieces. Life has a crazy way of surprising you, and I am constant being reminded that at the end of the day, relationships are the only thing that really matter in life. 

Apparently in my feels,

Izel 

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