My post about the Indian food set my mind thinking about what other little details bring me home. I looked for them today. It was somewhat surprising to see how many pieces of home are with me, no matter where I am in the world.
(In no particular order…)
- My workout bag: (shampoo, sandals, shoes, socks, shorts, shirt, suits, goggles, iPod, towel, water bottle.) It never changes, and packing it each night is nearly a ritual.
- My Uniball ballpoint ink pen. Black ink, 0.7 mm point, these are the only pens I use.
- My leather journal/notepad/doodlepad. Though the actual notebook will vary, I have gotten into the habit of always carrying one. It's comforting to have just one nice place to keep my thoughts.
- My cup of tea in the morning and at night. Nothing is quite the same as a perfect cup of tea, with just the right amount of milk and sugar. It wakes me up in the morning, and puts me to sleep in the evening.
- The feeling of calm that swimming continuously brings to me. Even though I am in a different pool, swimming meters instead of yards, and swimming clockwise instead of counterclockwise, there is a beautiful feeling that rushes over me at a certain point. Swimming becomes effortless, and the water just surrounds me and shuts out all other distractions. It's just me and the pool, no matter where I am.
- The joy I find in food. Whether cooking or eating out, I get so much pure enjoyment out of food. I find myself getting surprised by different flavors, discovering new foods, and indulging in the most unique of experiences when I seek out good food.
- My pictures. I always have pictures of my friends and loved ones with me, whether digitally on my tablet or physically in my little pouch of photos. I also have a few pictures of Emily and me next to my bed, and it's a great thing to wake up to every morning. It's so comforting to see those moments caught in time, those memories of happiness, laughter, and love eternally perserved with pixels or ink.
- Being behind a camera. Though I picked up photography as a more serious hobby beginning last year, I've always loved taking pictures. I love looking for the perfect angle for a shot and finding so much more. Photography has helped me discover hidden things that lay in plain sight, waiting to be found by someone who is truly looking. There are treasures and memories everywhere, and the camera lets me capture it all with the click of a shutter.
- My music. Whether its an intense playlist for the gym or my usual mellow music for everywhere else, my music is another thing that keeps me connected to where I am from. Hearing certain songs brings memories and people directly into my mind. It's nice when to hear a bit of home in a faraway land.
- Grinnell. Not only am I surrounded by Grinnellians in this program, but Grinnell is constant in other ways. I met with an alumnus, Ed Senn '79, who treated me to a great dinner, Paralympics velodrome experience, and great conversation. I'm also still receiving so many emails from my various Grinnell groups, which is bittersweet in that it makes me miss Grinnell and everyone there, yet it makes me excited about returning for the spring and happy for those who are there now.
The list could go on and on, but that's what immediately springs to mind. London is absolutely amazing and a totally life-defining experience. It's just also nice to notice that I managed to bring a bit of home with me.
Live(ish) From London