Friday, December 11, 2009

So Far...

It is the beginning of finals season here at UMBC and the so so ways of staring at monitor screens hoping they spit out the semester reports, the so so ways of staring at your text book and cursing engineers for not figuring out a way to make a micro chip insertable into your head so that you wouldn't have to study have resumed. I spent my afternoon next to my Tamil friend A. in her laboratory. While she was busy immunostaining testis cells from Drosophilia Melanogaster (sperm cells from fruit flies), i was in and out of writing a semester paper on larval stomaotpods (vicious shrimp looking marine creatures). I know completely nerdy - perks of my college - you sound like you do hard stuff... Anyways in between doing our "stuff" and wishing the work would get up and get done itself, we started talking on just how far we had come from freshmen year. It took me back those to those days as a freshman here...

I had just spent the past thirteen years in Kano, Nigeria after my parents and I left from Georgia, U.S. I was seventeen with an excited, ambitious and (happy to admit it!) close-minded view on life. I was going to prevail through it all, slaughter any discouragements that came my way, speed high to any mountain i had to climb through and crush all the temptations. I was happy to go through life the way i was until i met these crazy folks.

N: N. is the first of the first friends i made here. I still remember the first day i met her. I remember thinking to myself: "What a hot chic!" She has those hazel nut eyes, and hair and smooth skin. I still remember thinking she didn't know where she was from because she kept repeating the name of her country and since no one had heard of it, i just assumed she made it up. She is one of those people that makes you want to just sit back and enjoy life. I remember when she fell in love with the series "Charmed". She would hurriedly come back to her room after classes and watch it till daybreak. She finished it in two weeks. I remember being amazed that someone would blip through a tv series because he/she was into it. She taught me how to stay awake. I would never be able to stay up past 10p.m. Before i knew it, i was playing dress up with a Surinamese girl and an Indian girl - A. at 4a.m instead of dreaming of zoborodo.

A. - She is the second friend i made at here. I met her through N. I remember seeing and her and thinking: "What a mean girl!" She had this snobby look on her face. She still has it, but its because she had earned it... lol. We were in the same Intro Chemistry class so we would go to class together... when she could make it. I remember that my first tears of homesickness were with her. I don't know how it happened, but somehow i was talking about how everyone get to go home on the weekends and i don't (I wanted nothing more than fried plantains, fried rice, pap... just name it all). I started to cry. That was when i knew that i missed home. She is this person that makes you want to stay motivated, she would always be on top of her game - either at a club meeting, in a Professor's lab or at a class discussion. She made me want to fight through school for all its worth. I loved to just sit and chill with her and J. They are the competitive ones, always talking about medical school and who would be an attending first and would get ahead in life before the other.

J. - He is the third friend i made here. I met him through N. too. I remember seeing him and thinking: "What a strange fellow!." He was eating Chinese food and watching anime in the common study lounge on our residence hall floor with the lights off. He introduced us to Chinese food. for me, it was the closest i had to Nigerian food. I had to make do with that because i hated the food on campus. I hated their grits, i hated their fries, i hated their pizza and burgers. Needless to say i think we all ended up spending up to $500 on Chinese food that semester. Ordering was a daily activity. In fact, it was so bad the restaurant we usually ordered knew us by phone numbers. He is one of those people that make you wish you could just analyze everything. To him, everything has to make sense or he won't go with it. I remember being so mad at him and A. for sleeping though Intro Chem at 10 in the morning. We would have all had a sleep over the night before. I would wake up to their snoring bodies and leave off to class. When i would get back at 2p.m, they would still be in bed. I would be in rage. Why would kids sleep so much? That is one thing that defines him and D. - sleep.

D. - She is the fifth friend i met here. I meet her in Intro to Biology my second semester. I remember seeing her and thinking: "What a bully!" She would always be in army camouflage trousers, blouse and even skirts. Meen i always had it in mind to be out of her way because i thought she was going to beat me. Little did i know she would end up being one of my personal persons. She is one of those people that defies all stereotypes. You meet her and think:"O yeah - African - okay nothing much. Met those ones before." Not until she starts uncovering the leaves, one by one. I had this habit of stalking people i wanted to know. So once i knew what hall she lived in, i would randomly show up at her window since she lived on the first floor. If she wasn't napping (which she claims recharges her batteries), she would be playing a game (I thought girls grew out of that once they stopped hanging out with their brothers), or she would be watching anime (I thought only Asian kids were into that - sorry J.). Like i said earlier, she is one of those peeps that defies expectations. She makes you want to keep on. She is probably one of the few people that i know that has had shit happen in their lives and they still look up. I think that was what drew me to her - her perseverance.

O. - She is the fourth friend i met here. I met her through N. too. I remember seeing her and being blank. She is one of those few people that i didn't get a sense of. She was so quiet when i started getting to know her. But meeen as in she would push us to the side like no joke. You would make plans with her and she wouldn't show up. At first, i used to be upset. You shouldn't have to make so many plans and have the person flake out on you. Then i realized that she didn't like the hassle of the bus. None of us had cars at the time, so we would all take the school bus to the mall or to downtown Baltimore. She is one of those people that makes you wish you were princess. She acts like one. She would spare no change in taking care of herself. She made me want to love myself. I used to think that it was all about the inside. I still think it is. But she made me realize that although the inside matters, its the outside the world see first, and judges you by. So you need to ensure the outside is good just as much as you lay emphasis on the inside.

It has been four years since and we are still here. Not the same though. A lot of us have changed, going though so much transformation that a look in the time sieve back at who we used to be would make us either weep in pain or cry in joy. Either way, we are still here. I once read somewhere that the people in your life right now are here because they are worth it and the ones that fell along the wayside don't matter. They are some of the people, in fact they are the beginning of the long list of wonderful people i have met, that have changed the way i think, act and speak. Yes, i still want to thread mountain tops, and fight ogres and beat up temptuous storms, yet i have realized that i don't have to it alone because just somehow they taught me that one isn't meant to sail through life's storms alone.


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