Saturday, May 17, 2003

We now interrupt this commentary for personal musings. Tonight is the last night I will spend in this apartment with everything intact. Not only was this the first place I lived on my own, but I've been here for four years, which when you think about it could be the longest I live in any one place for a few years to come.

The apartment is marked with the memories of those four years. Between this desk and my bookcase sits the water bottle I brought back from Jordan, still with water in it. In the bottom of the box next to me are some QU items related to things I felt nostalgic for when I first moved here. The box I use for cardboard recycling is the same one that held the bulk cereal purchase I made with leftover QU meal money. On the shelf above my TV is the box to the tea my parents got me a few years ago for Christmas, which basically made me a tea drinker. This computer itself is the first I ever owned, and when I checked e-mail and surfed the net for the first time from my own place it was right here in this very chair. And who knows what I'll find when I dig up my closet tomorrow.

Other memories are bound up in the feel of the place itself. How many times have I in the darkest hours of a weekend night looked out on a dark and quiet neighborhood, taking some strange thrill from being the only one awake around me. In the other room I sat while packing to go to Jordan, a bit nervous, and enchanted by the severe summer thunderstorm that ensured I'd have every little bit of midwestern seasonal weather the day before I left. In this apartment I first cracked a Benet's to become a better quiz bowl player than I was at QU, and fervently planned to go see my first professionally done musical, Miss Saigon.

And of course there's all the grad school stuff. I remember being in this room writing my first grad school paper (on Saladin), talking about the coup in Pakistan with my roommate, working on my master's thesis, studying for prelims, and knowing the thrill of choosing one's final dissertation topic. In this room and the common area I graded my first papers and developed my first lesson plans. Here, too, I cooked my first meal for myself, baked my first cookies from scratch, and did all the other things one does as one passes from college kid to adult. And naturally, I did all the usual things of talking to friends like Aisha and Raghavan while moping after this olympiad's collection of females who didn't like me and all that jazz.

On Sunday, I will be somewhere different, and I'm probably someone different, as well. Being around all the graduation buzz makes me think back, and there are some subtle changes that have crept up on me. Perhaps part of this is that I know that every new place brings new memories, rewards, and challenges. This summer remains unwritten in my little place by the lake, just like I don't know what will happen to me next year in my one-bedroom in this same compound. But whatever it is, I can't wait, because one thing I don't foresee changing is that I am an explorer at heart, and the future remains the greatest unknown of all.


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