Sitting in the London Airport with the return to Boston ever looming, I can't help but feel sentimental about the end of out trip. This whirlwind week has been absolutely incredible, mostly due to the amazing friendships I've made, the thought provoking discussions I've had, and the memories we've all shared. It probably explains why I choose Jack Johnson's song Better Together for my final post.
There's no combination of words
I could put on the back of a postcard
No song that I could sing
But I can try for your heart,
our dreams, and they are made out of real things
like a shoebox of photographs
with sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer
at least for most of the questions in my heart, like
Why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and
sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together
Learning about Masdar, the mud flats, and getting a glimpse of the culture of the UAE was fascinating, yet what made the trip unforgettable was the incredible group of people I was fortunate enough to spend time with. Even when the details of what specific types of material they are using to build Masdar and the exact amounts of electricity produced by the renewable energy technology they are using begin to blur, the memories of the people I've met and gotten a chance to know will always remain sharp and distinct for me to look back on and reminisce over. Somehow, being away from home, isolated from our comfort zone, broke the ice of the group, allowing discussion and bonding in a way you couldn't have in the midst of problem sets and tests back at MIT.
What stands out most in my mind are the philosophical discussions we were able to have, ranging from human nature to social responsibility, the laughs we shared while rolling in sand dunes, the unbelievable kindness and willingness of the people at Masdar to talk to us and share their knowledge with us, the late nights together on the beach under the stars. It's these kind of moments that really remind you what's important. It's so easy to get caught up in grades and school work and to forget about what makes life special. It's the relationships that count, the moments you share with others really are the most valuable.
And now, it's time for all the thank yous. So many people went into making this trip possible, and unfortunately words never seem to capture how appreciate I truly am for all those who have given of themselves for my benefit. I can never express how thankful I am to those who have helped enable the opportunities I have had. So to those at the Massiah Institute, MIT, and Masdar who made this trip possible - thank you. To all the chaperons, organizers, and mentors involved with the class (Sam, Ari, Debra, Seth Erin, the alumni mentors, the UTFs) - I think I can speak for the whole class when I say it's people like you that make MIT the incredible community it is. And I would be remiss not to thank my parents for encouraging me to reach for my dreams. Thank you.
The one worry I have as our trip concludes (beyond the mounds to homework waiting my return) is that budget cuts will prevent future classes from having such incredible experiences. The lasting connections I've made through Terrascope are something that can't be quantified, and are a large part of why I've considered my first year at MIT simply amazing. I only fear that such value of programs like Terrascope will be overlooked when it comes to figuring out what to cut and that classes after mine will miss out on the incredible relations I've made and things I've learned through my Terrascope classmates. I hope that's not the case.
I believe in memories (Visiting the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture)
they look so, so pretty when I sleep (Seth and Sam - not sure they look so pretty sleeping...)
Hey now, and when I wake up, (Visiting the Souk)
you look so pretty sleeping next to me (Shavi and Zach: aw)
But there is not enough time, (the world's tallest building)
and there is no combination of words I could say (Oh the sand dunes - what fun)