Sept. 11, 2010: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the United States of America

Back into the school year! I’ve been meaning to post and update about my successful return to the United States since I arrived in RDU a month ago, on August 13th, but needless to say, the business of beginning my last year at Carolina prevented me from doing it. So, here I am in my room in Chapel Hill thinking it’s about time I say to the Eve Carson Scholarship, to my friends and to my family, this summer surpassed all summers. Thank you. Thank you for being behind me, letting me dream up the crazy dreams. Thank you for reading my blog and sending me emails. Thank you for giving me the chance to see the world, meet outstanding people, and wander with purpose across continents.

The gift of the Eve Carson Scholarship is too immense to be tangible. The summer experience allowed me to explore my courage and gain maturity; it gave me responsibility and agency in pursuing a project I cared about, while feeling supported and encouraged by my peers who run the scholarship. Excitement followed me across four countries and I was driven by a desire to live fully and engage intimately in every moment. To live it up, if you will, because there was magic in the opportunity. I have never had an opportunity like this before and I can promise, it was appreciated down to the last second. In fact, I probably will never be able to articulate just how much it has meant in my life. It touches me down to my very last heart string, and if I could personally hug each last person who supports the scholarship, I would. The gift of the scholarship is the gift of changing lives and opening eyes.

There were times when I was walking in the rain in Reykjavik or waving away the mosquitoes on a balcony in Istanbul when I felt the quiet simplicity of being me, being there, experiencing the moments that would give me perspective. I would be reflecting on the edge of the Atlantic, a canal in Amsterdam, the Seine in Paris or the Bosporus Strait in Turkey and feel the questions and thoughts running through my head. And noticing just how much I was thinking made me feel alive and empowered; I was inspired by my interviews and what I was learning. Every instant helped me to grow.

So, I said it once but I’ll say it again, thank you. I guess, in the end, that’s all I can say. Thank you for giving this student the chance to be at a loss for words.

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