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MIT student blogger Anna H. '14

Ode to the New, Part 2 by Anna H. '14

Slowing down time in the Land of Enchantment.

I’m currently on the MedLinks retreat; it feels good to get out of the campus bubble. It’s too easy to go from Activity in MIT Building A to Activity in MIT Building B to your dorm room without ever leaving. That’s a topic for another day, though; as promised, here’s the follow-up to my first post about trying new things, and looking for adventure. Spoiler alert: I found it.

This summer, I learned the secret to slowing down time – and it’s a lot simpler than trying to approach the speed of light.

It’s filling each day with the unfamiliar. Richer days feel longer. I noticed that my first two weeks in Albuquerque – when everything was completely new – seemed to last forever, but once I settled into a rhythm days blurred together, and time zipped by.

This summer: I got my first internship, my first credit card, and my first gym membership. I took my first yoga classes. I tried commuting to work alone. I got lost commuting to work alone. I walked two and a half miles in the dry Albuquerque heat, then called the office and was driven the rest of the way by a kind coworker.

I went to my first baseball game…

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Go Isotopes!

…and tried cracker jacks and funnel cake for the first time. I fell in love with green chili, borscht, sopapillas, enchiladas, rolos, and decided that I don’t hate the taste of peppers. I played the Beatles edition of Rock Band and, for the first time, wasn’t too embarrassed to be the vocalist.

I broke a bone for the first time, during the first pass of an Ultimate Frisbee game. I was in a wheelchair for a day. Then on crutches. I learned that having a broken foot doesn’t mean you have to lie in bed all day. You can…

…ride an electric trolley around Walmart…

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I’ve always secretly wanted to do this.

…get special seats at fractal Planetarium shows…

…stargaze…

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I got up at 2am to take a look at Jupiter and its moons. It was well worth the half hour of searching.

…swim in hotsprings, and even climb up rocks to get there..

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I learned that crutches make getting through turnstiles REALLY annoying.

I rode a bike for the first time in eight years, and crashed into a bush at full speed. I lay trembling in the road for fifteen, twenty minutes, convinced that I’d broken every bone in my body. Strangers helped fix my bike, and battered and scraped, I wheeled it back home.

Unfazed, I rode around Albuquerque, and up a mountain, on a motorcycle – crutches strapped to the back. In the parking lot, at the top of the mountain, a big muscular tattooed motorcyclist came up to me and called me a badass. I was flattered.

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This is what a badass looks like, I guess.

I rode in a convertible.

I watched my first Quentin Tarantino movie, and braved my first upside-down roller coaster. I played volleyball, and tried my first game of Settlers of Catan.

I lost my first game of Settlers of Catan.

I paid my first rent, and received my first paycheck. I shared a house with someone I hadn’t met before. I slept on a roof and watched a meteor shower. I slept on a balcony. I slept in an inflatable pool.

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Best impulse purchase ever.

I lived with a dog for the first time. My previous experience with big furry animals was limited to

  1. When I was two, and my grandparents’ golden retriever named Brownie licked my toes, and I started crying
  2. When I was staying in Zurich with a host family, and their dog tackled me to the ground and tried to pull off my socks while I kicked and shrieked
  3. When I was living in Singapore, and my friend Michael had to tie his gigantic dog named Squirt to a post whenever I came over, because he would try to attack me while I walked down the hallway
  4. When I tried to play with my cousin’s cat Squish, and she scratched me from the base of my thumb to halfway up my forearm

…but that’s not to say that I don’t like big furry animals! In fact, I love them. It’s just that my inexperience with them often leads to catastrophes like those listed above. So, I was a little alarmed by the sight of a 120+ pound dog…and even more alarmed by the sight of him carrying around my precious teddy bear, with his jaws clamped around its head. I freaked out. My heart softened when, a few days later, I found the gigantic puppy hiding in my closet during a thunderstorm. I curled up on the ground next to him, and we made up.

Another first: feeling like a real scientist. I fitted electrode caps to subjects’ heads, filled them with gel, and recorded their brain waves. I analyzed data in Excel.

For the first time, I felt both independent and homesick.

I loved it all: the people I spent time with, my job, the crutches I warmed up to – almost as much as I loved the New Mexico skies.

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6 responses to “Ode to the New, Part 2”

  1. lily says:

    Beautiful pictures of the sky!

  2. Louis '14 says:

    Grrrrr Jealous of you on Medlinks Retreat! I got a spot but had to turn it down due to mandatory pledge hike :( Let me know how it is!

  3. Holly Lile says:

    When I was about 27 I drove cross country by myself to see everything. When I got to NM at sunset I just had to pull the car over and look. The purple buttes, the orange and pink skies. When I drove thru Albuquerque it was raining and bright sunshine at the same time. It looked like it was raining diamonds. That part of that trip was the most memorable ever. Someday I’m going back. How about you?

  4. Anna H. '14 says:

    @Holly: I’ll definitely be back one day smile

  5. roberta says:

    nice pictures of the sky.
    you’re my favorite new blogger!