Year 1: Spring Term Week 16

Hello all,

Wow, what an interesting and crazy week this has been. We're almost finished with the semester. Final exams are tomorrow through Tuesday for me, then we get a break before summer semester starts for the month of June. I'm exhausted.

This week I did a final presentation for my writing seminar on a biography of Darwin, a presentation for my chemistry lab on my crystal project, and another presentation for Engineering Ethics on reflections/observations from our Sri Lanka volunteer trip. It's such a relief to have those projects completed. Between final exam review sessions and end-of-year assignments, it was a lot of time spent running from place to place and meeting with people.

The ADCF (Abu Dhabi Christian Fellowship) group on campus, the one that I go to Bible Study with, had our end-of-year event earlier this week. We got to play games, sing worship songs, and have pizza, and it was great to realize what a friendly and inclusive community I've been a part of this semester.

I hadn't really done any piano performances in a while (except for church stuff which doesn't really count), so I was happy when one of my classmates asked me to play the piano accompaniment for his flute recital piece this week! The piano accompaniment was just chord patterns, so it was pretty straightforward to learn with short notice, and we had a lot of fun at this little recital for flute and saxophone students.

I also got to celebrate the birthday of one of my close friends and help her with packing, as she flew home to Australia this morning for the summer. It hit me so hard today that a lot of people won't be here in the summer semester, and with me leaving to Shanghai in the fall, that means that we are saying goodbye for at least 7 months. It's tough to say goodbye to the people I've grown so close to. I guess that's part of the reality of being an NYUAD student though... everyone is constantly traveling, returning to their home countries in all parts of the world, coming and going, graduating, changing plans. At least we have technology to keep in touch. I'm going to miss this.

Hoping these birthday wishes come true :)

Early-morning airport goodbyes... Until we meet again in January!
The great thing about a lot of people leaving and me staying for June is that I get a bunch of free used books and free household items from classmates, since people don't always have room to pack them in luggage so they give them to me instead. Summer reading time is my favorite. 

Church was good this Friday as well. 
I actually got to check an item off of my "spontaneous life goals list" this week. It's pretty much a bucket list, except I don't like calling it that because, when you think about it, the whole idea of completing certain things just so that you experience them before you die is a bit too morbid for my liking.  Anyway, I have this list that I made a few years ago, and I add random goals and tasks to it as I think of them. And one of the things I've always wanted to do is to be able to translate for someone. Especially since most of my classmates are bilingual, and many of them speak 3 or 4 languages, I always feel so lame as a native English speaker with questionable high school Spanish class proficiency. I always notice the power of language to connect people. But anyway, there was a woman visiting at church today who spoke Spanish, and she sat with a group of us and started introducing herself in broken English, but as soon as she found out I knew some Spanish, it instantly became so much easier to discuss things, and I was able to translate some of what she was saying to the group and translate back their questions, in a short conversation. I don't know why, but it felt really motivating. It made me realize that I've never really spoken Spanish to someone who didn't also speak English...and being forced to use the non-native language really makes a difference. I felt so proud of myself, even though I'm sure I made some grammar mistakes, haha.    

Anyway, tomorrow is Mother's Day in the U.S., and since a good portion of the church congregation is American expats, the meeting focused on appreciating mothers and strengthening families and such. Kind of a surreal moment happened: we have a tradition of giving chocolate bars to the women ages 18+ for Mother's Day (regardless of whether or not we are actually mothers), and I realized that it was the first time I've ever gotten one. And the first time I've gotten anything for Mother's Day at all, for that matter. When did this adulthood thing happen? Strange. 

Anyway, Happy Mother's Day to my mom who always finds ways to make me smile despite being over 12,000 km away. 

Here's a fun throwback picture of the two of us from 1999... now when people ask me when I started learning piano I can just show them this, haha. 

My mom was the first one who showed me the beauty of music, and that's something that has stuck with me through the years. When I was younger, I don't think I appreciated how lucky I was to grow up going to the children's music class she taught, growing up in a house where piano, keyboard, guitar, flute, and occasionally other instruments were so readily available and where we always sang songs as a family. Feeling grateful for that. 

Also, Happy Mother's Day to all the other mother figures in my life: school teachers, grandmas, church leaders, music teachers, etc. I'm so lucky to have grown up with so many amazing women to inspire me and mentor me. 

Anyway, hope you all have a great week wherever in the world you are. 



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