When you do a balance in your life between stress and fun, both things tend to be better; you do not stress in excess and enjoy the fun even more. I think this week was the last one that gave me the possibility of saying that. My following weeks would be all about essays, presentations and final exams so there would definitely not be any balance. Anyway, last week started and ended with special activities that I’m really happy I experienced. Not being all of those happy, I could also appreciate and make the most of it.
It was raining when I woke up on Tuesday morning but nothing was going to keep me from enjoying the “free cone day” at Ben and Jerry’s. After one of my classes in the afternoon, I decided that I wanted to walk to the store at Georgetown but it was going to be more fun if someone joined me. After a contagious laugh of my roommate, I decided that I needed to ask someone as crazy as me to walk 25minutes under the rain for some ice cream (that I already had in my fridge…) But there is no better feeling than getting something for free, is it?
A “when and where are we meeting?” after my “it’s a beautiful day for free ice cream” message, gave me the smile I was looking for. My friend Dion is my partner in all these spontaneous and great activities. The Opera, dancing marathons and walks at night or even under the rain for a cone of ice cream (two actually). His place was on my way to the store so I picked him up. When we finally got there, the line was not too long but the problem was the flavor. How could I choose the only flavor that would justify my time spent in some free ice cream? I didn’t know any of the flavors there except for the traditional ones (but you don’t ask for a normal flavor in Ben and Jerry’s) The rush, the people behind me, the weird names of the ice creams and the employee waiting for me to decide “umm Chocolate Fudge Brownie please” There. The simplest flavor in the store. There was nothing confusing in that name, but really? Chocolate? But there is no wrong choice when we talk about ice cream. Dion and I left the store as happy as the two kids in front of us. We decided to go for a walk around Georgetown while we ate our cones and we waited for my friend Vicky at the same time. It wasn’t raining anymore and we were having a really nice talk that took us to the end of the neighborhood, to GW’s rivals, to Georgetown University. Neither of us went there before and even with the grey sky it looked fantastic. Gothic, old, European, religious and too Harry Potter I must say. We went for a walk around the parks that surround the University until we got lost. The way back was a funny experience because we tried to follow our instinct. It did work but it took longer than it should. On our way back we went to the store for our second cone of ice cream and this time I had to choose wisely. The line was longer but my friend Vicky was there with another friend also named Dion. She started telling me what was The Tonight Dough flavor and before she could finish I said “that one!” This time I was choosing a “Caramel & Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Cookie Swirls & Gobs of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough” but what I didn’t know (because I didn’t let her finish) was that the ice cream also had Peanut Butter Cookie. And I hate peanut butter. I ate some of it and then gave it away also because I was full. The whole afternoon was great, the ice creams tasted really good and I had a great time with my friends. Like I red in one sign a few days after “You can’t buy HAPPINESS but you can buy ice cream and that’s kind of the SAME thing”
Thursday was a really important day for the Jewish community. I would like to say for the rest of the world as well but unfortunately I can’t. On Thursday we commemorated the victims of the Nazis, we remembered the 6 million Jews that were tortured until their last breathe, we remember to not let it happen again. That day I attended two important events that left new ideas in my mind. Even if I studied history and the Holocaust since I was a little kid, I still heard something that I never thought about before. Six Million. How do we measure 6 million of anything? Students of GW organized the first event and I got the chance to meet one of the survivors of the horror. Gideon Frieder used to be a professor at GW and he shared with all of us some of the things he went through at that time. Of course his history was not a pleasure to hear even if it was a pleasure to have the opportunity of listening at it first hand. I did hear him talk about the six million and the way he tried to explain us how much that represented shocked me in a different way. “Imagine that each of the victims come to this meeting right now to say their names and how they died in a minute”, he said. “That each person has only one minute to talk and right after that they vanish and other victim follows. Do you know how much time do we need until the last victim shows up? 2? 3 years maybe?” Eleven. Eleven years without stopping to listen to the 6 million victims of the Holocaust. And they weren’t the only victims they were only Jews. How much time would we need to listen to all of them? I always tried to measure 6 million. I guess I may have found the same answer a few years ago but never replaced a minute with a name. It was always something abstract (is still is, is not easy to determine) but the idea of not moving myself from that chair not even for water and still needing 11 years to just listen to names, not stories or feelings, just names made me think about it in a completely different way.
The second event was in the Red Cross building. The room was full of pictures of the camps or newspapers of that time and there were people from the state department and relatives of a few survivors. A speech of a Rabbi, a video with reflections and legacies from 90 years old survivors, a panel discussion and candle lighting ceremony. This event was different and also touching. Remember. Remember to not let this happen again. Yom Hashoah. We Remember and Never forget.
My week ended with a happiest feeling. On Sunday afternoon I went to the event organized by the GW Hindu Students Association “HAS Holi 2015” This festival of colors that celebrates life gave me the energy I was looking for to start my last two weeks at this University. The idea of the event is to have fun with friends, listen to music and get covered by colors celebrating love and “the power of love to bring all good things into our lives. It is held in early spring and signifies new life, new growth, new beginnings and reminds us to color our life with love, faith, and a generous spirit.” That’s exactly how I felt. I went with my friend Christian and we met there a lot of new people, we laughed and enjoyed each minute of it. It was a nice way to end the weekend even though that after one hour bath, my hair is still pink. But I don’t mind. It will make me remember about the fun and energy I felt. It’ll make me remember that even though we are leaving in three weeks, a new beginning would come after and what’s most important, that the last couple of months I lived, I colored, my life with too much love.