Singing Saturday 15 and a Summer of Firsts!! :)

So, I haven’t posted anything for almost 6 months now.. and I feel terrible about it.. but I won’t make any excuses.. I didn’t write a post because I didn’t care enough to write.. But anyway, I was listening to this song today thatΒ  I really love, and so decided to post.. And what better way to start writing again! So, here is another Singing Saturday post! πŸ™‚

It’s a beautiful song called ‘I Believe’ from the Dewarists Season 1. It’s a very positive song, and I absolutely love it!! πŸ™‚ Hope you like it too!

The last few months have been good.. I did a lot of new things, and I’m happy about it.. Everything’s not perfect (I guess it never will be), and there are still many things that need to be resolved, but I think I’m better in dealing with stuff at this point! And here, I would like to mention all the fun things I did this summer! πŸ™‚

– In May beginning, I ran as a part of a relay team in the Pittsburgh Marathon! I was training to run 3.5 miles, but actually ended up running 5.5 miles! It was the best experience ever! I was amazed at so many people in the city who came out to cheer the runners, and I officially fell in love with Pittsburgh! It was hard to run, and I was the first runner in the team, so I had to make sure I complete my leg and didn’t let the team down, and I did – I finished in 1 hour, 5 mins!Β  And I decided to run to raise funds for the non profit I volunteer with – Association for India’s Development (AID) Pittsburgh chapter, and I raised $840, and was incredibly happy about it! πŸ™‚ I should mention here that I don’t enjoy running, but loved the feeling of running in a race, and would love to do it again! πŸ˜‰ Hopefully, someday, I will start enjoying running as well! πŸ™‚

– In May end, I traveled to San Francisco to attend the annual AID conference! I was staying with one of the AID volunteers at Berkeley, and I explored SFO alone for almost 2 days!! YES, I visited a city alone and absolutely loved it!! πŸ™‚ I did most of the touristy stuff, but I loved being on my own.. I was happy I didn’t have to worry about what anyone else wanted to do.. I think it was good because it was short-lived, and also I was staying at someone’s home, so wasn’t totally alone! But the entire experience was amazing.. And I absolutely loved San Francisco, and would love to go there again.. The people were super-friendly, I got great weather most of the time I was out, and the city is absolutely beautiful.. And I had an awesome Italian lunch at a nice restaurant in Little Italy.. If only the weather was not cold through out the year, I would want to live there! πŸ™‚
The AID conference was a very enriching experience.. It was humbling to meet and interact with grassroots activists from India and hear their stories about situations in India..Β  I think the most important take home message that I got from the AID conference was that when you try to help people who work with the under-privileged, remember you are not doing them a favor.. it’s not charity.. in fact, they’re doing you a favor by helping to end the inequality that has existed for generations.. so don’t think that you’re patronizing someone, but treat them as your equal!

– In June, I took swimming lessons!! I’ve never been comfortable in water, to the extent that I can’t even stand the shower on my face.. But I took the plunge.. I joined this 4 week class that met twice a week, and I’m so glad I did! I gradually got comfortable in water, learnt to put my face into water, to float and swim partially.. After the class ended, I could actually do laps with a kicking board. I still have a hard time coordinating my arm and leg strokes with breathing, but I know that I will get there!! πŸ™‚ I have stopped now because the weather is cold, but I will get back to it next summer!

– In June, I also went camping for the first time! We didn’t actually camp out in a tent but got rustic cabins in the forest with no electricity or restrooms. We were there for a day and a half and it was a lot of fun! I had never been in the forest and it was amazing to experience the forces of nature.. We hiked in the forest, made a campfire at night, and went boating the next day.. At 3 am, a few of us were still awake and we actually went out for a walk in the forest. I was shit scared and didn’t want to, but my friends pulled me along and really took care of me.. It was beautiful walking along a path lit by fireflies,Β  watching the star studded sky and spotting constellations we remember from childhood.. It had been so long since I just sat and stared at the sky.. and then we sat around the bonfire for some more time, and watched it.. I think there’s something so powerful about nature that just leaves you spellbound. The next day, we got rowboats and that was another first for me! I was again really scared to begin with, but nonetheless, really enjoyed the experience.

– In July beginning, I attended a mini-conference in Boston where I presented my research for the first time outside my own university. The presentation was short and went quite well, but I wasn’t super-happy because my project hasn’t been working very well and I’ve been struggling at almost every step.. So I felt I didn’t have as much data as I would have liked to have.. But it is what it is.. I also spent 2 extra days in Boston and went around the city a little bit (alone again!! ) It wasn’t as much fun as SFO – I think because I was sort of tired because May and June were really busy for me, and my lower back was troubling me quite a bit! But it was still fun – I did touristy stuff one day, and the next day, I just went to the public park, lay on the grass under a tree next to the lake and read a book.. it was awesome! And oh yeah, I stayed in an international hostel for a night (again for the first time!!) So Boston was fun, and then I went to Rhode Island for a day to meet my friend S. We relaxed on the beach, and it was really nice catching up with her after a really long time. We came home and just ate some ready to eat stuff and watched a movie.. The next day, I went to Harvard for a little bit and then took the flight home!

So, other than this, I have been doing a lot of stuff in AID.. And I have been reading many books and watching many movies this year.. And then, I decided to take a social psychology class this fall semester which is quite interesting! I’m not taking it for credit, so I don’t have to worry about exams or anything, but just go and attend classes.. It is quite interesting! And finally, I just signed up to volunteer to be a tutor for high school students in the STEM fields.. It will be one afternoon a week, and I am really looking forward to it! I don’t know if there will be any complications since I am an international student, but I have my fingers crossed!!

Well I think this summer and the year overall all has been quite eventful , and I actually lived up to my expectations to do new stuff.. Here’s to many more such years in the future!!

P.S. I’m not expecting any readers or comments here, so it’s fine! I have never written regularly, and I don’t comment on people’s posts even though I read them regularly.. So it’s totally fine!

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2 Responses to Singing Saturday 15 and a Summer of Firsts!! :)

  1. πŸ™‚ well here is me commenting he he he he

    You have had a hectic time then and true HERE’s to many more years of good way to spend time .. and you working for AID is a good thing and the message you gave that iit is not charity and you are not doing any favours .. TRUE.. and its they who are doing us a favour WOW

    Well said .. and thank you for being such a good soul ..

  2. kinmin says:

    Bikram, thanks so much for reading the post and commenting! πŸ™‚
    The last statement was more a reminder to myself that since I don’t write regularly, I shouldn’t expect people to read and comment on my blog, but it always feel great if someone reads what you write.. so thanks! πŸ™‚
    Yeah things have been kinda hectic, and I sometimes feel overwhelmed, but I think I prefer it this way!
    I am trying to instil this attitude in myself about charity not being a favor to someone and it will take some time.. But it was a humbling experience to meet those people.. One of the activists I met, Pankti Jog- tirelessly works for almost 20 hours everyday with people in Gujarat, creating awareness about and helping people use the Right to Information Act, and fighting for the rights of the most under-privileged. Another keynote speaker was Harsh Mander – he is an ex-IAS officer who resigned because of the Gujarat Riots, and works with victims of communal violence, and with homeless children on the streets in Delhi. It was heart-breaking to hear the stories they shared… one of the stories he shared was how certain Dalit families in rural India don’t have any money or work – and they actually feed their children seeds extracted from cowdung or just grass.. in the hope that the kids won’t cry for food.. I sometimes feel that it’s a sad world that we live in, and it’s so important for people to at least know and realize what is the situation of millions of people who don’t even have basic food and water requirements met.. anyway, I just got carried away..
    There is an AID chapter in London also in case you are interested!

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