Taking road trips is an exciting, fun adventure full of magic and sometimes unexpected surprises. Recently, I took a mini road trip to Grand Rapids (GR), an up and coming city on Michigan's west side. GR is considered a college town, and is best known for it's art, and it's breweries. I spent five years in Grand Rapids attending Aquinas college (AQ), a small private institution nestled in a 'forest' to the east of the city. I embarked on the two-hour drive in order to see my dear friends one last time before embarking on my Golden Gaian Adventure.
By sheer happenstance and divine synchronicity I was able to see a majority of my kindred spirits. It was nothing short of emotional. Some realized this would be the last time they would see me until Wakarusa in Arkansas. Others gave me bone crushing hugs upon realizing they would not see me again for another 4 months. It was very heartwarming.
I walked around Aquinas' tree studded campus and took in the familiar scents and sounds. The campus appeared unchanged yet was always changing. A new apartment building was under construction, the cafeteria had received a new coat of paint, and there were new recycling bins in all the administrative buildings to show a stronger initiative for ECO living. I recognized many faces and it warmed my heart to see them again.
This might sound weird, but even the people I did not know, I was happy to see again (in the above video I touch on this). I waved and smiled to these unsuspecting individuals. Whether they remembered me or not was not the first thing on my mind, all I was thinking about was how GOOD it felt to see them again!
Half the time I was met with shy smiles, and polite waves, a few gave me confused looks. I thought to myself, it might be odd but that's how I felt- Love and joy!
I felt immense gratitude for so many reasons. I felt gratitude for having the opportunity to be back at Aquinas one last time. I felt gratitude for having had such a wonderful and enlightening experience at AQ. I felt gratitude for all the people I met who shaped my life and my understanding of the world.
|Cartoon of logic class|
What do I mean by this? Hahah, I ask myself that question as I type this out. I'm having a hard time putting this idea into words. I even made a video about these feelings, and now I'm writing this blog to further process it.
Basically, strangers only end up staying strangers because one doesn't take the time to strike up a conversation. At AQ all strangers become more like acquaintances. This is because AQ has such a small campus that it is common for everyone to always runs into each other on more than one occasion. Polite small talk becomes a daily practice, and outgoing individuals become well-known on campus. The atmosphere is intimate and allows for a deeper level of growth. Consequently, the students have affectionately nicknamed the college AQ HIGH because everyone knows everyone else in some form or fashion, just like in high school. Of course that also means that occasionally there is high school like drama, which can be expected from freshly graduated high school seniors turned freshmen again. However, this too is part of the learning process that AQ students go through.
My point, and invariably the point of this blog, (Besides the AQ engraved waffle) is to express my feelings of nostalgia and sweet sentiment for a place that has assisted in my growth, and has shaped my current understanding and perception of the world. My time spent at Aquinas and in the city of Grand Rapids was an amazing experience, for which I am grateful.
As I embark on this Golden Gaian Adventure I am reminded to stay strong in who I've become. The trip back to Grand Rapids reinspiried me to keep believing in my dreams. I am a culmination of fun, exciting spiritual experiences. I remember how I got "here", I am ready... for anything, I am open to what the world has to teach me, and I am guided on my path.