The contagious laughter of a colleague. The enduring patience of a friend. The unconditional love of a parent. The people who come and go leave traces of their presence in my memories and my actions.
I hurt someone’s feelings the other day by blurting out my prejudices without thinking about the consequences. I realized thereafter that I don’t appreciate the people in my life enough. The special moments spent with these people, I wished had lasted forever… Looking back at these influences that have driven me to rash decisions, irrational and based solely on a gut feeling, spurred by coincidence, yet with significant consequences, luckily for the better.I always felt like I had to travel the world to meet interesting people. I failed to notice the remarkable people so close to home… A dear friend, who relentlessly tries to soothe me when I’m heart-broken by lending me a shoulder to cry on. The colleague that offers a helping hand when I’m stuck and frustrated. Another friend that shows up at my door with plates and furniture for my desolate apartment. The acquaintance that triggers outbursts of laughter by telling me an anecdote about how she’d rather jump out of a plane than lose the deposit for the skydive. A date, with whom I crashed a party, where we ordered free drinks at the bar and danced with complete strangers, while pretending to be a hotel employee from Rio de Janeiro. A friend who makes you feel like you belong and a fellow Syrian student that reminds me of home.
The inspiring people I’ve met, those who changed my life so drastically, remain unforgotten. The man who introduced me to the local Greenpeace group, where I met some of my dearest friends and a group of individuals relentlessly trying to make the world a better place. The person I moved to Paris for, where I ended up getting a PhD and becoming fluent in French. An acquaintance that convinced me to take a pirogue up the Niger, camping in the wilderness along the river banks. The admirable woman, who gave me a volunteer job in Mali and the wise man, who hired me as an intern in Mexico. The ambituous young woman, so full of energy and a strong will, who made me realize how rewarding it can be to have faith in people.
Even those who strained my patience, who have insulted me or who I just didn’t feel comfortable being around. Thank you for making me stronger, helping me appreciate my virtues and reminding me of my own flaws.