We officially started our first day of second semester today. The first 3.5 hours were devoted to Health Economics and Policy which, thanks to our dynamic guest lecturer, turned out to be not as awful as I imagined. Funny enough, when I gave this visiting postdoc my introduction and mentioned I had worked at the state health department in Maryland, she informed me that she grew up in Damascus, a place I lived about 30 minutes from as a kid. After class, I approached her and we laughed about how small of a world it is. It got even smaller when I threw out a few names of people from my old church she might’ve gone to school with and she ended up knowing my former pastor’s son. Really, what are the odds?
In the afternoon, Christy and I got Subway and ate by the lake. The weather has been quite mild lately and we sat, coats unzipped, on a bench watching the birds. We were particularly amused by one real jerk of a seagull who guarded a pickle I dropped with his life despite the fact he had tasted it and found it lacking.
At 2 I went to the meeting for the Graduate Teaching Assistantship module. I’ll be acting as a tutor for a group of undergraduate medical students as they prepare presentations for their required public health seminar. The work on my end is relatively minimal. I give an introduction lecture next week then observe and grade their presentations at the end of February and beginning of March. The slides are already prepared for us but are a little dry on their own. So, I’m planning to throw my own bit of flair into the intro. Something that involves pelting them with bouncy balls and candy. To be honest, I do miss being up in front of students.
Around 4, I walked to the post office in Churchtown to pick up a package that had been undeliverable yesterday. I’m not sure what gave me this idea, but I got it into my head that I wanted to get a skateboard. Yes, I’m turning 30 this year. Yes, many of my friends back home are getting married and having kids. Meanwhile, I spent my Christmas by the sea hunkered down, alone on the shore, sifting the sand for sea specimens. Now today, I found myself ripping open the box for my new toy in the parking lot outside the Dublin 14 An Post office.
It has long been said that you’re only as old as you feel, and I’ve been feeling like humoring these childlike whims as they come. Wobbling down the street on that little penny board tonight brought me such joy. As a kid, I easily found happiness in simplicity. That is one of the many lessons to be learned from children. I was reminded of all the things they can teach us yet again over the weekend.
I attended the Women’s March on Washington’s sister march in the Dublin city center on Saturday. I was surprised by the large turnout and took quite a few pictures of the crowd and individual marchers. One of my favorites was of this little girl.
Irrespective of the political platforms or party lines, we could all benefit from a little more kindness and honesty; traits that are so readily apparent in the smallest children before they are exposed to the things that embitter us as adults.
Roald Dahl put it best when he said, “Grown ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets.” And indeed we are, but we have potential.