I will miss this place.

My first year here, I wondered how things will have changed in four years when I was just about to graduate.

Will I have found my place in this university?  Will I have met people who changed my life?  Will I have discovered my path and purpose?  Will I miss Gainesville?

I will miss afternoons on the Plaza of the Americas.  I will miss Krishna Lunch, and indulging in my favorite Thursday subji.  I will miss greeting the Hare Krishnas, especially Hanan, in all of his unassuming grace.  I will miss the secret garden/alcove by Grinter Hall, and the countless hours spent there lunching, musing, and watching squirrels.  I will miss walking through Turlington Square and its demonstrators, proselytizers, campaigners, and four-square players.  I will miss brisk morning walks to the bus stop, and lurching bus rides to campus.  I will miss watching humans peaking around corners to see if there are zombies afoot.  I will miss doing stadiums and then climbing to the top of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at sunset.  I will miss Mwalimu Matondo and my hilarious Swahili class.  I will miss rehearsals with the Africa Choir on Fridays at 3pm, the perfect end to my week.  I will miss singing for Duncan Miano Wambugu, one of the most phenomenal conductors this world has ever known.  I will miss picking up Merise every Monday and Wednesday for West African drumming class, drumming my heart out, and getting arepas at Fritanga afterward.  I will miss Recurso meetings, and the friends I have grown so close to over the years.  I will miss doing research at the Center for African Studies, as well as its dedicated faculty members who have literally changed my life’s trajectory.  I will miss spending Sundays and mornings with Dr. Silva in the office.  I will miss downtown Gainesville, and all of the quirky charm it has to offer.  I will miss dancing at Neon Liger, and the characters that it attracts even more, especially the drag queens.  I will miss having heart to hearts with Joanna.  I will miss that night when we drove out to Paynes Prairie at midnight and stargazed on the hood of my car.  And I will miss the day we went hiking at San Felasco State Park.  I will miss eating at The Top, especially their pecan encrusted/blackened tofu and corn nuggets.  I will miss the chiming of the bells of Century Tower, especially when they play Christmas carols in December.  I will miss reading the quotes engraved outside of Grinter Hall, and taking the elevator up to the fourth floor at least twice a day.  I will miss the night my roommates and I went on a mad quest to watch the Leoneids meteor shower, and our conversations that last for hours.  I will miss my cooking escapades in our kitchen.  I will miss the adorable cows that we live next to at the beef teaching unit, and listening to their sweet moos as I walk by their pasture.  I will miss my number-two-pencil-colored bedroom.  I will miss the potlucks and picnics.  I will miss Lake Wauberg and Lake Alice.  I will miss stimulating discussions with the most intelligent and articulate woman I know, Stacey Gray, and plotting and scheming with the irreplaceable Jacob “work smarter not harder” Fyda.  I will miss their fabulous condo, and the granite counter tops that were the source of Stacey’s guilt.  I will miss the night Jacob and I found a kitten in his engine, and spent the next three hours trying to get it out and find it a home.  I will miss $2 tempeh burgers on Wednesdays at Mother’s pub, and walking there after Swahili with Gloria and Tamra.  I will miss Gainesville’s concerts and theater performances, and the (multiple) national championships we’ve celebrated on University Ave.  I will miss the random alligators on campus. I will miss Gainesville’s art festivals.  I will miss making appearances at Rotary meetings at Tapas 12, and my Rotary family, especially Mr. Robar, Dr. Casagrande/JC, and Dr. Craddock.    I will miss the lessons learned.  I will miss the failures.  I will miss the personal crises.  I will miss the “character building experiences.”  I will miss every time that I found the courage to face my fears.  And I will miss the feeling of finally finding myself ‘at home.’

I will miss this place.  And it is with profound gratitude and love, that I say goodbye.

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5 thoughts on “I will miss this place.

  1. This is beautiful, I was reading through it and laughing at every other thing because I’ll miss some of the same things. Especially la Nila! :,)

  2. Beautiful Nila. Wise, thoughtful, articulate.

    I look forward to reading about your time in Africa.

    Know that I am so very proud of you.

  3. I am loving your blog already and you aren’t even in Africa yet! I’ll miss you my friend 🙂 When you come back to the states I’ll be in Tampa and we can catch up! Maybe we’ll find cows with sweeter moos than ours 😉

  4. This is the other best blog post!! I love it!! Especially how you found the cat and all! haha 🙂
    …. Ya i like that emoticon 2…. :,) ……. creative 😀

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