Thursday, May 26, 2011

Busy May: Graduation and European Adventures

On May 1, 2011, I officially became an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh.  I joined the masses and stepped bright-eyed into the "real world."  With significant plans ahead, I was feeling anxious for the new chapter in my life to begin (and admittedly, a little scared of what was about to come).  My time at Pitt was everything a student could ask for in college.  I met a lot of wonderful people; however, what was more important to me was that a few number of all those wonderful people will remain to be my friend for years to come (no matter what country I will be calling home).  I took interesting classes taught by world-renowned professors.  I got involved and remained committed to the organizations that truly sparked my interest.  I was able to familiarize myself to Pittsburgh and grew to love it.  I will miss college and everyone that I associate with Pitt.  I'll miss getting ready for nights out with my girlfriends (and will never forget their generosity for letting me borrow ALL of their clothes), the countless hours spent in the library, struggling to wake up early on Saturday mornings to volunteer for Habitat, working at the Children's Hospital, and everything that came in between.  I survived college with only a few minor battle wounds and enough stories to last me a lifetime.  I'm grateful for all of my experiences at Pitt and will treasure them in times of loneliness in Sierra Leone.  I got the degree that I truly worked very hard for and now I can move on with confidence in who I am and who I am about to become.

After college was all said and done, what's the best way to celebrate breaching this momentous milestone? Well, a trip of course!  Merely a week after I put that cap and gown on, I was suited up with a backpack twice my size and boarding a flight to Europe with five of my best friends from college.  I couldn't have picked a better crew: Brian (the leader), Julia (the breakfast sandwich lover), Mary Ann (the spirit angel), KDKA (the itchy one), and Smoof (the competition).  In two and half weeks, we visited some of the most beautiful cities in the world: Paris, Barcelona, Vienna, Bratislava, Venice, Florence and Rome.  While each city supplied a countless amount of historical landmarks, stunning displays of art and architecture, and yes, tourist-filled streets, the experiences (the good, the bad, and the crazy) are what will stay with me from this trip.  We were fortunate enough to meet some great (and interesting) people from all over the world.  I could go into all the wild details, but you'll just have to wait until my memoirs are published.  From pickpockets to the Jersey Shore to everyone's ONE mistake, we had a blast and can all honestly say it was a trip of a lifetime!

On an unrelated note, I'm leaving for Sierra Leone in 4 days.  Am I ready?  No.  I'm hoping to have a post in the very near future about expectations and preparations before I take the big trip, so keep your eyes peeled for that one.

I shall leave you all with one of my favorite quotes from my European backpacking trip.  I suppose this shall be my signature closing - quotes.  Doesn't every great blogger has a signature closing?

French basketball player: "What do you do in the United States?"
Mary Ann Murphy: "Oh, born and raised - 22 years."

1 comment:

  1. Rachel,
    It was wonderful seeing you at school a few weeks ago. You will be a wonderful teacher!
    Wishing you safe and happy travels, and I look forward to following your adventures.
    Mrs. P