Monday, December 12, 2011

Outside Observations

Excerpts from a letter I just received in the mail... 

Dear TMV,

In my eyes, it is always great meeting new people but just as important to maintain in contact especially soon after leaving the land (Gesundheit). From my experience, once you depart from Gesundheit and enter the real world, there are a number of things in life that occupy your time & cause you to slowly forget the memorable experiences you just had. that's why the first few months afterwards are vital if you want to stay in contact with the people you just met. I know I only spent less than a week interacting with your group, but I meant it when I say that it was the best I've experienced there. You all went from being complete strangers from all across the world to shedding tears upon the departure of each person. That emotional swing doesn't happen overnight. It took time to break down the personas of each person and become more comfortable with each other. Simple acts, such as cooking and eating together, helped develop a bond and connection that grew stronger with each passing day. By the time you all started to share stories that caused yourself or others to breakdown, it was then your relationship with each other grew to another level. I saw a real difference in the group between  my two visits and it was a remarkable change. In my opinion, the fact that most of you all were either in medical school, applying, or aspiring to go to medical school, gave an immediate source of connection, which made initial conversation less difficult. For some, such as yourself, you didn't seem to need prompting, as you were ready to interact from the beginning, in my opinion.

I pride myself in being a good judgement of character and took from the interactions with you as being an atypically beautiful individual. In the sense that you were atypical was in how open and honest you were about your life and then was always willing to share your love and energy towards others without question. Beautiful is sometimes taken too literally and not expounded upon properly. There is no argument here that you are attractive physically, but from what I witnessed and experienced around you, your appealing persona exemplified the beauty of your character. You have developed yourself into not just a likable person, but a lovable individual. Maybe you've you've always been this way or you've grown into this person, I don't know; but I do see that you are an individual who has hopes, dreams, aspirations, fears, knows how to have a good time (you traveled halfway across the country by yourself, that is my idea of an adventure!), enjoys the company of children & they love you in return, you know when to share your love & you aren't afraid to admit when you want it in return, and you know when you need time to yourself.

I'm glad you made it back home safely & I know you must have had some awesome adventures along the way. How is the blogging & journal writing? I should send you this book I have that has great quotes. I will end with one from it: "Life is what happens to you while you're making other plans." Keep your spirits high & stay smiling.

Much love,

JG & I 
I think of my time at Gesundheit often, and I still struggle with finding the words to describe the kind of relationships I formed with my peers in West Virginia. This letter came to me last week from a man I met at Gesundheit. He volunteered at Gesundheit in the past & he visited twice during the medical elective. I thought this letter described a lot --- it provides outside observations from someone who was not a part of the medical elective and describes his experiences with the group I was surrounded by. The people I met down there are some of the most amazing, supportive people I have ever encountered. His letter also shines light upon how quickly we all got to know each other in a one month period of time. JG only knew me & the rest of the group briefly, and what he wrote about all of us is very true.

I miss my Gesundheit family every day! I still call upon my friends there for support, advice, encouragement, and of course, a good laugh.

Love & Light,