Time is a weird thing. For me, this summer feels like no other: both slow and fast all the time.
Like right now. I can’t believe it’s been four days since Saturday, when I got up at 6 a.m. to be 10 feet away from the Dalai Lama at the U.S. Capitol (pictures to be posted soon). I have never felt the concept of diversity so much as that morning. Monks everywhere, all unsurprisingly in traditional dress, but also one with a baseball cap and a video camera and another with a pink and purple plaid backpack. Tibetan women in beautiful, shimmering silk blouses and odd striped linen skirts that seemed to clash utterly with their resplendent top halves. A blonde bimbo-looking woman who was a devoted Buddhist and had flown all the way from Ohio just to hear the Dalai Lama speak. A woman who worked in Bhutan and had met Gandhi’s grandson (Note: I am an obsessive Gandhi fan. I’ve read way too much about him, and the ever-present silver ring on my right ring finger is inscribed with his famous quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”). People fanned themselves with authentic folding fans that you could tell had been purchased in some far-off land. Many had sanskrit tattoos and prayer books. One monk had an interesting talisman that he swung around while he chanted and read. In short, it was an incredible atmosphere.
The Dalai Lama himself was surprisingly funny but utterly down-to-earth as expected. I was amazed when I left at 11:30 a.m. how many people were just showing up. In my opinion, the West Lawn should have been packed far earlier.
I got home just in time to give a tour of the UMD campus. A group called Summer Study takes high school students to a bunch of colleges in the country so they can figure out where they want to go. Though it was incredibly hot and humid, it went pretty well. The group asked a lot of questions, and a good number were interested. The next day’s tour for more kids in the same program was not as successful. The kids were younger, some just out of middle school, and, to put it nicely, snotty little pricks. One kid asked me what the cost of tuition was, and when I told him, he scoffed, saying this school was way too cheap. I believe smoke came out of my ears.
Fast forward to Tuesday, when I went to a movie premiere called “The Other City,” which explored the HIV/AIDS epidemic in DC. The showing was put on by La Clinica del Pueblo, a clinic committed to providing healthcare for low-income Hispanics. The film was amazing, and there was a great turnout. I’ll be writing a piece about it for Street Sense, so I’ll post the link when it’s up.
Now I’m back at The Diamondback, copy editing, which I never thought I’d be doing again. At the beginning of the summer, I’d said I could work once a week for the summer edition, but at the time, they didn’t need me. Turns out they do. Hey, extra money and a familiar environment. I’m good with that.
Though it seems like a lot has happened in the past few days, I also can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. UGH. I’d rather be in Boston, which is my destination for next weekend. But I have an intern mixer downtown and Harry Potter 7: Part II tomorrow as well as a possible art festival this weekend so more to come.
And maybe I should learn a little from the past days and enjoy what’s going on around me. The outer world is beautiful, but much of that beauty comes from within the people who populate it, spreading their joy to others. Whether it be Tibetan monks or those suffering from HIV/AIDS, we all have a story to tell. And they’re all spiritually, heart-wrenchingly, humanly beautiful.