The Road Ahead

So here I am, a few grueling tests away from this so called “summer.” I have been saving pennies, working long nights, studying to maintain the required GPA, feeding my money to program fees, flights, air b&b’s, books….and all for what? Well, in a couple of days this will all come out of the figurative world and into the light of reality. In just four days, I will board an airplane in Dallas, Texas that will fly me to Newark, New Jersey then Dublin, London, then Rome, Italy. This is my first time out of the country. I will spend two weeks with some of my closest friends at OU’s campus in Arezzo, Italy. Once the class is over, the sights are seen, and the pictures are taken, I will travel with my friend, Kim Pham, down to Tropea, Italy where we will meet my Great Aunt Heath for a few days on the Mediterranean sea. After this, I am flying from Rome to Budapest, Hungary. After Budapest is Vienna, Austria, then after Vienna is Munich, Germany. I’ll spend three days in each city, and then I will fly from Munich, Germany to Bilbao, Spain. From here, I will meet my second family for the first time in person! For the next two months, I will be living with them, working for them, and teaching them English as they teach me Spanish and show me their culture first-hand. During these two months, I’m not quite sure where I will go. I would love to see Barcelona, Madrid, and Portugal. I know at some point I will head North to France (hopefully Paris) and Amsterdam because I bought a plane ticket out of Amsterdam to come home, August 7th. I am the first person in my family to get a passport. I could not be any more ready and open to all that is to come.

So follow me as I go, see the places I see, and let me spark a fire inside of you that inspires you to see it for yourself. Because I know there will be things our technology cannot capture, and moments my words cannot paint.

Goodbye, addio, viszontlátásra, auf wiedersehen, adiós, au revoir, vaarwel…

Blessing Chirimbanie

What more can I say about Blessing than what her name implies?

Blessing is a beautiful representation of her country, of her family, of her home soil.

I am truly blessed by having her in my life. She makes me better everyday.

There is really not much I can do to repay her for all she has given me, but every once in a while we try. She loves bowling, she loves driving, she loves music, and we both love eating.

In fact, we are about to go grab dinner, so I must wrap this up.

I can’t wait to see her in August. I’ll be counting down the days, Blessing.

Trump Trash

The Paris Pledge was agreed upon by several countries in 2015 in an attempt to reduce emissions together. The United States itself pledged to lower its share by 26%-28% by 2025. The plan was achievable with the assumption of many things such as: California’s state policy on greenhouse gases, federal regulations, the Clean Power Plan, energy markets, and new state laws. However, with the recent election of Donald Trump, the United States may not be able to conclude it’s part of the agreement despite being the 2nd largest green house gas emitter. Therefore, if the United States does not fulfill it’s pledge the world may not ever be able to reduce global warming. This is a very real concern after the selection of Scott Pruitt for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Accountability is going to be a very strong tool for other countries, especially against a country as large as the Unites States. It is our responsibility as global citizens and inhabitants of planet earth to hold President Elect Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt accountable for the Paris Pledge. After all, this is Our America. Let’s do this.

Deep Water Horizon

This semester, I was enrolled in an introductory course to Civil Engineering and Environmental Science. Throughout the course, we had guest speakers come and talk to us about their companies and what they do as practicing engineers. There was one speaker that particularly stuck with me, and that was an Environmental Engineer from BP. Of course, after the recent release of the movie, “Deep Water Horizon,” my classmates and I were eager to ask about the 2010 oil spill. As a freshman in Environmental Engineering, with a goal of minoring in Water Sanitation for Health and Developmental Purposes, the ocean is my muse. It was honestly quite disheartening. Our speaker was so numb to the effects BP has on the environment after being surrounded by it for so many years, as long as it followed the EPA guidelines, we were good. From that moment, I’ve come to the personal decision to avoid working as an environmental consultant for an oil company, because not only do I want to work with water, I don’t want to normalize humans effect on the environment, despite my major. Recently, the Obama administration released a finalized set of regulations that will work to prevent another oil spill from occurring. What the New York Times confirms, is that the oil spill occurred from the inability of the blowout preventer to contain the built up pressure that eventually released millions of barrels of oil into the gulf. This is something that took me and my class of 75, bright-eyed engineers, aback. As adults become more engulfed in their work and are constantly surrounded by environmental issues as such, it would be hard to remember how you felt when you first heard oil rigs release tons of trash into the ocean like no big deal. I hope I never lose this passion and desire to make things right.

The Flight

Life moves fast. You’re spinning and twirling around so fast, your hair wraps around your eyes and you can feel your dress one step behind you. Yet, it’s not until the last beat, when you face out to the audience. And it’s not until that last puff of breath, the kind that blows your hair out of your face that you realize the world is still. Watching.

Friday, December 17th:

Pack for your trip, wake up early and load your car, drive to the library, study for your math final, eat lunch, take your engineering final, review for your math final, eat dinner, take your math final, go say bye to your parents, go get ski clothes from your friend, grab an iced coffee, drive to dallas, park your car at Wendy’s, take a shower, request an uber, check in at the airport, wait to board your flight, get some coffee, board the plane, and then.

Silence

You don’t realize it’s coming. You don’t realize that by booking a 5:30 am flight, you did more than cause more havoc in the world around you. But here we are. The rain droplets all shoot back in unison as we start to take off, the plane shakes and you start to get a little nervous. You try to focus but the world is a blur of diagonal LED lights racing past you. Before you know it, the world starts to slow down. You reach this point, where the nose of the plan breaks through that last cloud, and the stars are brighter this morning than they’ve ever been before. The sunset is the darkest orange you’ve ever seen.

I didn’t want to come down.

Unfortunately, Southwest doesn’t fly planes just for the heck of it. They fly to get from point A to point B in a time efficient manner. And that’s what it’s all about. That’s why, by the end of Finals Week, you’re constantly trying to reach this elevated state, where gravity spares you and you just fly.

What I’ve realized is that it’s okay to land. That jolt is coming and we all know because everyone in the airplane is going to hear it in their ears first, then tense their body in anticipation for contact. So why not instead of waiting to be brought back down to earth by the hands of another man, grab the wheel yourself. Flying is smooth and we’ve got this under control.

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Just a Street Kid From Karachi

Do you ever have that feeling? That feeling when it seems as if every second, of every day, has sorted and shifted down to that last grain of sand until BAM—you’re crossing the finish line, frantically looking around…what is it? What have I been waiting for?

In my case, I see him. Black, square frame glasses, long, lanky arms, sweet, handsome face—the friend I’ve been waiting for all my life. And I mean this, when I look at him I see much more than those dark eyes staring back at me. I see his journey and his climb to get to today. We simply didn’t wake up and drag ourselves to class by the time we see each other. We flew around the world, we failed, we succeed. We skinned our knees, we laughed, we cried.

“Two birds on a wire, one tries to fly away and the other watches him close from that wire. He says he wants to as well, but he is a liar” -Regina Spektor

I’ve been waiting and I’m so happy the waiting is finally over. My street boy from Karachi has finally found his way back to the wire.