I have just been reading a blog post by my fellow Fellow and came across a statement that resonated with me immensely – time is relative. Indeed it is, as I am now roughly two weeks away of completing my fellowship.
What started as a 12-months professionally interesting commitment gradually spanned into 18 months of quite a life changing experience. And these 18 months proved to be as long as a lifetime, and at the same time as short as a lightning – here is to the paradox of time. I remember vividly arrival, orientation, start of the fellowship, as if it was literally last week. And yet, looking back and revisiting everything that happened within these 18 months feels it with so many people, events, changes. Perhaps the fact of my slowly paced pre-fellowship also had a role to play in my current reflections.
Anyway, it has been awesome experience of changing life and changing perspectives. I am certainly a very different self now, possessing added value of friendships, skills and experiences, with different level of confidence and ambitions. I would like to specifically mention other fellows – meeting so many brilliant young people, so passionate and full of great ideas and broad experiences, was truly inspirational. Some connections would grow closer, while some would remain as more distant members of the network – but nevertheless greatly respected and admired. This exposure to cultural diversity also made me acutely aware and sensitive of our uniqueness and similarities at the same time – we might come from different corners of the world, but we all face very similar battles of social injustices, oppressions, inequality of opportunities and resources, hatred or intolerance. But the life has always been and will be an endless series of battles. So good luck to all of us.
As for me, I am getting ready to move on, to leave behind much loved – regardless of its harsh winters – the state of 10,000 lakes, “Minnesota Nice”. Half-packed already. And just the other day, while walking in the early hours of morning to the office of my host organization, I found myself in the very marginal state of anxiety. It is a hardly defined feeling of doubled home-ness: I grew to love this place I have been calling home for the last 18 months, and at the same time I am so looking forward to returning to my home, nested in the foggy mountains of Northern Armenia. I am still here, but I also feel being already there. Only few weeks of count down.