As I reluctantly packed my bags to come back home, I reflected on many adventures, eye-opening experiences and friends made during my time in Ethiopia.. I carefully wrapped my traditional clay buna, or coffee, set in my new silk scarves and squeezed other souvenirs into my suitcase.
Stepping back into the States didn’t feel real. It was like awaking from a dream, reentering the developed world filled with an excess of wealth, cleanliness, big cars, electronics, watery coffee. I dreaded powering on my Blackberry, which immediately began buzzing with months of missed communication. I missed the free feeling back in Ethiopia, where phones aren’t smart, service is spotty and wifi is scarce, where I could exist as a single entity not plugged into a massive network. I missed injera.
Whenever someone asks me about my summer, I always hesitate. My experience doesn’t sum up nicely into a concise answer; I struggle to find the right words. Fantastic, overwhelming, eye-opening, a massive learning experience, an incredible adventure. But, the most fitting word is inspirational. This summer convinced me that I was on the right path, and global health would be my future. I love traveling, meeting new people, and exploring cultures too much not to work internationally. I also decided that I needed to go to medical school. I walked through too many hospitals filled with suffering people that may never receive the care they need. I was heartbroken that I couldn’t personally do anything to alleviate their pain beyond a friendly smile. I need to invest in medical school in order to help people as I wish I could.
I effectively fell in love with Ethiopia, and I hope to return in the near future. Of course, there are many other countries to explore, but I think Ethiopia will always hold a special place in my heart, with its vibrant culture, breathtaking country landscapes, and loving people.