A Return to Myself – A Weekend in Baltimore

5 10 2012

Last weekend I flew to Maryland to celebrate the wedding of my college roommate*. Through this visit I inadvertently enjoyed an informal, impromptu and long overdue college reunion. (Almost five years have passed since I last visited Baltimore!)

It was amazing and a little bit surreal to see my college crew. We were a group of “go-getter” international relations majors with ideas, ideals, big goals and mad skills. We even co-founded an impactful international relief group on campus as undergrads.

Hearing life updates was momentarily daunting. I was back in the world of Truman scholars, Marshall scholars, Fulbright fellows and don’t-take-no-for-an-answer passion from people who were creating positive change in their fields around the world.

But that moment of intimidation soon passed and became an incredible shot in the arm. I too am living my life creatively and passionately – so differently than I could have possibly foreseen five years ago – and I imagine that I will be returning to the world of social justice, humanitarian work and international service at some point over the next two years.

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It was lovely and powerful to be reminded of who I used to be from friends who knew me three worlds ago. Sure – I’ve changed, I’ve matured and I’ve grown. But I also temporarily forgot a part of who I was. I forgot that the name Amy Oppenheimer (now Ayo) means something and that – to many people – that name comes along with a reputation of vivacity, limitless energy, kindness, project innovation, activity-organizing, welcoming people and even having crazy goals like being the secretary of state.

I felt so much love, support and brachot (blessings) this weekend from my international relations crew and from my friends that I visited from the observant Jewish community at Hopkins. Life at the co-op and in the eclectic city of Austin continues to enchant, but I might have gotten some of my old itch back and a resolve not to run in the rat race, but to jump back into society and kick my pace up a notch at some point in the coming year.

*Parenthetically, the wedding was fantastic! My former roommate Salmah is half Pakistani and half-Guayanese, which meant that I spent an hour on Wikipedia looking up “Punjabi Wedding Customs” and briefing myself on the mehndi, nikah and baraat. The events were lavish and colorful, and Salmah even arranged for each of us to receive our very own desi outfit to wear to the mehndi celebration. Such fun!

posted by ayo




2 responses

5 10 2012
Nadia K.

Love this! I felt similarly “reinspired” with all the hopkins non-premed go getters reunited under one roof. 🙂 Awesome post!

5 10 2012
Benay H.

I love your writing style and your blog. Such a perfect balance of facts, emotion, honesty & inspiration. And just the right amount of lovely visuals. I read it every chance I get. Thank you! ♥

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