As I sit here, alone in my apartment reading through the blog posts of my fellow CU Winds members, I can’t stop the tears that well up in my eyes. At first, I am simply happy. Their eloquence and insightful reflections are a reminder of the unforgettable experiences we shared while traveling. During the week that we spent together we talked, laughed, bonded, stressed, explored, played music, and learned. I now have so many memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and for that I am forever grateful.
My feelings become bittersweet though, because now the tour is over. The contrast between going on unexpected adventures everyday with 50 friends and sitting by myself in my dining room is striking- already I want to go back. As a senior, I am especially sad because I may never have another opportunity like this again. I never want to forget any part of what we went through together. It is so easy to slip back into to routine of coffee and classes and consumption, but it is important to remember everything that we learned on this trip. If we aren’t careful our new friendships will easily dissolve in the corrosive stress of college life. But I know that we have the power to fight that urge. As long as we continue to care for each other, the relationships I and we made on this trip are only just a glimpse of what’s to come.
The same is true on a much larger scale as well. The soothing comfort of our lives can wash away both the joy and misfortune that we saw in Haiti. It is even more imperative to hold onto these things as we continue with our lives. We must remember the kindness and generosity that was extended toward us in the aftermath of unfortunate circumstances and allow that to guide how we act for the rest of our lives. In fact, the more I think about all of this the more I realize that opportunities like this have only just begun- I have an entire lifetime to understand others and share my own experiences. Though some of us may never have the same opportunity again, we have the power and the influence to create more opportunities that engender the same sense of cultural understanding that we experience in Haiti.
If I learned anything on this trip it’s this: now that we have seen the power that music has to bring people together I only hope- I know- that we will be able to apply this knowledge to every aspect of life by spreading music, love, and understanding everywhere we go.
–Ariel Donlin, clarinet