Across the Pond

Despite my rekindled nationalism (as a result of the Olympics), I’ve never been more content to get out of the country. Recently, I have been accepted to Boston University’s Internship Abroad Program. On September 1st, I’ll be flying to London-Heathrow for a three month stay in South Kensington, London.

The semester in London will be filled with classes, travel, ultimate frisbee, football (soccer), a law internship, concerts and memories. A semester abroad, to me, means growth as an individual in a professional and informal way. Since there is so much in store in London and so much to digest, I will hosting a TRAVEL BLOG on this WordPress site to document everything to reflect on at a later date.

Cheers!

Becoming a Tough Mudder

I have described myself as “aggressively average” in many aspects of my life. In a world in which “capable” is acceptable–and impressive at that–there aren’t many times in life to test the extent of your ability. Six of us decided that the Tough Mudder was the perfect way to test our strength, agility, and mental grit.

On July 15th, we shipped out from Boston to Mt. Snow in Vermont with naive anticipation and a pack of fake mustaches. Our nervous excitement and calls of “OORAH” led us up the first black diamond ski slope with good spirits. Signs reminding us “Remember you signed a Death Waiver” seemed to have little effect on us…until we hit the first obstacle. Energy, fun, and happiness ground to a halt when we reached the Arctic Enema. A dumpster of ice-water maintained at 34 degrees awaited us just over a wooden ramp. Little did we know, a little electric surprise was lurking in the icy depths too.

SHOCK! That was the reoccurring theme of the day for us. Whether it was the shock of cold water, physical strain, or the oh-so-memorable 10,000 volts, our strength, endurance, and reserve was challenged. Titles like the Electric Eel, Arctic Enema, Dark Lightning, Mount Everest and Electro-shock Therapy were meant to intimidate, but we conquered them all with poise and composure.

My personal success in this event is of no importance without the recognition of my teammates. Our group of six split into groups of three for the race. Alex, Will and I bounded up and down the slopes of the mountain together. We helped each other scale 20-foot walls. We provided mental and emotional support for each other and that was worth its weight in gold.  Together, we completed a challenge of more than 10 miles, more than 23 obstacles, freezing water, 10,000 volts, and numerous mental tests in 2 hours and 30 minutes.

This experience was memorable in itself for the amount of trust and confidence I had to put into others. I had to trust that my teammates would look out for me and bring me up when I needed a boost. This event has brought me closer to my teammates and I consider Will and Alex to be my brothers now. When looking back on this event, I regret nothing and loved every minute of it. Will I do it again? Oh yes. You can only keep a Tough Mudder away for so long.

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Permanence

20120201-084950.jpgWhat’s more permanent than a tattoo? Now that I have that off of my chest, we can discuss this further.

Tattoos have stigma attached to them and a wealth of knowledge that comes from superiors and loved ones. I chose to remain within the bounds of the advice given to me. Upon the request of my parents, if I got a tattoo, it would have to have meaning and it would have to have be hidden while in the work place. With these claims, I thought of a something meaningful and mustered up the courage to set foot in a tattoo parlor.

My tattoo features a wave and a sanskrit phrase: tat tvam asi.

The wave is a symbol of home. Growing up in a beach town and having the ocean so accessible to me was a big part of my upbringing. Before I left for college, my parents would plan several beach trips as long as the weather was decent. It was also a fond memory with friends. In my last few years of high school, trips to the beach were plentiful and the annual hajj to Hither Hills in Montauk was a must. In 10 or 15 years, I have no idea where I’ll be in life (even geographically speaking). No matter where I am, I wanted the wave to remind me of the beach and the subsequent memories.

The Sanskrit phrase was a result of a class I took on Hinduism in the fall of 2011. Tat tvam asi is a phrase that translates to “that thou are.” Specifically in Vedic context, it is understood to also mean “You are Him.” This point is also reiterated in modern reformist interpretations of hinduism. By “that thou are,” we imply that divinity is in everyone. As a result, the individual has the power to influence the universal essence of the world.

In addition to its meaning, this tattoo was significant to other aspects of my life. By having an acute fear of needles, a tattoo seemed out of the question. I decided to tackle this fear in a rather blunt way. Although I was shaking before the needle touched my back, I knew I should go through with it to dispel my fear. Also, I wanted to prove that I could start something and muster up the courage to finish it.

The journey began on a Friday for my consultation and after I left, I was on the fence about it. I thought the pain would outweigh whatever meaning this tattoo would have for me. I concluded that I needed to go the next morning. I needed to finish what I started and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

-Drew

One Race at a Time

Boston 2011
Waking up at 7:30 on a Sunday morning as a college student is torture–youmust have messed up big to deserve it.

That’s exactly what I thought when I poked my head outside of my room on this morning only to realize that the meteorologists didn’t lie; it was 28 degrees outside.  Who would possibly want to run today?  Although it took some initial coaxing, I begrudgingly chose to run the Winter Classic 5K in Cambridge with two close friends/bandmates.

I always hated running in high school because of the pressure associated with it–the clock documenting every second that I was behind someone else.  This fear and dissent for running melted away upon my discovery of 5Ks. With every step in my erratically paced race, I started to believe those running freaks that talked about the endorphins released from running were like no other.  Needless to say: I am hooked and ready for more.  This race has me ready for many more races whether they are 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, or the revered marathon.

With this post, I plan to run a marathon before turning 21.  Why?  Why not. It’s just another thing to check off of the list of things to do before 30.

-Drew

(PS: I am the guy with the white BU shirt in this picture)–19:29