NC State University

From where I stand

Today, Saul Flores (2011) started an e-mail chain on our Caldwell listserv. It’s been such an excellent thread and is a cool way to hear what some of us are up to this summer.

From where I stand I can see the laugh lines of the Himalayas. When my eyes close I can hear the whisper of the elephants. Rhinos stomp fast against the breeze of the fireflies. Bengal tigers play tag against the crocodile. From where I stand my life is still.

-Saul Flores, 2011

From where I stand I can see downtown Raleigh. Though the streets are empty by day, they are lively on Friday night. The humid air causes beads of sweat to roll down my back as I bike down Fayetville street. When I close my eyes, my mind is filled of happy memories of nights out with friends. From where I stand my life is joyful.

-Alex Martin, 2011

From where I stand I gaze upon cubicles as far as the eye can see. In these densely crowded corridors, some of the greatest minds I have yet to meet sit and work furiously as they await the day that they might be able to procure an “office”. One day, that will be me, I have always learned to shoot for the stars, and here, the stars are embodied in the collection of four solid walls with which you can block out the sounds of excessively hard typing. From where I stand my life is anxious.

-Alan Sheridan, 2013

From where I stand or actually sit I hear the constant drown of a crop sprayer as I coast over acres of this years cotton crop. I look out and see both tobacco and cotton and have a firm appreciation for them both. These are the crops that helped build our nation and my family farm. I see the love and care that my great-grandfather put into this land so that I too could love and appreciate farming just as he did. I see a way of life that is slowly disappearing as more and more family farms disappear into history. From where I stand I am a part of a dying breed. Safe travels to all.

-Matt Drake, 2013

From where I stand chaos is controlled. Behind the guise of starch white lab coats, sterilized surfaces, warning labels and latex gloves lies the intrigue of the unknown. An inconspicuous agar plate colony grows to millions of bacteria, teeming to escape their glass containers. Proteins run fast under electric gel currents to show their own original pattern. A mix of enzymes transcribes and transforms DNA like a well-oiled machine- almost as efficient as the human body. From where I stand I begin to see the complexity, the miracle that is life.

-Jessica Neville, 2013

From where I stand I see beautiful people. People who some others see as sick, vulnerable, or poor, but to me are people who despite difficulties embrace life with open arms. I see people who have accepted me, trusted me, and showed me so much love. My days have been filled with laughter from all the stories about hallucinations as a side effect of Antiretroviral treatment, and it has been filled with sadness as I hear a mother speak about her guilt for transmitting HIV to her newborn. I feel success when I reach out to others on an emotional level, and I feel frustration when a young mother is crying her eyes out and all I can do is hold her hand because of the language barrier. But most importantly, from where I stand I see people living not dying with HIV.

-Sindhu Ravishankar, 2011

From where I stand I can feel a warm breeze coming through the window of a youth hostel. I see a lawn full of weeds, yet perfect for a late night game of Kubb. The street beyond the lawn is lined with colorful Swedish homes and perfectly trimmed bushes. The voices of other Americans, Swedes, and travelers fill the hallways of the hostel. A woman with bleach blonde hair coasts by on her beach cruiser as the sun beats down on a beautiful, lazy, wonderful summer day.

-Summer Higdon, 2014

From where I stand I see beautiful buildings and monuments that celebrate our nation’s history and ideals; I think of how lucky I am to be an American, and how much I owe to the people who fight for equality, justice, and freedom. As I shift my gaze from the scenery outside to my desk, I am quickly reminded that not everyone is as fortunate. I see photographs, letters, newspaper articles, and press releases, all of which detail and depict horrible human rights abuses that occur every day all over the world. While it is easy to be discouraged and disheartened in an environment like this, the people around me make it so easy to feel inspired. From where I stand I see many individuals who are dedicated to ending human rights abuses and who refuse to become jaded regardless of what they witness and experience.

-Medha Surampudy, 2012

From where I stand can feel the many beautiful paths of travelers around me. Some spill their life story in proper brittish, aspirations to save the world one child at a time. Some convey their desire to learn spanish and see the world, secretly only wishing to escape the grueling 14 hr days of the Thai business culture. “I sell house to come here. Thai work too hard. People not see anything and only work! They crazy.”

Some are best friends from Texas, their two year reunion filled with stories littered with so many inside jokes and silly accents people can barely understand them. All share in this beauty under the scorching Nicaraguan sun. People from around the world brought together by a simple love of travel. From where I stand, I can see the world.

-Kevin Miller, 2013

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