Shana Tova

My dear friends and family,

In the Jewish Rosh Hashana tradition it is customary to start the new year (beginning tonight at sun down) on the right foot: reconnecting with friends you have been neglecting, atoning for not having been a better friend/sister/daughter/girlfriend, and wishing all those loved ones a sweet year to come. The ten days between the beginning of the New Year and the Day of Atonement are called the Days of Awe, they are days traditionally filled with reflection, seeking out reconciliation and reconnection. Since my life has been filled with change and turbulence I figured it would do me good to use these days to reflect on whats to come.

Here is a little update on my life:

In May I graduated from the University of Michigan School of Public Health with a concentration in Health Behavior and Health Education and a focus on Latino Health. After a ten day trip, with my boyfriend Jamie, to Massachusetts and New York, I settled back in Ann Arbor to find a job. Low and behold, a month later I got offered a position during an informational interview at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) which is the Americas branch of the World Health Organization in Washington DC. It truly was a dream come true. Unfortunately there have been problems with the funding for my position so I haven’t actually been able to start working. Let me tell you, there is nothing more depressing than going from 100mph every single day to a summer without much to do besides anxiously waiting for a start date for my new life in Washington DC. In the past month I started applying to other jobs in Washington DC and even as far as Lima and Geneva, so hopefully I will be employed sooner, rather than later.

Thankfully, my former boss at the School of Public Health offered me a temporary position in the Communications Department, which is what I will be doing until I get to start my job. It’s a great place to be since I can always chat with the professors about their research and be the first to know about any positions that might open up somewhere in the great field of Public Health. Some other highlights of what I have done this summer included: working on a documentary about undocumented students with my mother, driving all night to DC to attend a march to support the DREAM Act (which would allow undocumented students a path to citizenship/residency through higher education), a wonderful week up north with more people than I can count, many lovely movies, and a lot of quality time with my little brother.

Me and Amitai at the Ann Arbor Art Museum
Me and Amitai at the Ann Arbor Art Museum

 

This whole time in limbo has made me think about all the people I have in my life- three continents, six countries, and endless happy memories. I know I haven’t spoken to many of you in months or even years. I know many of you will be displeased that this e-mail is in English (I am not forgetting German I promise). I know that all of you have your been accomplishing many wonderful life events in the past year, like getting married, retiring, finishing med school, falling in love, graduating college, having babies, and changing careers. I wish I could have personally been there for all of them to wish you well. I also know some of you have also experienced some sad life events in the past year, like losing a loved one, losing a job, going through a break up, feeling anxious and overwhelmed by financial troubles, and, like me, not being able to start your career (even though you really really want to). I wish I could have been there to console and comfort you. All of you in some way have given me insight and strength to work through my time of unknowns, like always believing in my abilities, always knowing that I am loved (even from far away) and always knowing that I can count on your advice. It kind of reminded me of a quote by the children author/poet/visionary Dr. Seuss: “be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”. All of you have in some way shaped who I am and continue to be a source of inspiration to figure my life out.

So, in closing, thank you for always being there for me and I am sorry for not keeping in touch more. I am sorry for saying mean things, or thinking mean things, or not picking up when you called because I was doing other stuff. I am sorry for hurting your feelings in any way. I love all of you and think about you all the time. Please send me updates about your life- I want to know how all of you are doing! Let’s make this the year where we do keep in touch regularly! Please also feel free to forward this email to anyone who might be interested but who’s e-mail I did not have.

Shana Tova umetuka (have a happy and sweet new year)

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