I have started my internship in Peru, and it is such a thrilling experience. It’s been interesting seeing how a NGO operates abroad, understanding the language and culture of Peru, and getting used to the hot weather.
I’m done with junior year and back at home! It’s exciting to be done with my year, crazy to think that ¾ of college is over, and wonderful to be back with family. Since the semester has ended, I went to Vietnam (for a Harvard program teaching high-schoolers and I taught one on “The Rise of Heart Disease”) and Japan (for fun for only a day). It’s been quite a whirlwind! I have sent pictures to my friends and family of my travels, including to Nancy’s* family. I know that she will love the wonderful pictures I sent - some seen below!
Using the experience from last year, HCAB ran summer visits earlier this year to ensure the success of summer visits. I’m sad that I can't visit my buddy this semester and spend time with her - however, I was delighted to receive this email, below, today!
At the end of every semester, we have reflection session consisting of approximately 10 volunteers and facilitated by co-director. How it works is that we have a set of questions to go through and we talk about it. It's a great experience to talk about the highs and lows of the program and our experiences in it. In fact, it's similar to van reflections - we go around and talk about our weekly visits on our way back to Harvard in the vans - however, they are more in depth and longitudinal.
Today was the much awaited HCAB brunch! All of our volunteers gathered together to visit our buddies and their family members. We arrived in the large room where the tables were set beautifully. There were colorful flower arrangements on the tables, plates were laid out very nicely, and the room was slowly being filled with chatter.
For the second time, Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies (HCAB) collaborated with Harvard Arts Program (HARTZ), another Phillips Brooks House Association program working with the elderly and connecting with them through arts and crafts.
This week, I went to Nancy with a surprise in my bag: a book of poetry! I’ve read poems to Nancy before, and it’s been one of the ways we have bonded. However, this week, I purposefully took the poetry collection I was reading in class.
Today, I went to see Nancy again. One of my favorite moments is when she talked about her art workshop. She’s a very creative individual - something that is clear from us talking about and reading poetry. Now, Nancy spends every week with an artist for an hour and fellow residents working on art. Specifically, Nancy enjoys doing sculptures of human faces.
Today, I met with Nancy and her family for the first time after winter break! We sat and talked about how my break was. Nancy loved it when I showed her pictures with my family, and she remarked that my brother was very cute. This visit, I spoke a lot about my family and how much I loved spending time with them.
It’s the beginning of a new year! I’m excited for all this year will bring, especially when it comes to my growing involvement with both National Alzheimer’s Buddies and Harvard College Alzheimer's Buddies.
It’s almost christmas and time for winter break! So, the other co-directors, assistant directors, and I decided to have our annual White Elephant. It’s a great way for us to bond and relax after all our work this semester.
Now, I mainly see Nancy in the visiting or guest room. It’s a pretty spacious room located next to the dining room. Today, we talked a little bit about poetry, and I read her some of my poems. One moment remains poignant in my mind, even now.
t’s been great getting to know my new buddy, Nancy… Nancy is pretty quiet, very sweet, and strong opinionated. Some of my discussions with her have been really interesting!
Between research, service, and other things, I’ve managed to stay pretty busy. There’s no easy way to put it - Pearl passed away. Writing it out makes it that much more real. A lot has happened, as I said, but I think that time has managed to make it a lot more bearable. For me, it’s been really helpful knowing that Pearl passed away without pain and was so deeply loved by so many. Just as importantly…
Today was Pearl’s birthday, and she turned 102! It’s astounding how old she is - what an accomplishment. To be that old and be so happy and cheerful; to have loved ones who care for you and surround you; and to be in relatively good health - all wonderful things making her life meaningful and fulfilling.