Faded Memories

Faded Memories

What's your greatest memory?

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The most explicit memory of my early childhood days is of visiting India. I remember the days spent staying at my grandparent's house, a small weathered bungalow covered with vines of the kudzu plant that extended from the metal chimney to the creaked, concrete grounds. I reminiscence about the warm summer evenings spent playing with the "neighborhood" kids, twirling around till we felt dizzy, and coming back home only to be greeted by the aroma of my grandma's famous chicken curry. My time in India amidst banana craving monkeys originating from the depths of a tropical forest and content cows wandering the busy streets with great pleasure was an enjoyable experience that I will never forget. As I recollect these beautiful memories I've created, I also look back on certain events that always brought me a feeling of uneasiness. Some of these events took place in the town's local hospital.



As I played with the "neighborhood" children that lived near my grandparents' house, I came to realize that they all came from different subdivisions. Many came from the enormous apartment complex a few blocks away while others lived in bungalows across the road similar to my grandparents' house. However, one of the girls was different; she lived in a small, weathered-down cottage a couple of miles down the road with her two parents. Her parents worked consistently, bringing home around 4 dollars a day which was barely enough for them to pay for their meals. She was indeed less fortunate than any of the other children. One day when her parents went to work, the girl fell sick with a fever and was admitted to the hospital. In addition to her parents unable to pay for her treatments, the hospital had her on hold till further expenses became covered. Thankfully, a friend of her fathers was able to pay for the bills and give my friend the medication she needed. My family and I later found out that the hospital rejected everyone who could not afford being hospitalized; the hospital's "simple" solution to the overflow of people.



Like any other country, healthcare in India is expensive and unaffordable by a majority of its population. With India's rapidly growing population and poor living conditions, many hospitals are underequipped with an insufficient supply of medication and understaffed with a small number of doctors and nurses, preventing healthcare to be readily accessible for the population's high demand. Furthermore, many underprivileged families, a lot like my friend's family, are treated poorly by hospitals that focus solemnly on the money aspect of it; these hardworking individuals do not deserve to be disrespected by public health services.




The next time I visit India, I hope to not only create unforgettable memories with my grandma as we cook her spectacular chicken curry together, but also make an everlasting, positive impact on the local hospitals all around the country.

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You're at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You're probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you're calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you're walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You're convinced you're ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You've already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you're an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school's name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I'm telling you right now, you're going to miss it all. Everything you've ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald's hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you've seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You're going to miss them more than anything. I'm telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You've got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life, it's truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it's the little things you're gonna miss the most. Don't take it for granted because soon, you'll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You've got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You're going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won't.

So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You've got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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To The First School Pony I Ever Rode, And Still Love

Although its been around 9 years since I've ridden Change, I still remember all he taught me.

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Here's some background. It was my 4th birthday that started my love for horses. My parents and I lived in this house that had an acre plot of land, perfect for the best birthday parties. This birthday party, in particular, consisted of ponies.

My father rented one of those party organizations to bring a few ponies for my friends and me to ride, and that very day I said to my father, "I want to ride horses!" And the rest was history.

I started and still to this day ride at Level Green Riding School, a barn that became a second home to me at a young age. My first lesson, at the age of 6, was on this magical little pony, who now barely reaches my hips, Change. He was this fiery little pony who had some attitude but was incredibly patient with the young students.

I took my first few weeks of lessons on him and continued to on and off ride him for about two years after. Although we did little real work other than walk, trot, canter, then finally 18-inch jumping, I learned a lot from him.

So to my buddy Change,

Selena Spezio, 2009

Thank you for helping me grow my love for riding. Because of you, I have continued to pursue my passion for the sport. I have kept with it, even when I felt like a failure. There would be times when I felt horrible about a lesson, but because of you I keep with it and understand that there is always room for improvement.

Thanks to you, I understand that the horse is never to blame, but that I should reevaluate my position, attitude or technique to better my relationship with the horse I am on. The love I have for these animals stems from the small connection my young kind had with you.

I learned how to be humble. The little things we accomplished together, like my first time ever posting, where I looked like I was attached to a pole just standing up and sitting down, was a big moment, but I know it only happened because you helped me out. Image if I was on a wild pony who had an attitude and was out of control, those big moments would have come a lot harder.

The first time we jumped, oh what a joy. Although it was a small pile of poles at first, I felt free. I really saw what it was like to have a simple connection with a being.

Change, you taught me control, composure, and to have a great attitude no matter what. Those times when you were having a bad day and the first time you tried to buck me off, instead of being in fear, I just laughed and kicked you along.

You taught me the fun of this sport, and for that, I thank you with all my heart.

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