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A Day in the Life of Sarah Sterling!

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I seem to always wake up before my alarm goes off. Does that ever happen to anyone else? I always want those last 5 minutes of oblivion before having to face another day. If it’s the weekend, I usually try to lounge about and have a relaxed morning in my bathrobe getting breakfast and tea ready and just enjoying the fact that I don’t have to run off to class somewhere, or a group meeting, or even check my email. If it’s the weekday I am usually running around down to the wire leaving the house 5 minutes before class is supposed to start just because it’s that much harder to get up and I like to give myself 10 minutes just to lay in bed and wake up.

Other than my mornings, one of the things I like most about being at MIIS is that every day, weekday or weekend, is different. Of course there are always classes to go to, group projects to work on and getting outside to do some exercise or go to the garden are always a must. But beyond that every day is different in big and small ways; I never know who I am going to run into on my way to class, what speaker we’ll have on campus, or what new thing I’ll learn that day. I do have the habit of keeping myself pretty busy on a regular basis whether it be with the various club and student activities (Peace Corps, Zumba, MIIS Martial Arts Club, Yoga Club, Global Majority, Gardening, etc.) or just by having to keep up with my email. But lately I have been trying to also make time to just relax and be in the moment.

And then, as if something sensed I needed some (ok, a lot) help with learning how to relax and be present, I met Arnold. I was looking at the SPCA website, as I sometimes do to see which dogs are up for adoption because I really want one but can’t have one right now, and saw a posting for a tortoise that was found wandering around by the road. His picture showed a small round-shelled guy with the most inquisitive face I had ever seen on a reptile. When I told my friend Tanya about him, she was even more excited than I was at the prospect of becoming the proud parent of a tortoise so we went to go visit him. As soon as we saw him wandering around his Rubbermaid container, completely relaxed and oblivious to us being there watching him, we knew he was a keeper. Now I make the time to relax every day by bringing Arnold to the garden at MIIS and just watch him exploring his newfound habitat while I work on my plot. You also have to watch him because he is extremely fast for a tortoise and is perfectly camouflaged with the woodchips and dry grasses around the garden.  I never would have thought that a tortoise would be fun to have as a pet or even painfully adorable to watch but next time you see Arnold in the garden, bring him a dandelion flower and he’ll chomp it to bits in the cutest way possible.  Sometimes we need a reminder to slow down and take a moment, whether its to literally smell some sort of flower or watch a little tortoise navigate his way through different garden plots until he finds his favorite flower. Grad school and all the things that keep us busy are important but the spaces that we make for ourselves in between all those busy moments are the ones that will help us figure out what really is important in life and who we are now and want to become.

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