In what could be one of the greatest satirical pieces of work, Catch-22, Joseph Heller once wrote:
What is a country? A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. Englishmen are dying for England, Americans are dying for America, Germans are dying for Germany, Russians are dying for Russia. There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war. Surely so many countries can’t all be worth dying for.”
Heller was right. Surely, all countries cannot be worth dying for. Only those countries you choose to regard as your own. I wasn’t born in Grenada, but a part of me is certainly alive because of this island. Some might even argue it’s the most important part: the piece that nourishes your what-ifs and gives substance to your wishful thinking. On the night of my own departure, as I try to test out my own wings from the land that’s served as my nesting grounds on-and-off for the past several years, will I ever deem Grenada as my own?
Some of my favorite shots of campus:
Only time can tell what Grenada will become to me as I continue my life elsewhere: a pit stop, a detour, or a makeshift home? Even more, what will I become to Grenada? An honorary citizen, or merely a temporary dweller, holding as much fondness for each other as a midnight traveler to a dingy motel room. Was Grenada merely a means to an end, or did it define a bigger purpose? All I know is that when I moved to a different country four years ago, nothing was harder than saying hello for the first time. As those years started turning into hours, it got even harder to say goodbye for the final time.
My journey as a medical student started off deeply depressing. I made a home out of feeling lost and inadequate. I became dissociated from myself both physically and mentally at a time when I needed to be grounded and steadfast. And then something as simple and complicated as the passage of time resuscitated my resolve, slowly but surely. Overweight and overstressed, I lost 40 pounds and traded them for 40 friends. My anxiety over late nights and early mornings turned into eager anticipation of a new day to tackle the never-ending work because when you truly enjoy the material despite the time constraints, every petty thing you could complain about seems just that, “petty.” The fact that you’re never more than a couple of steps away from an amazing coastline is a luxury that will surely be missed. And in the midst of learning treatment after treatment, you learn a Grenadian sunset is really the best medicine in the world.
Yet, despite all of this natural wonder, it’s the beauty of the people you have the opportunity to know that resonates most. Despite the intensely lonely routine of sleeping and studying, you learn to struggle hand-in-hand with those around you. Struggling together turns into surviving together, and surviving together morphs into thriving together with those that live out their limited days in paradise, studying in the most unlikely corners of the world, reaffirming that you are not forgotten, and that the severely delayed gratification of becoming an MD is still worth bleeding over and longing for.