Tucson tragedy, trip to Tucson in two weeks

Saturday’s massacre is too horrible for me to talk about anymore. It was only five days ago, but I truly feel it happened weeks and weeks ago. Working in the news business is eye opening, yet in moments of national tragedy, the overexposure and awareness can take a toll on your otherwise content disposition.

It’s especially hard to accept that the shooting took place in Tucson, Arizona, the only place I feel I can truly call my home. I only lived there for college, but Tucson was such a spectacular city, and it had a much more positive impact on me than northern California and even DC. As much as I adore the fast-paced work atmosphere in the district, I miss the widespread happiness I encountered in Tucsonans. Sure southern Arizona has too many potholes, a horrible rain drainage system, and reckless drivers, but there’s so much soul to the southwest. Too few people know of Arizona’s wonders, so it’s unfortunate that the Grand Canyon state only makes headlines for its immigration bill and mass shooting.

With that being said, my heart goes out to all victims, Giffords, and anyone hurting from this atrocity.

Thankfully, I will be traveling to Tucson in two weeks to visit friends and of course absorb as many UV rays as possible. I’m literally praying for warm weather and sunshine, particularly because Tucson was chilly on my last trip.

Also with my new 5:30 am work schedule I never see the light of day. This afternoon, I stepped outside for lunch at noon and my eyes burned for an entire minute from meager sunshine. I guess I’m not used to natural lighting anymore, and this needs to change soon.

I’m having sunshine dreams again and they’re painfully deceptive. I never in a million years thought I’d long for warm weather as much as I do now. I’m actually considering buying a sun lamp that Oregonians like to have around the house. Perhaps this weekend, I’ll venture over to Target and purchase one that won’t sunburn me.

Once I’m rich and established, I want to travel to Arizona at least one a month. It’s unlikely that I’ll acquire the funds and work status to achieve this anytime in the near future, but I will see to it that this happens within the next five years. I simply cannot survive on so little sunshine.

On a happier note, I laughed incessantly all day today. Some of my co-workers have a fabulous sense of humor. It felt good to laugh so much, especially since this past week was so devastating for our nation. I can only pray that 2011 improves for all. May Gabrielle Giffords make a full recovery, the deceased victims of the shooting rest in peace, the families of the victims find solace, and the injured heal. My heart goes out to the ever amazing Daniel Hernandez, and its my hope that his mind can push out all anxieties and traumatic memories.

In spite of what people said about the University of Arizona’s rowdy reaction to Obama’s memorial speech, I take pride in my alma mater and classmates. Tucson has endured so much since Saturday, and everyone deserved to experience joy for a change. I’m convinced that the spirit of an Arizona Wildcat is unmatched.

So, here’s to hoping I can handle the two week wait until my flight to Tucson. I’m thankful my bosses were so kind to let me take a few days off so early in my employment stage, but Tucker said there is no vacation day policy because we all work insanely hard so our vacations are well deserved.

I realize I should have moved on from college by now, but how could I forget the grand institution that is the University of Arizona? How could I possibly part with the friends I’ve made and the memories that continue to make me smile?

As of now, I feel very fulfilled career wise, and for this I am extremely grateful. I couldn’t have been placed in a better work environment and couldn’t have asked for greater bosses and leaders. But I do miss the camaraderie I had with my college buddies. I miss bumping into random friends on campus. I miss being told by professors that I can write stronger essays because they’ve read the quality of my articles in the school paper and know that I can be a wonderful student if I put more effort into class assignments. I miss reading non-fiction books on Heritage Hill and interacting with hilarious hipster types at Espresso Art Cafe. I even miss the sense of amusement I’d feel upon running into this creeper named Patrick. Sure he was creepy and harassed me for a year for declining to go on a date with him, but the stories that came out of that entire experience still make me laugh for a solid ten minutes any time I reflect on all that happened. I miss 2am trips to Nico’s Taco Shop for burritos, and I miss serenading top 40 billboard hits with Andrew, Matt, Dan, and Adam.

I’m sure I could feel better about all this and let go if I really wanted, but the truth is, I’m not ready to part ways with the social aspect of my former college life. It takes time to establish new friendships and quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of strong friendships in DC at the moment, but those take ample time to develop.

I also appreciate my ever-faithful roommate Anna, who is definitely the most stable person I have ever met. Even if we are not always on the same page, I admire her dedication to friends and family. I’m thankful for co-workers Will, Matt, and Steven for putting up with my corny jokes for the past two months and patiently listening to my unsolicited stories. I’m grateful for everyone else in the office that has demonstrated kindness toward me or made me laugh.

I regret that I met Hillary and Jessica when I first moved to DC. Back then, I was having so many adjustment issues that I wasn’t ready for any friendship beyond the surface level, so I declined their social gathering invitations, and the times I did hang out with them, I always went home early. If only I’d let them in earlier on, before they gone to their home states. Hillary is back in Arkansas and Jessica returned to Texas. I guess nothing beats southern girls, right? Those two had my back and I feel bad that I wasn’t more open to a deeper connection when I first got to DC.

Here is to hoping my next trip to Tucson will be restorative in more than one way, and that I can slowly but surely move on from the social part of my college life.

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