You see, two hours ago I found out that my Spanish professor passed away. He is the man who helped me establish my minor, was available to me when I freaked out before studying abroad and needed to gain some perspective, and he was my professor up until the end of this past quarter. Dr. William Martinez was understanding and helpful and smart and funny, and now he is gone. He traveled to Spain and when he arrived, he complained of chest pains. He went to a hospital and had a triple bypass, but passed away shortly after. He wasn't even 50 yet.
I am telling you this not so that you can feel bad for me (it isn't me who needs your thoughts and prayers, after all, it is his wife), but so that you can hopefully look around you at the people and the place that you are in at this very moment in time and appreciate all of it.
The holidays are normally a time when people show their appreciation for their families and friends by giving them gifts or eating meals together - everybody knows that. But this year, I have a request - a bigger request than just buying a loved one a gift that you think they will like. My request is that you really tell those around you how much you love them. Give your grandparents a call, tell your cousins how much you love them, laugh with your siblings, snuggle up on the couch with your parents and watch It's A Wonderful Life. Just do something that really shows that you care.
We tend to take our families for granted during the rest of the year, but the holidays are a time to tell them what we might not tell them enough at other times - that we love and appreciate them. To tell them that we care what is going on in their lives and that we like spending time with them. I have had a wonderful past week and a half being home and spending time with my sisters and parents. I'm hoping that the realization that came along with my professor's death - that life can end at any moment and that we should appreciate and live life to the fullest - will help me over the next couple weeks that I'm home.
There was a billboard that I saw in Barcelona that sums it all up perfectly (ignore that it is, in fact, a Heineken ad... that is beside the point).
Cosas que hacer antes de morir: vivir
(Things to do before you die: live)
That's fully what I intend to do.
Rest in peace Dr. Martinez. You will be missed.
Thank you for being so supportive, knowledgeable, and helpful.
Cal Poly and the rest of the world will not be the same without you.