Almost one year ago, in June, I was sitting in an ice cream café in a German town located near France. I had already spent two weeks there as an exchange student and had realized fairly quickly that Eiscafé Messina was the undisputed spot for getting great ice cream. With less than one week left of my cultural experience, I absentmindedly ate my treat with my exchange partner and some friends at a small table. I, of course, took little notice when a family came in and sat down at a table near our own and began to order their ice cream. The youngest girl in the family, probably no older than five and standing on her mother’s lap, caught my attention as she ordered her “Eis”. Speaking in a crystal clear, high pitched voice she said, “Ich m”chte ein Schokoeisbecher, bitte.” These simple words, asking for naught but some chocolate ice cream, resonated in my head, and for some unknown reason refused to leave. I don’t know if it was the authenticity and sincerity of her voice or if maybe I was just trying to etch a few more memories into my mind before I left the wonderful country I had begun to love. This event is still one of my favorites and even though I spent a weekend in Berlin and saw countless other sights, this one simple memory remains prominent in my mind. This is why I believe in the words of poet, Robert Brault, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big.”
I believe that in order to get the most out of one’s short life, a person must take joy in the relatively overlooked events that have affected them. Whether it’s simply watching a ladybug crawl diligently across a floor or recalling a recent, but almost pointless, conversation with a group of friends, it is crucial to recognize these events for their importance and store them in your memory for future recollections. In the future, I intend to be able to tell my grandchildren about these little things that make me so wonderfully unique; anyone can remember or research dramatic and well publicized events, but it is the small overlooked experiences that determine who we really are. From time to time, even I overlook some of these little events and feel like I have lost a small part of myself every time it happens.
Now, I look upon every radiant smile from a friend, every red, orange, and yellow sunrise, and every snowfall that leaves the trees covered in a pure, white blanket of snow as a new memory that deserves reflection and made special and dear to my heart. Without each of these individual memories there to fill my soul with joy, sadness, and inspiration, I wouldn’t be the same person sitting here today. I may have seen a thousand smiling faces and had numerous occasions when one of our cats curls up into a purring ball of fur on my lap and falls asleep, but each time these little events happen, it is unique and just as important as the last.