Goodbye India

Goodbye India

A year ago I was getting ready to graduate and had just started planning for India. I was ready to get the hell out of what I thought was a town much too small for me. I wasn’t afraid of India at all. I was ready.

But things went a little bit unplanned. India was hard for me. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t expect to be this kind of hard.

It wasn’t just homesickness. It was restlessness. And it wasn’t simple restlessness either. Yes, it was hard for me to in one place for so long when I wanted to be exploring more, but this time, I was in one place where everyday I was consistently facing a world that I’ve always underestimated. I knew India was a ‘third world country’.I’ve read about it and talked about it and criticized it but until I landed in India, I didn’t really know it.

I didn’t know what it felt like to be a rich white woman in a poverty stricken country. It’s uncomfortable to recognize all of the privilege you have. It’s uncomfortable to have your ‘I’m going to save the world’ mentality challenged. It’s uncomfortable to feel like a silly little white girl who is in way over her head.

It’s uncomfortable to sit in a rickshaw everyday with your headphones in, staring straight ahead, ignoring the little girl asking for money and food because you were told not to acknowledge “them”.

I did it all wrong in India.

I saw a handicapped and ill man begging on the sidewalk across from a McDonalds and then later that night I went drinking with my friends. I saw a shirtless and fatally skinny man scuffling from person to person begging, and continued on my way to Forever21.

I had imagined myself living with a big family in a low income neighborhood, but instead I lived in a spacious flat in the nice part of the city with marble floors, my own bathroom and three home cooked meals a day.

I was so conflicted and angry with myself and my situation, but I continued my patterns.

I didn’t feel like myself. I felt fake in so many ways. My stress radiated and I had trouble making connections with people because well I just wasn’t.. nice.

My hair started falling out. In clumps.

I’d shower and finish with a sizable chunk of hair in my hands. I didn’t know what it was from. Stress? My diet?

“But why are you so stressed?”

I’ve realized it wasn’t all personal stress. It wasn’t me worrying about college or my weight or my job. It was global stress, collective stress, it was me being distressed over the state of the world in general. It was me feeling guilty and overwhelmed and disappointed in myself.

I grew so much in the 6 months India and I lived together. I faced myself in ways that I never imagined. I questioned so much and I wrote so much and I dreamed so much and I cried so much and I smiled so much and I lived so much.

India was hard for me. I loved India in all of it’s wonder but the depth that I truly got to know India was just… something that I’ve never experienced before.

Many loves come in and out of our lives, but most never really know us. We may put on a mask with them or we may not even miss them when they leave because they never truly held a part of our soul. But India was a love that came crashing into my life with such force and passion that all of my masks were crushed by truth.

How do you ever say goodbye to a love like that? In your arms my soul found chaos, passion, inspiration, pain, and even some some sort of peace. Just know that I will never forget you, India, my love.

See you soon, little bird

Perspectivity

Perspectivity

I’ve realized that some of our greatest thoughts and ideas come when we’re not expecting them, in life’s most mundane of moments. Maybe it’s when you’ve been standing in the shower staring at the wall for a little too long, or right before you fall asleep. This time, it happened while I was on my 11 hour flight from Delhi to Newark. I had just left my program with whom I was teaching English in India. When I imagined this moment a few months ago, I expected to have my friends coming back with me and I expected to be flying to California, not the east coast. But here I was, leaving, alone, with my tail between my legs.  I was having the past 5 months of adventures and challenges flash before my eyes. And then I thought about what all this had taught me. Perspectivity.

One thing I heard talked about a few years ago that has never left my mind is the idea of perspective. The idea that yes, we have a perspective of life now based on our upbringing and the depth of our exposure to the world,  but we also gain perspective. We need to gain perspective. The key to understanding and appreciating the world is to see things not only through our own eyes, but through everyone we may meet.

And that’s where travel comes in. Adventuring out of our comfort zone is how we grow. It is how we gain perspective. It’s how we go from thinking a tradition is disgusting or cruel, to understanding it’s significance in a culture. It’s how we learn to empathize rather that simply sympathize. We travel to realize the limitation of our own views. Travel helps us gain perspective, and gaining perspective makes us travelers, unaffected by the small-minded lens of a simple tourists eyes.

There’s only one thing left to tie this all together. Positivity. No matter the life you live, no matter the struggles you face, choosing to be positive can change everything. They say that to survive in India you have to laugh when you want to scream, and it’s so true. Being positive turns a wrong turn or a disaster into a funny memory. Positivity is the key to everything in life.

But positivity + perspective? Those are the keys to a true adventure.

Bat Shit Crazy

Bat Shit Crazy

A few weeks ago, we had an incident with a bat in our house. A little background info – my host mom is not so fond of animals (of any kind), in fact, she’s kind of afraid of them. It’s not abnormal for a bird or two to fly into the apartment searching for food, but it’s always pretty easy to shoo them outside through the windows. But, not always.
I came home one night after work and began having my normal evening conversation with my host mom. Casual right? Then something flew past my head.”Oh, it’s a bird!”, I thought.
My host mom screamed and crouched behind the kitchen counter and Continue reading “Bat Shit Crazy”

I got robbed but it’s okay it’s Karma

I got robbed but it’s okay it’s Karma

Last weekend I got my iPhone and about $150 dollars stolen.

It’s funny because I’ve been so calm about it.

When I realized that it was gone, I was so blank. I just said “I think I got my money stolen.” On the way to the police station I noticed that my phone was gone too.

I honestly think it was karma, a lesson from the universe, whatever you wanna call it – but let me explain Continue reading “I got robbed but it’s okay it’s Karma”

“Okay But Is it Really Pizza or is it Indian Pizza?” : The Homesick Girls Struggle for Food in India

“Okay But Is it Really Pizza or is it Indian Pizza?” : The Homesick Girls Struggle for Food in India

I LOVE Indian food. Let me tell you, it’s my favorite. At home, I can’t get enough. I love going to Indian restaurants as much as I can. That’s one reason I was so excited to come to India – the food! I thought “Hey, go have fun in Ecuador eating guinea pigs and rice, I’ll be in India with vegetarian food galore, naan bread and paneer and the best spices in the world!” I distinctly remember saying “No, you’re crazy, I’m never going to get sick of Indian food!”

Well, I think I was wrong. Continue reading ““Okay But Is it Really Pizza or is it Indian Pizza?” : The Homesick Girls Struggle for Food in India”

How are you?

How are you?

I haven’t said much about India or how I’m doing. Well, for the first time, I’m homesick. Not just for Nevada or for America, but for the people in my life. I miss my family and my friends, and although it’s been less than two months, it feels like it’s been a year. India is so amazing and there’s so much to see in Pune, but something feels out of place, and it’s me. I know it’s going to take me a while to adjust, but it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I think what I didn’t realize about taking this year in India, was that it’s not just going to be me learning about a new country and a new culture – I’m learning so much about my self and I know that I’m growing along the way. Let’s just say that a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. Well.. I’m uncomfortable as hell and I think it’s okay to admit that.

Continue reading “How are you?”