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

Happiness

Happiness

I have been so happy lately. So happy. I can’t explain it. It feels so good to be embracing life like this and I just wish that everyone could feel this way. I have changed a lot of things in my life in the past few months and I think that all the little things really do add up to making everyday that much better! I know a lot of these ‘tips’ might seem obvious because we’ve all heard a lot of them before but I think we forget about them or we just think they aren’t important. These are things that work in my life, maybe you aren’t able to do some or they aren’t effective, but basically the point is that you need to take time in your life for you. Happiness isn’t an emotion, it’s a state of being.

Continue reading “Happiness”

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.

Vegan Asian Noodle Soup

Vegan Asian Noodle Soup

The best and easiest asian noodle soup everrrr. So healthy and simple!

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First chop up some garlic, ginger, and onion.

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Sautee in coconut oil and then add some organic vegetable broth.

Next, soak a package of cellophane bean thread noodles in warm water for about 10 minutes until softened (package pictured in first picture).

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Once softened add to the broth mixture and cook together for about 5 minutes (make sure it doesn’t get too mushy!!)

Pour in some soy sauce, and whatever else you may want! Green onions or chives and jalapeños work really well, or pretty much any vegetable you may have. Cilantro, basil, cabbage, sprouts, etc.

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Top with lime slices and sriracha and devour!

 

When You’re Lonely, Life is Very Long

When You’re Lonely, Life is Very Long

 

This is a podcast I listened to about 3 and a half months ago, a while into my year in India and when I was feeling the full affects of post break up syndrome, homesickness, and I guess some sort of teenage angst..

The best part about this podcast was this realization that I heard while listening.. they mentioned not only about what loneliness does to a person, but also what loneliness can do for a person. Loneliness is a gift.

Listen to it here.

 

 

 

You’re Here

You’re Here

nearsilver

Working to find ground in a place so different from home felt like an endless renovation, constantly finding new means of support, inspiration and materials. Yet, I’ve managed to find just enough of all those things now and thankfully, it was just in time.

I woke up this morning and looked out onto the city and the only heavy thought that could cross my mind was “This is Pune without out them.” It was the loudest thing in my mind, screaming at the top of it’s lungs. I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be that way for the next couple of days but that’s okay. It’s a small price to pay because you now know exactly what it was that I was talking about. You know what I mean by the systematic chaos, you know what it is I see, where I live. The stories I told you…

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The Geography of Home

The Geography of Home

There is so much wisdom in every person you meet. You can’t live every life style, but you can learn so much from meeting and talking to people who’ve lived a different life than you. A 19 year old Indian medical student, an old married couple who lives three flights above you, a religious guru who you also call ‘Mata Ji’ (mom) – all of these people at different stages in their lives have some completely different insights about what happiness in life is. But there is one uniting factor among them – their attachment to their home.

Every Indian that I ask says that their country is not a happy country. They point out the gap between the rich and the poor, they point out the corruption and the instances of poverty. But interestingly enough, they all say they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Continue reading “The Geography of Home”