Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Final week at Jeevika

I'm writing this on the Friday before I leave because I will most likely not have internet access this weekend. Therefore, this post might not reflect the overwhelming emotions I am likely to feel on Sunday night when going to the airport.

I have no idea where to even start writing about this experience. Every single part of me was challenged and I've learned more about myself and the world in these eight weeks than in any other period of my life. I feel that living on my own in India, even if it was for a short time, has made me an adult. I have had to make decisions quickly and independently, I have been in many uncomfortable situations, and I have witnessed some truly beautiful and inspiring things.

This experience has also taught me how real life is. Up until this point, although it has often seemed the opposite, I have really had to do minimal planning, as everything in school is usually set up for students. But that was not the case here. Things were unorganized, unclear, and nobody owed me any sort of time or guidance. I am so thankful for all the time and guidance I have received, but I am almost more thankful for the moments that I didn't. In those is where I learned how to live in an environment that is not catered to my success. I've come to appreciate the disorganized moments, as I am often proud of how I handle them. I still have a lot of growing up to do but this has been an amazing start.

This experience not only expanded my horizons but made me focus in on what my life is at the moment. I didn't know how much I would miss my home, my work, my studies, my friends and family, until I opted to exist without them for eight weeks. Being completely isolated from almost everything I know was so difficult but it was rewarding. Existing with myself as the only frame of reference made everything intense. My experiences, my thoughts, my emotions, were all amplified because the only person I could truly experience them with was myself. Everyone back home couldn't truly know what my experiences here were like and everyone here couldn't truly know the mindset and background I came into this with. Even right now I am amazed and remain scared by this.

The work I did here was great, and I got to talk with some amazing people about some serious and complicated issues. The universality of struggle, triumph, and action is truly amazing to me. But the true experience came from India. Everyone who warned me that India is an assault on your senses was right. I have not stopped processing information since I stepped off the plane. I will miss the vibrant colors and constant movement, the never ending mixture of terrible and wonderful smells, the noise coming from man, machine, and animal at all hours of the day, and the scorching heat interrupted by cool rain. Life cannot be as exciting anywhere as it is here.

Now that I've started, I feel like I could write about India forever. But I will end here with my goodbye. Although there were moments where I was unsure about my decision to be here, there were moments where I couldn't believe I had stumbled across an opportunity so grand. Although my body and mind are ready to rest, I will miss India. I have just begun to understand its wonders and truly appreciate the life I have been temporarily leading. Hopefully this will not be the last time I am here. There is still so much I want to experience and so much I am going to miss. Thank you to everyone who made this possible for me.

1 comment:

  1. I'm SO glad to hear that you've had this kind of experience. This is exactly what the Summer in South Asia program hopes to accomplish. We at the Center understand how challenging it is to truly put together this kind of a project all on your own, but we also know how rewarding it is when it actually happens. There are so few places these days where students are able to be truly independent and have growing experiences like this and I'm glad that you've taken full advantage of the experience. I am looking forward to reading your final report!!