I’m leaving India tomorrow. In a way I’ve been thinking about this day since before I left, maybe since the day I decided I would spend a year here. When I think about the moment I stepped off the escalator in the Madison airport after spending my junior year of high school in Turkey I can still feel it in my chest. To be back in the arms of my parents and brothers and friends in Wisconsin after not seeing them for so long was indescribable; it is a feeling I have drawn on to get me through many a rough time here.
What can I say to sum up my time here? In typical study abroad fashion, India has become my second [or third or fourth, depending on how you look at it] home. When I came here I had to re-learn so many things I thought I already knew: how to speak, how to eat, how to dress, how to ride a bike, how to do homework. And now that I’ve gotten the hang of most of those things, it’s time to go. I will miss India, its colors and its chaos, those things that overwhelmed me at first. I will miss my host family, my new friends, and all the people I met here who proved to me daily that people overwhelmingly just wish the best for others.
I’m a little nervous about going home. I can already hear the comparative silence that blankets Wisconsin. I think Varanasi is soon going to feel like a strange dream, because when else do I spend time fending off monkeys, explaining to people that I’m pale because of genetics, or arguing over a bicycle ride that should cost 30 cents, not 40?
But I do feel braver than I have felt in a long time. After this year, I am curious to see what upsets or frustrates or discourages me, because right now I feel like I can do anything. I’m also not so worried about the future anymore; I feel happy right where I am, and I am excited for whatever is coming next.
Thanks for reading my blog throughout the year. If anything it was therapeutic for me to write, but I also hope you learned a little bit about Indian culture or study abroad by following along. If you ever have any questions about India or studying abroad, drop me an e-mail and I’d be happy to try and help.
Khush raho/stay happy,