Post Departure Reflections – Not Quite the EndDelhi, Fall 2010
Coming to India has been a complete dream come true. This semester has indeed been one of self discovery – which is exactly what I wanted – however not in most of the ways I was expecting. I definitely expected to come to appreciate the luxuries (indoor plumbing, government infrastructure that works) and way of life that I lived in the U.S., which I have an all new appreciation for. However I am still reeling over the discoveries I wasn’t expecting – like how much I’d actually miss my family and friends – and American food – and especially – beef. And following that is the realization that just as time does not stand still here – it certainly does not at home either.
However, one of the most significant factors is how often I have been ill – and how much it affects everything. I came expecting to get sick – a change in country is a pretty big shock to your body undoubtedly. Add to that the less than stellar sanitation practices here in India, and it’s nearly inevitable that in the course of adjusting one runs into…problems. ^_^ Delhi Belly was entirely expected. However it seemed that after one thing came another, and another. I missed a lot of class and some trips because of illnesses, and most importantly I really fell behind in school. By the time I realized how close to the end of the semester I really was – and how little work I had finished – I well and truly panicked. The end of the semester came and I was completely unprepared and really felt that this semester was a huge let down academically. I did not expect it at all. However, even in my less than happy state – I am still beyond grateful to be here. I knew one semester would not be enough for me – and it isn’t. I did, once or twice, feel the connection I was longing for when I came to India. I’m glad I have longer to hopefully find it again and appreciate it once more.
One thing that I have noticed in India, and more specifically in Delhi, is that it can be anything one wants it to be. Depending on what one wants or is expecting, Delhi and India has the ability to be that – and much, much more. Just like its ability to absorb all of the myriad of cultures within it, India has given us all a new perspective. Everyone in my group seemed to come away with different experiences of what India is to them – and what it means to be not only an American, but also an American in India.
This experience, and India, has forever changed me – whittled a new me from the old. And what is still surprising is that it’s not over yet. I’m excited to see what a new semester, a new batch, a new year will bring!
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