Today is the official last day of the UF in India program for the summer of 2017. And boy has it sure been a ride. Let’s rewind for a moment.
During these 36 days, we’ve experienced:
-18 NGO visits
-3 visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites
-7 modes of transportation including trains, planes, buses, rickshaws, elephants & camels
-1 large group hospital visit
-2 swims in the Bay of Bengal
-1,000+ meals of Dosa (or so it feels)
-30 two liter bottles of Bisleri Water
-3 days of intense souvenir shopping
-8,000 students greeting us like Queens
-3 University Interactions
-28 journal entries
-1 day dressed in a Sari
-immeasurable amounts of laughter, be it we were with singing Lizzie McGuire with rural women’s empowerment groups, discussing our bathroom habits, or realizing how poorly we wrapped said Saris.
It has been agreed upon at dinner tonight that none of us will truly be able to wrap our heads around this experience until we’ve landed back in the states, hibernated like bears, and have gotten back to our natural rhythms at UF. For when we reach this, we will reach our comfort zones. But great things never come from staying within comfort zones. They come from bursting out of the bubble, and doing one thing a day that scares us, *although I’m sure I could list two to three things a day that scared me during this trip. It means taking a leap of faith that whatever your soul is longing for, your head can follow along too. And somehow I convinced my head to follow my heart and travel 8,019 miles from home to see development work in its prime.
Isn’t it funny this way, that we plan and plan and plan and think we have it all figured out, until out of nowhere you’re picking up a study abroad flyer about India, a place you’ve never considered, and didn’t know much about, and then suddenly your plans are sent through the shredder because there no longer applicable? Yeah, I think it’s down right slap stick comedy at play. Because the older, and potentially wiser I get, I’m finding this pattern more and more in my life. I think I have a plan, and three months later, I’m in a completely different place that had nothing to do with my original plan. These places are always better, but I genuinely don’t know how my plans got thrown out the window so quickly and so violently. It’s like when someone just shakes their head and laughs at you, because they know something you don’t. That’s me and the world of current.
But enough of this. My point is that things like UF in India don’t just nonchalantly appear in your life as a potential option to fill your summer. They come in faster than a hot stack of pancakes at IHOP to alter anything and everything you’ve previously conceived about your next life adventures.
Thus as we leave, I think of how grateful I am that I let my plans crumble, let fear drive me, and took the best window seat life had to offer. I think how extraordinary it is that I’ve actually been living and experiencing India for the past five weeks, and how I’m now leaving when I feel like I just arrived.
So here we part. And I’ll I can think to say is a resounding Nandri to India, and all the people we’ve encountered. Cliché I know, but that’s all I’ve got at the moment. So thank you too, family, friends and occasional strangers that read these blogs, for coming along the journey. I’m happy to share with you a piece of my ventures-hopefully, it will inspire you to have your own one day too.