Change Yourself…Change The World.

Here I Am
February 14, 2009, 8:37 pm
Filed under: India


This is originally a reflection paper I did while attending Global College’s CRC Program. This post was not originally associated with this blog, but I have put it up here around the estimated date written. I thought readers would find these informational, educational, and entertaining. Please note that these posts are much longer than the usual ones, since they are papers.

A summarization of this reflection: This is a reflection paper I wrote a year from the first day I stepped foot outside of the United States.

Today is February 14th. Exactly one year ago, I came to India. One year ago, I was a scared, confused, and lost twenty-year-old girl. I was running away from a music school, where my dreams of becoming a musician were shattered from the chronic tendonitis in both of my hands. I had no idea what I was doing in India, and I had no idea who I was, or where I was going with my life. And in one year, things changed more than I could have ever imagined. I learned about myself and who I was, and I completely changed the path in my life. When I came back from India, I left my school CalArts to travel down the path of Global College.

I remember the shock I had the first day I came to India, one year ago. I walked outside with my bag and was greeted with a sea of unfamiliar faces- all of them staring at me. I remember the sheer astonishment I felt of seeing a cow in the middle of a road, monkeys in the trees, auto rickshaws in the street, and children begging at the window for one rupee. I stumbled my way into Pahar Ganj, loaded down by a heavy bag full of things that I didn’t need. I didn’t know; I had never been out of the country before. I laid in my bed at Pahar Ganj the first night in India shaking, listening to the sounds of dogs barking, men yelling, and horns blaring outside my window. What am I doing here? I remember wildly asking myself. It was one of the most terrifying nights of my life.
Now, I am in India a year later. I came out of the airport to that sea of unfamiliar faces, and I walked right past them. I took a pre-paid taxi to Pahar Ganj, confidently strolled down the streets and bargained the price down of a hotel room. Alone. Last year, my most terrifying prospect had been to travel alone, to bargain for something simple, to somehow ignore the chaotic sights and smells and beggars around me. This year, I accomplished all of this like it was nothing. If I can accomplish my most terrifying prospect in one year, imagine what I can do in the next. Imagine what my most terrifying prospects are right now; traveling alone in a country I’ve never been to, making friends with strangers, feeling like I’m doing something worthwhile in a foreign country that is fulfilling; I will have to overcome these obstacles this year too, and just like I conquered my fears last year, I know I can conquer the ones I have in front of me now.
I learned so many things about myself in the past year. I believe that getting tendonitis in both of my hands, while a terrible and sad ordeal, has pushed me along the path in my life where I am happy to be now. I ultimately learned that materialism does not mean happiness, in the way that I recklessly spent money while living in California versus taking frugal bucket baths in Palampur. I saw that the bucket baths were more fulfilling to me, that by stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something new I was getting an experience, I was learning. I learned that I love the new experiences, and that part of being bitten by the travel bug includes constantly going through new experiences, pushing yourself past your comfort zone. I learned that I wanted to learn about myself, find myself; that criticisms from friends, from people I was living with taught me more about myself than anything else.
In the past year, I’ve learned about love; about loving the country I was in, loving myself, falling in love with someone else, and loving a new family and culture that came into my life. I learned to see the best in things, and to focus on the positives and not the negatives in my life. I realized exactly how much I had in this world compared to everyone else, and how grateful I was to be getting such an education. I realized perspective.
I’ve learned more than I’ve ever learned in one single year. It was the best year of my life. I turned something negative in my life- flailing at CalArts with depression, stress, tendonitis, and unhappiness- into something amazing and positive- choosing to go to Global College, choosing to dedicate my life to serving others and making a difference in other lives, which will ultimately lead to my own self-fulfillment. And if I could change around so much of my stress and unhappiness into love and happiness in one year, imagine what I can conquer in the next. Imagine what I can learn about myself in the next year, what I can achieve in the next year, who I can be in the next year. That is what was on the forefront of my mind as I took that cab to Pahar Ganj, alone. I am in a similar position again this year. Dreams I built up over the past year have shattered; I don’t know who I am, or what I’m doing. But when I was in India, in a mere month and a half I realized more about myself then I could ever have imagined, and I made a decision that changed my life. I know that I can do that again.

I am going to make this coming upcoming year full of new challenges, new surprise, and new realizations. And I am going to make it even better than the last.

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