I am going to freaking India! What am I supposed to do with that information?
That phrase has repeated itself over and over in my head these last couple weeks, and I am still not sure how to answer it. What does a person do when she realizes that by some crazy-awesome sequence of events, she ended up booking a flight to a massive country where she knows exactly 0 people?
Turns out she just mulls it over in her head and writes about it. So here we go!
I started the first part of my journey 5 days ago when I jumped on a flight to LA with my sister. Since then, whenever we are together, we are exploring LA, meeting her friends, or just hanging out at her house. Whenever we are apart, my head becomes like a broken record stuck on India.
Leading up to this trip I was most concerned about meeting people and learning languages. Everyone here speaks English so I haven't come head to head with the second yet, but getting to know all of my sister's roommates has been amazing. All of them are fun-loving, passionate, and more than a little bit stressed; as much as they love pursing their dreams, none of them can ignore their empty bank accounts.
I have quickly learned that, although I would choose to live a different life than some here, I enjoy the charged atmosphere. I know the quality of life sucks, and can glean from my sister's rants that the group living situation is less than ideal after a prolonged period of time, but the instability and improvisation of this life is enticing.
I love living at home, but recently, I have begun to crave instability. I want the chance to fall so hard that my breath is knocked out of me and it takes everything I have just to stand up again. Because of my awesome family, I will never have the chance to do that at home. There are too many hands to catch me when I trip. As much as I am grateful for this, I know it's time for me to step out of reach of all the supportive arms.
I know I won't exactly be leaving the cradle when I go to India. I won't be #adulting, I will still be part of a family. When I fail, there will still be a net catch me. In other ways, however, this is exactly what I am going to India for, but Instead of failing physically, I'll be failing mentally. I will have to put up my philosophical boxing gloves and learn to dance with what India and her people have to say.
I will have to explore a new culture and language, and during that time I will fail over and over again to understand and to sympathize. Those failures could lead to accidentally breaking relationships that I have to go through the terror of repairing. I will have to learn when to say "I was wrong" and when to hold my ground and say "you were wrong," even when those statements go against our respective cultures.
The idea of doing this is terrifying. I am known for listening to group conversations instead of participating, and I often write my thoughts more than I tell them to other people. Standing up and speaking to right and wrong with people I don't know who have grown up in a different culture will be completely outside of my comfort zone.
At the same time, I must keep in mind that I haven't gotten to India yet, and I don't know what to expect. On my first day in LA, I took a walk by myself to a near by park. Up there I could see most of the spread of LA, but I knew nothing about it at all.
That is kind of how I feel about going to India. I have researched and learned about India. In my mind's eye, I can see its entire layout, but I know nothing about what it is going to be like, or how it will change me. So I'll have to do the only thing I can; put my hands in the air, and enjoy the ride!
Elianna DeSota is a young teacher who is obsessed with deep diving into new cultures and ideas. Right now she is on a journey to discover more about India and herself before jumping into the next chapter of her life.