Revisiting India

I don't sleep least not through the night.  My brain has begun this sick habit of waking up around 3 am and decided that this is the perfect time of day to do deep thinking.

Why?  I have no stinkin' idea.

Last night, much like other nights, I woke up and decided to walk down memory lane.  I dug out my India journal and began pouring through the pages.  I re-read my experiences, thoughts, dreams, quotes from the inspirational people I met.  Looking back quenched my thirst.  It was as if I was on a treasure hunt and within the pages of my journal lied the answer to the twisted web of challenges that remind me of India.  As I sifted through the pages I wondered if maybe somewhere between the thoughts and inspiration I would find the piece that has been missing since I have been back.  Maybe, if I read through it all one more time, I would figure out why I went to India in the first place.

They say that reverse culture shock is inevitable and in some way, shape, or form, each traveler feels the difference of bouncing between one environment and the next.  When I first returned I would say I agreed.  My body wasn't used to American food.  I wasn't used to having certain resources, like internet and hot water, so readily acessible.  It was a period of readjustment.  But after a while those things become normal and the shock wears off.  Eventually you are supposed to stop getting "shocked", right?

Apparently not.

In India I read this and at the time it didn't hold much meaning for me...until now:

"Re-entry into normal life is not always easy. Reverse culture shock is real.  If Sunny is anything like me she will feel so guilty for being sad when everything around her is perfect-the perfect house, perfect man, a family that embraces her.  Yet she will feel like a part of her has died, and she'll grieve the loss of her friends and life in [India].  She will be glued to the news and read everything she can about the country and try and stay connected to a life that's not hers anymore.  She will miss the chaos and "wild west" feeling she left behind.  She will be happy one minute and terribly bored the next.  She will miss being needed and being able to make a difference.  Her time in [India] may have ruined her life in the "normal world.  I know it changed my life forever."

-Deborah Rodriguez

Sometimes I find that I am Sunny, this girl who is trying to be a part of a world she is no longer connected to; one who takes miniature rides on the emotional roller coaster.  Its mentally draining and sometimes a little depressing, wanting to feel more satisfied and accomplished with the time I spent abroad.  Memory lane is not always an easy road to walk down, especially when it is lined with questions and issues and dreams that were never fully attended to.  

But when I think of the contrary, coming back from India with no questions, no concerns, no burdens, unchanged and unmoved by the experience, I am reminded that 3 am isn't so terrible (as long as this is a phase) and there is no place that I'd rather be.  



A Fransiscan Prayer


May God bless you with discomfort

At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,

So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger

At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people,

So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears

To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,

So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them

And turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness

To believe that you can make a difference in the world,

So that you can do what others claim cannot be done

To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.


Ashley Sider