In less than 10 days I’m moving to India and I can hardly believe it!
I mean… of course I’ve been aware. For the past 4 months I’ve been requesting transcripts, submitting forms, applying for scholarships, and making packing lists. But for whatever hyper-displaced reason I never really acknowledged the pending reality of my decision.
That all changed yesterday as I was sitting on my sofa, watching Top Chef, and drinking eggnog (gross, I know). All of a sudden it just clicked— “Holy crap! I’m moving to India!”
Since that moment, my mind has been plagued by the duo forces of excitement and terror.
To be clear– I am not second guessing my decision. I’m absolutely committed to following through with my choice.
Nonetheless, every time I think about my trip my stomach flips.
Right now you’re probably thinking: “It’s natural to be nervous Angel. You just have to keep an open mind and take everything in stride.”
Yeah. Right. I know it’s okay to be nervous.
But India is both outside of my comfort and uncomfortable zone.
There are a variety of things that I’m quite comfortable with…
My Comfort Zone
- Independent bookstores that look like scenes from Portlandia
- Flannel-heavy coffee shops
- Nights playing Scrabble with friends (words w/ friends was an atrocity)
- Lesbian dinner parties
- Dingy arcades
- South and Central American countries
aaaaaand then there are a variety of things that I’m not so comfortable with…
My Uncomfortable Zone
- Lutheran churches (followed closely by Presbyterian)
- Unwanted interactions with white people
- Large crowds
- Country Music Festivals
- Pottery Barn (I much prefer West Elm)
Unfortunately, Hyderabad, India is on neither of these lists. Instead, I have been forced to place it in….
My Out of Comfort Zone
followed closely by….
- Scientology (for obvious reasons)
At the end of the day, I can handle the things that make me uncomfortable. To be uncomfortable with a situation, one generally has had prior experiences with it.
Last Spring, my boyfriend and I visited a well-respected Lutheran church for Easter. They were soooo nice, bless their hearts. Even still, the sidelong glances and 2-hour, opera style church hymns kept us from returning.
This example demonstrates that, for me, my uncomfortable zone is more of a personal preference and less of a stress inducer.
India is in my Out of Comfort Zone because I’ve had no prior experience with it or any place like it.
No matter how many travel blogs, Bollywood movies, or Youtube videos I watch I never feel fully prepared.
I’m starting to believe that it’s impossible to fully prepare oneself for India.
According to all of the blogs I’ve read, India is one of the most difficult countries to travel to:
“Was India an enlightening experience that opened my mind to a fascinating part of the world? Sure. But don’t think for a second that it was all beautiful temples, photogenic cows, and cardamom-scented markets. Ok, there was a lot of that. But India tested me, India was tough, and there were times I just wanted to book a flight home” –India Travel Tips for Over-Confident Travelers
God, after reading this article I nearly changed my mind about studying abroad. However, the blogger continued on to write that India was also one of the most incredible places that she’d ever traveled to:
“India can’t be described in a sentence or a paragraph. It can’t be described in a lifetime… Travel in India, and you’ll be forced to reevaluate everything you thought you once knew about the world. It’s a weird, crazy, beautiful, troubled, and enchanting place” –Culture Shock in India: What Lonely Planet Didn’t Tell Me
I hope that my journey offers me a wonderful balance of challenge, relief, and reward. I’m not traveling to India to have an easy time. I’m going to grow, learn, and develop.
My Mission Statement: A Semester Abroad in India
As I prepare for my semester abroad in India, I am battling a variety of nerves, expectations, and fears. While abroad, I will live every day intentionally. I will wear the local attire, learn the fundamentals of the language, eat the cultural food, build relationships with the people, and attempt (probably hopelessly) to pick up yoga. I will enter into this ancient culture with reverence and respect. I will seek to understand and not to be understood. I will be humble, modest, and authentic. I will put my best foot forward and aim to better myself and my community. Moreover, I will never take without giving back. I will invest the greater portion of my resources and energy into my new community. In addition, I will share my experiences (good and bad) with my friends, family, and acquaintances back home. This is my mission while I study abroad at the University of Hyderabad, India. I will not fail. I will not quit. I will not falter.
I plan to approach my semester abroad with both flexibility and focus. I know that struggle will invariably come my way. When it does, I will tackle it with grace, adaptability, and decorum. (at least… that’s the plan)!
While I’m abroad, I hope everyone will keep me in their hearts, minds, and prayers. I can always use the extra love and encouragement.
As soon as I touch down in India, I will be documenting my experiences and posting them all on my social media platforms.
I am going to work extra hard to properly document this amazing phase of my life– I’d love to have an audience while I do it!
^^ (maybe one day I’ll write a post explaining why I spell my name 2 different ways lol)