Navigating India: Week 12

Rachel Borashko

When you know you’re going to be leaving a place soon, you suddenly become hyper-aware of your surroundings. As if you had just arrived, you notice the way it smells when you walk down the street, every detail on every building that you pass, the way the air feels on your skin. Except this time, instead of feeling the excitement of a new place, you feel the comfort of home.

You stop a little longer to talk with your little sisters when they get home from school. You smile a little bigger at the shop owner you see every day. You take a little more time to say “thank you” to your driver.

Every time I do something, I think to myself, “I’m going to miss this.” Everything around me is brighter, and inside is the bittersweet feeling that only comes when saying goodbye to one home to go back to another.

As I prepare to leave India, everything comes rushing in. I have been honored to call India a second home this semester. I reflect on when I first got here and how different everything will be in just a few days. Unlike going home for Christmas from college, I will not be returning in a month. For the first time in my life, I am leaving a home with no idea of if and when I will be able to return. I am excited to be going back to the United States and thrilled to be back at Grand Valley State University next semester, but I already know that I will miss India. I leave India happy that I have been here.

I try to spend all of my time doing something that matters. I try to make every minute count. I want the end of my experience to be positive. I do what I can to remind everyone that I am going to miss them and that I appreciate everything they have done for me with all of my heart. Every time someone asks if I will remember them when I go back, my heart breaks a little. Yes, of course, I will remember every one of you. I will remember the chechis at the school. I will remember my friends, my professors and the family that surrounds me in the Unity House, and I will do so fondly. I know that they will all be in my heart forever.

I have often been guilty of taking India for granted, but I have promised myself not to make that mistake in these last few days. I will take in as much of her as I can and appreciate her to her fullest extent.

Thank you, India for welcoming me into your embrace, even when I fought it. Thank you for showing me so much of your beauty. Thank you, Indians for being patient with me when I got frustrated. Thank you for teaching me about so much of your culture. Thank you for treating me well and giving me the best that you have to offer. Thank you for making me comfortable even when I am so far outside of my comfort zone.