Seeing home in a new light

Rachel Borashko

I have officially been back in the United States for over a month, and I am still thrilled to be back. As much as I may miss food that has flavor, my Indian little sisters, the bus system and religious diversity, I have been thoroughly enjoying the comforts that the United States has to offer. My thick mattress is a godsend. I can get Taco Bell literally any time I want. I can use as much WiFi as I please, which is a lot. I am surrounded by a vast support system of friends, family and professors.

I love Grand Valley and I am ecstatic to be back on campus. I love the challenges that I face in my classes here. I love my jobs and the sense of community that I have with my coworkers. More than anything, I am glad to have my independence back, which is a feeling that at this point in my life I have only known here at Grand Valley. True to the individualistic, and capitalist, society in which I was raised, I value my perceived freedom, independence and autonomy over all else. Being able to function on my own in day to day life without having instruction from others or to depend on them too much for simple daily tasks is incredibly empowering for me.

Without being able to do whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it, I found myself losing quite a bit of my identity. Here, I can walk around at night. Even if I do so with my keys in hand, with vigilance, ready to fight anyone who may want to attack me, still, it is mostly socially acceptable for me to walk around past dusk. I can go wherever I want without the need to tell my superiors or my parents. Nobody will call me or fret over me if I am not back at a time that they deem acceptable. The sense of freedom from many forms of social obligation in a collective society is relieving. Often in the past I have been guilty of taking this aspect of our society for granted, but at least for now I am more appreciative than I ever would have been without my experiences last semester.

I no longer stick out like a sore thumb. I am not being watched simply because I am foreign. I can easily blend in with the crowd and go about my daily life without people staring at me and taking pictures. It provided a fair amount of introspect on what it is like to be a minority, and to say the least, I am happy that I had a place to come back to where I am a part of the majority.

Now that I have been back in the United States for long enough to settle into somewhat of a routine, it feels almost as if I have found my old self again. Again, true to the capitalist society in which I was raised, I find my purpose through academia and work. It has certainly been a tough adjustment back into having work on top of classes, but it is an adjustment that I have been happy to make. Undoubtedly, India has changed me in ways that make it so I cannot simply be the person that I was before I left, but the new me is more capable, more grateful and excited to take on the world again.