I went to India over winter break this year for almost a month– that's one twelfth of a year which is an extremely long time if you think about it! Other than it being the most relaxing vacation of my life, India did more for me than anything or anyone has ever done for me before. Most of all, it gave me a reality check (hence the title). I think everybody should travel if they get the opportunity; sometimes we forget that the big bad world we think we live in is much bigger than the thirty square miles around us. I guess that's one major factor that separates people from one another– awareness.
But anyway, back to the trip.
When I moved to Georgia last summer, I was so frazzled trying to balance my life: I had just joined the varsity volleyball team, I was overloaded with schoolwork, I had to make new friends, and more. Eventually I was able to get my priorities together, but it left me more tired than ever. What I need was a break. A break to think, breathe, understand, and learn. Sure, as long as winter break is, I could've probably gotten most of that done no matter where I was, but being in India for an extended period of time got the whole thing done, and more.
It gave me a reality check. The smallest things agitated me back home, "problems" so minuscule that the people I visited in India would laugh at me if I told them. Hell, it makes me laugh now. Yes, you can't compare everything with "those kids in third world countries that don't even have water" because conditions are different depending on where you live; however, that doesn't change the fact that your daily predicaments can be very, very minute compared to those real world issues out there.
A maid named Laxmi who worked for my grandmother had a daughter that walked five miles from her house just to see me. She brought me a rose on New Year's and watched me eat breakfast every day. She didn't go to school anymore, but she spoke perfect english and looked at me with the most sincere, admiring eyes. I don't even know what I did to receive such admiration, especially from a stranger, but that's the kind of admiration I got. One day, while listening to her stories at breakfast, I realized that she knew more about my family tree by picking up details here and there from my grandmother than I did myself. What could I say to her? I just hugged her.
I went to the beach that day, and when I came back, she was still there waiting. She had waited to tell me that she cried because she had never been hugged like that before. I considered crying myself, half out of pity and half out of hysterics. Is it really fair that so many people have to live subordinate lives so that one girl like me can live a perfect one? It doesn't seem fair at all, but I can sure say that I'm grateful to be where I am. One step at a time, I'm going to change that though– I want to teach kids like her that they can gain their own independence and place in the world and they should instead of only watching other people rise.
So you could say that gratitude was a big lesson for me in India. Besides that, I learned to love my family to no end, and that no matter what happens, you always have yourself. Life goes on, and as long as you can live with yourself and who you are, you'll get through it just fine. Thank you Captain Jack Sparrow for that last piece of advice!
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