It’s time for my indulgent “I’ve left India” post.
I have lived a life rich in hellos and goodbyes. I have considered myself as a snail – moving slowly and steadily and carrying my home on my back. My home is not made of things, but of the love of people I have known since I was born, who remind me who I am when I am so lonely that I can barely remember my own name. It is the love of people I have yet to meet, who will help me find new passions and unlock parts unexplored of my own self. It is the truths I hold and know about myself.
India took all of these truths of myself and threw them under a very thick magnifying glass.
I thought I transitioned to new places and people easily. I thought I was brave. I thought I could make friends easily. I thought I was pretty unshakeable.
India taught me that I will take at least 3 months to just feel comfortable getting from point A to point B and not getting lost.
A friend said once, “You know what will happen if you stay home, but you don’t know what will happen if you leave. It might suck, but it might also be awesome. So go out.” She was referring specifically to a night out at a bar, but it has become engrained in my decision-making process now. Over the past year it has been behind so many “YES” moments.
YES it was worth it to fly to Kashmir alone, and face my fear of traveling alone.
YES it was worth it to go out to that one party and meet all those people.
YES it was worth it to go out to a concert on a school night and spend two hours dancing on an empty dance floor.
YES it was worth it to stay home and watch Gilmore Girls and eat delivered food.
YES it was worth it to have that friend over for beers and end up spilling feelings all over each other.
YES it was worth it to to befriend you, to hug you, and to love you, even knowing that we would be saying goodbye.
YES it was worth it to sign that contract two and a half years ago agreeing to move to an insane country I had never been to and had never thought I would ever visit.
It was the hardest thing I have ever done. It has left scars that I will be healing for years to come. It has given me a deep familiarity with loneliness beyond anything I thought I was capable of handling. It has scared the crap out of me.
My snail-self will continue to move slowly, carrying my home on my back. Mumbai has made my home – my truths and my loves – so much larger and so much sturdier. I don’t know if I will ever go back, as I am struck with forward-motion and the desire to explore new places, but I will definitely always carry it with me.