I’ve started this post half a dozen times, with little to no idea about what I’m trying to say – it is clear that this semester has changed me, in a million ways through a thousand conversations and countless experiences. My time here so far has been the most challenging, absurd, eye-opening, beautiful, extraordinary experience of my life, and it’s only just begun. Yesterday marked this group’s last whole day in Bangalore before leaving for the airport at 4:30 this morning – it was chalk full of tears and wine and painful goodbyes. Many of us are still together – 11 total that are going on the Northern India tour for the next week, to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Red Fort in Jaipur and the city of New Delhi. It’ll be a beautiful week and the closest of my friends from this semester are all going on it with me, but the goodbyes still hurt for those who are going their own way.
I don’t envy our Indian friends at all. Some of them have this title of USAC friend formally, helping with orientation, etc. for school credit – but many of them simply do it every semester – they enjoy hanging out with us and are willing to deal with knowing that they will only know us for a few short months before we move on and they stay to welcome in the next batch. I don’t know how they remain authentic, how they manage to create these super strong bonds every semester and not get lost in them. I can only imagine the kind of emotional barriers you must need to put up in order to deal with it so often.
It’s currently 9:13am and I’m sitting in the airport waiting for our already 3 hours delayed plane to take off. The fog here today is thick, leaving almost no visibility. At least we’re being safe rather than sorry.
I wish this was easy, that the goodbyes were short and quick and I could see it as a kind of release from attachment. But they’re not and I can’t. I guess I need a few more lessons in Buddhism.
It’s so easy to become attached to people when you are sharing something so major – moving to a new country, trying to acclimate, dealing with culture shock, traveling together, these moments and experiences brought us together so quickly. Even the people who I never got to know as well were ever-connected to my journey here, influencing it, shaping it and recreating my reality.