Jack Swartzentruber - India

March 20, 2019

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Sometimes, life presents us with coincidences and connections that almost

seem unbelievable. At the beginning of my time in India, my host mom told

me that she was going to take a three-week trip to the United States and

Canada, both to see family and for work purposes (she works for an

American-based company). It turns out that the office she was working at

was only a half-hour away from my own home in the US. Immediately after we

made this discovery, we started planning for her to have dinner at my

house, and to meet my real family for the first time. To add on to this,

she was actually leaving to come back to India the morning after the dinner

with my parents, so they offered her to spend the night at our house so she

wouldn’t have to wake up so early to catch her flight. She ended up

sleeping in my empty room.

Although this happened in September, almost six months ago, I’ve been

thinking about it more recently. Looking back, I realize how lucky I truly

was that we were able to have this two-way exchange, and that my family was

able to give our home and try to show her the same kind of hospitality that

she has shown me, even if only for a single day. It also helped me to see

this last year as not just a one-sided experience that I’ve had, but a

cross-continental connection that has been created, and that will last for

years after I return. My host mom has already invited me back for when my

two brothers get married, and I know that whenever she (or any of them)

come to the United States, they are more than welcome to stay at our house.

In this way, this year was only the beginning of the connection between our

two families, a connection that I will continue to value and cherish for

the rest of my life.

Jack Swartzentruber