Now that I’m back home, I’ve been thinking about how to share my experience with others. It has been great getting to see my family and friends again, but one thing that has been on my mind is how to answer the question that I’ve been asked and I know I will be asked again, and that is:
“How was India?”
Even after eight months away (and partly because it has been eight whole month), I still have no idea how to answer this question. I hear this question and I have to compress 8 months(over 19 million seconds) into a ten second answer. How does one compress eight months of ups and downs, successes and failures, good days and bad ones, into a ten second answer? The only way I know how to is to say it was good. What else can you say? Sharing anything with substance takes way more than ten seconds. To really share any meaningful part of my experience would take at least twenty minutes, if not a few hours, and even more of it will just come out over months and years as I randomly remember certain experiences.
I also know that many people will just ask this question out of common courtesy, and they only want to hear the ten second answer. They know that I wet to India and they want to show that they remembered that fact, but all they want to hear is that it was good. I accept that, but know that you are not getting any true part of my experience.
For people that actually do want to know about my experience, know that when you ask “How was India?”, I will still likely answer with “It was good”.( You will get the same answer if you say “Tell me about India”). As someone that has experienced 8 months in a different country, these questions cause me to freeze. There is so much to share that it just comes rushing in and it gets to be really hard to know what to share.
Instead ask me something specific like; Who was in your host family? Or what was teaching like? If you have no idea what my year has been, but you want to learn, there are the general questions that get at something specific, for example; What was your our favorite food? What was an average day like? What was the craziest experience you had? These are questions you can ask anyone after any trip/experience and it will get you a better idea of the experience, as well as making it easier on the person(me) that you are asking. I know this blog has not told you anything about my year, but I promise that more will be coming in another post.