When I wrote my first blog, I went in with the thought that I would be posting a new one biweekly, or even monthly. It is now January 4th, I am halfway through this year and the last blog I posted was in September.
I want to state that my lack of posts doesn’t have anything to do with a lack of things to talk about, it is in fact the opposite. So much has happened and is constantly happening, so I along with the other fellows have an infinite number of topics we would write on. But when there is so much, the question is often: “What?”
Describing what India is like, let alone this gap year, to people outside of this cohort seems to me to be nearly impossible. You can list off a bunch of facts or demographic information about India, its culture, and its people, but what does that say? To me, almost nothing. The Western perspective on what India is like is so egregiously false that conversations with people from home often feel inaccurate, misconstrued, and more like an interrogation than a conversation. So, when writing a blog that is meant to inform those at home along with prospective fellows on what our experience is really like, the pressure to give a well-rounded, accurate depiction that does not lead one down a path of a single story exceeds the need I feel to actually post.
My gap year can be comprised of stories, of feelings, of moments. Some light, some dark, but all a part of my experience. I think being in India has been a catalyst for every kind of emotion ranging from pure happiness to feeling like you are drowning. Not only that, but it has been a catalyst for transformation. The person I was when I wrote my first blog is an entirely different person than who I am now, but do the people at home see that? Although that girl is still me, how do I more or less prove to those I don’t see who I am now? I largely speak the same way (except for a small influx of Hindi words), look the same (although, I did cut my hair), and occupy the same role to them as before I left. So when the only interaction I have with them is through video calls, texts, and the occasional blog, how can they know the growth I feel within myself? How do I convey my transformation through a screen? I sit here asking these questions, not really ever expecting an answer. But in order to be authentic, I can’t sit here and pretend these questions aren’t there when writing to those who these questions pertain to.
I hope to be more liberated in what I post from now on, as I do want to give some sense of my gap year to those outside of it. This post is more or less a disclaimer that you are not going to get the whole picture. What we post is a fraction of our experience, and each fellow’s experience is wildly different than the next. I guess, in short, I urge those reading these blogs to remember that.