Written On A Park Bench

Christina Chevie - India


September 9, 2019

All my life I've known what I want to do with it. Since I was a little girl I had a dream of traveling and volunteering. A strange dream for an 8 year old I admit but nevertheless this was all I dreamt of. It was all I talked about and it was all I ever wanted. Tomorrow morning when I board my plane for India, this dream of mine will become a reality. I think it is important for me to acknowledge though,  that after years of daydreams and ideas of what my dream will look like, it may not be all that I have envisioned. This past week of orientation at stanford has made this very clear to me. 

I came here this week feeling free, scared, but free. I was ready to start my journey in India. I was excited for working at my school there as well as petrified that I would not be enough for the students. I do not want to fail them. I was also afraid my host family would not like me. After this week though I find my fears have taken a new form. Now I feel buried.  Buried by problems that consume the world in which I live. Issues that I alone can not approach, some I may even fall victim to. I am surrounded by opinions and by voices that seem to echo over my own. We have had extraordinary speakers talk to us about empathy, racism, personal bias, inequality, gender roles, issues in education, homlessness, and countless environmental issues. While I am so grateful for this education on world problems, they are so hard to hold in my mind. They weigh so heavy on my heart and in the  painful attempt of lifting them I feel I am defeated. I feel so small and so naive to the world around me. 

Now when I think about India I am not as worried about the language or my family or apprenticeship. As these are all things that are in my control to adapt to.  Rather I fear I will be consumed by the issues circling around me that I am unable to change. I know I must not look so negatively upon these problems and accept that I have little control. But if I am being honest with myself, these issues do get to me and I think about them constantly.

 It is important to remember though, that there is also power in all the things I've learned here. I've learned that I alone can not orchestrate change but in joining with those around me, I can move mountains. I've learned that not everyone wants or needs saving. I am nobody's savior. I've learned to never lose sight of peoples dignity. People do not need empathy what they need is equality. That's what they deserve. I've learned to respect everyone's opinion and know that as stubborn as I am,  I can always be wrong. I've accepted that I will make mistakes. So many mistakes that oppose the person I am trying to become. I've come to realize that I can not predict the things I am going to learn. Nor am I able to fully prepare myself for any obstacles I may face. All I know is that I am going to get on that plane despite all the fear I carry with me. Anything that happens after that, I will view as a victory. 


Christina Chevie