Is it possible to ever come “back”?

9 Apr

Reading the posts there seems to be a common theme about how life changing our experiences were. And how difficult this type of change and can be.

I went to India to teach in a hostel for 6 months. I spent the the first month lonely and homesick but then found a home and people I came love immeasurably. My time was so rich in experience, I’ve never laughed or cried nearly so much as I managed in those 6 months. I look back on memories thick in those unexpected events that really did shake me up massively, but that I would not choose to avoid at any cost.

I was teaching an all boys class one day at a nearby hostel and heard my name being screamed from the next room. The principal’s niece was having a baby in the next room, and I as the only woman in the building!

I don’t know how to deliver a baby!? But I’m a woman!!

One man ran to village to find a woman (every woman knows how to deliver a baby) while the mother screamed and I held her hand praying that a lady from the village arrives before I see the baby’s head.

Throughout the delivery I could hear the principal, a monk, chanting prayers with the students outside. The sound of the children’s chants reverberating inside the isolated concrete building at the base of the Himalayas while a beautiful baby boy was born  is so awesome it is unexplainable.

Later the same day I opened the paper to a daily section. Children found alone on the street have pictures of their faces lined up in boxes with any details about the child listed underneath, though normally none are known. These children are almost all new-born girls, often dumped in plastic bag into rubbish tips or the side of the street. I cried and stared writing a letter home to tell my parents. Though I quickly realised while doing this, that sometimes there was nothing worse to do, to tell people at home the truth.

Telling this story I feel numb with compassion and sadness for the situation, yet I can’t wait to go back. I came home from India more homesick than when I left. Telling friends about my time there I tend to tell them about the Taj Mahal, the food and Bollywood movies, but what I’m thinking about is something very different. As bec4890 expressed in her post Will people ever understand? I’m left feeling quite the same, people will never understand, but then again I never really tried.

On coming back to Aus I did my best to enjoy going out to the city to dance and drink too much, hearing about friends and their relationship troubles and discussing the best cut of jeans to wear to uni, but I missed India so much and as much as I wished I cared about these topics, I didn’t.

I have been back in Aus for 3 years and traveled back to India once to see friends and students and the little baby boy and his mum who are both doing so well.

I feel I have moved back now, and do consider the best cut of jeans to wear to uni, but I know I am not totally “back”.  I can’t help but interpret my world with some Buddhist Indian values, contrasting the two worlds in my head. I hope more than anything that I never forget the amazing things I experienced, and that those in India do not forget me either.


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