I’m leaving for India in six short days. My heart has spent the majority of the past few weeks in either building excitement for finally getting on the plane or feeling overwhelmed at the size of my to-do list. It has surprised me how many more life details there are to arrange when you leave the country for 6 months instead of just 3 weeks. It probably didn’t help that I have also been trying to put together graduate school applications. Note to self: if possible to avoid in the future, do not try to apply to graduate school from overseas; it makes an already detailed, tedious process twice as stressful. However, the process is almost done. In six days I’ll be on a plane. It will no longer matter if I forgot to do something or didn’t pack something else into my suitcase. At that point it just won’t get done. I’ll deal. I love that moment.
I’m looking forward to India. It’s a season that is both completely defined and undefined. Everything else is my life has been set aside to focus on one thing, one place. But at the same time, I have no idea what India looks like, what my hands and feet will find to do and go. I’m not looking forward to any specific tasks…because I don’t know what they are. But I can tell you what I am looking forward to.
I’m looking forward to a culture based on relationships and just being together. Washing my underwear by hand in a bucket. Leaving pantyhose and high heels in my closet back home. Walking on some of the most dusty and dirty streets of the world and yet discovering more of what it means to be feminine. Wearing a sari. Relinquishing choice over what I eat. Touching the faces of children who have been told they are untouchable. Finding stories. Wearing my hair down my back in one long braid. Learning what it means to be Indian. Being shown what the church can look like outside of a neat Western box. Curry. Traffic jams. Sitting up on the roof. Sounding like a fool when I try to speak in Hindi.
I have this theory that no one is every really ready to move on from one season and find the next. At least I’m not. But the seasons come all the same. So I try to take them when they come, be in the moment as much as possible, leave goodbye till the last minute and then dive straight ahead. My heart hasn’t been dwelling in India all summer because I’ve still been here at home. But now, I’m almost ready. I can feel my heart starting to pulse with the unknown rhythm of India. I’m bracing for the goodbye. And it’s time… just about. To step on the plane. To land in a foreign world. To discover another whole way to live.