Today I decided that it was time to start packing to go home. With just three full days remaining in India and an expected influx of laundry after our upcoming trip to Bali, I couldn’t justify putting it off any longer.
It doesn’t seem like very long ago when I was unpacking my suitcases, carefully arranging my clothes into different closets, one for work clothes, another for everything else. As I pack up the items that I left home thinking that I couldn’t live without, it all seems a bit surreal. I am amazed at how quickly the past few months passed and stunned by how much I have learned here, it should not be surprising to me how much this experience has shaped my worldview, but somehow it still is.
In retrospect, upon examining the items that I shipped to India with the idea that I couldn’t part with them for a few months, I can’t believe how many things went unused. Chris and I both tend to value experiences over stuff and this just drives that point home. It turns out that of the tiny fraction of our belongings that we brought here, we hardly needed any of it. Granted, neither of us has exactly looked like a fashion icon over the past few months, but we have had such a wealth of experiences lately that I don’t think either of us cares much.
Over brunch on Sunday, Chris and I talked about how the last few months have been so busy and packed with adventure that it might take several more months to reflect on them and process it all. In the past five months I have had the opportunity to visit eleven countries, eight of them new, with two more expected in the next week. Twelve for Chris with eight new ones. Pretty wild to think about. During that time I have also grown 45% of a baby and learned a lot about myself.
When I first moved to Indiana, many people at home asked me how I could live there. If you have ever seen that cartoon of the New Yorker’s view of the country, with New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and a big void until you reach California, I think that Indiana seemed like some kind of no man’s land, a place without real people, experiences, or anything to speak of. What those people failed to realize, something that I have said all along, is that it is the people who make a place. Upon announcing that we were going to India, I got many of the same reactions, but I knew it would be ok because Chris was going.
After a few solo moves after college, I quickly learned that new places seem scary, lonely, and maybe even depressing until you make a friend or two. Luckily, for my past few moves, I have been accompanied by a built in friend. My second relocation to New York was infinitely better than my first, mainly because Chris and I went together. It is much easier to make plans and get out of the house, or even just sit home ‘alone’ when you have someone to do it with. This phenomenon repeated itself when we left Purdue to move to Southern Indiana. Once again, when we embarked on this adventure, Chris came through, immediately erasing much of the unknown that went along with moving to India.
As I get ready to head back home and on to Indiana, my other home, once again, I know that it will be ok because of the great people I will see there. This morning over coffee, Chris and I talked about that some. A few people in my life have been feeling bad for me that nearly a month will pass between me arriving in the US and Chris coming home. What those people fail to realize is that because they are there everything will be ok. Chris, on the other hand, will probably be the one with a rough month ahead of him. I’m confident that he can manage though because if there is any outstanding characteristic about Chris, it is his extremely strong will.
Ultimately, although on many levels I am sad to see this great experience end, I am beyond excited to return to familiar people, old routines, and all of the things that make the US in general feel like home.
Anyone want to put my Christmas tree up with me? 😉