In the two short months I have been in India, I have learned so much, and yet I still feel so young, so unknowing, like I am just a child whose eyes have barely opened. I go to the college every day, and I study economics, psychology, history, Hindi, and other varied classes, but I don't feel like I absorb very much there. I try and learn other things, outside of college - I have a yoga class at 7:30 in the morning, and I practice rangoli, or sand art, and my neighbor often teaches me mehendi, or henna tattoos. And I learn other things, that I have just picked up in everyday life - I can eat neatly with my hands, I can wear a sari with some semblance of grace, know a few simple words in Hindi and Marathi, I am beginning to understand Hinduism, I can manage adequately in everyday life without too many social blunders. But these are not the important things I am learning here. India is a great teacher, and if you can be a willing student, your education will never end.
I learn to be patient, to sit quietly and wait, for hours sometimes. I learn to be quiet, because often, people do not have enough English to have a conversation with me. I learn to watch, because it is the only way I can understand, and I learn to listen, because if I do not pay attention, I will miss the important things. I learn stillness, in my mind and my body, so that I might learn meditation. I am learning peace, and understanding, and a deeper happiness than I thought I would obtain here in India. I am learning joy in the small things - I can confidently cross the road, I can argue with a rickshaw driver, I can write my name in Hindi, I can, I can, I can. I am learning positive thinking, and detachment from what frustrates me. I am learning simplicity. I have come nowhere close to perfecting these things, and I am sure I never will, but already I feel that I am changing. Here in India, I am a different person than I ever was at home. And right now, I am not sure that this me would last in the US, where frustration, depression, and impatience run wild, but I hope that by the time I have to return, this new me is more solidly a part of me, so that I can continue to grow in this new direction.