My journey home from India and my subsequent departure for London were a whirlwind and though I sat down more than once to write my final blog post, I couldn’t seem to find the right words to articulate my experience. Sitting in my flat here in South Kensington (London, England), it’s hard to believe that I was in India only three weeks ago. While at first it seemed unlikely, Kadapa quickly became my home and I truly do miss aspects of Indian life. Most of all, I miss the simple and joyful way people led their lives.
When the Stanford students and I were gathering content for the Aarti Home website, Sandhyamma would often spend the evenings sharing stories about her life experiences and those of the girls at Aarti. Hearing her talk was always so moving and many times, brought tears to everyone’s eyes. She would love to talk about the passion that her girls have and how no amount of education could teach others what they know. The greatest gift I received this summer (in addition to 110 new sisters) was countless role models.
Many of the women who I look up to are close to my age — some are even younger. However, they are wise beyond their years. They know who they are, stay true to their convictions, and have committed their lives to the service of others. I have never met people who work so much and complain so little. I will always cherish my time spent with them and they will always hold a special place in my heart. Through conversations with them, I was able to grow immensely this summer. I only wish that more people could view the world from their eyes, untainted by biases and societal expectations. Being back, it has taken more effort for me to view the world through such lenses. I feel as if I am constantly bombarded by things that distract me from pursuing what is truly important.
I wouldn’t trade my experiences this summer for anything. There were times when I was surrounded by such love and happiness that I forgot I was halfway across the world and would soon have to return home. I learned so much and feel that I am so much better equipped to participate as a global citizen and engage in dialogues that are relevant across many borders. Though I was more than 8,000 miles away from home, I felt at home and realized that the world is immensely interconnected, despite those who try to stay comfortably unaware. Though it hurts to think that to see the wonderful people of Aarti again, I would have to travel more then 45 hours, it brings me joy to remember how lovingly they welcomed me into their lives. I am confident that my time as a Global Fellow is only the beginning of my exploration of my role on a global scale and I look forward to future journeys.