What I Learned from Living in India

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“Are your parents in the army?” is the question I am often asked when I reveal the number of houses I have lived in and the schools I have changed. When I answer that my family simply enjoys moving, my response is greeted by a look of both amazement and confusion. Since I was little, I have been raised with the idea that change is good, change is fun, change is needed. Finding a new place to call home was seen as a part of the change, and I welcomed it, accepting its presence in my life. The act of relocation became exciting for me; a new house, new school, new neighbors, and new friends. Yet I would take with me the memories created in my previous homes. Each street would continue to hold a special place in my heart, as I would accredit them all in making me the person I am today. One particular destination however, would make a tremendous impact on me and how I would continue to lead my life.

I remember getting off the plane in India for the first time. I was met by a slightly musty odor in the air, men insisting on taking your luggage for you, and honking, plenty of honking. To know that in two weeks I was not going to at the airport again to catch a flight back, that I was going to live in India for an extended period of time, made me a little anxious about what was in store for me. I tried to look to my parents for some sort of comfort and a confirmation that adjusting was not going to be problem. They could not offer much help though, as moving to India was a transition for them as well. Looking through the car window as we drove four hours away to our destination, I watched as the cars, scooters, and bicycles all fought for a space on the cramped roads. I saw street vendors trying to lure in customers and celebrity adver...

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... broadening an individual’s point of view on the world and their life. Living in India enabled me to understand how important of a role the problems a country and its people are facing play in shaping their viewpoint. The survival of the fittest mentality in India arises from the need to stand out and succeed in a large population. The priority of many Indian families is to put food on the table, and therefore many of the resources we consume on a full-time basis are viewed as luxuries. On a personal level, the time I spent in India strengthened my belief of helping those in need and most importantly providing them with the facilities and resources necessary for long-term aid. Living in India was and will continue to be one of the most enriching experiences I have had. As Henry Miller once said, “one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

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