Friday, May 3, 2013

The Challenges of Getting Ready to go Home

I realize I've been posting a fair amount recently, but as the semester is coming to a close (I'll be home at this time in two weeks.)  But this is something that I've been trying to put into words for a while.

For those of you that didn’t know, (I feel I talk about it all the time.) I’m worried about heading home. The idea of reverse culture shock is real and I was beginning to feel it when I was home for the month between India and Morocco. Feeling out of place because while you’ve been gone, the place you were once so comfortable in, has continued on without you. How much did I miss while I was abroad? How much has changed? And then realizing that I’m not even all that sad I missed those things because I LOVED being abroad. That’s almost harder, to realize that my priorities have changed so much. I’ve gained so many wonderful friends since being abroad, and have lost touch with some of the ones from home. I’ve discovered the type of things I want to do and the type of people I want to be surrounded by. I’ve found out a lot about myself, what I’m capable of, when physically and emotionally I just need a break, I’ve learned to appreciate things back home differently, but have also found things in two completely different cultures that I will miss so much once I'm back in the States.
              When I was a sophomore attending the study abroad information session, and people were like “Study abroad changed my life! Best experiences I’ve had so far in my life!” I was like “Whatever, people hype these things up all the time, I doubt it’ll be like that for me.”  I went into my abroad experience expecting to be difficult and really have to push myself and yes, it would be great but not necessarily life changing. Here I am now, at the final two weeks of my abroad experience getting ready to come home and I realize this has been the best experience I’ve had thus far. It has been life changing in a lot of ways. Now I'm going to be that person talking at the information sessions saying "Go! It'll be the best experience!"  Going home, back to the familiar is scary, I’m different, the place is different, everything will feel different even when I expect them to be the same. That’s what makes home, home right? When you can feel at ease and comfortable because things are the same and familiar. The idea of routine, is terrifying. I've been living in a way where everyday is so different, never quite knowing what's going to happen, constantly adjusting. How will I adjust back into to regular life?
                I was talking with my friend from last semester about my concerns with going home and she said, “You managed to adjust to India and Morocco, two countries so far different than anything you ever knew. You’ll be able to readjust and yes it’ll be difficult. If anything you're more ready for it now because you know how to adjust to difficult situations now.” Her frankness as to the difficulties she has faced readjusting to home didn’t help me feel better initially, other than realizing I’m not the only one who will be going through these things. Then she continued by saying, “Your home is all over the world now. Who says home has to be one place? My parents are home, but so are you and you’re across the world. We get to wake up and talk with people on the other side of the World. That’s home too. You lens will change to being back “home” and realize that home is all over now, and people from all over the world are part of your family.”  She’s absolutely right. My world has expanded and all though going back to my hometown seems intimidating and nerve-wrecking, I will adjust and I will have all those new people and new places to add to my home.

Marie also shared a great quote with me that basically was perfect for the situation, and I want to share it with everyone.

“To be a real traveler you must be willing to give yourself over to the moment and take yourself out of the center of your universe. You must believe totally in the lives of the people and the places where you find yourself, even if it causes you to lose faith in the life you left behind. You need to share with them, participate with them. Sit at their tables, go to their streets. Struggle with their language. Tell them stories of your life and hear the stories of theirs. Watch how they love each other, how they fight each other. See what they value and what they fear. Feel the spaces they keep in their lives. Become part of the fabric of their everyday lives and you will get a sense of what it means to live in their world. Give yourself over to them — embrace them rather than judge them — and you will find that the beauty in their lives and their world will become part of yours. When you move on, you will have grown."
-Ken Nerburn

So thank you Marie for helping me start getting a grasp on this :) And thank you to everyone else who here who has been talking and helping me get ready for the transition home and listening to my concerns. You're wonderful.

Now, here are some lovely pictures of Kerala. Palm trees everywhere! And ocean <3


  1. Hello Kiley,
    Silver Lake here with three questions.
    First Mrs. Mahoney would like to know, "Seeing that the US divorce rate is at 50% do you know the divorce rate for India? Do couples just stay together?"
    Paige asks, "What are the child abuse laws like in India? Does selective birth fall under child abuse?"
    Chelsea wants to know, "What do they do with the children they don't want?"
    We look forward to your answers and your visit in a week and a half.

    1. Hi everyone!

      Mrs. Mahoney, divorce is not super common here because it’s not socially acceptable. The marriages are all arranged, so you are expected to stay together. The only times I’ve heard of divorces occurring are in cases of abuse or extreme unhappiness. Even then though, a lot of women do not come forward because they can lose their finical stability and can become outcastes by their families. Overall, they stay together.

      Paige: There are phone lines and programs for children to call. Child marriages are now illegal, but is some cases in rural areas they still happen. There are programs in place where children can call and report things and the police will come. Selective birth is illegal now too, women cannot receive tests to determine the sex of the fetus, but in many cases people do it anyways. It is considered an abuse, but I’m not sure if it follows under child abuse laws. Female feticide is very much illegal and a problem because the sex ratio is incredible uneven at this point.

      Chelsea: The first stage is the female feticide, or abortion when you find out the fetus is a female. Also, in poor areas that don’t have access to the technology to determine the gender before birth, they will have the child and if it’s a girl, they won’t take care of it and let it die. Also, child marriages because girls can be considered a burden; so once the girl is married she moves to her in-laws and takes care of that family.

      See you all in a couple weeks!