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Jacquie Day - Blog Post 5: Living and Learning and Returning Home

Jacquie Day - Blog Post 5: Living and Learning and Returning Home

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Blog post
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It’s different writing about India from back home in Victoria. The two feel hard to compare. The weather alone makes it feel like a different world. I thought perhaps nostalgia may have set in by now, but forgettably, coming home makes home seem so comfortable and familiar. I know India taught me so much, that I can’t possibly recall it all now. Much of it will set in one moment at a time. Home in a way is relieving. One thing I had missed most, was the anonymity I grew to enjoy. I am no longer a visibly different person in a culture outside my own. The fact that I am able to leave the space of ‘standing out’, into one of ‘fitting in’, speaks to my position of privilege, and the reality that I am able to move in and out of spaces both in India and Canada. I feel more gratitude than I am able to realize for my freedom of movement, something I felt was momentarily taken away from me due to the experience of being a woman in South India and feeling contained in certain spaces and certain times. I have begun to un-learn what India taught me. And yet, I do not want to lose the potency of that reality. I have to remind myself that I do not need to think about my safety much of the time. I have noticed how easily that appears to be guaranteed at home. I learned in India that nothing is guaranteed, however and this is something I had taken for granted. There are many little things I had taken for granted also. A fast and efficient internet connection for one; being able to drive my own vehicle anywhere, anytime; walking home alone after dark; and somewhat endless amounts of space, both in my own home and being able to access nature easily and without the population of other people. It is strange for me now to realize how my life in Trivandrum had become so familiar. I not only learned how to adapt to sometime uncomfortable and unusual circumstances but feel that my experience has also made me much more flexible when faced with new and varied conditions. I can’t help but feel proud of myself for learning how to meet my needs half way across the world.

India changed me. India continues to change me. India, as a whole, helped me confront my own position of power, my whiteness, my western education, and moved me closer to a place of humbleness, of curiosity, of gratitude. Nothing could have truly prepared me for what 6 months in Kerala would teach me, and now I feel as though I am more prepared as a result of my experience. I have become more aware of the implications or lack thereof of my presence, and I am fundamentally more aware of the preciousness of life, of its learning, beauty, and wonder. In a way, India helped me become more of who I was. It helped me step into the confidence of who I am and be unafraid to ask for what I want as well as know that I already have everything I need.