The group’s return from India has been a process.  Some have likened the experience to withdrawal, others have compared it to finding a new “box” of ideas to explore.  Regardless of the analogy, all of us have had reason during reintegration for introspection and deep thought about what we experienced.

We have met weekly to share our individual thoughts and experiences, to discuss the major ideas we considered throughout our adventure and to share pictures and videos.  Today we ended with an opportunity for people to share ways in which the trip has impacted them or distinct memories that have been unexpectedly triggered.

This is some of what was said:

Brother Mason – “I remember walking through the jungle on the way to Beach No. 7 and someone saying “don’t look at your feet” even though we were all walking barefoot.  We tried to take in all the views and the trees.  Then in class Mr. Pyles took us outside and told us to be observant and to look for signs of change and spring.  It immediately brought the jungle back to life.”

Abby Blankenship – “One thing I definitely took away was the power of observation and purposeful thinking.  I don’t really meditate but I appreciate it now and understand it.”

Harold “B” Pressley – “I was in Spanish class today with Abby.  We were trying to speak in Spanish but didn’t have the words to use, so I started using the methods I learned in Agora when we had to speak through a serious language barrier.  The experience of speaking to people without language immediately came back to me and took me back to the village.”

Sydney Pitts – “I have been thinking about using more than words to communicate.  I have been trying to realize and think about what is most important in life and to eliminate unnecessary stress.”

Kathryn James – “There hasn’t been one day when I don’t wake up or go to sleep thinking about India.  It comes across my mind everyday.  The biggest thing has been just being more thoughtful and kind.  I try not to let the little things get to me, as people often do in our society.  I wanted to remember what really matters, as we learned from the trip.  I can shake things off now and remind myself that I am OK; that life is good.”

Alice Johnson – “I try to talk with more purpose after being in India.  Sometimes now I try to really talk to say meaningful things.  I have been noticing that a lot more things matter but the small stuff that used to appeal to me, material stuff, isn’t even noticeable anymore.”

Kelsey English – “I really thought about how much we actually need in comparison to how much we want or have.  That has been something that really stuck with me.  Do I really need things?  I ask myself that all the time.”

Evan Pausic – “I learned something that the Bishop’s sermon summed up.  Instead of adding to bitterness and anger now, I try to turn my cheek and let it slap me.  I know I am strong enough to take it now so there is no longer any reason to add to it.”

Mrs. Showalter – “I have a lot more faith in my students now to let them take leadership and have pretty deep ideas.  The trip really helped me see that I need to put more faith in my students.  The group rose to the task of being in India, so now I know I can expect a lot of them.”

Roy Berry – “I finally had the chance to unpack some of my gear a few days ago.  I reached in and pulled my fins out.  It was crazy – all of a sudden I remembered being on Havelock Island and snorkeling away from the group with the boat captains.  I remembered diving with them.  I remembered the feeling of being in the sublime.  It was incredible then and incredible now.”

Shaohan Zhang – “Today, I saw Evan sitting alone with his Indian clothes on.  I sat down with him and then Michael joined us later.  I felt then that I have not been spending enough time with India people since getting back.  I felt how easy it is to revert to old ways.  Now it feels like a mental challenge, when in India it felt like a physical one.”

Weichen Zhao – “I try to talk more with different people now, and with my friends back here at CCS.  I am working to improve my communication.  I want to learn more now, have a reason for my voice.  I talk to people with different backgrounds.  It has helped me to think a lot.  Sometimes I talk too strictly or unclearly but after this trip I have improved my communication abilities a lot.  I am really happy with the purpose I have now.”

Michael Maguire – “I went to India to get out of my box and it ended up opening up a completely different box.  Now that we have seen a tiny piece of the world, it has opened us up to the entire thing.  I feel that I can go out into the world more confidently as an explorer.”

Amanda Freeman – “I just want to move back to live with Joseph.  I used to not want to be in school most of the time.  Now it is not that simple – I just want to learn the way we did on the trip.”

Charlie Lange – “I saw things that were incredibly important to me and to others.  I saw people learn so much, and I know that I learned so much more than I ever could have while here.  It has felt kind of detrimental sometimes.  Now I feel like I am not growing as much as I could, or as much as my potential might allow in those sorts of ways.  I beat myself down about it.  I feel like there are still a lot of things I do that don’t matter.  I keep driving that into me, trying to absorb it.”

Shaohan Zhang – “You never know how a small thing could affect your future.  Don’t eat yourself up, just be open.”

Alice Johnson – “I was chatting with Parveen the other day and asking how Agora is doing. He sent me pictures of the young students playing a game.  It reminded me of how everyone just knows each other there.  Happy people.  That is something that really stuck with me.”

As the trip passes further into the rearview, it is amazing to see how active these conversations remain.  I look forward to keeping the flame alight.

One response to “Afterthoughts…”

  1. jbyersccs Avatar

    Powerful messages. “A reason for my voice” sums it up. India changes us all for the better!

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