Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Whole New World

It has been more than a week since I’ve returned to the States. At home with my sister, brother-in-law, two sick nephews, parents and a brother on the way today, I find myself contemplating this past semester and this past year as a whole. After all, with the new year looming, isn’t it natural?

2010 started at home in India. It took me to Georgia, back to the states, to Morocco and Spain, then back to the states, to Kuwait and then back to the states. To Brazil, South Africa, Vietnam and then back to the states one last time. I have lived out of a suitcase for the most part. My life took transience to new levels.

This past semester was a challenge. On the one hand, there was the feat of settling into a place and space within the short five weeks I had there; on the other, there was the constant battle to remain good-humored while dealing with the same 31 people day in and day out. There were definitely times when all I wanted to do was disappear. But now that I’m out on the other side and with the benefit of that tricky little phenomenon we call hindsight, I can’t help miss my constant travels. Though it might be a while until I begin to miss class time, I have already started to think longingly about the wind in my hair as I zoom by on the back of motorcycle through the streets of Hanoi, the countless glasses of Sauvignon Blanc in Cape Town and the kind of unsettlingly cheesy smell of pao de queijo in Sao Paulo. I did IHP because I needed a change of pace: a little taste of life outside of the purple bubble, where some people don’t own an article of J. Crew clothing, where people aren’t assumed to be liberal until proven otherwise, where dinner is always a great surprise. It certainly did the trick.

I’ve had three very different travel experiences over the course of the past year. I came out of each with some refreshing perspective. The hardest thing? It’s keeping that perspective while walking up and down the slopes of Mission Hill. If there’s one thing that this semester taught me (and it might go without saying, but it’s surprising how often we seem to forget it), it’s that there’s an ENTIRE WORLD outside of Williams. Everything that happens in that warped little Berkshire town has absolutely no impact on the greater globe and should not have an impact on you either. When I get back to college, I hope to devote myself more fully to the things and the people I love. My life is ultimately about me and I need to continue to make myself happy. For those of you who know my woeful tendencies at Williams, check back with me in a few months to see if I’ve kept my game up.

And so that concludes a year of travel. 12 months and 10 countries later, I’m headed back to Williams in less than 5 days. I’m excited to be settled, to be with the friends who I love and who have supported me over the past 7 months even in absence and to finally get back to Art History: I’VE MISSED YOU!