Tag Archives: cultural immersion

Aside

…well i finally figured out what it’s been that’s kept me from updating my dedicated followers (i.e. the friends and family that monitor me to make sure i haven’t gone completely over the deep-end). shame.

yep, shame.

now don’t go getting all worried, not that scary wrist-cutting shame that causes so much grief you can’t even live with yourself. no, its that kind of shame you get when you put something off just long enough to feel bad about it. then you get to that point where you’re afraid that if you try to make it right you’ll just draw more attention to the irresponsible procrastination you let yourself fall into in the first place and the shame sets in again. you know, the paralyzing kind that makes you want to avoid attracting attention to yourself? (at least if you’re an ‘avoider’ like me) its like that.

i think what it boils down to is the fact that i’ve never been a particularly disciplined person. throughout my schooling, assignments always seemed to be a day late, and i think certain teachers came to expect my heart-wrenching pleads for just one more day and the concession of a few points so that i could “finish” it. which meant that at about 9pm that evening i would frantically begin the project and stay up all night brooding over it to come out with a fairly decent rendition of what it should have been had i planned out the whole 2 weeks i’d had to get it done, further reinforcing my tendency to do it again. that is my life. has been for as long as i can remember and, clearly, i’m not growing out of it any time soon.

so, long, drawn-out excuse over with, a LOT has happened since the last time many of you heard from me! here’s the short list:

1. i made the formal decision to finish out a second school year with CHI! so that means i’ll be here through April/May of 2013. luckily, NC and i made somewhat of a pact so that neither of us would be here alone, which leads to the next 2 points

2. i officially got my visa extension which will be good through July 2013! not that I need it that long, but I’m glad to have leeway and not have to worry about doing it again*

3. NC and i have officially moved out of our previous home-stay accommodations and gotten into a new two-bedroom abode about a 20-minute bus ride from work! (which cuts my commute time in half!) i’ll dedicate another post to this on its own.

4. i got to spend about a month in Indiana this past May and got to see a few of the people i had hoped to see. hopefully i’ll be able to plan out my next visit  a little better (mark your calendars for December, people!) and get more visits in!

5. my very brave father spent a week here with me on my way back and got a small taste of my life in India. i think there was a bit of shell-shock, but overall i think his experience was good. i enjoyed being able to finally show off how much i’ve learned about life here and prove to myself just how ‘indian’ my lifestyle has become!

6. we currently have the special ed coordinator from Indy here working with us at school which has been a HUGE help for getting ourselves better organized and focused for creating procedures in the school.

well, you’ve now got the abbreviated version of what’s happened in the past couple of months. overall, things are going well and i’ve etched out some sort of life here that i think i can manage for a while. i’ll update soon with pictures and details of the new living situation.

tata for now,
sarah

*= new & exciting info originally neglected, added 23/07/12

shame…

Aside

after my most recent post and email update, i realized that i don’t have any clear direction as to what i’m trying to convey through this blog. i know it can be quite boring to simply run through a list of things i did for the past month. this is like the number one thing that any ‘how to be a blogger’ list will tell you, don’t just keep a diary. after realizing this, and reading back through the email i sent out, i realized i must have confused the two. SO below is an excerpt from my recent email which is a much better fit for why i’m here, who i am, what i do, and better fits the bill for a blog post:

December and January have brought new thoughts into just how profoundly different my life now is from “typical.” I know I’ve said this before but as I think about it more, it’s so difficult to distinguish between my own ambition/work and the fates of the world that have made everything possible. I’ve never been a person who could ‘see’ very far into my own future (i may never be able to fully articulate what i want to do with my life until i’m doing it), so I never would have imagined that I’d actually be living abroad, working, and doing something good for the world all at the same time. Clearly I cannot put more weight on one force or another, nor can I ignore the immense amount of support I have received from family, friends, colleagues, advisors, and mentors, but it’s not so much the influence of any one factor that amazes me, but the sheer coming together of all of these things to put me where I am now.
In the beginning of 2011, I was looking forward to finally being finished with my bachelor’s degree and being “on my own” for real. I was very excited and felt prepared for the Cultural Immersion Project and was so excited to just get to India, the fact that it was fully funded with a scholarship certainly increased the excitement. Those were all fairly regular nearly-college-graduate type of thoughts. It was after about a month in India that things started to change, when the idea first popped into my head that I might actually get the chance to come back and work for the organization I was so happy to be a part of. From there it just seems like almost no time has passed, and yet I’ve been propelled into this other life that I didn’t expect. I’ve missed things about home and have had my moments of wondering “where the HELL am I?!” But overall, I couldn’t be happier, and cannot think of a place where I would get more satisfaction out of my job. The relationships I’ve built with many of the students in the school (my own and various others) are something I value more than anything else here. For many of them, home is not always a great place to be, and the toll it takes on some is truly heartbreaking. It is, however, amazing to see them acting as any other kid might within the walls and timings of the school. There are certainly specific cultural differences, but in many ways, “kids are kids,” and these have proven very deeply the extreme resilience of the human spirit. I worry about them everyday. My stomach twists and turns at the thought of something happening to any one of them, but the thing is they don’t and cannot live with fear, they go on. And generally they are happy, even if there are behavior issues (the bane of any traditionally run school). Just like any kid I know, they revel in getting a rise out of their teachers and coming up with more and more clever ways to play tricks on each other. (I’d argue Indian kids are much more creative in their antics than American kids). I absolutely cannot get through a day, no matter how irritated or unmotivated I feel, without some student in the corridor putting a HUGE smile on my face. Be it a tiny little kindergartener skipping happily through the corridors, or some cheeky 9th grader trying to write a [cheeky] poem. I revel in their joys and also in their sorrows. These kids are exactly why I’m here.
I even get choked up now (still 8 months from finishing my contract) thinking about the time when I will have to leave this place and these faces behind. Of course, I can’t stay forever, and wouldn’t want to. I’m very happy with the place I grew up and wouldn’t change where I come from. BUT this is definitely changing my outlook on career goals and plans. One major priority for my future will be finding ways to stay in contact with the amazing people here and keeping tabs on my students. All of whom I want to succeed more than anything in the world! I wish I could show them how far they could go because it’s difficult for them to see sometimes, but I know that at the very least this generation of learners will be able to be active members of society. I’m flabbergasted that I get to be a part of that.
Thank you friends for your support and encouragement 🙂
Sarah

i’m a bad blogger…