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An Awakening Experience on my Gap Year


This week has been the most emotional one yet. So far my WorldStamp gap year journey has been bitter sweet, as I previously described but I had a great awakening experience this week that brought out so many emotions. It was a strange feeling but a profound internal change.

This past Tuesday, I participated in the medical camp at the Elephant Village, in India. I got to meet the children there and despite knowing that they may have to get work done on their teeth, their smiles couldn't be any bigger!  Each child got checked and some needed same day treatment and others needed treatment in the hospital. The unfortunate thing about the hospital care is that most of the time their parents do not come around, due to the busy work schedule or to their financial status.

Earlier that day, my mother had called me saying that my younger sister was rushed to the hospital because of a severe allergic reaction. Thank goodness she was okay after medication, but it got me thinking how blessed my family and I are to have access to a hospital. At the same time, I felt a little guilty for taking this for granted. Back home I never thought of it this way and now, seeing how difficult it is for some of these kids to reach a hospital made me think twice of how I acknowledged the luxuries I grew up with.

Later that day, I went back to the guesthouse in Jaipur and I started to back up some photos on Google photos. While I was doing so, I got a notification to check all my photos from two years ago and surprisingly, they were memories of my junior year homecoming dance. As I went through these photos, I felt nostalgia, and I started to reminiscence, but suddenly I bursted out into tears. I also started to laugh a little because I was just thinking "Why are you crying right now?" When I was able to catch my breath, I realized it was because as I was looking at myself in these photos, I had an epiphany of how much I've grown and how I have now been exposed to something bigger than my bubble back home: the world. The things that worry me today are not the same things that worried two years ago. The good and bad exposures I have seen in India have expanded the way I approach new situations and encounters. I recognize that I am changing and I am gradually approaching the certainty of what I want in my life. Witnessing some of the struggles that people live through remind me that I should not take advantage of anything. No matter how frustrating or challenging things get for me, I have to be grateful for the opportunity to live in that moment and hold the ability to choose how to advent the situation.

It was a compelling moment of realization in my experience; one I will never forget. I am now down to two more weeks in India and the more I think about it, the more I long for more time. I am now a part of the family in Ambedkar Nagar and so it's like I am leaving home all over again. Despite my desire for a longer time here, I am looking forward to my new encounters in Vietnam!