Yesterday, I took my younger brother shopping with me. I just had a few basic things left to get for my trip. Insect repellent, sunscreen (spf 1,000 😉 )… The basic essentials. While shopping, my younger brother and I talked extensively about my trip to India. I’ve finally gotten to a point with my younger brothers, where I can be open with my plans and they don’t freak out. The initial idea of their older sister crossing continents and living in a foreign country for half a year was mind-blowing a few months ago. They didn’t know much about India, except what they had seen or heard in the news. To them, my voyage seemed like a suicide mission.
In fact, many people – upon hearing the news of my travels – went into shock. I heard questions like: “Why??” and “Don’t you know what happened to-” and “Don’t you know what it’s like for women there??” and so on. Little did many of my extended family know, I am quite aware of the tragedies that have occurred, but I am also well aware of Indian culture. I can not and do not claim to know everything – that’s impossible. But I have learned SO MUCH from my Indian friends and connections. I have learned SO MUCH from reading other people’s experiences, good and bad, in India. They didn’t really know that I knew what I was up against. Though one can never be fully prepared, I’m confident that I know enough to keep myself safe and survive. I know enough to not even stress about it. If I face a problem, I’ll take care of it when that time comes. I’m prepared, but I’m also not going to let negativity anywhere near this journey.
I’ve received such diverse results when telling people my future plans. Back to the story about my shopping trip: When I told the cashier, she stared at me like I was CRAZY for nearly a full minute. I was frustrated, but I have come to accept people’s fear and ignorance. I also know that this endeavor is my cup of tea. Not necessarily everyone else’s.
Back to my family… I admit I was afraid to tell people. I didn’t want to hear the negativity and doubt that would pour out of people’s mouths. I didn’t want people to question my dream. When I did start telling people, there was shock. People were afraid, and confused by my unconventional life path. “But you should be getting another job, and continuing college and, and…” And all these things are great and lead to a bright future – but I’ve learned from my trials and tribulations – and I know for a fact that my way is the right way too. The right way for me. I didn’t ever want to argue this point, because I knew it to be true. I guess I wasn’t strong enough to face the naysayers just yet.
After time, people could see that I was dedicated to this dream. My family, although worried, seemed to find a way to believe in me. I did my best to teach everyone everything I knew about India. I wanted them to understand India as a whole, and not make fear-based judgements. I gave them plenty of reason to love India, and presently, my family is finally completely happy for me. They will always worry, the way family does – but they finally understand that I am running towards my bliss, and not walking into uncertainty.
My mom and stepdad, and even my father started telling people about my upcoming adventure. And you will never believe what happened–the people they told were thrilled. And like a butterfly effect, the more people that knew, the more positivity I began to receive.
Thanks to the positivity projected by my parents, I now have people willing to sponsor me. I have people who want to interview me, and get to know me. I have people fascinated with my dream and my journey. Now I hear things like: “You’re so brave!”, “Wow, that’s amazing!”, “I really admire you. I’m so impressed that you are following your heart to a different country. That takes courage!” or as my dear grandma told me – “You have the biggest balls out of anyone I know.” Thanks grandma. XD
I still occasionally get strange looks or find people that just simply do not understand – and probably never will. Even so, I only focus on what I came here to do: Live my dream. I can’t expect people to understand or accept my choices and my goals, but naysayers and negative people can not change my mind or shake my faith.
(On that note, I’ve struggled with nerves this past week. But I am becoming stronger and more confident with each passing day. ♥ I’m so ready.)
I’m sure people in other countries and cultures have to face similar experiences when they decide to travel or even move abroad. What do other people think about America? For my fellow Americans, have you ever wondered what people of other cultures might fear about America? Have you ever thought about what kind of stereotypes are out there, about Americans or America?
Interestingly enough, I have read a few articles about peoples experiences in America. It was truly educational. I’d like to know what you think.
Okay, that’s a wrap! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
Goodnight America. ♥
Have a great day, India. ♥