Always a Lesson

As of late, I’ve found it somewhat difficult to put my life in India into words. Life here, even though it is very different than my life in Chicago, has become, well, my life. The daily sights, the routine, the sounds, they’re all…normal.

And then I went to Thailand for a holiday with my best friend. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulder; a weight that, after so many months away, didn’t feel so heavy anymore. I could truly relax with my friend; I was ‘home’.

However, from the moment I stepped off the plane, the force of India came crashing down on me. On each of my prior trips, I prepared myself for the shock of returning to India. But this time, I wasn’t expecting these feelings to come flooding back after only a week away. Prior to this trip, I was happy, relaxed and comfortable and assumed that coming back it would be the same as it was when I left.

It wasn’t. It was difficult readjusting to India and finding my place…again. Coming home to a place, literally and figuratively, that is uncomfortable, even when it’s normal.

Throughout our lives, we’re always faced with challenges, changes and obstacles such as a new job, moving to a new place, marriage, divorce, birth and death. Good or bad, all of these events require us to change, bend and move in a new, uncomfortable, unknown direction and often, we feel unprepared. For as hard as any of these changes and challenges might seem at the time, eventually, we come out on the other side. Perhaps a little worst for wear, but ultimately stronger, wiser and perhaps more empowered.

Sometimes, like this last week, I really want to hate India but I find that I can’t. As hard as it gets, I cannot imagine leaving and never coming back. India is not just another country, it’s another world. Yet this country claims a large part of my heart and I know, even during my hardest days, I am lucky to experience it in such an intimate way.


About Sarah Cole Kammerer

Sarah Cole Kammerer focuses on advancing women's health, specifically in marginalized communities. She holds a master’s degree in public health and was awarded a 2012-13 Fulbright Research Grant to India to pilot a family planning program among women's groups in tribal communities. In "Global Storming," she tells stories about India and shares her thoughts on the global impact of women's issues. Find more