I am sitting on the floor of the Dubai International Airport. It is one of the more beautiful airports I have been in. Sleek, clean, shinny, it is fully equipped with a spa, hotel, gym, grocery stores, and all the high-end fashion designer clothing.
International flights always tangle up my mind. Somewhere between here and Seattle, I flew over Thursday. I was served dinner, then breakfast on the flight and shortly after breakfast we landed in time for dinner in Dubai. Crazy. I think I should be sleeping now, but instead I have a variety of things reeling through my head. Sleep won’t come easy for a while.
There is a lot I don’t know about the next three month.
- I don’t know anyone. Other than a few emails between the vice-principal of the Christian Medical College and the proprietor of the hotel where I will be staying, I know not a single person in Vellore, India.
- I don’t know how I’m going to tend to the basic daily necessities of life, such as feeding myself. I guess as an OT I should be getting good at figuring out how to accomplish ADLs (Activities of Daily Living), even when the typical routine has been interrupted. The hotel I’m staying at does not have a kitchen, so I will likely be purchasing meals “out.” I’m not sure how sustainable this will be. I have heard that there is a “cantina” on the college campus that will serve as a cafeteria.
- I don’t know what my patient interactions will be like. I am not even sure if I will be serving my post at the Dr. Paul Brand Center for Hand Surgery, Leprosy Reconstructive Surgery (HLRS) unit of the CMC like I requested. I have been told that there is an occupational therapist at the HLRS clinic that I will serve as my Clinical Instructor, but I have also been told that in India they can’t/don’t say “no.” This means that what will happen may not be the same thing that was originally agreed upon. I’m up for whatever unit of the hospital they have me assigned to, but I do hope I get to see some patients with leprosy.
- I don’t know Tamil. Tamil is the language spoken in the region I’ll be living. I’m not too concerned about this because English is the language that the CMC uses to teach in. I should be fine.
I could go on about the things I don’t know about, and as my experience unfolds, I will learn even more things I don’t know about. However, there are a few things I do know about the next three months.
- I do know this is going to be an experience of a life-time. How could it not be?
- I do know it is what I am supposed to be doing right now. As an individual who has put her faith in the Lord Jesus, I whole-heartedly believe that my Savior has a plan for my life. From landscape architect to occupational therapist, from Seattle to Vellore, He has a plan. Over the course of securing this fieldwork placement there were a number of places where things could have “fallen apart” and halted this adventure. If I were to be honest, I’d say I didn't expect to actually go on this adventure. I expected the CMC to say they did not take students, and there was no place for me there. They did not. I expected University of Puget Sound to say they would not send a student to an unknown setting in an unknown country. They did not. I expected the Indian consulate to say I didn't have the correct paperwork to secure a student visa. They did not. Countless other times I have expected a roadblock. I guess by admitting these things I am demonstrating exactly how weak my faith really is. I’m not really proud of that, but as I sit here in the Dubai airport it is pretty real that I am going to India. My Lord and Savior is working out His plan in my life. It is because I know He has a plan for this slight-of-faith girl that I am not afraid of all the things I do not know about the next three months. He has brought me here for some purpose. I pray that I have the courage, faith, and heart to say “yes” to whatever challenges He has planned for me ahead. I pray that I can serve Him, be His hands and feet, spreading His love with abandon on those He has sent me to serve. Yes, this adventure is part of my education as an occupational therapy student. But to say that is all it is would be to neglect the fact that as a Christian, I am seeking to follow the plan my Savior has for my life and to serve Him in India as well as in my homeland.
- I know I will not regret this experience. As hard as it is to leave my family behind, I am looking forward to all the crazy, colorful, and probably chaotic adventures ahead of me.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11