Wednesday, March 30, 2016

TRAVELING ALONE... WITH FRIENDS

This year, my travels to Vellore, India have been transected by a long weekend trip to the Southern tip of India for the wedding of a dear friend. I will be writing about the wedding itself in a separate post as well as a posting about the adventures I had while traipsing throughout the deep south to see the sights. But I wanted to take a moment to set the whole tone my weekend adventures.

I would like to preface this post by saying that I always felt well taken care of and provided for throughout the weekend. Never neglected. That being said, it was almost as if I took the trip alone. I didn’t. I was accompanied by three colleagues from CMC throughout the weekend: Ashwin, Noble, and Samson.

Despite the fact that I was with one, if not all three, of them for most of the weekend, I often felt alone. The three of them spoke to one another in their most comfortable language: Tamil. I understood very little of what was being said at all times. Occasionally I would tune in to their unintelligible-to-me dialogue and attempt to makes sense of what was being discussed based upon facial responses, body language, and what we were doing at the time. I was so often very far from correct that I eventually stopped trying. It would go something like this: after taking into consideration all the fast talking, familiar names, pointing, and facial expressions, I would surmise that we would now be headed out to buy the gift for the new couple. Nope. We were off to see the waterfalls. Or eat ice cream. Or some other random act of tourism. Never was I close enough to call it a win.

If I really was curious and getting agitated about never having a clue what was happening, I would simply ask someone for clarification and guidance. I would get the “bullet point” version of the conversation and quickly learned to be happy with that, or ask specific and carefully worded questions. At first this frustrated and irritated me. Yes, I had said I was happy to do whatever and that I was just along for the ride, but didn’t they understand that I was there? And that maybe I wanted to weigh-in on the conversation? At times I felt invisible.

Then I began to realize that being invisible can be a beautiful thing. I could get lost in my own little world and be in my own little happy place of internal dialogue without interruptions. I was free to experience this adventure in my own little way! My situation had some real beauty to it! I could take advantage of being “a loner” yet all the while knowing I had somebody (three or more somebody’s, to be exact) that I could reach out to when I wanted the company. Three incredible somebody’s that would make sure I was safe, had a place to stay, had (plenty) of food to eat, and had incredible sights to see. I was also able to be present for them… to respond when they reached out to me. It was a true thing of beauty in the end.

The lesson I have so frequently been educated on had struck again (apparently I can’t seem to learn this one): a simple change in perspective can turn the negatives into positives.

My three compatriots (L-R): Noble, Samson, Ashwin

1 comment:

  1. You are quite a writer...a good writer !! I copied your paragraph on being invisible, to read again later. I process slowly...

    ReplyDelete