So before I left, I spent a lot of time talking about how important it is to do the things that scare you. Well for me, today was one of those days, and I’m no longer sure how important I think it is to have such an experience. Last night, I had a train leaving from Old Delhi Station at 9:50 pm, arriving in Varanasi at 3:00 pm. As soon as I get to the train platforms, I am a mess, because it is a mess. Every which way, people are trying to steer you away, make you pay for carrying your luggage, or take you to the “tourist office.” Luckily, I met a nice German man who was just about as lost as I was and, in walking next to him, I definitely felt less harassed.
As soon as I found my bunk, I felt relieved. False. Bad decisions. My little curtained off section of four beds contained only men. Nervously, I climbed to the top and told myself that not all Indian men are scary. Then one put a sheet over me in a really creepy way, touching my butt a lot. Urgh. Whatever. I slept fitfully to say the least, but when I woke up, I realized that they were all gone. Again, I was a bit too relieved too soon. I moved down to the lower bed with the windows so that I could see the train stations. Then a man comes in and sits across from me. He asks for American money, to listen to my music, and to read my book before he starts pressuring me to stay at his house in Varanasi. His next question was about whether or not I was married. I told him yes, but he kept pushing so much so that I left and hid in an empty section for the rest of the ride.
I finally get to Varanasi and make my way to the hostel, which is SO nice. Literally a 100% difference!! It’s so clean and nice, there is running water, the rooms are beautiful, it has a rooftop café, and the woman who checked me in was so nice. Still, however, I had a bit of a meltdown when I first got to my room. I had one of those deep rushes of homesickness, like the kind I had pretty daily in Uganda and Rwanda. It’s this feeling that you can’t shake no matter what you do.
I think I get these feelings when things change in my routine, environment, and life, etc. even if they change for the better. I have no idea why I have such a gut-wrenching negative reaction to change (well that’s not true, I do have my theories), but I do. And when I do, I just completely lose perspective of time. One hour feels like months, and the thought of having to be anywhere so far from home for months is unbearable to me. But I guess that this is the very feeling I came to tackle and to understand. Let’s be honest, I can’t completely change who I am; I will probably always have some negative reaction to change. But I think I can make myself do things that are scary, that give me that feeling to prove to myself that everything will be okay in the end. That those feelings pass and that they don’t have to take over daily life. I think that’s ultimately what I want to achieve while being here—putting things/changes into perspective, accepting that ultimately I am who I am, and learning to move forward even when I’m so scared that I’m nauseous.
On a less serious note, I had my first third world poop today. BRUTAL. My stomach is not going to be please with my choices for the next two months.