(Old building at Sobhabazar, Calcutta)
A close friend asked me to “please not go away again next year”
So, I reflect:
I haven’t planned my life to travel as much as I have since I graduated (or even during college). It wasn’t my plan, and I am shocked that pieces of my life have so far come together like a puzzle. I am grateful for my opportunity and privilege.
I wouldn’t have thought a year ago that my life was going in this positive direction. In the hindsight provided by my grant it was not as unfocused as it then seemed. I remember thinking of my life last year around this time, wondering what the heck I was doing at the British Library perusing old dusty papers that seemingly only I had interest in—and my interest was sporadic. “Why did I care about them,” I asked myself? Or when I was in Korea thinking: what the hell am I doing teaching little kids English (and doing it badly). Why am I here? Or being a waiter, thinking, this wasn’t what I had signed up for after four years of college. Or at NPR thinking: maybe journalism, being a foreign correspondent, which had been my dream job, wasn’t for me. The constant pressure of having to produce content was too much. Not that I could find a job as a journalist anyways.
At times I felt more aimless than I cared then to admit.
I have worked, since I graduated college, as a waiter, a writer of online content while taking my GRE, briefly as an English teacher in South Korea, as a researcher at the British Library in London, as a temp in a number of jobs, as an Intern at NPR in DC, as a lab rat at NIH, as a bicycle courier, again as a temp and finally for an adventure sports company in Sri Lanka. I’ve worked more different jobs in a two year span than I had ever thought possible in a lifespan, or reasonable.
Am I doing my friends or family at home in the US a disservice for being gone so often? I’m not sure. Maybe I can’t answer that in any way except to say that friends are made, become close, and sometimes become distant. Wherever I go I try to make new friends. I wish I could talk about them more, but necessarily, a blog is where one speaks about oneself. I wish I could keep up with them all. My life has given me the opportunity to make leave friends many times who I still I miss and care about.
Life is strange. It’s just weird. I haven’t planned it so far, and even if I had, I certainly would not be on the path I am on. It is with a great sense of wonder and bemusement that I look at my own.
So I thank my friend for asking me that question and causing me to reflect.
On Friday, I turn 24. I look forward to the next two years. Let’s see what they bring.