I miss India tonight.
There is a longing inside of me that I cannot even describe, but I feel it burning in my heart and watering up in my eyes as I sit in a quiet house after everyone else has finally gone to bed.
I have too much to do, as usual. So much so that nothing ever feels done, completed. Maybe you feel like that, too? I’ve been running this race for so long now it simply feels like normal life and honestly I don’t think I’ve paused much over the past year to process all that has happened to us. To me. The changes, the trials, the losses, and the gains. There have been many of each over the past 12 months and it all feels like an emotional blur, one I’ve basically numbed because I’ve convinced myself I don’t have time to dwell, only to move forward and do the next thing. Or the next ten things.
Maybe that’s why I miss my India days so much right now. Life there had a simplicity, that, admittedly, felt monotonous to me most days. But I find myself longing for a time and place I can never have again, and goodness, it hurts in a way I never expected.
Because honestly I never expected to miss India with this sort of raw emotion. The mosquitoes, the smog, the rickshaw drivers always overcharging (seriously y’all, I would argue about a $3 dollar ride home!)
I knew I would miss people, food, historic places all within 10 minutes of our house. But I miss crazy things right now.
I miss seeing elephants and camels on the way to church, because, you know, we basically took the kids to the zoo every time we drove around.
I miss markets that are crowded and full of produce, and flies.
I miss the parathas Ruma made me for lunch every week and how I lathered them in Dahi.
I miss how everything felt so alive and real and chaotic. And I felt so alive, real, and chaotic.
I miss the sweet friends my kids made over the years at their school.
I miss the precious friends I left behind because Skype doesn’t cut it and the time difference is the worst for conversation.
I miss my terrace and plants and cool mornings when we could sit outside and have breakfast before the afternoon heat drove us indoors.
I miss the feeling of accomplishment after a trip to Big Bazaar. (No, I don’t need whitening deodorant, but thanks!)
I miss the feeling of being tucked safely into our home in the evening, all of us together– hot and sweaty and grateful for AC. All of our parents were still with us then and we knew they would be waiting for us eagerly whenever we arrived in ATL again.
Life overseas was difficult and stretching, but it didn’t leave us the same people we were when we left and that is a good thing.
It’s not to say that right now I don’t love where we live or think we should have stayed. It was time to leave. But the longing for simply one day back in that time is in my heart tonight, even though it isn’t possible. And that’s ok. Longing and grieving are all part of life, and I probably need to make more space to feel these things so they don’t hit me all of a sudden.
And perhaps it’s the knowing that life hums right along, even after you leave, and I’ve started to feel like the 5+ years there were a bit of a dream even though my heart feels different, a little more squishy and free. And I can’t help but see life in a completely different way now.
So if you can travel, do it. And if you can live abroad, even for a few months, do it. It will mess you up in all the good ways, and if it doesn’t, you weren’t there long enough. Or you didn’t let the culture into your heart, which takes a while for some people (insert awkward cough).
Obligatory sweaty Taj Mahal photo taken a million years ago.