By Ashley Trejo
First Month, India, Fall 2018
I am wet. From the moment I waked out of the air-conditioned airport my body has not yet ceased this overproduction of sweat. I am certain that everyone in India knows that I am not from here, as I feel that I leave a snail-like trail.
I began to wonder “why me” and I awaited the day my body would catch up to my mind, to my new environment. As soon as I would step out of the shower my body would be wet once again, never really feeling clean. It didn’t make sense but how could I judge my bodily secretions when I am confused 99% percent of the time in my new life.
Instead of occupying a space of an adult figure in my household, I have moved away from that role entirely.
Instead of feeling the need to parent a sibling, I gained three.
Instead of trying to accommodate strangers and friends alike, I am in a situation in which people are doing that to me.
Instead of always putting myself on the back-burner of my life, I have been moved to the front flame.
There will only be more experiences that will be completely different to what I have grown accustomed to in my past 18 years of life and no way to see what will come of that. I can only hope that – much like the sweating- time will work its magic and my mind and body will follow suit.
I wrote this during my first month in India and looking back there was a lot of…moisture within that first month. I am about to embark on my second half of my journey and I can confidently say that I no longer identify with that statement. Now I only secrete the respective amount of sweat that could be expected in 90-degree weather with 40 percent humidity. Being able to say this means that I have done it. I am more than halfway done with this journey; the journey that shocked friends and family alike when I told them of my plans. Watching their faces changing between worry, happiness, and being proud was a sight to see. I never did understand why my loved ones were so shocked! I was only moving to the other side of the world for a year! However, as soon as I stepped off of the plane, my foreign body was at the mercy of the new climate. Then it truly dawned on me…my life was in India for the next 8 months.
Over time my body has grown accustomed to the sticky sheen that would layer over my skin and drip; my body’s attempts to cool itself were in vain as I stuck to my daily 2 liters of water and attempts to stay in the shade. I could not understand why this unusual conditioned seemed to be prolonged. However, these past three months have taught me that, like everything, time and reflection is needed to truly go deeper in an experience.
I made some proclamations that first month that rung true, but I have come to see that the truth they held at the time is now more complex. Having to acclimate to many different new realities- new family, new job, new language, new everything- has made me really want to envision the adult person I want to be.
I want to be adventurous and exist in the world with a hunger to know more.
I want to love others while remembering that there must be the same amount and kind of love for myself.
I want to take charge of my life and allow myself space, while I give space to others.
I want to be able to think about the future while continuing to live in the present.
Slowly but surely everything follows suit with time. You just can’t sweat it.