My journey has barely begun and I can already say that my assumptions about India, as a place and a people, have been challenged. Through train and car windows, and now on my own feet as I explore the city of Varanasi, I have seen many different landscapes and villages and people, and what I have been made aware of is how little I know. I brought with me from home a picture of India which others had painted for me throughout my life, but I now have the privilege, and responsibility, of erasing from the picture stereotypes and misinformation, and adding my own findings to this clean canvas: colors, smells, sounds, and tastes, the stories of people I meet, and my own perceptions and experiences.
I set for myself the following intentions for my time here: Each day, I will observe, participate, explore, and take advantage of opportunities presented to me. I will practice centering and grounding when facing challenges and discomfort. And I will hold my mind, hands, and heart open, learning as I go and taking in all this beautifully diverse country has to offer.