Seven years ago I sat right here in Norfolk airport, waiting for my first flight leading me closer to a place I knew almost nothing about. A place that I picked out on a map after graduating college, not getting the job I wanted, and decided to flee the country on a one way ticket. Seven years later I sit here, on the floor in wide legged forward fold, waiting for an apparent delayed flight to Newark, at which point I board a plane to ride fourteen hours across the globe to India.
It still feels surreal. I’m returning to the place that helped form who I am today. The Summer that went to India seven years ago was fresh out of college, with no idea on how she would impact the world. She just knew she had to go. That Summer had tried some yoga classes in college, but mainly because they were what bridged the time gap between spin class and kickboxing. The connection was not yet there.
I arrived in Kolkata to do a training to become a teacher (foreshadowing anyone?) and then taught English in Kerela. The subcontinent was a sensory overload. You could hear colors, taste sounds, hear food, and smell … well you could smell a lot of things pleasant, and unpleasant. Some days I would clench my fists and turn red in the face wondering why in the name of all in the world would I choose this place to travel?! Some days I felt enveloped in a land that made me feel at home.
So here I am again, seven years later. I’ve taught high school special needs, gotten married, and completely immersed myself in the world of yoga--so much so that it is now my career. I have this opportunity now to see India through a new lens. I am so excited I can hardly stand it, and I still don’t think that I’ve fully wrapped my brain around that fact that I am going to India for five weeks to complete a 300 hour yoga teacher training. I’m sure when I arrive at 7:10am and walk into the Rishiskesh morning sunlight and bustling streets that it’ll become real… or maybe when I see a cow in the street.
*** coffee break***
I had planned out my “last meal” in America the first time I went to India. My layover in Chicago was perfectly planned to order a personal pan deep dish pizza in which I could indulge as my final bit of USA on my one way ticket journey. I was so excited, that I rushed to get to my gate to get settled and then order my pizza from one of the gazillion places that peppered the sides of the airport walkways. My mission was foiled when I passed through security and got to my gate with one tiny kiosk filled with water, candy, and terrifying sandwiches. I had to make do with the pack of ring pops my friends had given me before the trip and live without the deep dish. This time I’m equally as unprepared foodwise, but in all honesty I hope to sit at a bar in Newark to sip a glass of wine, listen to a podcast, and stretch before boarding my 9:25pm fourteen hour flight. We'll see if that plan ends up like the deep dish scenario.