“You are going on Niswarth again?” my peers ask me confusedly. “You are going back to India?” my family members question.
“Yes,” I reply “yes I am.”
I say the same goodbyes to my grandparents, make the same journey up Route 495 from their house to Andover, hug my mom goodbye in the same place in Mr. Mundra’s yard, and travel in almost the same Flightline bus to Logan Airport as I did last year. The events thus far feel familiar. As I sit in the airport and on the plane, memories hidden for almost a year in the back corners of my mind resurface. But there is an important difference between the two trips. I am not the same person that arrived in Mumbai with Niswarth last summer. Having been to India before I have a different perspective. I see the same things through a different lens. The nine hour flight is a little less jarring, the Mumbai International Airport a little less crazy. I am experiencing similar things in a different way. The dark bus ride to the cricket club feels more familiar then foreign. Last summer, Niswarth opened me up to a new way of thinking about things. It helped me realize that I didn’t need to be stressed all the time, the importance of living in the moment, and that habits aren’t set in stone, they can be changed. Niswarth’s way of thinking is one of the main reasons I am so excited to be a part of the trip. In trying new ways of thinking I am giving myself the opportunity to be constantly evolving. This year I am going back to a different idea, and I am a different version of myself.I know I must stay open to new experiences and that it is easy to get caught up in nostalgia thinking about last year. Right now I am in limbo. Part of me is still stuck in last summer’s trip and part of me just arriving in India to start this year’s.
Knowing that I will probably change again this year I am leaving behind the latest version of Rachel. I think the most important thing is to be open to what will come on the trip. Stepping out of the airport I breathe in the familiar Mumbai air. The Cricket Club feels like I never left. For now, I am home.