Pizza Boxes and Iron Cables

In front of gate EA8 in Logan Airport, surrounded by tired passengers and commotion, Niswarthians came together to accuse each other of deception. Just kidding; we were playing BS (don’t worry, it stands for bologna sandwich). The goal of the game is to lose all of one’s cards, through strategic lying ploys. We made a makeshift table from a pizza box placed on top of a carry-on suitcase. We all knew each other on a basic level from the orientation meetings in spring, but despite our limited acquaintance, we never stopped laughing during the entire game (and all three subsequent rounds that we decided to play).

We’ve been together for a couple hours and we already have inside jokes. This trip terrifies me, but my confidence in the group and the friendships we have already built strong foundations for somewhat quells my fears. Its hard to define what I am afraid of. I’m scared I have a different language for the issues we’ll be tackling. I’m terrified that I won’t be able to grasp the issues we’ll explore, that I don’t belong here with the rest of these amazing people.

 We’ll visit the Gateway of India on our first day. I can imagine the magnificent structure towering before me, built on centuries of Indian history. What do you have to offer India? It says. What could you possibly contribute or take in just three weeks?

These questions remain to be answered but for now I can only respond that I come with an open heart. I come eager for whatever lies in store. And I know that these new friends will be instrumental in helping me find the answers.

The majority of my last week at home was spent with my family in our home. When I return to the States, it won’t be back to our North Carolina residence of 13 years. I’ve left that behind forever. My family is moving. We haven’t yet chosen where we will live next so, for now, I am homeless. I am entirely terrified by this.

Despite traveling across oceans nearly every summer of my life, I have always been tethered to my home for as long as I can remember. Now the iron cable has been severed and I’m left floating with no new ropes to bind me. As I reflect on this state of being, I wonder if it might not be best to embrace it for the purposes of the Niswarth trip. This arrangement is only temporary of course, but for now perhaps the perspective of a global nomad will be an asset on the trip. For the next three weeks, might it not be best to tackle the issues we will confront with a different kind of outsider perspective? Isn’t it best to immerse myself in a new community if I have just recently left one? I hope so.