It is the day of my departure. I’m sitting here surrounded by nature’s beauty reflecting on the week and imagining the adventures of the year to come. All week I have heard YAV alumni reflect on their experience and share advice as I along with 61 other YAVs were prepared for our year. This week, much like last week, was an emotional rollercoaster. I went through many highs talking about the adventures to be had and the relationships to be formed as well as many lows imagining the realities of culture shock and the loneliness I may experience. I dove into conversations with YAVs going to both national and international sites. It was great to meet other people who will share in similar periods of joys and struggles throughout their year.
The most noteworthy event of the week was preaching at a church on Sunday with Jim and Madison (the two other India volunteers.) We spent Sunday morning at a local Presbyterian church, sharing our stories with their congregation. The pastor of the church was actually a former YAV and was among the first to serve in India. Our time spent together was good for everyone- good for Jim, Madison and I and good for Ben as we allowed him to articulate his experience and we gained more insight on what to expect. It was also a great bonding experience! I know Madison, Jim and I will be a great support system for each other. Both Madison and Jim have great personalities and will be fun travel companions as well as people I feel comfortable going to in times of need.
Our plane departs tonight at 9:30. We will be in air for 15 hours and 50 minutes before landing in Mumbai. From Mumbai we will switch airports and then fly to Cochin where our site coordinator will meet us. Hopefully this goes smoothly as we only have 2.5 hours to get through customs and travel to the domestic airport across town. Our site coordinator sent us a sweet email last night expressing his excitement for our arrival! I am ready to get there and get this adventure rolling.