The year of 2014 is almost over. Its december 29th and I can barely comprehend the fact that this year is coming to an end. I spent all of this year in South Asia and had more adventures than I have in my whole life time. I traveled to four different countries, spent nights on trains and buses, saw world wonders, learned a new language, made life long friends and met people who have changed my life. Its been the craziest year of my life, and the greatest year of my life.
But I think the strangest thing about this year is that, to all my friends and family back in America, this year is just big unknown. They have seen my pictures and heard my stories but its this whole year of my life that they really don't understand. You see South Asia can not be understood unless you've smelt it and heard it and felt the heat and cold of it. To a lot of people South Asia is this place they know of as a chaotic place, a lot of people have heard its hot here during the summer and have seen movies of the crazy crowds. But unless you have been in it it's hard to understand. It gets so hot here that your'e always wet from sweat and you just don't eat anything but mangos for days because its simply too hot to eat. The crazy crowds are more than just a whole lot of people in one place, the crowds are full of so much noise and chaos and stares, its like every sense you have is on overload all the time. Its a place that is meant to be felt.
I know a lot of people don't understand how such a crazy place has become my home and thats just another thing people wont understand from this year. They don't understand what the hugs feel like from the kids who had to be taught to hug because they had never been hugged before. My friends and family wont know the four girls who became my family here. They wont know what it feels like to sit and drink tea with your South Asian grandma who is crying because she is so alone. They wont ever know what it feels like to see thirty kids smile unbelievably big because of their simple christmas presents. My heart is full of South Asia and my friends and family don't know the people and places filling it.
I have these two separate lives and I don't know how to connect them. I have two families and two homes. I am never going to be truly South Asian, but I don't feel American anymore either.
2014 changed everything. 2014 was everything.