It is 4 am right now in Bangalore, India.
I am wide awake.
In the bathroom chilling (because I don’t want to wake my roommate since we don’t have to meet up as a group until 7:30 a.m.).
Using the toilet as a lounge chair. (To clarify, one of the top private colleges in the country, we were graced with the standard “Western toilet’ and I was not in fact lying on the bathroom floor over the ‘Indian Toilet’.)
While eating a CLIF bar (I did not want to have it seem like my carry-on was too empty, so I filled the leftover space with 18 CLIF bars), I was messaging with my younger brother back in Michigan about how hilariously confused I was to be awake so early and just checking in with what he was doing with this day. To preface: My dad is a full professor at WMU which has made it very affordable and convenient to partake in as many WMU study abroad experiences as possible. This is my third study abroad program (of four) and my sister who graduated with her master’s in occupational therapy this summer from Western went on 3 programs as a student. My brother, on the other hand, has not (yet) been a Bronco, which means he has not taken advantage of any WMU Study Abroad programs or been out of the country other than Canada and a Royal Caribbean cruise. While we were messaging back and forth, he said plain and simple “Mags! You are Living the Dream!” and he meant it completely.
Four a.m. sitting on a toilet eating a CLIF bar with messy hair and dirty feet. Although it does not seem like it, this indeed is a dream.
I have known since January that I would be studying abroad in India with a dynamic combination of social workers and business people come December. This means all year I talked off the ears of anyone who was willing to listen about how stoked I was to be learning first-hand about sustainability and ethics in the developing world.
One of the best, most magical parts of traveling is moments like this one where everything is put into perspective. I understood and believed that I am fully in control of the decisions I make and the actions I take in life to create meaning.
I could have taken this class as an 8 AM lecture back in Michigan, pencil pushing in the biggest room of the business school three days a week. But I like to find excitement in everyday things, whether I directly get excited, or I get to watch a first-timer fall in love with cultural immersion.
At the end of the day I knew the foreign journey would be much more refreshing and worthwhile.
I would encourage you all to go and seek opportunities that make you feel most alive in the most vulnerable, beautiful way.s
Here is to living the dream, taking time to reflect and count your lucky stars as often as possible.
Here is to discovery and embracing the unknown, the uncomfortable, and the unheard of whether it is jet lag waking you up at all hours of the night, mastering the time zone change just to remind you how amazing it is to travel, swallowing spicy food that almost brings you to tears (because it is so full of flavor. Disclaimer: I have tried everything and have not cried *yet*), or inventing new dance moves (to hit America January 2019!) from the 4th floor of a self-help house with a 11 year old girl in the middle of the slums.
Tiredness is common for study abroad trips (there is a campus-wide curfew of 9:30 p.m. here at this prestigious establishment so do not get the wrong idea), but the busy schedule makes the days full and the people are so kind and welcoming they fuel the global engagement (shoutout to HCOB learning principles you are welcome for that buzzword).
Thankful for it all. Truly goes to show I am living the dream.
I am living the dream!
I would say I have to leave now, get back to bed.
But in reality, I have to leave now because there is so much more of the world to see, as well as more connections to make with the intimate community here at Christ University with the IndiBroncos 2018.
Thanks for the opportunity, WMU.