Despite my attempts, it is very difficult to describe India. Ask anyone who has been here. You’ll probably receive the same twisted, half smile that mimics a sentiment somewhere between love and hate. I’m convinced it’s why the head bobble is this culture’s ubiquitous answer. It isn’t yes and it isn’t no. It isn’t black or white. It’s ugly and beautiful at the same time. It’s purity and degradation all in one. I’ve been touched and inspired by this country and cursed it to all hell. Often within seconds of each other. You cannot live in extremes here. You’ll go crazy if you do. Without any regulation, control or consciousness, at best you get Delhi Belly. At worst, you get run over by a taxi, a tut-tut, or a cow. But demand things go your way or attempt to get your meal with no dairy, gluten or anything else you’re used to? Good luck. You best release your tight grip on the reigns, because, well. This is India.

I would chronicle my time in each town – each adventure. Maybe someday I’ll catalogue every twisty ride, dusty road, and colorful picture. Every journey and lesson learned. However, words will never describe what experience teaches. There are days where I felt being here was constant struggle and discomfort. And days where I’ve felt nothing but the kiss of Divine Grace.

As is the American blogger way, I’d like to give my “ten” list of lessons learned (I can’t say they’re my top ten as I have a feeling some of India’s greatest hits will only reveal themselves after my return home.) In random order:

  1. Just because you live in a spiritual community, doesn’t mean you’re a kind person.
  2. Choose to believe in the inherent goodness of people – let them prove you wrong. On that note
  3. Indian people have no problem lying. Here, depending on your environment, it’s best to be skeptical most times.
  4. Traffic lanes and laws are a VERY GOOD THING.
  5. My body does just fine without a gym or workout every day or even 5 days a week.
  6. A girl cannot sustain on carbs alone. At least this girl.
  7. It’s okay to break down and just have a good cry in the back of a cab.
  8. I know you’ve heard this one before, but despite the shortcomings of America (evidence by the limited daily news I’m getting over here), if you live there you are beyond blessed. No one owes you anything.
  9. I love silence and time alone. Despite that, there is something to be said in having a companion along for the ride.
  10. And finally, no temple or shrine will offer me the faith and inspiration that I find in my own heart. So I leave India, carrying bits of the magic and beauty inside my heart. However, I will not forget the difficulties and obstacles altogether.

I’m so ready to leave. And I can’t wait to come back.