Growing up in Bangalore, I had fallen in love with its starry skies, samosas, delicacies, and celebrating the festivals of Diwali and Holi with loved ones. Even our frustrated bus driver yelling at us every day to not be late strangely delighted me. It took just one day for all of that to change.
As I was attending my online classes, my dad asked all of us to gather in one room since he had news. It was strange because my parents never disturbed me during my classes. When we gathered, he dropped the bomb. “We’re moving to America in a month!” I felt…ecstatic to return to the place where I shed my first tear and smiled my first smile because I was born in Virginia, and we moved to India when I was three.
As my date of departure grew closer, my excitement plummeted. While America was the place where I first started life, India was the place that held 13 years of my life: my friends, my family, my school, everything. India was home. So, no words can actually describe what I felt at the moment, my life was gradually changing, and I essentially couldn’t help but “go with the flow.”
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I said Bangalore held pieces of my heart. I found my best friend there. It was excruciating to realize that I would be leaving her despite our million promises. When I left home to meet her right after my online classes got over, I didn’t have anything in mind. I didn’t know how I would tell her, or how she would react. We had plans to go to the same schools in India, and never grow apart. Somehow, I gathered the courage and nervously told her about my move. We both burst into tears; that was the first time I had nothing I could comfort her with. We hugged without uttering a word, and later we decided to cherish every moment until we had to part ways.
At this point, I had a week left before my life took a turn. Because of Covid, I couldn’t meet all the people I wanted to. I couldn’t party in a way I would’ve liked. I couldn’t have my tenth grade farewell party in my favorite restaurant, and I couldn’t dance like it was my last day. I couldn’t pretend everything was exciting. I couldn’t answer any more questions. I couldn’t say that I wouldn’t change as a person if I moved to America. And lastly, I couldn’t make any promises because this change was inevitable.
If I didn’t meet my loved ones, I would regret that forever. But, if I caught covid, I would have spoiled our entire transfer to America and my dad’s project. I was in a dilemma. So, I met all of my friends double masked, PPE kit covered, and made sure that they didn’t get out of their house for at least a week. There was too much at stake, and I couldn’t be the reason to wreck this enthralling opportunity. As I met my friends, I was foreboding and gleeful at the same time. Being such an emotional person, I thought I would cry every time I said goodbye. But, I didn’t. It took me some time to figure out why because I bawled like a baby in every single movie that I watched. So, when I say I’m an emotional person, a lot of what I feel manifests in tears. I began to realize that the relationships I formed over 13 years weren’t going to shatter just because of some distance, you know? Infact, I started getting that fuzzy feeling when I realized that all the bonds I had were real. They were so pure that leaving my family or friends behind didn’t mean goodbye, it actually meant….until next time.
A beautiful aspect of humanity is the ability to heal, but it’s difficult to move on, and accept what has happened. I was, and still am on my journey of acceptance. When I stepped on American soil, I opened a new chapter in my life. Having moved to America midway through high school, I had no friends. Aside from pondering how I’d integrate into a completely new education system, I also feared losing myself. Strangely enough, I refined my personality by encountering extremely driven individuals who inspired me to become a better person. Rather than always seeking an “A,” I began embracing other facets of my persona. Despite making friends, I often felt lonely, which forced me to enjoy my own company and become more self-sufficient. Discomfort began to comfort me. Although that brought up several difficult emotions, my newfound independence taught me that I’m capable of much more than I could’ve imagined. This realization led me to expect a great deal from myself, but it also encouraged me to make the most out of every moment. With every passing day, I learned little things that accumulated into my increasing stream of realizations. Embracing myself for who I am, while acknowledging that complacency isn’t the path for fulfillment, everything fell into place naturally.
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