Here in New Zealand, the sensory overload of Kolkata seems almost impossible to exist, when I am surrounded by luxuries such as being able to drink water directly from the faucet, walking outside without the high possibility of having my posterior handled by a passer-by, or even warm showers.
Since my arrival home, I have received an abundance of, "How was India?"s, "What are you going to do next year?"s, "Were you safe?"s, and "What was is like?"s. Only one of those I can respond to with some surety. The others, you are likely to receive a, "Good," Don't know," or "I can't describe it."
I have seen most of the people who I held dearest to my heart whilst away, so I am past the stage of excitement when I bump into someone I haven't seen in over a year. Forgive me if you are one of the people who will get the blunt, "It was good," response; honestly even I don't know myself how I feel about my time away.
There is a lot of confusion going on in this mind of mine. What do I believe in? What do I want to do with my life now? Who are my true friends? When will I be able to see the beautiful faces of Freeset? Where will I be in 5 years time? Why can I not shake this restless feeling deep within me?
A feeling of lack-of-purpose. Of selfish living. Of homesickness for a time and place that were once foreign to me, and again seem to be so.
Maybe I am being too hard on myself. I realise that there are still small adjustments that I need to accustom myself to, and that I should be more forgiving of the reluctance I hold onto.
I have been in New Zealand for just under 2 months, yet it feels like 6 months have dragged on by.
This, I do not mean in a negative sense, but one that is both encouraging, yet exhausting at the same time. We may be in the fourth month of the year, but in my mind my 'new' year began the moment my foot touched the dry earth of Aotearoa. The year is still fresh for me, whilst others wonder in amazement at how quickly the year is passing them by.
In two months, it is painfully surprising how quickly others seem to forget where I have been, or the topic of 'Alanna's year in India' becomes just a dry tale to be told. And here I am, still processing, still grieving, and still adjusting.
Time passes slowly and quickly at the same time. I'm having a good time getting to settle into the comfort of seeing my friends and family without the aide of the internet, yet I feel like I am in a limbo; half of my heart is wandering with the close friendships I formed, that have now dispersed to Ukraine, South Korea, Brazil, India, Washington DC, Iowa, Minnesota, and even here, in New Zealand.
Out there, the people I lived alongside daily, ate, talked, walked, mourned, laughed, and prayed with, are all beginning the new chapters of their lives in various cities and countries, and it is a grieving process to know I am not part of them, and vice versa.
The other half of my heart is here in New Zealand, the one place I will always call home.
I'm learning how to live in the place I physically grew up in, with the mindset I developed in a city pot-holed with an abundance of trials and challenges.
It is exciting and tiring all at the same time.
Thank you to those who have supported me through this transition period, for your patience, and for the genuine questions and interest you have in the past year I lived away!