Upon our long-awaited return to the States, I stepped out of the Seattle airport and was immediately struck by two things: how clean the air smelled and how wide and clean the street looked. At first, these detections were refreshing in every sense. I had missed the relative cleanliness and open space of Portland.
But after a couple of days, I realized that what I had missed at times while in India now felt depressingly sterile. Streets were quiet, passersby avoided eye contact even in my own neighborhood, and frankly, life felt boringly polite and slightly underwhelming.
I missed the strength of the Indian pulse – the smiles, the colors, the loud banter emanating from the streets, and the impromptu tea invitations.
Another thing I began to miss was the unpredictability in how moments evolved. As I would walk the same 87 steps between my house and Whole Foods every 3.4 days, I sighed at the disappointing obviousness of the situation. On these walks, as with almost everywhere else, I would mentally multi-task, letting my brain run circles around the various things I had to do that day. I sigh when I think about the 11 times I check my phone and the 2 – 7 times I check Facebook per day. I do not wish to be bound to these small circles, tethered to the same coordinates, digital spaces, and physical things. I miss existing as I did in India, in a state of constant discovery. Moving forward, I would like to remind myself to look up, think outside of the microcosm, and keep discovering.