Lately speaking with a few friends from back in the states, I have been surprised to realize that most of them do not know where I am, what I am doing, and, most importantly, why I am here. As I thought about it, the fact began to bother me. I’m not sure I have done a proper job in communicating my story to my beloved friends back home, so I am going to give another brief explanation right now. (Or you can refer back to my first post from December.)
“What are you doing there, anyway?”
Beginning in January, I spent two months traveling with a program called Pacific Discovery to finish up a few honors credits for my undergraduate degree. We spent 9 weeks exploring, volunteering, absorbing the history, and, of course, taking part in all the local fun in four unique fantastic countries: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. I ended this trip backpacking some fantastic southern Thailand beaches for a few weeks.
I flew to Kolkata, India on March 30 to start a 9 week internship working with an anti-trafficking organization here. This was the original reason I wanted to come out to Asia: to gain experience in a grassroots NGO promoting justice and making a real sustainable impact for the struggling. Saying that, it has been a very challenging transition coming from the lazy backpacker life to working full-time in a crazy, unfamiliar city with all new faces, personalities, culture, and overall lifestyle to adapt to, but it has forced me to face a part of myself that does not come easy and that is something I would not trade for anything.
After my first week and a half of work, through all the struggles, self-doubt, and awkward encounters, I have felt so blessed to be in the position I am and to be able to work with the amazing people I do. Being in the presence of these real life heroes is such an honor and, even with all my inadequacies, I am glad I can take part of this movement in some small way.