Sunday, March 28, 2010

Me, but New and Improved

Whew!! I just stepped in the front door from 10 hours of driving today and 8 hours yesterday and man I am exhausted, but at least I get to plop down and fall asleep in my own, familiar, comfy bed! I can't imagine what it’s going to be like to go through the 2 day trip to India, just to arrive somewhere completely foreign and have to be awake and alert. All I want to do is sleep right now!! lol

We always love the drive down to Hilton Head. The mountains are beautiful to drive through and it’s so nice to watch the season change from snowy winter here to summer there! This year I got to share the journey with my boyfriend Michael for his very first road trip down the US east coast. I was so excited to show him all my favourite stops, like the Fayetteville Bridge and the Morgantown Cracker Barrel we stop at every year. But this year I noticed more so than ever, that the mountains, although they offer beautiful landscapes, are also spotted with trailers, and falling down houses and lean-to type shelters. Even in Hilton Head, which is dominated by beachfront mansions and resorts, I noticed houses fallen into disrepair.

Now I don’t know if this is due to the downturn in the economy, or if these things were always there and I just didn’t notice until now but it definitely reaffirmed for me that there is need everywhere, even in the places we associate with beauty or luxury. Personally I have a feeling that a lot of what I saw this time was always there, but when you are a kid all you see is gigantic houses and fancy pools. Now as a university student and as a Beyond Borders student, I am seeing things differently. I have mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again to make my point, after last semester a lot of my friends commented that I had changed. Not in a bad way, or in a way that they could even put a finger specifically on, but I think my outlook is what changed and a lot things came into focus for me. Coming in to this program I was expecting that I would be changed and moved by the experience, but what I really thought, was that I would go on the placement and it would completely change my perspective. But what I wasn’t expecting initially was the impact the courses would have on me. It has really been throwing me off all week - was this always like this or am I just actually looking for the first time? I like to think that I always socially aware, I mean I always volunteered in my community, donated where I could, tried to be environmentally conscious, but it now it seems like I’ve been just as good as anyone else at putting on the blinders. Not so golden as I thought…

To some extent I am still expecting that life changing placement, but reflecting on Beyond Borders so far I can really see the journey and the progression. It’s not about just getting on a plane and having the blinders ripped off the moment you get there and blowing your view of the world out of the water. For me at least, it have been about opening my eyes to the things that aren’t so nice to see, and about becoming comfortable – or maybe confident is a better word – in my own view and my own opinion of the world around me. I so loved the fact that this program didn’t set out to make us into anything other than globally aware and that everyone has a chance to get something different and their own out of the program. Part of me just can’t wait to be back from India so I can tell people about my experience and tell new BB’ers just how amazing it is and help them on their journeys!! Hearing from BB alumni, listening to Joanne’s crazy adventure stories or thoughtful lessons, hearing everyone’s insight into topics I’d never brave on my own, it has made all the difference for me, and it would be just as meaningful as the whole experience for me to share my passion with others!! Until then however, I’m going to do what I can with the new and improved me that I’ve already got – AND follow everyone’s blogs wiiishing I was there!! xo

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