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Jonathan: End of the road!

May 10, 2011

After four months, I am finally returning to the United States.  As you are reading this, I may even be on my way.  I will keep this post short, for any insight will not come in these last few days.  I have lived in a major metropolis, in a small town, worked with village youth, designed a youth group curriculum, and seen much of the Himalayan foothills.  Today, as I write, I am in McLeod Ganj, the capital of the Tibetan Government in Exile.  All of these experiences have shown me new and fascinating iterations of India.  I have been challenged in ways I never expected, seen sights both inspiring and disturbing, traveled to places rarely seen by those from the West, and been immersed in highly contrived westernized experiences.  I have witnessed the challenges left for poor Indians and the incredible growth of the middle class.  The past few weeks since the program end have, however, been a different India altogether.  The India of backpackers and vacationers.  While necessary and fascinating, it too means that it is time for this trip to end.  The sun is setting on this experience, and I am ready to move on to the next adventure.  But more on all that in a moment…

Here in McLeod Ganj, I have seen yet another iteration of India.  As the capital of Tibet in exile, the community has both a distinctly different feel to it than anywhere else in India, but also a different set of standards.  This is not the conservative environment of Rajasthan, but rather a place defined by a different ethos all together.

Claire and I met up with some friends from our program, which has been fantastic, and together we went on a day hike to some beautiful mountain views (including hail!) and a waterfall with ice cold waters quickly flowing.  We too have walked the grounds of the main temple, and learned much about the Free/Save Tibet Movement.  There is, of course, more to write, but my mind is in many places right now.  McLeod, Rajasthan, and the US.

I am not necessarily ready to be back State-side, but I certainly am ready to settle into something new.  Seeing new parts of India has been fantastic, but wherever in the world it may be, it is time to begin settle down instead of this limbo-land.  And with that, I say a final Namaste to India on 10 May at 10:30pm local time, and will arrive in the US on 11 May at 4:25am.

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