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India | Passage to India

March 09, 2018

Certain moments set CSS students apart from other high schoolers. One such moment, for example, was when a group of us shuffled into a bus at five in the morning and promptly began discussing literature. Not because we had to, or because we were trying to impress the English teacher sitting in front of us, but because we loved the texts and wanted to share. A similar moment came in the Newark airport, several hours and hundreds of miles from where our journey had begun. Our congregation split into two groups and discussed Siddhartha, one of the books we were assigned for ECS. although this conversation was prompted by our teachers, we analyzed the text with gusto. We must have been a spectacle to passers-by- a crowd of teenagers in an airport, shouting over the flight announcements, trying to get a word in about the futility of life or the path of spiritual enlightenment. If we had hand fed Siddhartha to a group of “normal” high-school students, I imagine the scene would have instead been filled with silence and confused stares. Following our meeting, we geared up for a fifteen-hour flight to New Delhi, where we would spend the night staring at the ceiling, desperately trying to sleep and eventually resolving to read by the light of the bathroom until breakfast. Despite the jet lag and tiring journey, we managed to maintain our positivity and rowdy conversations- another trademark of a CSS student. Even generating on two hours of sleep, we pined poetically about the majesty of our surroundings. We discussed lunch as if it were a calculus assignment. We never let our enthusiasm wane (which admittedly, may have disappointed the other passengers on our plane rides - we may be unique teenagers, but we’re common in that we’re loud). Over our full, exhausting days of travel. We took note of the differences between India and the United States: the colorful clothing, the humidity, the hospitality, the swarms of stray dogs, complete culture shock, accepted with rigor. Finally, our lively carnival arrived in Balla, a village hugging the Himalayas. We’re all sleeping on our feet but the surroundings and new discoveries are enough to energize us until bedtime. As we sit outside our homestays, watching the sun go down and trying (failing) to gracefully eat dinner with our hands, we carry on our philosophical conversations and utter thanks to our parents, teachers, and school for sending us off on another spectacular journey.