I finally got what everyone said I was in for. After four months of defending and deflecting and rolling my eyes assuming that others were just weak, I got my comeuppance.
Yes, I have finally had my India breakdown.
I had heard from everyone that within a few weeks of living in India, I would have a nervous breakdown of some kind. I would get sick, and then things would take too long, and then people would cheat me, and then everything would break and suddenly I would just be consumed with a hatred for my new home. But it didn’t happen. I loved living in India and I found it rather humorous that other people had succumbed to their frustrations. It just takes a bit of patience, I always thought to myself.
I admit that we have had it pretty easy compared to most people who move here. Delayed shipments and apartment move-in dates can cause panic – ours were only delayed a week. Unsavory drivers or housekeepers can lead to multiple firings before finding someone reliable – we had no such experience. And every little thing (furniture, household items, internet, plumbing, electric work) takes longer and is harder than you ever imagined; but somehow we were able to get everything with always only a little headache.
So I guess in a country of Hindus, I was bound to get hit by karma eventually. After spending so much time assuming that I was just really good at handling everything India threw my way and keeping calm, I was in for it.
And it was the perfect storm.
Our internet, newly installed after months of agony, once again stopped working. The clutch on our car inexplicably broke, so we couldn’t drive anywhere. One last monsoon shower decided to grace us with its presence after weeks of retreat, and all the cushions on our outdoor furniture got soaked to the bone. A transcription service I was using for one of my video projects informed me that they just don’t do time codes (trust me, I know most of you won’t understand why, but this is incredibly frustrating). Five of our newly installed light bulbs decided to burst.
And now, this morning, there is some unannounced construction on our building and the pounding sounds are inescapable.
So, I broke down. I admit it. I curled up into a ball and just gave up for a little bit. And once you give up, everything you miss suddenly comes pouring out. I want milk that does not come from a box. I want people to not stare at me when I walk down the street just because I’m white. I want to drink a Starbucks chai (I know that one is ironic). I want easy public transportation. I want to not have to haggle over the smallest items. I want the time difference to not impede my relationships with friends and family.
I just let myself break down until I felt good and sorry for myself. It was a bit pathetic, but I needed it. I needed to just allow myself to be frustrated with India.
And after a little while, I got out of my ball. I stood up and made myself stop whining and I went back to attempting to be strong and patient and calm.
But I felt better. I guess I needed to admit to myself that its ok to sometimes be that Western person who gets frustrated being that fish out of water.
I am not from here. It’s a difficult place to live if you’re not accustomed to it. But I moved to India 115 days ago and for almost every one of those days I have loved being here.
So it’s ok to have not loved it today.
(*Note – I had 7 hours from when I wrote this until my internet started working again. And by now I’m ready to love India all over again – until I allow myself to be frustrated the next time)