I am at home and will post this blog when I go to school today. I wanted to write about a few things that Rika-ji, our home-stay coordinator shared with us during orientation. There were three phrases that particularly caught my attention and that I want to be intentional about remembering during my time in India and also after I return home in December. They are:
The guest is god.
See the country that is here, don't try to find your own country.
Be like water, be fluid and flow.
The first phrase, "The guest is god" was explained to us in two ways. One is that in Indian mythology, god came to visit humans and they did not treat god with respect, did not feed god, and god went away unhappy and hungry. So now, everyone in India makes sure to feed guests and treat them as gods. The second explanation is that guests are very special because god has sent someone for the family to care for and this is a blessing and an honor for the family. Everywhere we have been so far we have been treated superbly. I hope that I will remember this same hospitality with guests in my own country.
The second phrase, "See the country that is here, don't try to find your own country," is Rika-ji's suggestion to all of us students. She said that the students that are unhappy during their semester in India are the ones that are trying to find their own country here-the things they like, the things they normally do, the way they expected India to be or not to be. But all of that just makes them unhappy when those expectations are not met, and also distracts them from seeing and experiencing India as it actually is. Rika-ji said that if we always have our heads down looking at the trash in the streets, then we will forget to lift our heads up and see the flowers that are growing.
The third phrase, "Be like water, be fluid and flow" is another Rika-ji suggestion that during our time in India we should try to stay flexible, fluid, and tae the rocks and stones as they come, but not let them ruin or spoil our whole experience.