An Experience That Changed My Life

1 January 2017

There are many experiences that shaped me into the character I am now. Reflecting upon the many different encounters I had throughout my life, I remember my trip to India. Two years back, my family and I took three months’ vacation to my home town, Punjab, India. Excited and thrilled to go, I packed all my belongings. Peering out of the international terminal window, I gaped at the millions of planes standing in front of me, with not just one floor but two floors of seats. All buzzed up in excitement, I bombarded my mother with question about my first real trip to India.

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When are we leaving? When will we get there? Where are we staying? I pestered my mother. The usual response was “I will tell you in a bit. ” this was the mark of my first summer vacation as a teenager, and what better place to go then to India. I didn’t know what to expect traveling to my parents’ home country but I knew it would be an experience that would be hard to forget. Nothing has changed me more than my trip to India. The three lessons I learned from my trip to India were to work hard, to persist in education, and to be grateful for everything.

One of the lessons I learned was to work hard. We landed in Delhi, around 1:00 AM. The second my foot stepped into the gate, I felt suffocated. I noticed the sky was filled with pollution, and there were all gray clouds. The smell of the environment was polluted, and I could hear all the traffic. My thoughts about India were the same as an American life: civilized. I expected people living in developing housing complexes, driving around sufficient vehicles, and having proper educational opportunity. However, I found myself mistaken.

I saw many undeveloped housing complexes and people living in rather underprivileged conditions. The road trip from the airport to the city, Punjab, was around eight hours long. I knew, immediately that it was going to be an exciting and knowledgeable trip. As I traveled from village to village and city to city, I saw people faced varieties of lifestyles and struggle with living. After seeing the daily life of poor strugglers, I resolved in my heart to work harder by helping my parents and the American community.

As a result, I have donated more than 80 hours of my time to community service. When I arrived in a city called Chandigarh, I noted that everyone was well-dressed and lived in good conditions. This made me feel happy. Along with working hard, I learned to persist with my education. I observed many children that were suffering from absolute poverty which means they don’t or couldn’t afford their basic needs for living. In India the second most populated country in the world, there were many villages and slums where schools and colleges do not reach.

I felt horrible for them because I always have been blessed with the best education and facilities. I started too develop further personally. I became more self-aware about not taking my education as granted and not always expecting the best. My next stop was Amritsar, Punjab. I took advantage of the rich culture by participating in the people’s customs and getting as much experience as possible. I also tried varieties of delicious, spicy food which I loved. At last, I learned to be grateful for everything God has given me.

There were thousands upon thousands of beggars living on the sidewalks and streets. The women walking on the streets wore ripped clothing and walked barefoot. Astonished at what I saw, I realized the extravagance of my modern life. Satiated with laziness and many modern machines, I truly began to appreciate my life and to be grateful for everything. My last stop was to a village called Rampur; I recognized the poverty level. I also visited the slums of India, and I was terrified because I had never seen such poverty and filthiness in my entire life.

I encountered more garbage and filth than I could have ever imagined. It smelled like a rotten gutter. My trip abruptly came to an end as I boarded the plane to come back to the USA. This trip changed my outlook on my everyday life. I learned many lessons in these three months of vacation, but this trip helped me to realize that there is a population of people who are not surrounded by the same lifestyle and conditions as we have in America. We should always work hard, persist in education, and be grateful for everything in life.

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