Change of plan and a change of school from next week. On Saturday the 17th I leave Sasthavattom, after 8 weeks of being here. Annual day, the big festival for which I’ve been teaching drama and yoga, has been postponed to the 7th of January. It was meant to be on the 19th (next week Monday) and I was meant to go to a school in Kollam after that date. But instead, I’m now going to Kayankulam before the Annual day performances. But I’ll be back just for the big day, in 3 weeks time.
The school I’ll be teaching at, from next week onwards, is the same school as last year. It’s actually the first school I was ever teaching for! I never thought I’d be teaching there again… and 1,5 years later, here I am preparing to be there for the remainder of my stay in India.
It’s almost like I’m coming full-circle. When I left Kayankulam last year, the school wanted me to stay, but I’d already made other arrangements so I travelled onwards and never thought I’d be back. Now, after travelling almost half way around the world, I’ll be finding myself in the place I started out. I wasn’t too sure of how I felt about going back, when I first heard the news a few days ago. Part of me wanted a new experience, a different school, a different town. But another part found it quite comforting and challenging at the same time. Comforting in its familiarity and challenging as I’ll be seeing myself in the same place, but with a different outlook and at a different stage in my life.
I must admit that lately I’ve been wondering if I’m somehow trying to recreate my past experiences. Witnessing a pattern of reoccurring places I visit throughout my travels is making me question why I seem to end up in most places twice (at least). For example Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, and now India. And each time I return, it’s always to the same route I follow! Is it that I’m trying to relive my past or is it that, in my past I didn’t take the time to fully engage in the country and its people - not in the manner I should’ve done? Am I drawn back to the same places so I can experience it ‘properly and wholeheartedly’? I think it could be for the reason that – when I first visit to a country - I either don’t take the time, I’m too distracted or I’m dealing with other stuff in my head, so I fail whilst trying to see clearly where I am and what I’m actually doing in life. And by returning to a place, I’m wishing to see the same place with the same people, buildings and environment, but through different eyes (hopefully those that are clearer, to present me with deeper vision, so I can appreciate the reoccurring experience even more). Yes, that’s it. And even though my mind will tell me that by returning I’m clinging to safety and not living and travelling fully, because the place isn’t ‘new’, I know that I’m not here to experience the same things as before.
Sometimes people think that by returning to a place that once had made their lives so exciting, it will be the same. Maybe they hope to feel the same degree of happiness, regardless of how much time has passed by in between both visits or how much the person who is returning has changed or the people living in that place. I’m well aware that 2 experiences, in the same place, can never be the same. I don’t expect both experiences to be, nor do I want them to be. When I returned to Oz, they weren’t, to Thailand, they weren’t. And so far, the experiences in India haven’t been nearly the same as before – even though the exact same places are appearing on the path.
Hummm… how exciting. So, it’s Kayankulam for the next 2 months. Then it’s onwards and upwards. I’ll be leaving India before the 16th of Feb. I don’t know where to, or what I’ll be doing but the options are endless and the road is open… or so I’ll keep telling myself – just to be sure ;)