Thirty-four hours: three planes, two layovers, and one car ride until I reached my new home in Mori. It has been about one year since my most recent visit, and this time, I will be staying for much longer than three weeks.
When the plane landed in Rajahmundry, I saw the smiling faces of Carly (another American missionary) and Shreya (Smart Village team member). These two ladies and Headmaster Kishore picked me up, and we stopped to get lunch and coffee before heading to Mori. As we drove up to the campus, I felt a sense of contentment. It was heartwarming to hear that so many kids and staff members were expectantly waiting for me. A couple of the kids have decided to call me “Srusthi Kharta Miss” after the one song that I know in Telugu. It was not a surreal experience like I expected, rather, everything felt so familiar.
In the first couple days, my battle with jetlag has been surprisingly mild. I’ve settled into my room, shopped for the essentials, caught up with some friends, and joined the school campaigning in the village. I have swiftly adjusted to eating curry for every meal and eating with my hands without being too messy. So far, the summer heat is manageable until a power-outage stops all fans from running. I am learning to adapt to the life of rural India, walking slowly, and enjoying my daily chai.
Despite what you may think, my decision to come here was not the difficult part of this journey. I have been planning to spend a year in Mori for a long time, confidently knowing that this was God’s next step for my life. Now that I am here, I am faced with a vast realm of the unknown. While this place is comfortable and familiar, my role on this campus is largely undefined. I know I will be teaching music at Riverside School, and that I hope to do community outreach music therapy. Much of my road is unpaved, so I must be ready to step outside my comfort zone.
As I transition into this new season of my life, I challenge myself to remain open and humble, and to take as many opportunities to learn as I can. I am experiencing similar challenges as I did the first week of my music therapy internship. I was eager to jump in and work, but I first needed to step back and learn as much as possible. In these first few weeks, my goal is to observe, listen, and absorb. I am trusting that God will make my path clear and praying that my adjustment will be smooth.