It’s Been a Year

a 4 minute read

“Thanks for reading. I plan on writing four or five more blog posts with the time I have left. Stay tuned. Peace and Blessings.”

That was an excerpt from the ending of my most recent blog post here on nickbattles.com. I know what you’re thinking. “There were not ‘four or five more blog posts’ after your last post, Nick. What the heck?” Let me explain.

If you are reading this on the day that it is posted, then it is July 28, 2018. The last time that something was posted on this blog was July 28, 2017. If the math doesn’t come easily to you, that means it has been an entire year since I’ve written anything for my blog. I regret that. I think I missed out on a lot of opportunities to reflect via writing and sharing with others. That isn’t to say, of course, that I haven’t spent time reflecting on my experience in India. I most certainly have. Nonetheless, I don’t think I can just leave my public written experience with a post titled “It’s Not Easy”. Y’all deserve to hear the end of my Indian story as much as I deserve closure to the experience.

Now, the explanation. To put it simply, I fell ill shortly after July 28. Being sick is no fun. It’s even less fun when you’re practically alone in an unfamiliar place. It was either the second or third occurrence of quite an awful illness. I won’t go into details because no one wants to read about that (and I definitely have no desire to relive it), but I was over it after that bout. By “it”, I mean my time there. I just wanted to go home.

I keep a gratitude journal, in which I write ten things every day that I am grateful for having happened. During that aforementioned period of illness, I didn’t journal in it. Four days passed before I wrote in it again. One can imagine, then, my level of motivation to write something for my blog (it was dismal).

The last two weeks of my internship flew by. The other interns had left and I was by myself at that point. On my last day of work, I gave my fifteen-minute presentation and said goodbyes to people in the office. I’ll happily admit that it was very bittersweet. I could not have been happier to be headed home, but there was a part of me that knew I would really miss India (spoiler alert: I really miss India).

Then, life happened. Less than twelve hours after I landed in Des Moines on the night of August 14, I was on my way to Ames, Iowa to move into my college residence hall room. I spent an awesome week at the Iowa State Fair with family and school started on August 21 (also the day of the awesome solar eclipse). That quick turnaround and wave of culture shock were difficult and it’s an entirely different story that needs processing.

The point is – a lot happened that kept me away from my blog. I finished writing my final research project (check it out here, if you’d like), created a research poster, served as a group leader at the 2017 Global Youth Institute and presented on my research, yet again, during my favorite time of the year – the incomparable week of World Food Prize events.

College life continued. I attended the annual UNICEF USA Student Summit in Washington, D.C. over spring break this year, worked (still working) as a Cyclone Aide for Iowa State Univerity’s New Student Programs over the summer, and now it’s July 28, 2018. During the downtime between all of this and amidst the conglomeration of events that have happened in the past year, I always had a desire to write a concluding blog post. However, I could never bring myself to do it. I was afraid. Afraid of the imperfection, afraid of emotions that would return, afraid to be vulnerable, afraid to feel.

Of course, all of my fear was simply an excuse to procrastinate on something that I knew, deep down, I wanted to do. Now that I’m actually writing, it is incredibly cathartic. This is more for me than it is for anyone reading this (don’t get me wrong, I love that you’re reading this). I was afraid of analyzing/reliving the emotions I was experiencing this time a year ago because I felt a heck of a lot – both good and bad. There’s so much to think about, to discuss, to interpret with me from my time in India. Before this point (and still, I suppose), I would feel super-duper frazzled and anxious when thinking about everything having to do with my two months abroad. I’ve never felt as many emotions in my life than I did during my time in India. I was constantly experiencing something for the first time. It was remarkable. Throughout my time since leaving, I could never pinpoint just one moment or day to think about. Writing helps me slow down and do exactly that, or at least process everything in a productive way.

Needless to say, thoughts and feelings change with time and I’ll likely come back to this page one day and disagree with myself entirely, but that’s okay. No piece of writing is utterly comprehensive or perfect. It doesn’t have to be.

Overall, I miss India, the people I met, and a whole list of other things about my time there. So, that’s what you’ll read next. It’ll be about what I miss, what I learned, and maybe some fun stories too. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t show up for a year (I’m kidding, but definitely don’t wait up). After that, I might write about my gratitude journal and the power that it brings. We’ll see.

With gratitude,

Nick Battles

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