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It is a month since I returned from my trip to India. And it is a month and more since I replied to emails, voicemails, and text messages from friends. I am not procrastinating; I am recovering; I am catching up with life. And most of all, I am taking it slow.

After returning to the US, I spend the first few days, congratulating myself on surviving my flight. The first time I flew to the US from India, I fainted. The second time, I had neck sprain issues. And I was in a wheelchair. Now, the third time, this time, I came to the US in one piece. In fact, I could lift both my 50 lbs. bags from the carousel without help.

Of course, I spent the first week recovering from my journey. It was more than jetlag. I felt weak—unable to do basic tasks. I couldn’t work-out. I learned that even though I eat good and substantial meals, my diet lacked nutrition. My scalp and body had rashes.

I spend the second week agonizing about the changes in India—people’s behavior, infrastructure, weather, etc. For days, I talked about the differences in US and India. I tried to reconcile the India I experienced to the India I remembered from twelve years ago. Nothing made sense.

The third week back, I did my best to catch-up with life—work, volunteer work, classes, and household chores. I continued to look at my India experiences in depth. I ate everything but Indian food. I avoided the gym, lest I aggravated my rashes. Finally, I visited my doctor and learned that I had an allergic reaction to some oil during the Ayurvedic spa treatments. I wanted to immediately write shitty reviews about the resort I stayed in India. But I didn’t.

It was only in the fourth week that things started to fall in place. My life was kind of back to its routine. I engaged with other students in my Opera History Class. My house and life were organized. I implemented some lifestyle changes. My rashes started to disappear. But most of all, I realized that prior to my trip to India, I wasn’t as happy as I thought I was. I realized that for the first time in decades, I laughed loudly. I giggled. And when I smiled, I showed my teeth. All my pictures since my return, my smile looks like President Obama’s smile when he went kite surfing with Branson. I didn’t force the damn smile; it just appears from nowhere.

Our smiles match!

So, my dear friends, I have not forgotten you or have lost your importance. It is that I am prioritizing myself over everything and everyone else. I am making a full-on conscious effort to take less stress of immediately replying to emails and texts. So, if you don’t get my blogs or emails or texts for a long time, don’t take it personally. Think that if I am happy, I will be a better writer and friend.

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