Comfort Zone and Reflection (Jennifer Grubb)

One of the chaperones, Jennifer Grubb, who counsels and teaches at Peddie shares some of her observations from her first time in India.

Part I: Comfort Zone

Along the way,  the students have discussed how it feels to be out of their comfort zones. Mostly, they have noticed others noticing them. Different from the people here? Check. Big tourist group? Check. Different cultural standards? Check. Different gender roles? Check. Two groups making assumptions about the other? Check. Somewhat discomforting to be the minority? Check. However, as I spoke to one of the students, I stated: "you guys think it's cute when the little kids stare because there is not yet any judgment.  It's just one person trying to figure out the other."

Part II: Reflection

During our reflection sessions, I don't offer much other than guidance, but my mind is racing with things to share. Yesterday, as we travelled to Kochi, our guide took us to the Holiday Inn for lunch. Holiday Inn symbolizes the west, right? As we were sitting in the lobby waiting for our food to be delivered, a man and woman sitting across the lobby from me captured my attention.  Sure, they were the center of my view, but the periphery faded even more as the woman returned my gaze through her burqa. What struck me was this: a western hotel, western-dressed men (including the one she was next to),  western-dressed women.  She was the minority.  She had me, and the others faded, because she expressed more with her eyes than I saw from anyone else.  A reflection.  Eye to eye- that's how we saw each other.  Just one person trying to figure out the other.