For the last few weeks, people have been asking me whether I'm scared or nervous or exicited about going to India alone. My half-hearted response, in that unfortunate monotone I haven't yet succeeded in altering, has for the most part been, "excited. No, really, I'm excited."
And I am, I'm really excited. I've been planning to take this trip for at least five years, but then I had to finish school, and then I started working at Haaretz, and then I met and became close to so many amazing people, and then got so comfortable and happy to be near my family after so long, that I had to delay my eventual date of departure. People are so skeptical of five-year plans, but just because they didn't work for Stalin doesn't mean they're not valid.
I'm a big fan of five-year plans. Some of my best plans are five-year plans. They're much more exciting than planning for this coming afternoon, and much less nerve-racking. Because now that my five-year plan lands in Delhi next Thursday, I have to admit, I'm getting a little nervous. Not about being in India, because that's still a week away, and still very exciting. No, I'm nervous about everything I have to do before I leave.
I still have to clean my room and store all my stuff, to pack my bag and to buy the right sandals, camera and vitamins, I still have to resign my lease and sublet it right over to Pucho, my new roommate's friend. I still have to have a party in Tel Aviv and a party in Jerusalem, and I have to spend time with my mom and my grandmother and my sister and brother-in-law, and my cousins and aunts and uncles and friends. I still have to see if the university has approved the creative writing program's recommendation to accept me, and to make sure the government of Israel hasn't forgotten its promise to give me free tuition.
Let the five-year plans continue. Shanti, shanti, know what I want to do and move forward, slowly, slowly. Embrace each plan, and when it goes well, go with it, and when it goes wrong, follow along with a new idea, a new plan.
I spent the weekend with about 20 amazing people at a house in the Judean Hills Shira and Ben have been taking care of this month, and got some really great advice from some friends who have traveled by themselves to India. Sitting at the table, surrounded by friends, Chani turned to Chana and said, "what advice can you give Ali about India?" Unsolicited, but so, so appreciated, I sat there and soaked up names of places and streets and bus ticket vendors, and lessons about money and people.
I'm not at all ready, but I'm getting there. Slowly, slowly. My seven-day plan starts in the morning.