By Kasey Hartung (@Kasey_Hartung)
As I think about the upcoming weeks that I will spend in Chennai, I look forward to and embrace this incredible opportunity, but I also can’t help but think about what I left behind to embark on this amazing journey. I leave behind family and friends that will continue on their normal routines while I get to come to India and step out of the perfunctory summer days of Haverhill, Mass. I am now immersed in a peculiar, but immensely fascinating land as I make new friends who will soon become my “family away from family”. Although the reasons to go on the trip heavily outweigh the reasons to stay at home for the summer, I leave behind my protection. This sense of protection is one that can only exist in my own hometown—my comfort zone. Getting on a plane to fly across the globe resulted in me losing what constantly set me at ease, but the flight also forced me to quickly adapt to a new comfort zone in a foreign land. Adapting and constituting change is what life is all about—moving forward to improve oneself. But this trip isn’t all about me; it’s about the children and community in Chennai that I will be assisting and positively affecting for the next few weeks. I hope to make them comfortable and leave their cares behind when they step onto the court, which is exactly what I had to previously struggle with. Sometimes leaving the protective armor behind is just what you have to do. I’m proud to say that my previous border between the old and the new is officially broken down as I leave the “old” behind and it blends into this fresh experience full of possibility, reflection, and change.