GCIL is a family

|Author: Clara|

On Wednesday night I rambled 2500 words onto a page between 12:43 and 1:17 am. These thoughts were all over the place: Memories of moments like looking out the window of our tempo van climbing up to Nandi hills. Great conversations I’ve had over the last ten weeks—discussing politics and trying to tell American history lessons and learning about people’s siblings and religions and maybe a few discussions about the future of AI and the potential value of psychedelics. Self-reflections like why am I good at being gone and why do I apologize when I don’t need to and who am I to try to truly create a startup?

Now it's 11:21 on Thursday night and I’m looking for themes and a way to organize this word jumble of thoughts and emotions into a coherent last blog post. It’s not really going to be organized, but here is something: a recurring theme I’ve found through these thousands of words is the idea of getting comfortable being uncomfortable.

So here’s a couple examples of that theme over the past ten weeks. I’m still trying to figure out if these are all good things:

Letting the two housekeepers at ISI—women who I can’t verbally communicate with—- come into my room and wrap 6 yards of fabric around my body.

Not breaking eye contact with the many people who stare. Looking right back.

Pitching our startup to a group of more than 80 students who I have never met before without any script or preparation. Just going for it.

Settling down in the corner of a coffee shop to do some work as the only woman out of more than 20 customers.

Going into meetings with people with much more power and influence than I and acting like what I have to say matters.

Getting used to walking across rickety bridges over waste water streams to then walk across a lot full of trash to go eat a school lunch that I couldn't tell you half of what’s on the plate.

Being scary and creepy and childish and immature and vulnerable and raw and professional and intelligent and emotionally sensitive all with the same group of 17 humans.

GCIL is a family. It’s what happened for me when wanting to get comfortable being uncomfortable was taken to an extreme. I walk around in pajamas without brushing my teeth and acne cream on and don’t really worry about getting judged. I don’t really worry about saying the wrong thing. I can say “Oh my gosh guys, Happy St. Patrick’s Day” on March 14th and not feel like anyone thinks less of me.

I didn’t say everything I wanted to say in this blog post… I don’t really know what that is exactly . It would probably take many, many more word vomits in the wee hours of the morning to figure out. Hopefully this is at least a start. Hopefully it shows at least a tiny fraction of what my time in Bangalore with GCIL has meant to me.

Finding comfort in discomfort is what being a human living in tension is all about. Its where a lot of learning has happened for me.

So thank you GCIL, thank you Bangalore, thank you APSA, thank you to every person that graciously answered any question I had or shared their story with me or let me share mine. Thank you to my grandparents, parents, and friends who encouraged me and helped me get here. And thank you to everyone here who helped me find a whole lot of comfort in the uncomfortable.

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