"I'm getting a tattoo."

|Author: Elizabeth|

“Casey, I’m getting a tattoo.”

That’s what I told Casey after our study abroad trip to Jordan ended. To Casey’s horror, it was a spontaneous moment that I was determined to follow through with. A wave. It symbolizes my love for water, and it symbolizes the time I had in Jordan learning about water scarcity and the solutions Jordan was implementing to solve such issues. To get that tattoo in that moment—during, possibly, the peak of my life—would be a special reminder of one of the top experiences in which I got to immerse myself in a beautiful culture, to travel to different sites, and create relationships with amazing people who were strangely interested in this crucial resource as much as I was. This 3-week trip in Jordan revolved a lot around identifying water features everywhere we went as well as visiting drinking, wastewater, and desalination treatment plants. Therefore, to get a wave after my water-focused journey made complete sense to me. Despite my strong desire to get a tattoo, I didn’t end up getting one—mainly because of Casey’s persistence in calling this tattoo too basic.

As my journey in India wraps up—and my strong desire to get a tattoo remains—I continue to wonder what tattoo can help symbolize the just as memorable adventures that I have gotten to experience in India. What could represent the colorful sceneries of houses and clothing and vegetation? What could represent the helpful, friendly people and smiles that I have met? What could represent the unpredictability of life? So much has happened; so much has been observed; so much has been lived. Therefore, I can’t find something that encompasses all of my experiences this past 9 weeks. And probably to my parents’ relief I won’t be getting a tattoo to wrap up my trip after India. 

There is no need for such a reminder. Because while I may be expecting to see huge cows walking in the streets beside the cars or goats interestingly eating on their knees when I head back to Seattle; and while I may possess slight skills for refraining myself from petting all of the loving, stray dogs found on the streets and for crossing the busy roads without the reliance on streetlights, I feel like there is a permanent change in me that doesn’t require a permanent mark on my skin. 

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