Sri Lanka was emotionally challenging for me.
I went from one of the most technologically advanced cities in the world to extreme poverty. As privileged as it sounds, poverty is something that I have never encountered before. I was born in Japan (a safe little bubble), attended a prestigious international school (another bubble), and now attend Rollins College (a private bubble of a college). To say the least, my life up to this point has been a bubble. The bubble has finally popped.
Experiencing poverty makes you look at life with a whole other lens. U.S people, with their consumerist economy and high standard of living, are such unhappy people as a whole in comparison to Sri Lankan people who have minimal material goods. Americans focus on the wrong things and forget to be thankful of what they do have.
People with next to nothing still manage to survive and find happiness in the little intricacies of life. Sri Lankan people live in sub-par environments, but they are happy because every single day they choose to be happy.
They choose to live, choose to love each other, and choose to be happy. I’ve come to this realization through an emotionally challenging avenue, and I’ve realized that being happy is a personal choice that one makes everyday. Holding grudges and obsessing over the little things is a luxury that these people cannot afford, and frankly it is insulting that we fixate over such petty matters.
I’m glad that I was finally able to see part of the real world, even if it meant that I had to experience things that left me stranded way outside my comfort zone.