Bangalore, India
Journal Entry:

When I returned to my host institution in Bangalore after conducting research in the Himalayas, I suddenly realized that my days in India were numbered and I steeled myself for series of difficult goodbyes. During my final night in the Himalayas, I found out that a fellow researcher (and my frequent tango class dance partner) at my host institution had died unexpectedly. This tragic news made me think about all of the dear friends I had made in Bangalore and how much I would miss them after my departure for the United States. In preparation, I sent out a mass email to my 36 hostel-mates, all of whom are first-year PhD students at my host institution, thanking them for the small and the significant ways in which they had shaped my life over the past nine months. I am grateful to them for imparting beautiful stories about plant defense mechanisms, for telling me which canteen serves ice cream during my initial days, for teaching me about stingless bees, for inviting me to dinner and recommending good food when I was new to the area, for cheering me up at breakfast on some days when I woke up anxious, for observing snails with me during monsoon season... the list I included in my email continued on for several paragraphs. My fellow hostel-mates inspired me to be a kinder, more collaborative person, and I deeply admire the curiosity, awe and love they have for the inner workings of nature.