3 Bags and Olson in Tow

 

Today marks one month since I started my journey in India.  Thirty days ago, I landed in New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Airport with three bags and my most cherished companion, Olson, in tow.

In my first bag, I packed my desire to shake life up, to find adventure and to feel alive.  And in the last four weeks, I have laughed uncontrollably, I’ve been moved to tears, I’ve danced until I couldn’t anymore, I’ve been overwhelmed and scared.  But when I lie in bed at night completely spent after my day, I know I have squeezed every bit of juice that the day had to offer.  I am alive.

In my second bag I packed my search for belonging. I’ve moved around a lot. I am a product of the best (and the worst) of the cultures I have
experienced — sometimes a mosaic presenting a coherent picture and other times a fragmented mess.  But in the last month, I have
recognized parts of myself in those around me — the part of me that doesn’t always think in a linear way, the part that is passionate, compassionate, talkative and at times longwinded. While I will never completely belong, these parts of me now sport a “Made in India”
label.

In my third bag, I packed my hope for a broader perspective.  It is easy to revel in what is familiar, comfortable and expected; to become
occupied with ambition, life’s successes and inevitable disappointments. I had an inkling of a reality beyond mine. What I’ve discovered is a world that is so much bigger and richer than the one I know; a realization that is at once sobering and reassuring.

Olson and I came to India with our 3 bags, we’ll no doubt leave with so much more, and yet surprisingly lighter.

Sabina is dedicated to studying how to create better livelihoods for people around the world by increasing the quantity and quality of jobs as well as improving the education and skills of workers. She directs the Center for American Progress' Just Jobs Network, a global coalition of institutions that conduct joint research and advocacy for policies that promote good jobs, further broad-based, sustainable economic growth and allow people to create a better life for themselves and their families. Sabina studies the nexus of globalization -- especially trade, employment and economic development. She has worked on these issues internationally in countries ranging from Switzerland and Western Samoa to Egypt and Thailand. While at the International Labour Organization, or ILO, in Geneva, Switzerland, she worked on various projects promoting the ILO's decent work agenda within the context of globalization and international development. She then worked as an independent consultant based in Brussels, Belgium, undertaking a variety of projects for institutions including the ILO Regional Office in Thailand, the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative, and the directorate-general on employment, social affairs and equal opportunities of the European Commission. Sabina has an advanced master's degree in quantitative studies from the Catholic University of Brussels, and a second master's degree in public policy from the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Irvine. Sabina has traveled widely, living in countries including Afghanistan, India, and Sierra Leone.

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