Archive for June 21st, 2009

So when you first get back from a foreign country everyone always asks the same questions. How was it? Did you have fun? Did you miss home?

Luckily I made some rehearsed responses to each of these questions on the plane…

How was it?

Oh it was great but I got exhausted towards the end with all the traveling we were doing.

Did you have fun?

Yeah it was amazing. The food was amazing and cheap.

Did you miss home?

Just the air conditioning but I got used to it.

Now you may ask why I have rehearsed responses. Didn’t India mean more to you than a cliché response? It did. And that’s the problem. No one will ever understand how I feel about it. I can try to communicate it. But in the end, some things are better left unsaid.

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So Here We Are…

This is the true story of ten [students] picked to intern abroad…live together and have their lives [blogged]… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real…The Real World: India!

Aamir often said it was as if we were on a reality show, and I totally agree. There is no way to experience Real World than to be casted and well, there is no way to understand India than to actually visit and be thrown into the culture. Rickshaws, sketchy water, lizards, water bugs, pigeons, washing machines with terrible piping, stiff beds, immense poverty, long bus rides, streets lined with shanties, unbelievable pollution, rare roomie friction, the humidity, long winded lectures, electricity unguaranteed, cold to luke warm showers and unprofessionalism.

But there were also many positive things about India. And many of which is just me seeing the good in those experiences that were nerve racking. The adventures of riding in a rickshaw, Zenzi, surrealist games with Goenka, Lucien, Kate, and Hannah, working on a television set, heading to the bars without fear of being carded, the support of my roomies during my breakdown, Madeline’s song for every moment, impersonations of a dead cockroach, (as Madeline has dubbed it) “hot fro cho’s” from Moxaa, buying 7 DVD’s for less than $20, meeting influential figures of Bollywood, Ange and Hannah singng about my behind, exclusive Tropicana and Kellogg’s flavors, my personal journey, any day spent in South Bombay, the impluse of piercing my nose in frickin’ India and watching Hannah ward off insects with a frying pan and special chalk. Only to name a few! I’m sure whatever I forgot, Liz and Madeline have covered in their massive list!

I finally recognize the bond that we have all come to have after being home. I miss everyone and am glad we all had the opportunity to share this experience together. Good and bad times alike. In India, I continued to speak about how we didn’t bond as much as I thought we would but from afar, I see even the little things mattered. Even if it was just ordering out or sitting in each other’s company. I appreciated any time I spent with any of my roommates, Ange, Hannah, Madeline, Allison, Jill, Liz, Aamir, Lucien and Kate. Heart you all! And Professor Goenka, yours always appreciated:). Our bond started way before India so contrary to opinions, we are like family. Aww, there! I said it!

I’ve been home four days and all I can think about it is, “What time is it in India?” or “What was I doing last week this time in Bombay?” I can vividly see the complex views from the rickshaws, recall conversations like they were yesterday, and taste a bit of Chicken Tikka on my lips. The surreal moments that once were “Am I really in India?” are now “Am I really home?” In such a short amount of time, I see the potential of me not really changing to the magnitude that I’d like to. Not that I am just the worst person ever but I really want the self growth to stick and continue. With that, I see that I will need to commit to this new person who I found in India; the person who I want to be. The one who found patience, appreciates silence, and finds time to please herself rather than succumbing to the needs of others.

On a grand scale, the differences between the two cultures were even clearer even before getting out of the airport. Differences were more accepted and no one assumes where you may or may not be from. Waiting outside with Madeline, it was like “Ahh, these surroundings look too normal”. There was no constant sound of horns, cars actually stayed in their lanes, and the highways were only lined with trees. We are really fortunate here in “the States”. Sometimes I wonder what’s going on over there India. As I sleep, how many people are running up to rickshaws, motioning for food. Meanwhile, we complain about not having enough to eat, or not having enough money, or enough of anything else. Well, we have SOMETHING. And I admire the happiness and strength those without still possess. Everyone can learn from each other. Another blessing in disguise.

I thank my mom and grandmother again for affording me this trip. After the 26-11 attacks, it was out of the question and the fear of me not making it back safely loomed in their minds. Well, I made it back. With gifts that everyone loves! And new friendships having been made. And so the season ends and we all went our separate ways with many pictures and inside jokes to hold on to. Now, we can only hope for the Real World: India Reunion.


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