Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More of What It's Really Like


One of my friends asked me in an email yesterday what it was like traveling to India. I usually paraphrase for people my own experience as: loud, crowded, spicy and overwhelming at times. But that doesn’t really even begin to give an accurate picture of what it's really like for me. So, here are a few more details, in case you were curious:
  • It’s waking up in the middle of the night, sweating profusely and wondering what disease you might have contracted, only to find the hotel lost power for half the night and the a/c has been off.
  • With a 10.5 or 11.5 hour time difference from home (depending on the season), it’s being so jetlagged that you wake up wondering if the time you see is am or pm.
  • Or it’s being so jetlagged that you take cold showers two days in a row, only to realize on the third day the hot and cold are switched on the tap. (Yeah, for morning #3!)
  • It’s being considered, catered to and looked out for by everyone you encounter, except if they are on a motorcycle, driving a car or an autotaxi, then you are just a bump/target along the road.
  • It’s praying that you make it an hour after your meal is over without any major rejections by your stomach or intestines.
  • It’s connecting to strangers quickly through personal questions asked about children (God will give them they always say to me), your husband’s profession (which Brian always passes with flying colors due to the booming IT scene here), what you like most about the town you happen to be in, what your favorite foods are and when you will return for a visit.
  • It’s feeling a bit like an alien because I'm "tall", fair skinned and the only other redheads around dye their brown/black hair with henna.
  • It’s being accepted for trying to adopt any of the culture around you. People always compliment my kurta (Indian tunic) or smile and laugh encouragingly to any phrases I have learned and try to repeat in Hindi.
  • It’s surrendering yourself to what you thought you knew about a place you’d heard about your whole life. It may not have been what I expected but it certainly grows on you.
  • It's feeling humbled to see how people live and feeling fortunate for how easy it is back home.
  • It's knowing that for all you think you might know, many mysteries, stories, cultures and rituals are present that will take a lot longer to begin to understand.

No comments:

Post a Comment