Friday, March 8, 2013
That time I lived in India...
Well I lived in India for 6 months back in 2002/2003. It was an adventure and an opportunity I'm happy I took advantage of, and a trip that certainly opened my eyes to a million new things.
I'd been to Europe before, so I knew that the world didn't necessarily operate like the US. I've even heard people complain that life in EU is not as advanced as life in America. Well let me tell you, life in India is nothing like life in the US. It's this dichotomy of third world and emerging market. Opulent rich and devastating poor. Growth so fast they can barely keep up and a life steeped in history and tradition.
I was there for work, and being a young woman in a position of power proved to be very difficult. Many of the rules from the Old Boys Club are (or at least they were) alive and kicking when I was there. One of my greatest professional achievements is that I was able to leave India as a respected leader, rather than the little girl they thought me to be.
While I was there I traveled throughout the country, visited a few countries in the area and gobbled up as much culture as I could. I was homesick every single day. I had a paper chain showing me how many days until it was time to go home. While I was there I wanted OUT. But I made a commitment, and I wasn't going to go back on my word.
In hindsight, I'm so happy I went. I saw things I would never see in my life, as a trip to India was never on my radar. I met amazing people and forged some friendships that last to this day. I learned to love the culture of the Indian people, the kindness of their souls. The food? No thanks. The smells? Please, let's not talk about that. The virtual zoo roaming around the streets (and in the airport)? Interesting at first, annoying after awhile.
I've been to the Taj Mahal 4 times. I've been to Jaipur to visit the Pink City where the Maharajas lived. I went to Goa and Chennai and countless other places. I was able to celebrate festivals like Diwali and Holi. I learned all about Hinduism and Sikhism (my driver was a Sikh and he was the best teacher ever). I learned about saris and salwar kameez and even bought Madeline a few outfits that she still has in her closet!
I got wildly sick for nearly 20 days. So sick I truly thought I was going to die.
I learned how to say a total of 4 things in Hindi while I was there. Hello, How are you, Water and Bread.
Long wordy post. Not nearly as long as it could be.
Where have you gone that took you out of your comfort zone? Is there anywhere you'd never go?
All photos by me.