You know your in India when
- Cows wonder the streets and act as roadblocks
- You have Chipoti for EVERY meal
- Not only do monkeys wonder the streets but you also can’t look them in the eye without fear of your life
- You can’t wear half of your clothes due to dress code
- Honking is it’s own language
- Tok-toks are a regular form of transportation
- The Himalayas are at your back door- literally
- Your host family doesn’t have toilet paper
- Fireworks go off at all hours during the week of Diwali
- Henna is a normality and is called Mandhi in Hindi
- You are offered a cup of Chai at least three times a day (and of course you say yes everytime!)
- You haven’t had meat yet….living the vegetarian life 🙂
- You hop across a stream and climb 4 sets of stairs to get to work
- You almost forget to take your malaria pills every morning
- Losing power is a normal part of your day
- Your bed is a wood frame and your pillow feels like a rock but you still sleep great!
- Your host grandma only speaks Hindi and thinks that the louder she speaks the better you will understand her (No hand gestures either)
- You find out Adele dropped a new single and your entire group freaks out about it
- Your on an overnight train and there is a convict shackled to his bed in the room next to you and two policemen with AK47s – completely normal situation
- Celebrating Diwali changes your life- it’s like 4th of July, New years, and Christmas combined!!!
- You find out the difference between Namaste and Nameskar (Nameskar is more formal and respectful)
- New Delhi is the most overstimulating and vibrant city you’ve ever been in
- Painting your house is a yearly routine and is done in preparation for Diwali as a form of cleaning
- Squatty Potties are the only option in public areas and surprising aren’t that bad
- You release a floating lantern off the roof of your house and watch it float away until your host mom tells you to get down before the monkeys come…
- You walk past herds of baby sheep at least every other day
- The students have school on Saturdays (Only Sunday is off)
India is awesome! It’s so different from any place I’ve ever been and I love it. We are staying in Palampur which is in the state of Himachal Pradesh, at the base of the Himalayas. It is absolutely gorgeous. At least 3 or 4 times a day I look up towards the mountains and watch paragliders soar in the air and I have the realization that this is actually real life and also my home for the next month!
But as amazing as India is, I’ve also had certain challenges. I’ve been teaching in Om Private School where I have a limited amount of freedom with the lessons I plan based on their teaching structure which has been frustrating. But I love challenges and am determined to get through to the kids somehow. And another challenge has been health (both mental and physical). Luckily I am yet to get sick but many members in our group have and it definitely lowers group morale. Mentally, everyone in our group is exhausted. Balancing lesson planning, seminar reading, and spending time with family makes it pretty easy to burn out quickly. Especially when our seminar reading discusses topics like oppression, volunteer work, and student-teacher relationships. I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend and catching up on sleep and hopefully going in to town to buy/find peanut butter (I miss it so much) and a suit -traditional Indian dress- so I fit in with the schools dress code.
Mandy- my roommate- and I are living with an awesome family! We have a father who is a 10-12th grade teacher, a mother who is absolutely gorgeous and makes amazing food, a 12 year old brother who speaks some english and loves fireworks and scaring me with his fake snake, an 8 year old sister who I nicknamed Hannah Montana and has been sick with the chicken pox this past week, and lastly Nani (our grandmother) who is just starting to get that I don’t speak Hindi or understand anything she says to me 🙂
Thanksgiving is next week and our group will be celebrating in Armitsar and visiting the Golden Temple. I have always loved thanksgiving because it meant spending quality time with my family and extended family and eating so much delicious food and pumpkin pie. This year, although I won’t be celebrating with my blood family or having a traditional Thanksgiving meal, I will be celebrating with my TBB family and giving thanks for many things I never realized I was grateful for. I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving filled with lots of joy, thanks, and yummy food!