Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Beginning

My school here in the U.S. is about to start again and it's the year anniversary of when I first went to Mumbai. It feels like it's been so long and then I remembered I never finished this blog. Well where I left off was the end of school. On our last night, Austin and my friends took us to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants to take pictures and talk. Although they had exams, they were happy to say goodbye to us one last time. My friend Sanjana gave us both photo books with pictures throughout our stay and everyone wrote comments in them. That night, I talked with my host mom and sister and we said our goodbyes since my host sister would not see me off that morning.

The next day, we boarded the planes at around nine to Delhi. Sanjana, Sasha, and Adhishree saw us off at the airport as well as Austin's host mom (mine had already left when they came). The plane ride to Delhi went fine and not long at all. We were picked up by AFS staff at the airport and took a cab to our hotel, which was very nice. The thing about Delhi is that... it's very spread out and there are wide open roads. After living in Mumbai, it was a bit disorienting and Austin and I agreed that we liked Mumbai better. I don't know why but I just didn't get Delhi. I might have to go back again to visit that city because it just didn't make sense.

We re-united with the Delhi girls and became Team India again. It was great to see them and see how we all had been changed. this was by far the best orientation yet. Everything was just about talking about things in the community and spreading your knowledge. The rest of the time, we just goofed around. We got to go to the Taj Mahel, which was AMAZING, and took a side trip to the birth place of Lord Krishna. The best part of that was riding in these cycle rickshaws down these narrow back roads to a shrine. There were sewers on both sides of it with sometimes wild hogs in them. This one temple dedicated to Krishna was decorated with beautiful flowers everywhere, and I was told that, people will get their name put on a list for years in advance just so that they can decorate this temple in the months leading up to Krishna's birthday.

Of course we are just a bit silly. It is surprising we all became so close as a group of exchange students...

This is Austin and I waiting for our delayed flights out of D.C. Our orientation there went pretty well too, although we didn't meet the president. Instead we met with the assistants to our senators to talk about international relations and to ask them to keep funding the YES program. Thanks to Colorado, we also got free passes to see the House of Representatives, which was cool to see. We saw the Department of State as well and talked with one of it's main women (I'm sorry I'm forgetting your name right now!) Lastly, we made a toast to the future of YES and left on our way.

Now, I've been very busy this summer. I started work, literally the week after I returned home and there wasn't an end to it. I saw my friends quite a bit, my grandma came to visit, and we now have a new member of our family. Her name is Bennasee and she is from Thailand. She will be spending a year here in the U.S. under the YES scholarship. She's only been here about a week but so far, we're getting along great. In that way, it is a new beginning because now I am helping someone on their own journey, while my understanding of my own deepens. I am still in contact with my Indian friends although it is difficult being so far away from them and what with their aggressive school work. But I hope that I've made friends for life and I know these memories will stay with me forever.