My time in India

As I sit here on the plane returning from India, I’m sad my time there is over but also overjoyed to see my family. In the early years of my adulthood, I spent a lot of time wallowing while I watched my friends go away to college, study abroad and experience all I felt I’d needed to, but couldn’t.  I, of course was married with children, a job and school so I would never be able to share those memories of places so different, in some ways better, in others worse, than where I call home.  This opportunity gave me the chance to recapture a part of being young that I yearned for but never had.  Having said that India more than ever reminded me how grateful I am for my greatest adventure in that of my wife and children.  All of that time I spent lamenting my lost youth was so I’d be able to fully appreciate this memory while knowing I’d be returning to the best thing about my life, my family.

I got really sick the last week.  I didn’t get out much and worked a lot on our project.  Our mo-ped ride to the hill and the market outings seemed far away.  The temples were beautiful and ornate in ways I can’t really describe, but as I lay in my bed delirious with pain I almost couldn’t remember any of what I’d seen.  The young men and women I lived and worked with began to take care of me and reminded me why I’d fallen in love with this country even before I came.  Maturity and sympathy like I experienced scarcely shows up in the adult world that I’m a part of.  Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s our society of independence and quiet suffering, but I barely understood why they were so concerned.  It didn’t really matter; I was there, we were friends and that’s all it took for them to devote their time to me.
India meant so much to me in innumerable ways and I thought the place itself more than anything else would be what I remembered.  The people obviously make a place what it is and that’s what I really understand now.  It is the people who make India what it is through it’s beauty in nature, culture, architecture, landscape and everything else.  Despite its problems, my experience showed that even more things are done right than wrong.  I think I can say the same for where I’m from, but I don’t know if I’ll always be able to say that.  I knew that I, along with everyone everywhere, needed to learn about humanity’s differences, but I just never learned the extent.  I have better idea now.  I can’t wait to come back, especially with my family so we can share this country together.

Our class

I’m not creative in the traditional sense.  I know our class had a guest speaker who more or less debunked that statement, but I don’t see it that way.  What I can do is think of ways that exist to solve problems and create opportunities.  To me, creativity means thinking of something no one else can.  Our class really emphasized that maybe that’s all that’s needed to be an innovator.  I’ve had ideas but lacked the detailed vision to ever be able to see them through.  I learned in our class in India that it was okay not to know every angle of an idea, but that being able to make one move into something was what really mattered. The class itself and especially the guest speakers really gave me tangible skills that I can use to bring about innovation not only to my company, but my life in general.

Usually, I try to self-analyze at all times in all situations.  If I forget to hold the door for someone behind me as I leave a store, I have to stop, figure out why I forgot, try to apologize and remind myself to be more careful.  I do the same thing when I try to implement innovative ideas in my life and that over-analysis can lack direction.  This course gave me an idea of what that direction looks like.  Our projects, the reading material, the discussions and everything else provided me a course to the chaotic self-diagnostics I apply everywhere in my life.  I’d really like to help my wife start a business making furniture and other woodwork/crafts.  Now I know much better what that will look like on paper and in reality because of this course.  Professionally, my workplace can get stuffy and lack innovation, but I know opportunities are there and I think I’ll have a better time seeing those now.  The professors provided a rich and wonderful cultural experience that allowed to grow as people and professionals.  I hardly can think of a more valuable class I’ve taken or will take than this.  To learn so much in just 2 weeks was daunting, but we made it through, learned so much on the way and I, at least found so many new ways to look at things.

What I’ve seen so far

This trip is the fulfillment of one of my lifelong dreams and I have to say what I’ve seen and experienced has far surpassed what I could have imagined.  I didn’t think anything like this opportunity would be available to me as a husband and father of two with more responsibilites than time to fulfill them.

Every single place we’ve been is so alive with activity and there doesn’t seem a dull moment to be had in this country.  Delhi was bustling and alive with people everywhere doing everything.  We saw otherworldly beauty as well as the stark pain that so often go hand in hand.  The Taj Mahal and the Red Fort gave us a glimpse of the majesty of the great Mughal kings.  Every other sight as we traveled gave us the vision of a place as different from our home as seemingly possible as well as diverse.

Our drive from Goa to Hubli has been one of my favorite sights so far.  Driving up the mountains along the beautiful road up almost into the clouds fascinated me.

Our arrival in Hubli was met with as warm of a welcome as I’ve received anywhere; it’s as if we were family long lost and well missed.  Since we’ve been here our projects have kept us busy, but the relationships created already have brought us great joy and companionship.

Today was really special, it was Jake’s birthday so he got his birthday bumps or “kicks in the ass” as we might put it.  Our friends at BVB taught us cricket and procured one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.  I saw the city of Hubli from the back of a vespa and a motorcycle (first time I’d been on either), a truly exhilarating experience.  We’ve been welcomed and made to feel special and it’s made all the difference in making this a truly wonderful experience.