From Boston to India

So far my travels to India have been full of different emotions and experiences. My adventure started on my first plane ride from Boston to Qatar. I got lucky with a window seat and only one other person in the row with me. My flight companion was a Vietnamese man named Anthony who was on his way back to Vietnam for his father’s funeral. Regardless of his situation, from the start he was nothing but kind to me and gave me the run down on an international flight experience. I told him it was my first real trip abroad excluding a trip I took to Mexico a few years ago but it was a tropical getaway so I don’t really count it as a real cultural experience. As the flight went on Anthony and I shared a little bit of our lives with each other over slow-cooked beef, sandwiches, and desserts. Half way through the flight he ordered the ice cream they offered as a snack. I, of course, passed it up because I’m lactose intolerant so I observed his snack from afar. At first we shared a laugh because the ice cream was fully melted and unable to eat, so he decided to close it back up. But do to the slippery airplane trays it slid back before he could close it and it fell right into his lap. I couldn’t help but start laughing and he had a chuckle himself while he rushed to wipe up all he could with his free airplane blanket. All in all he was in good spirits and I admired his ability to wipe things off. Had it been me in his position I would have asked for an immediate landing of the plane.

After a quick layover in Qatar we had another 4 hour flight to Bangalore. Upon arrival to Bangalore our UMass Lowell group finally got a chance to gather together as we prepared ourselves for Immigration. I wasn’t sure what to expect when arriving to the desk where I would be questioned on my reason for traveling to India. Well it was much worse than I thought. The woman at the desk made me feel as though I had done something wrong which I’m assuming is part of her job, but I felt a huge feeling of relief when she finally let me through the gate. Once we had all picked up our bags and exchanged some money we proceeded through the airport to check in for our 3rd flight which would bring us to our final destination in Hubli. This 6 hour layover in Bangalore was definitely my favorite part of our 20+ hours of travel. The group finally got a chance to get together, learn each others names, and start bonding before our arrival in Hubli. Within a few hours I had started friendships that I knew would last a lifetime. I was surprised at how quickly we found similarities in each other as we shared stories and laughed while we ate Indian KFC at the airport at 5 am.

Once we finally made it to Hubli it was an awe filled experience. We grabbed our bags and piled onto the bus to KLE and took in every sight we possibly could. With my camera in hand I hung out of the window on the bus and took pictures of anything and everything. Not once did I sit down on the bus because I was too excited to look out the window and wave to the people in the streets. When we pulled up to campus we were welcomed by the Indian students with open arms and everyone was so excited to see us. It was an amazing feeling to be welcomed so warmly by people who were perfect strangers. I can’t wait for the experiences that the rest of the trip will bring me!