Final Thoughts on India

I have waited so long to finish this last blog post because I can’t bring myself to accept that our trip is actually over. There are SO MANY stories, memories, and adventures that I experienced but I couldn’t possibly talk about them all so I’m just going to list a few favorites.

For starters, there is nothing more thrilling and happiness inducing than a ride on the back of a scooter in the streets of Hubli. Before going to India I had always been too afraid to ride on a scooter or a motorcycle so I never tried. I don’t know if it was the fact that I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to take public transportation or the fact that I had already adventured to the other side of the world so why not conquer another fear while I was at it, but I jumped on the back of Abhishek’s scooter and never wanted to get off. From that point on I snatched any ride I could on the back of someones (usually Ameen’s) scootie.

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This trip also helped become a more confident and somewhat aggressive (in a good way I promise) person. I’ve previously been a timid person when it comes to conflict and usually keep quiet even if I am somehow being wronged in a situation. But let me tell you, arguing over prices or money and yelling at vendors in Hindi who are admirably persistent is quite a rush. On our touring trip after leaving KLE we stopped for lunch at a coffee shop where I ended up being owed Rupees from the cashier and I had a hard time getting it back. As soon as the disagreement started I had Professor Mehta, Sahil, the tour guide, and Sean all at the counter ready to argue on my behalf. The five of us took turns voicing our complaints and then also all shouting at the same time, luckily the cashier had enough of our drama and threw 100 Rupees right at us. In hindsight we were arguing over a little over $1 but when in India…. All I’m saying is a lot can happen over coffee.

Another one of my favorite memories was ethnic day. Getting dressed by the Aunties who came to wrap our sarees was one of the greatest feelings. I felt like a princess. I wish I had the ability to put my saree on myself so I could wear it all the time. Seeing everyone else all dressed up was incredible as well. All the different colors and accessories and smiles plastered across everyones faces. We were so excited to get a closer look at Indian culture and the Indian students were beyond happy to share it with us. We had a fashion show and everyone had the chance to rock the runway, even the professors themselves! Our night ended with sending lanterns into the sky (except for the one that set a temporary ¬†fire that didn’t harm anyone!) with one another to end a good night in Hubli.

Our final day in Hubli was full of tears as we parted ways with our friends that had felt like family. We weren’t ready to leave each other quite yet, two weeks wasn’t long enough to learn all that we wanted to from one another. In our last days together we made promises to see each other again, hugged tight and often, and spent all the time we could with each other. Time seemed to move so fast and before we knew it we were driving away from the scholar house and on our way to tour for the next 5 days. I am so thankful for the friendships I made in Hubli and I will miss it until I return again. The very best time I had during my trip was spending time with genuine people who were willing to share parts of themselves that you can’t see on the surface. It opened my eyes to see that beyond culture, language and distance from each other, we are all still very similar and want the same things. It was an experience that I could never duplicate and would recommend to anyone.

Thank so you so much Professor Mehta for encouraging students to experience something different (not to mention sticking up for us when the tour guide brought us to unfavorable places), and Professor Ciuchta for being a great travel companion even though Delhi wasn’t my favorite place to visit in India. This program is beyond words and I hope it continues to give students the same experience that I had!