Living as an expat for a year in india hasn’t been easy. Here are the 10 things that I’ve learned about myself and the world around me.
Diwali is the the most important holiday of India. It is like a mix of Christmas and the 4th of July and is a 5 day holiday also known as the Festival of Lights. They light candles, pray, eat, exchange gifts and have ceremonies.
You know that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Well, that’s bull shit! The wrong words, at the wrong time, can be emotionally devastating. Even those of us that are often considered strong and independent have our breaking point. I’m no exception. As embarrassed as I am to admit it, I recently had one of those moments when just one word from a hater sent me into a tail spin that lasted for days.
It hasn’t been easy adjusting to all the cultural differences in India. The fact is, as much as I try to learn and adapt, I’m still an outsider here. I’m reminded of it every day when people stare at me like some sort of monstrosity or don’t understand what I’m saying. Even if they do understand me, they often don’t understand my intent. I am constantly misunderstood and judged. It has been far more difficult to make friends here than I ever imagined. I have finally managed to make a handful of friends, but it’s still a huge challenge to try not to offend each other or misjudge the other person’s behavior. I have been trying very hard to not be overly sensitive to such things, but the other day a hater said something to me that felt like a punch in the face! Here is what happened.
Karva Chauth is an auspicious ceremony and festival paracticed by Hindus in India. It is believed to prolong the life of a woman’s husband
The Grub Fest is a fun food festival in India that also has live music, drinks, dancing and cooking demonstrations.
Udaipur is in the state of Rajasthan and is a popular romantic destination. We flew IndiGo Airlines which is one of the domestic choices for flights within India. A quick hour and $100 USD for the ticket and we were there.
We checked into our quaint little hotel called Mewar Hevali, which cost only about $30 USD per night. It was colorful and comfortable and just about half a block from Lake Pichola. The first thing we did was sit down on the guard (stairs going down into the lake) and just take in the sounds and beauty of the picturesque scenery. I can tell you that after being in Delhi, the sights and sounds of a lake, along with the blue sky, moved me to tears. We watched a woman wash her laundry in the water and a couple of people came down to bathe. I saw a small fishing boat with two fisherman checking their nets. Later that evening we watched the sunset from a rooftop restaurant called the Rainbow Restaurant. It soon became our favorite place for Masala Chai Tea and Poray (pronounced Poor Awe). It’s a southern Indian rice dish made with flattened puff rice and spices. So good!
Dussehra is a national holiday in India that celebrates good over evil. The night ends with the burning of a representation of the Hindu Lord Ravana.
Navratri is a nine day festival in India celebrating the goddess of power, Durga.
October 2nd is Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and a national holiday in India. This year I had the honor of being in India on the special day known as Gandhi Jayanti. Unfortunately I was feeling under the weather (literally, the pollution was getting to me) but I celebrated it anyway by watching the movie Gandhi on cable television and by following the other celebrations throughout the city.
The India people call Gandhi Bapu, which means father in Hindi. He is considered the father of the nation, and for very good reason. Few people have had such a profound influence on a nation as Mahatma Gandhi has on India. He championed the resistance against Britain for independence and after decades of peaceful protests resulting in imprisonment, cruelty and genocide of the Indian people, the nation finally was granted independence on August 15th, 1947.
Sitting at my desk, finding it hard to breathe and my head pounding, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt even worse than I did the day before. I really couldn’t afford another sick day, but I called my driver anyway and headed home for the day, even though it was only 3:00. I felt like I had a bad chest cold, but without the fever. This is how bad pollution days in the Delhi area make me feel. They don’t only affect me physically, but emotionally as well. I find myself feeling homesick for blue sky and fresh air. Fortunately, after ten months here, I have found 5 helpful ways to deal with the poor air quality in Delhi.