Coming to India, I prepped myself for many things going wrong: probably losing my luggage, my bank card not working, getting terribly sick (like everyone does) or at least something small. Up until now, I had it free sailing and without problems. My ISAC (India Study Abroad Center) boss came to visit for a few days so that was great. We were counting weeks and days until I left and realized that the number of weeks from start to departure flight was 13 weeks, we had on record only 12 weeks and that’s what I had paid for. My IE3 coordinator, ISAC boss and I had all missed this somehow. An extra large sum of money was needed to stay until my departure flight so the next step was to find an alternative. We weighed all my options and decided it was best to move up my departure date. 6 weeks sounds like, “Cool, I’ve got some time here still.” But, 5 weeks is like “I’m leaving so soon!” Now comes the realization to truly cherish every moment here and take it all in.
Part of enjoying all these little moments are my morning runs. At first, I was nervous to go running because it’s just not something you see here. Everyone reassured me it was fine, and besides, it was just another silly thing the foreigner in town does. Running gives me time to not have to think about what somebody is saying to me in a different language or what kind of custom I am breaking. I go at 7am before the sun gets too hot so it’s just me, my running shoes and the pavement (and the peacocks/parrots). Lately, it’s turned into the original Olympic Marathon. As I run through the villages, people cheer and barefooted children run alongside or try to race. It’s always a challenge dodging cows, herds of dogs, the huge vegetable carts or the zooming motorcycles. One thing I find very funny is that for about 1/4 of a mile of the road, there is a cobblestone sidewalk. Normally, I associate cobblestone streets with my city in Germany or parts of Europe, but they use bricks for many things here so, I guess why not? Right?!
I’m glad that through my weird and foreign ways I bring joy and laughs to those around me. My manager always says that I am so expressive and passionate about things. #1. I find that Americans are generally more expressive through emotions and body language than Indians and #2. My personality is more outgoing than most Americans so it’s like a double dose of excitement over here.
Even though I’m headed home a week earlier than expected, I’m glad everything worked out and if that’s the worst of my troubles, I’ll take it! In a month, I’m headed back and I’m excited to get back to real life but I still have lots to do here ie. vacation and meet a few more little smiling faces. ~ Anna
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Laozi