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Ellen: Lost in translation

November 6, 2010

I don’t think Indians understand why I am here. I haven’t figured out how to say “semester abroad” or “experiential learning” or “wanderlust”

I am here to observe and live in their country immersed in their culture. I came prepared for everything to be different and overwhelming—and I think I have handled it rather well. I am adapting to their customs and habits, and I respect their way of life. But they cannot understand mine.

I am 20 and not married *GASP* I might not even get married til I’m 28! and it will be for love, not an arrangement! My sister is 23 and she’s not married! And…wait for it…I don’t have a brother *GASP*GASP*

I try to explain that it is ok in America to not have brothers (would anybody really want to deal with a Blanchard son?) and that I want to get married, but in America 20 is considered young to get married. (The other day someone was appalled that I am not married and said to my face that I was old.) And usually people wait until after college to get married.

So besides that mini rant, all is well!!

I have been in Phalodi for the week, and I will go to a village on Tuesday the 9th. There hasn’t been a lot of internship-related work, but I think this has been one of the best weeks of my life.

I am the novelty white girl at the foundation. Every person and their cousins knows the story of my life, rather, the story that they chose to tell based on the facts I try to tell about myself in broken Hindi (but obviously the most important things are that I am not married and don’t have a brother).

The main people who work at the foundation live at the foundation, so it’s like having 7 host families! So I have chai at least 5 times a day, and get to hang out with…I can’t even count them all…19 siblings.

and Diwali!! in a nutshell: Let all those under the age of 6 run around with sparklers and matches. Let them set off as many firecrakers as they want and stand only 4 feet away. Repeat all night long.

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