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Mary: In just 7 days…

August 9, 2011
  • I’ve learned how to cross the street in India.
  • I’ve learned that being lactose intolerant in India would be extremely inconvenient.
  • I’ve learned how to politely refuse the fourth serving of food Rama-Ji offers.
  • I’ve learned how to introduce myself, say where I’m from, where I live and what my job is, say the names of five fruits and five vegetables, ask if the tea is ready, and say the numbers one through twenty in Hindi. I’ve learned the first fifteen characters of the Devangari script.
  • I’ve learned how to enjoy eating with my hands and not make a total mess.
  • I’ve learned that cereal with hot milk is actually pretty good, if a little strange.
  • I’ve learned that Indians don’t go to a supermarket, but instead buy fresh fruits and vegetables from the vendors who bring carts door to door every morning, calling out their arrival in loud, rhythmic chants.
  • I’ve learned that drinking hot chai on a hot day actually cools you down, despite being counterintuitive.
  • I’ve learned that “chai” is actually just the Hindi word for tea.
  • I’ve learned more about modern Indian politics, including that the parliament building is round so that no one will ever be put in a corner.
  • I’ve learned from personal experience that monkeys are not scared of people and will actually come into the house and take a mango out of the refrigerator.
  • I’ve learned to not take tap water for granted.
  • I’ve learned to really appreciate cold showers in the morning.
  • I’ve learned to ignore the constant flickering of the lights as the electricity surges and fades.
  • I’ve learned to stay inside from 1 to 5 everyday because its way too hot and it always rains.
  • I’ve learned that if your fingers get stiff it means you’re dehydrated.
  • I’ve learned that Indian kids go to school on Saturday.
  • I’ve learned to make sure and look out for giant cow patties in the street.
  • I’ve learned that I still have a lot to figure out about this crazy new place I’m living.

I want to capture the feel of this moment forever: I’m lying on my bed. The sweet taste of mango lingers in my mouth from lunch. The white marble floor makes my room cool and relaxing, even in the heat of the noonday sun. Sheer red and gold curtains are swaying gently in the light breeze which blows in from my open windows. Thunder is rolling in the distance, but creeping closer. I am listening to a recording of Ravi Shankar, the most well known sitar player in all of India, accompanied by the rhythmic beats of a tabla. Suddenly the storm breaks over head and the monsoon rains are unleashed, adding the sound of a torrential downfall to my music and the heavy smell of dampness to the air. There is no place on earth I would rather be at this moment. I am in India and I am happy.

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