June 23, 2019
It’s officially the day before my study abroad program starts and I’m feeling all of the emotions, but let me backtrack and tell you about my journey to India.
So it all started off in Seoul, South Korea. I was in Korea exploring with my friend, Lucy, and my cousin, Nhi. The morning of the 21st, I got up early, finished packing and managed to wake them up to say goodbye before I headed to the airport. I was already feeling nervous for what’s to come, because I’d be traveling to the airport with 2 luggages and 2 backpacks on the metro, all by myself. Then I had a connecting flight in Bangkok, Thailand, where I was shocked at how similar Thai people are to Vietnamese people (I’m Vietnamese :)). The languages were so similar that sometimes I couldn’t even tell if the person was Thai or Vietnamese.
Then came my time to board the airplane, and I happened to be 1 of 2 non-Indians on the shuttle bus to the plane. I also ended up having to stand in the center of the bus on a platform, where literally everyone could see me. It was definitely an experience, because I felt like everyone was staring at me, probably questioning why I was going to Chennai and what I was going to be doing there.
Fast forward to actually making it to India. On the first day I arrived, some of the girls from my group and I decided to walk to the beach! It was super pretty (from far away because I didn’t actually make it to the water), but the girls who stayed back and I got to enjoy the breeze from afar. The walk there was beautiful. We got to see how the locals live and the colorful buildings, which I loved the most about the walk. All the children on the streets who saw us would wave and they were all so sweet.
Today is my second day here and Dr. K took us for a surprise where we went shopping, visited a women’s college and crashed a wedding!
The mall was an 8 story mall with large collections of literally everything you can imagine: from clothes, groceries, house hold items, shoes, etc. Everyone was overwhelmed by the vast number of THINGS. After we got our shopping fix, we went to a women’s college where the wonderful students danced for us, and we got to have real conversations with them. They were the nicest, most welcoming group of people I’ve ever met. One of the girls kept calling us sister, and we all began to call each other that. Some of us even had the chance to ride their school bus, so of course we all decided it was a good idea to have a dance party! We sang some English songs and they sang some to us in their language, Tamil.
Now for the wedding! If I were to tell myself that I’d be able to go to an Indian wedding WHILE in India, I definitely would’ve been like “PSH there is no way”. When we arrived at the wedding, there was drums playing, people chatting, and large crowds everywhere! We shuffled through the crowds and somehow we all ended up on the stage to take a picture with the bride and groom. I admired everyones sarees and the intricate designs on each of them. We even got some sarees as presents! We had dinner there, where we all ate with our “god given hand” as Dr. K would say. It was a lot harder than it looked, and I applaud people who do it so well.
The night quickly came to an end and we said our goodbyes to the wonderful girls that we grew so close to in such a short amount of time. We reminded each other of our names and said that we would have to remember each other the next time we visit, which is only less than a month from now.
This was one of the most eventful days of my life so far, and I can’t wait to see the girls again.