Namaste from India!

Namaste from India! It has been an interesting experience thus far and I am only a few days in. I would be more specific about the length of time I have been here but honestly, time escapes me. The days blur together and even the time of any particular day can be confusing; however, I am slowly adjusting. I will try and give a brief chronicle of my experiences thus far…
Upon arriving in Delhi I was unpleasantly surprised that my luggage did not arrive with me. I have to admit, I was overwhelmed by this information and could almost feel tears stinging my eyes when talking to the baggage claim man at the airport; yet, something within me helped me to breathe and get through the situation with patience. It may have been that a thought flickered past me that this trip would be full of unexpected moments that I could handle either with an open mind and heart or with fear and apprehension, although I’m sure many moments will bring both. It could have also been that I was a bit disoriented after a 15 hour flight and couldn’t muster the energy to cry. Either way, my luggage arrived the next day.
I spent a about two days in Delhi and met all the people in my program. I was very relieved to find that most of us had similar interests and/or philosophies but also everyone brought something individual and unique which always makes meetings with each other interesting. I do not have that much to say about Delhi other than the humidity and traffic because I was in a slight daze the whole time I was there from jetlag.
From Delhi we took a train (my first train ride!) to Mussoorie. The situation at the train station was my first noticeable moment of culture shock – there were so many people, a cow resting outside of the station door, and a man persistently following our group around asking for money. This site hurt my heart a bit and I was not sure how to react to this behavior. I spent a lot of time on the train thinking about this experience of someone begging for money. One of my goals on this trip was to try and see beauty in the most unlikely places, which made me wonder how I could see beauty in a man who looked hungry, begging for money, and me not giving him any. I finally picked up a poetry book my friend loaned me by W.H. Auden when I was seated in the train to take my mind somewhere else. However, when I did this, I read a line in the poem Precious Five that said “Bless what there is for being”. I have been thinking about that line since.
Now, in Mussoorie, I find myself in one of the most visually striking and beautiful places I have ever visited. We are in the foothills of the Himalayas Mountains and it is so majestic that words would never do it justice. In the mornings I hear a man chanting as I look out my window to mountain peaks with the mist and clouds hanging on them like the colorful duputas women wear around their necks. The streets are narrow and full of noises (car horns mainly), business exchanges, children walking to and from class, monkeys, dogs, and old men talking. Tonight at a group meeting I was struck with the realization that this place is now a part of me, of my journey. I am beginning to see and become more familiar with the Indian culture and I can’t wait when I can express insights into this diverse and interesting culture. Also, I am really enjoying learning the Hindi language, it is actually fun to write and sound out. On that note, I must go study or mujhay parnaa hai. Take care all!

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