After preparing for a couple days before all the students arrived, the South Asian students presented on their cultures for the international students. You can read more here, and see a few student interviews here, beginning with Olga!
Time flew by so fast and now I am slowly realizing that this trip will be over and in only a day and a half I will be laying on my bed in my apartment in my town in my country just… staring at the wall and trying to recall this whole experience all over again. And the saddest part is that I know that however hard I try, I will not be able to recreate the same emotions, energy, sights and people as amazing and magical as they were. When I began this trip, my main goal was to miss it – because in my mind back then this was a proof that the trip is worth it. HOWEVER, my mind back then didn’t actually imagine how much is going to hurt to say goodbye – and right now I am laying in my bed with my wonderful roommate Kailn (who I am also gonna miss A LOT), just writing this blog as an excuse to stay awake a little longer – with the hope that maybe time will miraculously stop and our last night here will last forever. I don’t really know what to say, but at the same time I want to say (or write) every detail of every day of this journey so my future self can always remember it as it was – unique, wonderful, special, inspirational… and every other positive word you can think of!
Today as our last day we went shopping at the market in Delhi – Dili Haat, and WE BARGAINED! I don’t know if I am satisfied with what I bought, but it doesn’t matter because bargaining with Indian sellers was THE BEST THING EVER! I will just tell you that I managed to buy a bracelet with original price of 450 rupees for only 100 AND a silver elephant figure with original price 1000 for 400! So yes, bargaining is my thing and I recommend it as a definite must-experience in India!
We spent the whole day shopping and for dinner we went in a fancy restaurant with a terrace – didn’t really eat, we mostly danced or sat and talked with each other – we had a great time but still – there was a feeling of sadness and melancholy in the air because we knew this was our last dance party night in India… And the dance parties here cannot be repeated anywhere in the world because let me tell you – Indians know how to party! And when you get Indians and Americans in one place – oh BOY, put your dancing shoes on and get ready to learn some moves and get sweaty! I can proudly say that I am taking back home great American and Indian moves, as well as some nice new songs and of course – a drop of the wonderful energy that was transmitted to me in the dancing group circles!
Another thing that made our last night in India unforgettable was that while I was on the dance floor, the new nice pants I bought at the Dili Haat and decided to wear got RIPPED while I was doing my new favourite move that I mastered with the help of my New York friend Sajed (he is an awesome dancer and I AM GONNA MISS HIS ENERGY SO MUCHH). So yea, that happened – that’s an Indian bargain for you…. Still though, the night was saved by our wonderful leaders Eli, Ana, Rougye and Mohit who got me a scarf that was my “skirt for the night” (Rougye didn’t actually know she was helping, but she was distracting the others with her AWESOME DANCE MOVES… I’m gonna miss her so much…).
So – the night finished with pictures (most of which my wonderful personal photographer for the whole trip – Ezz, took…I’m gonna miss him SO MUCHHH) and me awkwardly dancing in my scarf-skirt. I had a lot of fun, but still – I am feeling the dreadful day of departure coming with the sunrise. I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow, I am sure that I will cry, but I’ll just repeat to myself the one thing that is sad but, as one of my best friends on this trip and the best people ever – Phila (I’M GONNA MISS HIM SO MUCHH), would say, “very true”: “you know an experience has been worth it only if you miss it after”.
On this trip there was a lot of information and traditions going on in India that is very similar to Native Americans. Learning about the denotified tribes gave me inspiration of wanting to change my Native community for the better, through various clever ways, such as acting. Also I became pretty close to everyone in someone way, or at least I hope. But it will be hard to say goodbye to everyone I got to know for three whole weeks. However, I can full heartedly say I have had my fill of India and am ready to go home. This trip was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. I will be a grandma telling my grandkids about how I went to India, because I’m not too sure if I will travel a lot when I get older but it doesn’t seem likely. But, no matter what happens I will have this experience and the 360+ family in my heart.
We are at the end of this amazing experience. 22 days of workshops, food, ice cream, hotels, travelling and good company.
India is one overly informative country. Despite religious and cultural diversity, I am leaving with an abundance of knowledge and understanding of the past and present India.
Looking back at pre-said challenges, I’ve really grown content with the humidity and rain here. I might even miss it when I get back home. Speaking of home, I am proud of how much I’ve handled my home-sickness. It has been incredibly tough at first as I felt isolated and misunderstood. I can’t say it got easier, but I was able to find positive ways to cope with it, like journaling my feelings and emotions daily, calling home regularly and just experiencing everything that took place around me.
As I’ve said in the beginning that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I believe I have made the most of it. I have no feelings of disappointment or regret at this point. I can’t say that I’ve found my place amongst all these students, but that’s not the point. We are all completely different individuals and I have really enjoyed these 3 weeks with them.
The level of confidence I had when I stepped into India has doubled since. I now have confidence in what I am able to achieve. I am as optimistic about my next chapter as I was about this one, maybe even more. I am truly thankful to myself for doing this.