Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Last night was my first shift back at work. I've had many people ask how my trip was. I never know how to answer. There is no short way to explain it. It was huge and intense and awful and wonderful. I am struggling to figure out how to capture that in a way that people might understand. My next step is to get a slideshow of pictures to show people. I has been difficult to focus on finishing my course work from India. I feel so far removed from it and from the group. I did get a surprise visit from Devon! She was on her way to the Vancouver airport and stopped at my house! It was crazy to have someone who has heard so much about my life at home to actually come here. I talked a lot about my family and friends on the trip. Now I find myself wanting to talk about India every time I am reminded of something. I just find it weird to think about what my life was like two months ago and how it is so different now. I was living out of a backpack and never slept in a room by myself, travelling all over and missing home. I miss my India family terribly but I am so happy to be home with my family and boyfriend and friends and pony and dog and rabbits. I have had time to rest and enjoy the comforts of home and am now gearing up for the next semester. I am so thankful for Dr J and the opportunity she gave me to explore and grow. And thank you to the group for being amazing friends. Thanks to my loved ones who supported me the whole time and to everyone that read the blog! I hope to post more pictures soon. I'd love to personally tell everyone some stories about my adventures!
Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Ghandi Memorial- Delhi
Golden Temple- Amritsar
Our stay in the mountains- Dharmsala
Sunset in the Himalayas> this one's for Jenna- Dharmsala
Me and a horse- Himalayas
Sometimes we get tired at temples - Hampi
Glam shot at a temple- Hampi
On the beach - Goa
Saturday, November 20, 2010
We had to leave already the next morning. We went to stay on houseboats for a night. It was so relaxing and beautiful to float around through canals and around a huge lake. We ate fish and juicy pineapples and drank out of coconuts. We had two boats with five people on each. It was really strange to be in a group with only five people for the afternoon. We all felt a bit lost without our huge group. It reminded me of how hard it will be to come home and not have my 'India family' around 24/7.
After the houseboats we went to Ammas ashram. The west calls her the hugging saint. She was not at the ashram but it was still an amazing experience. The first two encounters with people in the ashram were not great. They were rude. But as we got to know the people there it got much better. The ashram sits on a peninsula that was completely washed out in the tsunami. Amma did so much work to restore the city. the wave came as high as the palm trees there. She brought the people into the high rises of the ashram and her cows and elephants took refuge in the temple. I can not imagine what it would have been like. We experienced many amazing things there in only one night. It is one of the places that I would have to come back to in India. You will have to ask me more about it when I get home because there is just too much to be able to type it in here. One of the best parts for me was to see someone walking around in a Storm shirt from Tofino. I yelled across the room "hey I like your shirt!' and he came over to talk to us and ended up giving us a tour of the elephants and the beach. It felt great for someone staying in India to recognize my JRFM sticker that is on my notebook. He told me about where he can sometimes surf near the ashram. Interestingly enough, locals do not go into the water. They have been fishermen for generations but many can not swim. They are especially terrified of the sea after the tsunami.
We left the ashram and stayed in a hotel somewhere for a night. I do not remember what the city was. We got to go to a seminary and talk to a priest there. It was one of the most interesting discussions that we have had in India. He wanted us to just keep asking questions and it was so easy to ask about his life and Christianity in India.
The next day we had a very difficult bus ride up a mountain to Thekkady. I forgot to mention that most of the group was really sick at this point. We must have some in contact with a bacteria because we were sick to our stomaches and it was coming out of both ends. It was a very long and uncomfortable bus ride. The elevation did not help the situation. Luckily we were in Thekaddy for more than one night. We spent 5 nights there. It is the land of spices. We drove through tea plantations to get there. The whole city smelled like fresh spices. We had so much fun going in all the stores and trying to remember that we only have backpacks to carry all our stuff around in. I defiantly caught up on my shopping there and I am trying not to think about what I will do with all this extra stuff when I have to get on a plane. In Thekaddy we had some time to relax and recuperate. We did go to martial arts demonstration, another Katakali dance show and a spice pantation. I saw the biggest spiders I have ever seen. On our last night there we were out for dinner and it started raining. We thought we would wait out the rain. By the time we finished dinner it was still pouring so we finally got some auto-rickshaws to take us back to the home-stay. That was the most eventful five minute ride I have ever taken. First off, an auto-rickshaw is like a small dirt bike engine on 3 wheels. They go fast but they are very small. We were putting along and suddenly the road turned into a river. I now know how flash floods occur. There were three of us in the rickshaw and we were all screaming at the guy to drive faster up this hill while half a food of water was rushing down hill. It was crazy. We were all soaked when we got back. It was exciting and no one was hurt. India is having weird rains this year. It rains every two or three days in Thekaddy for the last ten months. This does not happen. Usually when monsoon is over, there is no more rain all year. It has definatly made this trip interesting because we were not expecting any rain at all.
So now we are in Maduri for 6 nights. We are staying at a women collage till Sunday. It is the last week of the actual course and next week we will have some time to relax before coming home. I can not believe how fast it is coming to an end.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
From Hampi we had a 10 hour bus ride to Goa. We arrived in the dark and had a ten minute walk along the beach to our hotel. I woke up really early this morning and sat on the beach for an hour before the sun got too hot. It is so beautiful. White sand, the Arabian Sea and palm trees. We have all week to relax, read, swim and have drinks brought to us. I am very excited to have our yoga on the beach too. I could get used to this kind of school work :P As soon as I am done in this wonderfully air conditioned internet cafe I am going to pick up a sundress and head back to the hotel for a swim in the ocean. I did not realize how much I miss the ocean. As soon as I heard the waves last nice I had an explosion of homesickness. Unfortunately the waves are too small to do any surfing. I guess I will have to wait till I get home for that.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
We are now half way done the trip. We had an overnight train to Delhi and will fly to south India tonight. It is hard to believe it's been 6 weeks. It seems like it went by so fast yet so very slow.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
We just relaxed and reflected for the rest of the afternoon. The whole group went for dinner at a chill little place near the hotel. It was really great to just have a beer together and dance around. I'm sure everyone else in the place thought we were crazy but it was really fun. overall, awesome day. But I am very tired.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
So we finally piled into overpriced taxis for the 3 hour drive to Rishikesh. We were squished and hot. It is so muggy here. The rain has made to many potholes in the road that it was really an uncomfortable drive. At one point on the highway our driver did not want to go over a pothole so he just swerved to the other side of the road and weaved his way through oncoming traffic for a while. It was quite the experience. We made it to the ashram for dinner. I have to talk about the food. It is all so fresh and delicious here. We get warm milk! It is the first place we've had milk in the past weeks. We find ourselves talking about food everyday, often more than once. The only downside to mealtimes is that we must eat in silence. We are all in different cabins and eat in silence so I really miss socializing with the group. We all feel disconnected. So yesterday we took a break from the intense yoga and meditation classes and went into Rishikesh. It was a rather touristy area but the markets were fabulous and the prices were good. Sometimes I realize that it is rather silly of me to be haggling over 50 cents off an item but we get caught up in the moment and really do not like the feeling of being ripped off. Over all I think Rishikesh has been good for me. I'm hoping to take some of the habits and disapline home with me.
Friday, September 17, 2010
The other day we visited the Golden Temple! It was really amazing – like, a gold temple at the end of a bridge over a huge pool of water. We went with another group of Indian students from the tourism department of a collage in Amritsar. It turned out they weren’t the greatest tour guides but it was still neat to interact with people our own age. It was really difficult to be in a group that large in a busy place. It just took forever for us to just walk around because the professors would stop every ten steps and try to get us all to listen to something or another. It was a bit useless for me because none of the information sunk in. It was also super hot and being barefoot on hot marble all day was stressful in itself. One of the best parts of the day was Langa. It is the free lunch that is given to anyone that visits a Sikh temple. At the Golden Temple they feed 300000 people a day! That’s 1000 people every 15 minutes! It was quite the experience. We had to wait to get in then there was a mad rush to find a spot on the floor. We sat in long lines and had food dumped on our plates. It was way too much food for me. It was all over very fast so the next rush could come. I’ve really gotten better with the food here. It’s actually gotten more appitising as the trip goes on. I’m still craving north American food though.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
We then went to the Taj Mahal! It was soo exciting! We got to go inside. The inside was really beautiful but alot smaller than I imagined. The outside was huge. All the marble has precious stones inlayed to make the patterns on the walls. It was great but we had the same problem again; everywhere we went there were men taking videos and just staring. We all got a little more aggresive by the end.Dealing with the vendors outside the gates was another problem. We were swarmed. If you make eye contact they just latch on and follow you down the street. It was really an unenjoyable experience. We were so tired by the time we got home. It was almost 2 am. We had the next morning off to sleep in. On monday afternoon we were at the Canadian Embassy! It was really neat. We met with Rick Westhead, a reporter from the Toronto Star who has been living in India for 2 years. It was really cool. We all wished we could of talked to him all evening because he had so many stories and has been places that I couldn't dream of going. We also had a presentation from the Canadian High Commissioner. They are making a facebook page and will be adding our group blog to it! In the evening we went to some shrines and a private Qawwal concert. Here is a link to the group we saw. http://www.merajnizami.com/ It was really magical to be in India, in a shrine, having a private concert from one of the most famous singers of Qawwal music. Then we went for beer and a pizza and that was amazing. I am really craving some american food.
This morning we caught an early train to Amritsar. We are staying at Guru Nannak Dev University. The rooms are huge and clean. It's great. We'll have alot more free time here to recover from our busy stay in Delhi.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
I bought a pair of cute shoes the other day. It feels wierd that I will not be able to wear them for 3 months.