India: A Breath of Fresh Air
February 5, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Aury Bradley '19, Social Work Major
The first thing I heard every single time I told someone I was going to India was, "Ew, why there?" Before the trip I looked up different things to bring and read different blogs so I knew what I was getting myself into. The first thing I saw from every blog was that “India” stands for "I’ll never do it again." I honestly signed up to go to India because I knew it would get me out of my comfort zone and I knew it would help me grow as a person. Although I knew nothing about what to expect, I was overly excited for this new adventure.
Once we arrived in India, the first couple of days were a HUGE culture shock. We saw so many homeless people, we had to shower with a bucket, we were eating food we had never heard of, and we were using a hole when we had to go to the restroom (yes, a hole). After day three, though, it was like a switch flipped for me. I began loving every single minute of every single day. Megan, Alejandra, and I could just be sitting in our rickshaw and we were so content. One night we had a "party" in the backyard of the CCC (nonprofit organization we volunteered at) called Garba. Basically, there was tons of food, all the neighbors from our Christian colony, and lots of dancing. This took place because it was Jessica's birthday and they start celebrations the night before at midnight and go until midnight the next day. Boy did we go until midnight the next day, and after 5-6 hours of dancing we finally went home and slept. That was honestly one of the best nights of my whole life. Everyone teaching everyone dances, eating "American" food, introducing part of our culture to our new friends, and getting to learn new dances.
After coming back home and taking time to reflect on the trip, I can honestly say I would love to go back. Every single person we met was so nice and open to us even though we were strangers. We made amazing relationships with people in the short time we were there. I feel closer to a majority of the people we met there after only 11 days than I feel with people I have known my whole life here at home. It is taking time to get back to how life is in the U.S. I have major anxiety, but the whole time I was in India I never was anxious and I never felt that feeling of my chest tightening. When everyone asks me how India was, the best way I can describe it is, "India was a breath of fresh air," even though it is a play on words because, goodness, the pollution there is no joke. HUGE shout out to the people I grew close to while on this trip; Eddie, Jiggy, Yusuf, Yohan, our rickshaw driver Veeche, and all of the parents we met because, of course, I always flock towards the older people.