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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Five weeks later...

 Unfortunately, due to my slow internet connection last night and my busy itinerary for today, I have to combine my aj post and my final post. Here it goes:

The bus ride there and back was between 9 and 10 hours total. That certainly was not the highlight of my day. But getting to the Taj was AWESOME! There was an arch way before entering the area and it was really cool because it created this illusion that it was super close up. Then when you walk through the arch, the Taj becomes extremely far away. So that was pretty cool.

One of the most fascinating parts of the experience was that there were tons and tons of Indians who wanted to take pictures with Carly and I. People would just randomly ask us to be in their pictures (to which we politely declined) and some would just walk up and take our picture. Talk about feeling like Angelina Jolie!

I'd like to say more about the experience, but there really isn't much to say other than that it was breath-taking and I encourage everyone to go if the chance ever presents itself!

I'm very sorry but it took me 45 minutes to upload that one photo, so I can't do anymore. But in a week or so, all of my pictures will be up on facebook!

Now for my final notes:

On the first day here, Sundari told Carly and I "If you can live in India, you can live anywhere". Now, five weeks later, I find her statement to be nothing but the truth. During my time here, I've experience very high points and very low points, but this experience has been the opportunity of a lifetime and I will take back so many memories and lessons from here. I've come a long way in just 5 short week.

I have two people in particular to thank. I remember getting off of the plane at the Chennai airport. It was hot, crowded, and 1am. There were literally hundreds of Indians with signs to pick up people from the airport and I had no idea how we would ever find our person we were supposed to meet. Sundari knew what we were going through and she knew how terrified we were. So she pushed her way to the front of the crowd to make it easier for us to spot her. Since that moment, she has been our Indian mother, and we never would have survived without her. She has devoted her entire time these last five weeks to us. I recall the first couple of days and her motherly nature getting mad at us for not eating, I'm sure she thought we were going to die of starvation before we made it home. In the middle of the night when our cab was taking forever to get us home, she was at the hotel, making sure we got there safe. She did everything a mother would to make sure her daughters were taken care of. Per our request, she insisted that the driver "show these girls the slumdog millionaire". When the hotel staff didn't provide enough tables for us at dinner, she snapped her fingers and made sure that we not only  got tables, but extra bottles of water. Sundari is an amazing, independent, and driven woman. I hope that one day I can be as patient, kind, and strong of a mother as she has been for us.

Second is Carly. If you ever come to India, come with someone who you want to be closer to. When you're in America with someone, you're thriving with them, but when you're in India, you're surviving with them. I could not have come here without her. She has been the best roommate/friend I could have asked for on this trip and I'm so blessed to have gotten to experience this with her. The laughter we shared for the dumbest things here has been unforgettable. We've been each others support system and have taken care of each other just as sisters should.

The two people you can't come to India without. Oh, and I must credit Dave, thanks for playing as our paparazzi at the Taj! Great photographer!

None-the-less, I've learned things on my own too. One of my reasons for coming to India was to take the path less traveled. When I told people I was coming here, every single person asked "Why India?". I didn't know a single person who has been here and to be honest, I know that many people were worried about me for fear of the unknown. So, I set out on a mission: to experience India for myself and come back with a positive experience that I can share with the world. To show them that India is not like slumdog millionaire and to create greater acceptance from Americans towards Indians. I know that one person can't change the worlds views on this country, but I can encourage you all to experience it for yourselves. Now maybe with that, you won't be so afraid and you can see what a spectacular place this truly is.

I saw the poorest of the poor in the world, the largest slums ever... but I didn't see depression.

I saw children walking to school without shoes... as they waved at us with huge grins.

I walked through the streets of India and experienced some of the worlds greatest salesmen, who never went to college.

I found friendship in a housekeeper making a dollar a day and still waking up in a positive mood everday.

I had one of the best nights of my life with people whom I thought were incapable of the word "fun"... MBA students.

And I could go on and on. I've gained skills big and small:

I can convert rupees to dollars and vise versa, in a matter of seconds.

I can convince a driver to give me a ride for 1/3rd of the price he originally proposed.

I'm able to speak with people who use broke english by forming sentences based on one or two words.

The lessons I've learned have been so many that I can't even list them all (although they're hidden throughout my other posts). But the biggest thing I'm taking away from this trip by far, is to appreciate what you have. Live for today, but prepare for tomorrow. I spent nearly my entire time waiting to come back to America, and now I don't want to leave. And knowing how different it's going to be, I can appreciate what I have in the U.S. by remembering what others don't in India. I am a very blessed individual.

As a final request, I would just like to ask that if you've been reading this blog, please leave a comment here or on facebook to let me know who you are and what you thought, and maybe include something you think you have learned as well.

Thank you so much for experiencing this with me and wish me a safe flight as I travel back in time to the United States!


  1. I'm speechless. It's really a big lesson that you are learning from we in today but be prepared for tomorrow...

  2. I'm so very proud of you! The little girl I used to carry around on my shoulders is now am amazing young woman ready to take on the world. Things haven't always been easy for you but you have always persevered. I should be so lucky to have my girls grow up to be the amazing person that you are. I love you with all of my heart!
    -Uncle B

  3. I read through the first page of your blog, and seen some of the pictures you posted. It looks like you've had a wonderful time and a great experience that most wouldn't encounter. I'm glad you are doing the things you want and showing people you're experiences and lessons learned. Even though you said it was different and kind of difficult, you enjoyed yourself and indulged in the culture there. There is amazing architecture and people in India and it's awesome that you got to see it firsthand. I know I haven't talked let alone seen you in years, but I figured I'd comment and share some thoughts. Anyways, glad to see you're doing well and enjoying life. :)