How I even start this post, I don’t know. So much has already happened in the short amount of time I’ve been here! I guess I’ll start with the plane rides and see where my rambling takes me.
The plane from Phoenix to Dallas was a breeze. I fell asleep for most of it, so that was nice since I didn’t get much sleep the previous night. After my layover it was on to the land of London! The plane was seriously a mansion plane. The people sitting in first class has their own little cozy cubicles! And then there were the economy seats. Let me tell you, it was the longest 9 hour flight of my life. And same goes for my flight from London to Hyderabad. Very uncomfortable. But! I did make some friends, and that’s what plane rides are all about, am I right or am I right?
Now let me tell you how small of a world it really is. On my plane ride from Dallas to London I was sitting next to a very nice Indian fellow and we started chatting. He said he was going to Hyderabad visiting family for a month and I asked him where he went to school and he said ASU! How crazy is that? So needless to say, we instantly became friends. When we got off the plane in London, he introduced me to his friend who was sitting somewhere else on the plane and he also goes to ASU! Small world, huh? I thought it was pretty cool. And I made connections before I even made it to Hyderabad. 10 cool points for Mary. So for the rest of the time, we were travel buddies. They were so friendly and it definitely made the time pass faster, but I’m pretty sure they probably think I’m crazy. Haha. We did exchange contact info, so I’m going to meet up with them once I get settled and they are gonna show me around the city and all that fun stuff.
For the last leg of the flight, many of the other students on my program were on the same flight so we landed in Hyderabad together at 4:30am. A bus was there to pick us up and take us to the University, so we loaded up and were on our way. Let me just make a side note and say that there are 23 other students on my program, and they are all AWESOME. Seriously. I am going to leave here with some great friends.
Here are some of the first things I noticed when I got off the plane:
1. The smell. It is not bad (aside from the occasional whiff of cow pie), it is just different. The air is thicker, and has a slight musky smell.
2. The sky. It looks very foggy most of the time, but is more apparent in the morning and evenings. The sun does shine through to say hi during the mid daytime.
3. They drive on the opposite sides of the road.
4. Dogs, dogs, and dogs. I am in dog Heaven over here! And it is so hard for me to fight the urge to touch them, especially when they are all so friendly. I just want to bring them all home with me and take care of them. I will probably make an album dedicated to all of the Indian dogs I see. Be on the look out.
5. Lots and lots of honking.
6. Its so green! And there are a lot of palm trees.
7. The weather is perfect.
So once we got to the University, the first thing we did was shower. I was very excited for this shower until I realized that I didn’t have hot water, and I had to shower in ice cold water. If I wasn’t awake already, I definitely was after that shower! We then ate breakfast in the cafeteria, which was typical American breakfast food. They did serve us this grape juice that was literally fresh squeezed grape and it was delicious! After breakfast some people decided to sleep, while a group of us decided to wander. The University is ginormous, and we only saw a very small fraction of it. And the dogs followed us the whole way! Note: They are extremely territorial, and if a dog from a different part of the University intrudes on another dogs part of campus, a dog fight will ensue. I experienced it. Everything is pretty calm right now since school isn’t in session yet, but we will be going to the city in the next few days and that is sure to be an adventure.
After the wandering we all just hung out and fought the urge to sleep so we could get a good sleep that night. For lunch we had our first authentic Indian meal and it was SPI-CEY. I handled it like a champ! I would have to say Samosas are definitely my favorite thing so far. YUM.
We were then led on a walk around campus by two of the language tutors and we did some awesome exploring and got to see Peacock Lake. The University is a forest! I love it. We saw lots of water buffalo, and we were informed that there are wild monkeys all around campus and we can feed and touch them. I haven’t found a monkey yet, but when I do you can count on seeing a ton of pictures, and I may or may not try to steal him and take him home as my pet.
The next part of the day was probably my favorite. Chai tea with a side of Hindi tutoring. We split up into groups, each with our own tutor and were taught basic Hindi phrases and then we were served the most amazing chai tea ever. Chai has always been one of my favorite beverages, so to be able to experience authentic chai was awesome. I definitely had a moment. And let me just say how excited I am that our orientation schedule for the next week includes a chai tea break every day. SCORE. Our tutor Ajit taught us how to count to ten, say “Thank you”, “How much?”, “How are you”, etc. I can’t wait to really dive in and start learning this language. It is really beautiful and Ajit said many of the students he has tutored leave the program and are able to hold fluent Hindi conversations.
Once chai time was done, we walked back to the dorms and I was feeling pretty tired so I decided to lay down for a bit before dinner. Well, I ended up sleeping through dinner and I woke up at 4:30 this morning. 12 hours of sleep…I guess I needed it. And waking up this early gave me a chance to write this very long post. From now on I will try to keep them shorter for the readers sake, I just figured I had to share every detail of the first day!
The next few days are going to be go-go-go. We have a busy orientation schedule, and I’m very excited. India is already beyond words. I honestly haven’t felt any kind of culture shock yet, or even out of my element. Maybe its due to the lack of sleep. I’m sure it will come and go in waves, but for now I’ll just enjoy all the “newness” and keep on rolling.
Thats it for now!