Learning the Ropes, Seeing the Sights

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So I am proving to already be really terrible at keeping up with this blog, but to be fair, life has been crazy.

To start, I wanted to give a shout out to all of my friends and family whose donations have made this whole experience possible:

– Momma (Rita Gaughan)
– Clark Isachsen
– Todd and Cheryl Coons
– Julie and Steve Coons
– Joel Scudder
– Kelley and Brandon Stewart
– Uncle David Scudder
– Benson Family
– Sean Greene
– James Shao
– Zack and Michelle Clark
– Pat McIntyre
– Pat Courier
– Collette Sipho Mabingani
– Jessica Pinkerton
– Zach Peters
– Tracy Haddad
– Benjamin Sampayan III
– McIntyre family
– Victoria Polchinski
– Kershner family
– Kira Krick
– Pradeep Thiyyagura
– Jat Chanda
– Shri Hari
– Scott Gleason
– Jill Philippe
– Ted Solis

Your support means the world to me and I am so thankful to be surrounded by so much love! Smiles all around 🙂

Now onto the topics of discussion…

The traffic here is the most chaotic yet impressive herd of people I have ever seen in my entire life. It is seriously a talent to be able to drive on these streets. At first glance, it seems as though the traffic makes no sense, but after being here for awhile I am starting to understand that there is in fact a method to the madness. There are lanes, but no one follows them. There are street lights, but no one stops. And through all the chaos, it never takes too long to get anywhere and for the most part the traffic is constantly flowing. There are motorcycles and rickshaws everywhere, and these motorcyclists squeeze through spaces so tiny that you can’t help but hold your breath and close your eyes. I am convinced that rickshaw drivers are some of the most talented drivers ever, and they would totally kill it in NASCAR. It is not uncommon to see a family of 5 on one motorcycle, and at least one baby asleep in its mothers arms. Also, crossing the street is one of the scariest and most thrilling things I have ever done and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. It’s the craziest thing but I’m totally okay with it. Also, just a side thought: the next Fast and Furious movie should be set in India. Throw in a few Bollywood dancing scenes here and there. That would be quite the movie.

Learning the transit system

Learning the transit system

Traffic

A very small glimpse into the traffic

First rickshaw ride!

First rickshaw ride!

First train ride!

First train ride!

The clothes here are beautiful and I just want all of them. They are all so colorful and comfortable! Its like wearing pajamas all day err day and I ain’t complainin’. And while I’m trying to blend in with my fancy kurtas and leggings, I can’t help but notice the influence western culture has on this country and how that reflects in the style and appearance here. Did you know that if an Indian woman has fairer skin she is considered more beautiful than a woman with darker skin? They actually sell face moisturizers here that are titled “Skin Whitening.” WHAT. I find that very ironic since most American women spend hours in tanning booths or the sun just to make their skin darker. Its just so silly. Indian women are some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life. They all look like princesses! Dark or light skin, I find their beauty more captivating than the majority of white women. My host mom for example is one of the fiercest ladies I have ever met, and her style rocks.

Since my last blog post, we have done a lot. We have seen the famous Charminar palace, toured the Qutub Shahi Tombs, the Chowmohalla Palace and Laad Bazaar, the Golconda fort, and visited the giant Buddha statue in the middle of Hussain Sagar Lake. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking for this one and leave it at that.

Charminar

Charminar

Qutub tombs

Qutub tombs

Qutub tombs

Qutub tombs

Qutub tombs

Qutub tombs

Buddha statue

Buddha statue at sunset

Golconda Fort

Golconda Fort

View of the city from the top of the fort

View of the city from the top of the fort

Group pic at Chowmohalla Palace

Group pic at Chowmohalla Palace

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These boys were so excited for us to take photos of them

These boys were so excited for us to take photos of them

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One thing that takes awhile to adjust to are the stares. And let me tell you, people in India are not subtle about it either. They will blatantly stare, and at first it made me feel like I was living the celebrity life, but now it just makes me feel like I’m some giant green alien or something. I feel like I have to walk around with blinders on to not notice the hundreds of stares I get a day, but even when I try to not pay attention to it, I can still feel eyes constantly on me. I just have to be patient and remind myself that many of these people have ever seen a white person in their life, and so they can’t help but look. I’m sure if the roles were reversed I would do the same. I constantly get little kids waving hi to me and giggling and I am always being asked by numerous people if I would take a pictures with them. Indian people have no problem handing their infant to me and taking a picture. I also catch people taking sneak pictures of me as well. I don’t want to even think about how many strangers facebook news feeds my face has showed up on since arriving here. I just try to be light hearted about it all and remember that this place is just as new to me as my face is to them, and if I can take pictures, why can’t they?

Aside from that, I am finally settling into my new life here in India in my home stay, my school, my environment, and I am loving every experience. Its really weird, because now that I am more or less comfortable in my surroundings, I occasionally have to pinch myself and say, “Hey Mary, you’re in India. All of this stuff is happening in India.” I just feel so comfortable here, and since taking my first step off that plane I really feel like at this point in my life, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Its really hard to put my finger on just one thing about this country that draws me in, but its something very special and I think at some point in every persons life, they should spend some time here.

To conclude tonights post, I thought you might enjoy some pictures of my campus. And of course….puppies.

– M

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I caved. I have to touch the dogs, especially the puppies. I now carry hand sanitizer everywhere I go.

I caved. I have to touch the dogs, especially the puppies. I now carry hand sanitizer everywhere I go.

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<3

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Retired rickshaw

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About Mary Gaughan

Hi I'm Mary! I'll be living in India for 6 months starting on December 28th. If you want to know more about me, you should just read my blog and see what you can figure out. It's more fun that way :)

2 responses »

  1. Thanks for the update, Mary, but for crying out loud, leave street dogs alone; you wanna get rabies in some village? Someone’s actual “pet”-type dog, in their house, that they have a little nickname for, ok, but not street dogs! Diseases of all kinds.

    Please check and find out whether they still have a restaurant called the “New Mysore Hotel” in Hyderabad; it’s the first place I ever experience South Indian vegetarian food.

    Hugs, ted

  2. Mary!! Keep these posts up, even if they feel entirely grueling to finish – these are SO WONDERFUL!!!! And trust me, in the future you won’t regret the things you took the time to share and write. I love your sense of humor and your honesty, keep going gurl! 🙂

    On a side note – in China they have the same “pale/fair skin ideal”, haha, my mom used to fret over how tan I would get during the summer because of that ><

    Missing you at AOC,
    -Jessica

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