|My present as I arrived in Aurangabad|
India is full of surprises. My single bed overnight a/c bus with toilet reservation had a couple up its sleeve. The moment I walked on board to find my bed there is one. My single bed is now a shared bed with a very sweet mother & daughter. I attempt to attest explaining I booked a single bed where a man is now snoring, but give in quickly & end up truly enjoying the company of my bed mates. Bah a/c, funny. A simple fan would have provided more relief from the heat. But hey it's India it's kinda expected.With toilet turns out to be outside the bus. I don't think I've gone through the night without needing a toilet so I out I go to squat on the side of a highway. I relieve myself, hold up. I need to be fully honest here, i partially relieve myself. I definitely had to go #2 but there was no way I was ready to join the I've pooped on the sidewalk club. So thank you strong young bowels. I jump back on the bus and return to snuggle with my 3 year old sweet bed mate.
Now some of you might be a bit unnerved because we are all so used to our western amenities. I believe its better to embrace whats thrown your way. I came here to experience Indian life and learn more about its culture. The opportunities have been everywhere and I'm stepping into them with a smiling face.
Overall my biggest surprise of all is the warmth & completely unexpected generosity of the people. Much of this is to thank because of couch surfers! I've had people open up there homes, share meals with me, pick me up from the airport, run me around to do errands, come retrieve me from my home or greet me at the bus station when it's 30 min out of their way, spend the whole day showing me their city, graciously paying for rickshaws, train tickets, delicious food. All of this without a flinch of an eye, without any expectations of receiving anything in return but the hopes to make me happy.
What a humble and giving culture. To put this into perspective, I'd hoped a friend would offer me a ride to the airport, but that was an example of being single and having expectations bites you in the ass. When no offers came in, I went through a list of friends with cars or who could drive my manual car to find a 20 min ride to the airport in SF. Most were all occupied on that Saturday night and declined, yet all accepted the evening before for a night of drinking. Want to know how many offers to greet me and pick me up in Mumbai I had? At least 10, from complete strangers that are new friends. When friends I've known for years are too busy to send me off to the airport. Don't get me wrong I love my friends dearly and I know they love me too. I'm no
one to complain as I know my friends have been on the same end of it from me. I just thought it was a clear teaching around how sadly my culture has created "busy" selfish people where a small kind gesture to a loved one is a big thing loaded with expectations of receiving something in return. And wow was it smacked in my face the moment I stepped off the plane in India. The lessons traveling will teach you.
All my friends out there, please don't be offended. And of course I am grateful Hillery for giving me a ride & Sarah for letting us borrow your car. Thank you thank you my fish tacos. With my new lesson, now you all have me to count on for rides to the airport :) & of course so much more!
My intentions here were not to bitch but to share a travelers perspective. I honestly at the moment would have just antied up and paid for a $50 cab without being irritated or upset. It really all just dawned on me now.
Being there my last moments in the US when I'm about to embark on a scary & exciting solo journey is more impactful on our friendship. Make sense? For example I'll never forget my good friend Corine sending out meeting invites to send me off and pick me up for my 5
month trip last year. Or Sarah Holm you making a point to drive 2 hours to spend qt time together, help me pack & run last minute errands. Sarah Saul you're going to be my savior when you bring me a batch of new clothes to Croatia, gracias in advance. Beth, Coco, Chris & Ham for reaching out to grab dinner & catch up, although we need to do it more often rather than when I'm peacing out. And Julia for your sappy sweet secret message declaring your love for me on my GoPro. This Italian woman literally loves food & declared she loved me more
than many of her very favorites including pizza & meatballs. Ok I could go on and on, but I'll spare you.
I know I can be blunt at times so understand this writing was all from the heart. If you took the time to read this, I love you. I'm grateful for your presence in my life and since I know I don't say it enough, one more time - YOU ARE LOVED!
Sending lots of x's and o's from India!
Your bri bri