Time continues to fly by at a million miles an hour here...what else is new? Well, it has actually been one week since my mom and stepdad, Volker, visited me here in India!
*Note to anyone travelling: stay longer than 5 days, the time really goes by very quickly*
*Second note: sorry about the briefness of this post and the less amount I have been posting. As I said, time really flies.*
Leading up to the day I would meet my mom after some 7.5 months away was an exciting, but admittedly, very nervewrecking time. Not in that I didn't want to meet her, but more because I have never experienced a reunion with someone so close after so long. How would it be to meet my natural parents after living and adjusting to a new home? Would we still get along? What about meeting the host family?
All these feelings melted away when I saw my mom and ran to hug her outside of the 'international arrival' gates. Riding back to their hotel, we talked about normal things - it was as if time had not passed. I am glad to have been able to talk to them before the end of my program when I am sure I will experience a bit of reverse culture shock.
My parents came to my host family the next day for breakfast (what actually turned into brunch) and as they bit into the paranthas, I couldn't help but laugh a little when the reaction was "this is a bit spicy!". They loved all the food they tried, which is something I am very happy about. But more important than the food, was the family. My host mom made all the delicious food of course, but seeing my parents being able to talk so openly and naturally with my host parents was amazing. It truly was a cultural experience because at one time, there were people from 4 different countries sitting for breakfast with my mom being from Ukraine and Volker from Germany.
Going out and about in Delhi with my natural parents was an interesting experience. On the one hand, I had never felt so much like a foreigner. Going to all the markets and touristy locations with family definitely screams out 'tourists'. Though I was able to communicate with the auto drivers, by the end of the day it became annoying to here the vendors yelling 'madam! only 100!". On the other hand, I reconsidered that being a foreign tourist is not such a bad thing. It was an experience within itself. I realize what it must be like for people to travel to another country and try to adapt. Not only is everything different to you, but everything about you is different to the people you meet. Learning this, i hope, has made me a more adaptable and tolerant person to the changes life has to offer. Meeting new people, especially from different countries, will be something I look forward to in the future. This experience, though, did help me to appreciate the things I had already gotten used to in my 8 months in India. My stepdad, for example, kept pointing out all the clothing. Everything worn here is so colorful - much different than the business attire they are used to seeing in the US. It is always the small things that catch the attention most because those are the things I never realized I have adapted to. For instance, the way people eat with roti here is by using it to pick up the subji, but obviously my parents did not know that. Looking back, even I was shocked to discover that it is not some sort of side dish. It's not that I gained appreciation specifically for eating roti, but more generally about the small things that define what it is to live in India.
Meeting my reasserted the fact, and really brought out to me that I only have 2 months left in this amazing country. My parents visit has proven to me that I really cannot wait to share my experiences with everyone upon my return. With the last exam finishing today, I hope to make the next 9 weeks here, the most productive they can be - not in the sense that I will do the most work, but in the sense that I will thoroughly embrace living here, with my second family, in my home away from home.
Namaste! Mera naam Anna hai! Hi! my name is Anna. Please enjoy reading about my experience as a high school junior in India and ask any questions you may have!