Friday, May 22, 2015

My Family Is Your Family This Side

After a full 36 hours of travel, I am here at No. 5 and settled into the couch next to one of the other students, Audrey, whom I traveled with. I'm connected to the Wifi, enjoying the AC, and trying to unwind my brain and body from the process of traveling.

I flew with Sam and Audrey. Here's a picture of us from Newark, when we were still clean and well rested. ;-)

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The first leg of the flight was uneventful. 15 hours in one seat...yikes. I watched Wild, Foxcatcher, and Bridesmaids. When we landed in Mumbai there was some confusion because our ticket was in 24 hour time. Basically, by the time we realized that we needed to board at 6pm, it was already 5:30 and we were still in the 'international' airport, and needed to be at the 'domestic' one! We ran to the shuttle and were told that we would need to go get a taxi, ASAP. So we sprinted to the taxi counter and finally got into a taxi with a guy who spoke no English and we were trying to tell him that we were going to miss our flight. 

Also, along the way we'd met a friend named Jose from North Carolina who'd never traveled outside of the country before and needed some guidance. He was going to Bangalore/Mysore for a yoga retreat. So, he was along for the ride. Here's a picture of us in the taxi...after racing through the airport and running up and down the rows of taxis trying to find our prepaid one. 

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We somehow made the flight to Calcutta. Unfortunately, our luggage did not. Hopefully our bags will be put on the first flight to Calcutta tomorrow and we'll have it by the afternoon. Luckily, I packed an extra outfit and some facewash (thanks for the reminder, Mom!)

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I had some really interesting meals on the flights this time.

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Dinner was lamb with potatoes and veggies. A roll, salad, and some sort of rice pudding type deal. Oh, and a whiskey on the rocks. Hehe.

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Middle of the night snack was sandwiches. One had cucumbers, carrots and mayo. The other was just bread and cheese. Hah. 

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Breakfast was an omelet, some sort of breaded pouch with spicy cheese inside, fruit, a croissant and a muffin.

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Dinner on the second flight was heavenly. Chicken in some kind of sauce, rice, and palak (spinach) with corn. A salad, roll and some sort of custard/cake dessert. I love that this meal looks like the Indian flag ;)

When we finally got to Calcutta and realized that our bags didn't make it, we had to wait awhile to be picked up my Nirmal. It gave us a chance to do an "after" picture. Yikes. 

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When Nirmal arrived, it was such a happy reunion. Lots of yelling and hugs and happiness. 

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On the ride to No. 5 Nirmal called Juma and the girls and put me on the phone. All 3 of them were yelling my name! Nirmal said, "Tonight my girls no sleeping because Kristen is coming! For 10 days they say, 'Kristen today?' and I say, 'No, 10 days'. Then the next day, 'Kristen is coming?' and I say, 'No, 9 days'." cute. They tried to stay up for my arrival but they fell asleep around midnight before I got to the apartment. I'm really looking forward to our reunion tomorrow morning! 

When we got here, Nirmal gave me the most beautiful gift from him, Juma and the girls. I'll post about it tomorrow with a picture. When he gave it to me he said, "My family is your family this side". And it's true. I almost feel like I've been reunited with family members. I'm also very lucky that I get to sleep in the same bedroom and even the same bed as last time! It very much feels like coming home. 

And with that, I'm going to sign off. It's been a whirlwind and although my brain is on an adrenaline rush, my body is starting to fade. Tomorrow I'm off to Durbar to meet with Pintu, the coordinator there, so that we can plan next week's DMSC orientation for the students. Everyone is here now, and it's time for the adventure to begin!


Meghan LP said...

So glad you are there safe and sound! Can't wait to hear all about your reunion with the girls! Love you!

Jen A. said...

Oh gosh, wow! I am so happy that you had a good trip (that airline food actually looks pretty awesome) and a very happy reunion!

Mom said...

Welcome home! Don't forget to fill up that Nalgene! Tell Nirmal I said thanks for making India feel like home for you (and taking care / looking out for you and everyone else there)!