My Love For India & Thoughts On Living In India

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As you know, DN was the introduction to my love for India. It began as a fascination with the Hindi language, and then I became more and more curious about culture. The colors, the festivals, the beliefs, the traditions, the spirituality. Everything fascinated me. There is always something drawing me towards India, something I can’t put into words. I’ve always felt called to be in India. Now I’m here.

A View From Jhanshi Fort
A View From Jhansi Fort, India

It wasn’t just about being an outsider, looking in. It wasn’t about being attracted to an “exotic” culture. I had a deeper and indescribable respect for India, especially the more I learned. How Indians view love, marriage and family has always amazed me. All of my life I had greater standards for love, and often been disappointed. I always knew that when I got married, it would be sacred, and that I would only marry once. My mindset was so different from anyone I knew. In this way, I felt a sense of belonging, when studying India.

Everyone knows about India. At least, they have some idea about India… But many people, if you ask them, will have the wrong idea about India. Since I began this journey, I’ve been doing my best to show people that there is so much more to India than what they might think or know. The tragic rapes that have occurred in India DO NOT define India. In the same way, the tragic shootings in America DO NOT define America. There is so much more to both countries, and both countries can learn so much from each other.

I love India
Me spending the afternoon with a family in Jhansi, India

There is a reason to be cautious no matter where you are, in the world. So far, I’ve had no problems while I have been here, in India. Sure, people stare. It’s not a problem for me, I know they are curious about me. I hardly notice it anymore, anyway. In some cases, people take pictures of me, but it’s rare, and mostly they ask my permission. For the most part, I’ve encountered nothing but respect. Children call me “Didi” (elder sister) or “Auntie”. Everyone else calls me “Madam” or “Ji” (a term of respect). I’ve been treated as a guest, and even a member of the family, by everyone.

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Because I have spent so much time studying India, before I arrived, I haven’t had any moments of culture shock. A big part of my dream was to live simply, in India. People think that is crazy, but it brings me happiness to be here, living the way everyone else does. You can only truly understand a culture, after you’ve lived the way they do. I’ve only begun my journey here, but I know I already know I will be coming back again. I’m always learning something new about India, and I absolutely love it. Between the language, religion, culture, and tradition, I would like to see what else I can fall in love with, while I’m here.

A lot of people were wondering how this trip to India was funded. When I knew what I wanted, I spent months working two jobs to save money. I worked with my family business for half a year when I got the opportunity. Several local business believed in my dream as much as I did, and became my sponsors. Between working for my family business, working as a guest writer for a Travel Magazine, and working on my website, I earn my living. Money donated by my sponsors, and friends and family is being saved to use towards my volunteering expenses. I’ll write more about that, in the future.

American girl in love with India
He he , that’s me by the way 😛

My plan, once I arrived in Jhansi, was to stay at a hotel while searching for a room for rent or an apartment. I’ve been here about 17 days, maybe more, and I have finally found a room for rent. I’ll have to go out to get my own food, as there is no kitchen in my room, but otherwise it’s perfect for me. It’s a very simple living arrangement, which is exactly what I wanted.

I intend to stay here, in the room I’m renting, while I’m in India. I’ll be working next door in the office. Since I work from my computer, all I need is Wi-Fi access. As soon as I find the perfect volunteer opportunity, I’ll leave Jhansi to go volunteer. When I’m finished, I’ll return again, to my home in Jhansi. I’ll be attending a wedding, and ocassionally seeing the sights. It’s my goal to see the Taj Mahal while I’m here. 🙂 Though I won’t do that alone – I have to wait until DN is able to go with me.

Living here so far, has been very simple for me. Many things are within walking distance, and for those that aren’t I can take a taxi. I keep fruit and bottled water in my room, so I never go hungry and I stay hyderated. To get the things I need, I just take a taxi to the market.
Many people are also worried about my safety, but there is no need to worry. I’m never truly alone. I usually have someone with me. I’ve also had no problems here, so far, in Jhansi. No one has made me feel uncomfortable. So when I do wander out alone, I feel safe doing so. There are so many things to love about this city, and I can’t wait for more adventures in India!

 

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