As you probably know (if you’ve been reading my blog) we went to India for four months this past fall. We left in August 2011 and returned home in the Pacific Northwest last month, at the end of December.
It was a teacher exchange program with the Fulbright program, where my husband Mark was teaching another physics teacher’s class there. We lived in the city of Gwalior, and Mark was teaching at The Scindia School.
It was the first time we had traveled for this long as a family. Both Mark and I had done some traveling as teenagers, as kids, and then together as adults. But never before with kids. It was something we had always wanted to do, and finally this was our chance. It was a great experience. We learned a lot, traveled a bit, got to meet lots of people, and saw pretty amazing things. And at the same time, it felt really hot, very crowded, it was hard at times as parents, and as individuals, we each had our rough days.
Now looking back, from the comfort of my own home, from where things are familiar to me, I can safely said I did miss things. And here I’d like to make mention, so we can also think of them as time passes and we get comfortable again living in our home, where we don’t think twice when drinking tap water. But we did while we were in India and I want this list to be a reminder for me with time not to take for granted what I have.
So here’s my list of things I missed while living in India.
:: Our friends.
:: Pacific Northwest apples.
:: Drinking from tap water.
:: Ice with my drink.
:: My bed. Mattress and pillow and all.
:: My shower.
:: Wearing warm clothes. While there it felt like a never-ending summer, which I admit for some it would be paradise, but for me, not so much. I like fall and winter weather, and I like wearing warm clothes.
:: Drinking hot tea or chai to warm up while the wind is blowing outside. There, it was mostly drinking hot chai when it was still so hot (90’s and 100’s!) outside and inside.
:: The silence of our street.
:: Seeing no garbage on the street.
:: Wearing bike helmets.
:: Egg cartons. The school had a little store where we’d go get few things here and there, but mostly we started getting the eggs from there. First, we bought them somewhere else and when Mark was making pancakes one morning after dumping the second egg into the mix, the third egg was rotten. It made the whole house smell. Siena and Lucas were helping and I could hear them gagging and not really enjoying their morning anymore. Every egg after that was also rotten. The third, fourth, fifth and sixth egg. Rotten. No pancakes that morning! So we started buying them at the school and every single egg for our whole time there, was good.
On their effort to not use plastic bags, all of a sudden one day they stopped giving us bags. Mark was buying eggs, sugar, potatoes and cucumbers so our small bag to carry things home was full, and he didn’t really know how to carry the 8 eggs he had just bought. The staff scrambled and found some used bag and he was able to carry them home.
We started carrying a small bag every time from then on, but still, an egg carton would have been much easier and much safer to carry these eggs. Even in the fridge, where we kept them, they were always loose or in a little bag, and many times an egg fell to the floor or broken inside the bag. I know, we were the weird ones keeping the eggs in the fridge anyways!
One of these would have made our days so much easier. Simple things I never would have thought it was so handy and helpful!
:: Safe driving.
:: No honking.
:: Our backyard.
:: Fresh green salads. Fresh lettuce.
:: Home baked bread. Actually any baked goods.
:: Having electricity any and all the time. Especially in the summer, when it was so hot and everyone turned their AC on and their fans, the electricity usually would be out all day. No fans at all made our days miserable, when it was 105F outside and also pretty hot inside. We’d go to the school library to hang out, they had an AC and fans and the school’s generator. It made our days much better. Without electricity the water heater in the bathroom didn’t work either. So we didn’t have hot water to bathe either. Not that it was really necessary with all that heat, but for Siena and Lucas really helped them to get warmed up in the mornings at least.
:: Watermelon, peaches and strawberries.
:: Crunchy bakery bread.
:: Tillamook cheese.
:: Our kitty. Well, our 17 year old cat.
:: Having a working phone that worked when I needed to. OK, so we don’t have a cell phone here because we don’t really need one. Landline is perfect and it works all the time. I love it.
So it’s not so much that it was the phone in India, but it was that we had a cell phone there and I don’t really like them. That’s it. And I know…. I need to get on board with technology and texting and facebook…. some day.
That’s about it. I think I’m missing few other things I must have said and thought I missed when we were there, but right now, these come to mind. I might add the rest of them later if they come up, but for the most part, these were my things.
Siena and Lucas and Mark also have their own lists of things they missed. And I think I’ll ask them to share them with us here some day, because I’d like to have this journal for the future. For when we are totally back at home (mentally) comfortable and our trip to India is in the past and are just the stories and memories what we have to hang on to. Today we are still fresh. Some of our clothes still smells like India air as Lucas said yesterday of one of his shirts he just pulled out for the first time since arriving. We still have candy and other treats we were given when leaving. We still have few things upacked from our trip. We are still adjusting on our day to day life.
A trip I will never forget.
In your travels, what have you missed from home?