Thursday, July 19, 2012
May I just say that I am at the tippy top of excitement for my journey. Everything I see, feel, here, and taste just excites and amazes me. The differences between India and America are so vast but the similarities are all there too. Not only am I learning so much about this culture and country I'm learning a lot about myself. I have never thought about it before but I'm learning just how strong and flexible I can be. I am overcoming so many fears and learning at a rapid rate. Me and my host family get along so well and I would never trade them for the world. They keep telling me that I am there "Gift" but in reality i know they are actually mine. One day when sitting with my host sister she asked me why i loved India and my response was endless. I think the reason I'm enjoying it here so much is that i don't just look at the big picture i appreciate all the small details and constantly remind my self that 1. I belong here, 2. I can do this! 3. This is a once and a life time opportunity and every minute counts. Every little thing that confuses me, I push my self to ask questions. Every positive thing I encounter I embrace strongly with a smile. For the good or for the "different" I love this place and wouldn't change it for the world.
Things i love:
1) The adrenaline rush i get when i cross a road with cars and bikes and cows and goats coming from every direction
2) The family bonding times in the house when we all just laugh at my Tamil and enjoy each others company
3) The food that is making my stomach grow at a rapid rate....and the fact that I don't care because its taste so good!
4) How much I can grow to love bucket showers!
5) The funny and usual feeling I get when little kids run and giggle at me and call me “foreign girl”
6) That funny moment when I am looking out the car window and randomly see a stray cow on the sidewalk
7) That awkward moment when I wake up and my host sister tells me all the weird things I say in my sleep
8) The exciting feeling I get when I get to eat all the food with my hands including cake!
9) The friendly people in class who tell me what to do when I am extremely confused and don’t understand the teachers accent
10) That amazing moment when I stop and think “Oh my goodness I am actually in India!
ancient temple found after a tsumnamie
Posted by Ryley Conway at 8:45 PM
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Me and Juwaala woke up early around seven and she skipped school so she could hangout with me! I was feeling a little sick but that didn’t stop me from having an amazing day! We had a fashion show and I tried on all of her old half Sarries and Selvars and I loved them! And they even gave me earings! They made me feel so beautiful and my Ama (mom in tamil) would call me Cinderella and Barbie and she is so nice! Than we went over the AFS questions but I happened to forget one, how to use the toilet? It is trickier than it may sound and juwaala had to come show me how to flush it! Than I met Gamma (grandma) who is so adorable! And sweet and I carried out the Indian tradition of touching her feet to be blessed by her, which made her so happy! Than Juwaala did her Indian dance, which was beautiful and amazing and I WISH I could dance like her. They asked met o dance and I was awful and showed them a really bad version of the hoe down throw down! They laughed and it was all good!
I went upstairs for a nap around two; which would be like three in the morning at home and I actually got sick and almost puked and my host mom held my head and made me feel much better! They treat me like a third daughter here and even say I am now part of the family <3
When I woke up from my nap I felt much better. We went downstairs to bring Gamma back to her apartment. This was my first time actually on the Indian roads which are INSANE!!!! Ill post about them later it is a very long story! I stuck out like a sore thumb and people look at me like I have six heads and its kind of funny. When we reached her apartment Gamma gifted me with a flower for my hair, and two pairs of earings and some oreos! (because they all know that they are my favorite)
Than we went to the supermarket to pick out some food that I would like since we were going on a road trip the next day. It was here that I relized I am a giant in Asia and look really different compared to everyone. I felt everyones eyes on me in the store. We picked up some soups and noodles and candies and chips for the ride and set out for back home! Than we packed for our road trip that we had the next day and i even got to try on the school uniform which is so so cute.
I am learning so much already about, school and social life, laws, government and history and the differences are very vast but the similarities are very interesting too because even though we live thousands of miles apart we still share so much. Like movies and music and dressings and gossips and Its all SOOO fascinating!
Posted by Ryley Conway at 9:12 PM
ARRIVAL IN INDIA!!!!
The sound of those plane wheels hitting the ground was the must amazing sensation of my life and knowing that this was where I would spend the next year of my life!
We made it through customs, through baggage claim and were ready to walk through the doors to be greeted by AFS to bring us to a hotel for orientation. BUT THERE WAS A SURPRISE!!! Our host family’s stayed up late and picked us up from the airport to bring us home J IT was amazing!!! It was dark and crowded but you could still see the happiness in all of our faces as we hugged our knew second families and set off our separate ways to what we would soon call home J
The car ride was not awkward at all like most people said it was going to be! It was amazing and happy and we were all smiling. My host parents couldn’t really understand me but Priyanka and Juwaala were there to translate my fast and excited English. When we arrived at the house I was greeted by a big cake with my name on it! And they crowded around as I cut the cake and priyanka fed it to me with her hands (which I was so surprised by the lack of forks) they thought my reaction was funny too and brought me a plate and fork. We stayed up till two in the morning talking. And I gave them all there presents, which was supper cute! My host mother did ask about the black hair ties that I was wearing on my wrist which I though was completely normal. But in India it looked like some sort of religious rope that showed devotion to a god so I took them off and we all laughed! We went to sleep around two and I felt so welcomed, safe, and happy and knew that this was a home I most certainly could get used too.
Posted by Ryley Conway at 8:31 PM
I packed up my bags, had my last home cooked meal and said a final goodbye to all my relatives. Though the Goodbye was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life I knew I just had to think it was only a “see you later”. I set off on that plane ready to embark on my year long adventure!
Me and Hannah were part of the first batch to arrive and Hannah had to here me cry the whole flight! When we landed we were greeted by a YES-Abroad alum from Indonesia. We grabbed all of our bags and took the hotel taxi to the hotel to meet all of the staff and volunteers. We got our name tags which looked super official. Than, we went out to lunch, which I could not eat at all because I was too nervous and excited.
When all the other “YESers” arrived we started to talk about everything that we were feeling.. All of the countries were there but, India Malaysia and Thailand were the only ones leaving right away. The India Group was the smallest and consisted of Me, Mila from Montana, Maggie from Seattle, and Rowan from Ohio. We clicked immediately and especially because we had the best group leader EVER! He was A Yes-Abroad Alum from Mumbai and his name was Austin ( later to be referred to as “DAWWWW-STIN) The PDO was jam-packed with workshops from 7 to ten. The most memorable part would probably be the trip to the State Department and embassy’s!
To go to the embassies we split up by country and took the bus with the Departing inbound students from our country staying in the U.S. The bus was Packed with about 50 YES kids from india and than just the four of us who were from the U.S going to India! They were the most friendly and amazing people ever! They Gave us some great tips such as: “Never cross a street, You will be hit!!!” and offered to teach us cricket! Our bus wound up getting lost so we missed the embassy but we didn’t mind much because we had a really fun ride. Next was the State Department, Which I was extremely Nervous for! It was super High security and we all had to go through metal detectors and be escorted by groups of ten into this huge fancy and official meeting room that looked like the U.N! The Under Secretary even came in to talk to us and answer questions! I was terrified but managed to raise my hand ask how she and the state department made attempts to involve students from all different socio-economic class in both the Inbound and Outbound program. Than there was a panel discussion with representatives from all the different continents there to answer are questions. And this is where it gets CRAZY!!!
Let me just give some background information. During the interview a few months back there was supposed to be a talent show. For this talent show I thought it would be a great idea to write a rap about what thing program is all about to the beat of “where is the love”, by Black Eyed Peas. I performed this rap unofficially in the Lobby just kidding around but I guess what of the state representatives over heard it and loved it. Soooo, back to the State department experience.
I was sitting there trying to pay attention to the speakers when all of a sudden I here from the representative “I here there is a Yes-Abroad Rap going around”. MY face went Red as can be and I froze and I think I almost cried I was so in shock. Imidiately everyone knew they were talking about me and turned to see me. I was shaking terribly!!!! They begged me to get up infront of everyone and rap. Ummmm yeah I refused to rap for the u.s government and be known as a rapper! But they made me Promise to record it and sent it to them :p SCARIEST THING OF MY LIFE!!!! Oh and to add on to it im also known as the Girl who sleep talks about Allen Evans (person who Runs Yes-abroad) and screams and cries because I thought the late night room check knock was actually a serial killer out to get me!
The Gateway orientation was really fun too! It was a lot less of and at a really nice new hotel. This was just For Malaysia Thailand and India Right before we left! It was a lot more relaxed and also had AMAZING food! Here we learned more country specific information. It was so much fun! And we got a lot of good bonding time with our India group. And even came up with a new saying: YOLAFT! Its short for You only live a few times because in India Hindus believe in reincarnation so YOLO just would not do! Also me and mila decided that we are WINNERS and so even we lose we still win. So everything we do we only will accept victory all year. For example: I finished my potato soup and Dinner…WINNNER!!!, Mila answered a question during a workshop…VICTORY! Me and mila have a lot of common but I call her sasquash because she is “sassy”. One night allen evans came over to are table and just so you know if you don’t know allen evans he is super intimidating and I kind of have this slight fear of him but yet we all love him. So he came over and Said that the department of state assigned him to MAKE SURE that the rap was sent to him. So we had to make a music video on my rap which was extremely ambessing and I looked realy awkward and weird in! And than he played it on the big screen for everyone and than sent it to the stae department :p.
Okay im going to fast forward now because I want to talk about INDIA. So the rest of Gatway orientation summed up.
1) Maggie told allen evans I sleep talk about him (awks)
2) A huge lightening storm came and I freaked out
3) A yes abroad alum told us scary stories and made both me and mila cry L
4) We bought allen evans a pink monkey that said hugs from DC J
5) We made a toast for a great year to come
6) The Yes-abroad kids from Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand returned and we got to talk to them for a little.
7) I cried a lot and was super emotional and than Allen had to pull me aside and talk to me about not getting home sick!
SO THATS is for Orientations J and what I learned is already coming in handy now that im in INDIA!!! (sorry about my grammar)
Posted by Ryley Conway at 8:22 PM