So. I’m coming up on my last six hours of sleep in America. In eight hours, I will be leaving for the airport. In thirteen hours, I will start the final leg? beginning? next step? of my journey to India.
For four months, I’ll be studying abroad at the University of Hyderabad. With other international students, yes. Without everything and everyone I love and like to have close by, yes. Huge test of personal strength and indomitable will = check.
Over these four months, I’ll maintain this to keep everyone back home updated on everything Hyderbadi. Beginnings of my travel writing career? Maybe. We’ll see.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about why India, where am I going, what am I most scared of, all that good stuff. Here goes:
1 . Why India? - I take the road less traveled. It’s harder. It’s more rewarding. It’s more interesting.
2 . Where am I going? - University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. Google it, or wait for pictures.
3 . What am I most scared of? - In all honesty, two things: navigating the airports alone and not making friends. Trying to find the right gate and not miss my flight will be a feat in and of itself, considering I’ve never done this by myself before. Finding friends sounds pretty fourth grade, but hey. I’m gonna need em. These next four months won’t be easy.
4 . What are my preconceptions? - I think India’s going to be colorful. When I think India, I think red. And yellow sometimes.
5 . What am I going to do there? - First and foremost, schoolwork. My grades come first, since this is a study abroad program. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to write as a correspondent for a travel writing company. We’ll see. Without question, I’m going to do everything I can. Ride elephants, play with baby tigers, go to temples and forts, take a kuchipudi dance class, do yoga, wear a sari, visit the Andaman Islands and the Taj Mahal. If I have the opportunity to do it, I’m doing it. No questions asked. No matter how scared I am. You know what they say: when in India, li, ve it up. (I’m definitely the only person who said that just now for the first time, but I’m gonna rock it.)
I have another saying: I grow to the size of my fishbowl. I’ve chosen to make my fishbowl medium-sized on this trip. I have plenty of American pajamas, a couple American shirts, my stuffed animals, and my own pillow, not to mention American haircare products. But! I’m only bringing two suitcases, and one is full to bursting with cleanliness stuff. The culture in India is so opposite what I’m used to. Here, I can dress how I want, act (relatively) how I want, draw unnecessary attention to myself, sing to the Burger King drive-thru guy instead of placing an order, get a Big Mac if I feel like it. It won’t be that way in India. My fishbowl is changing rapidly. So. I’m gonna change with it. I’ve left just enough room in there to force myself to assimilate. If I don’t give myself any other choice but to adapt, then I will. Quickly.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
-Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken