We returned from India last Tuesday, and I began student teaching on Wednesday. Needless to say, the adjustment back (as well as a 10 1/2 hour time change) has been interesting.
The last few days of our trip were unbelievable. We barely stopped moving the entire time we were there, and the trip ended on a very high note. Our last weekend was one I will never forget. On Friday morning, we woke up and my dreams came true… We rode an elephant. The elephant ride was bumpier than I expected, but everything I could have imagined. Friday was also the first day we really experienced the Indian monsoons. Regardless of the rain, Friday was amazing. It was also a nice break from the unbearable heat we had been experiencing.
Saturday, we travelled from Jaipur to Agra. Sunday was the most unforgettable experience I have ever had. We visited the Taj Mahal at sunrise, and words cannot describe the experience. It is crazy to think that I am able to say I have touched the Taj Mahal. It is such an amazing building, and standing in front of it, it is impossible to wrap your mind around how people could have built it.
Being back in the U.S., I do feel like I have changed the most after this study abroad trip than I have from my other two trips. I have experienced true poverty… I have seen the conditions that other people live in that I never could have imagined before. At the same time, I have seen the disparity that exists between classes. Before traveling to India, I had a preconception that all of the people would be living in poverty, with the majority of buildings being “slummish.” Boy, was I wrong. Although I think the poverty that does exist is more noticeable because of the large population, many people live comfortably, just like here in the U.S. I was also able to experience another culture more deeply than I have previously. We had dinners at Dr. Padmaraju’s family’s homes, as well as a dinner at our tour guide’s family’s home. These experiences were so wonderful and such great learning experiences.
I went to India hoping to have an experience different than any other that I have had, and I definitely got what I hoped for. I will forever be changed by my experiences, grateful for what I have, and more open minded to other cultures.
Here are some more pictures of our adventures abroad!