Monday, November 7

whoa whoa whoaaa

So... I'm not in India anymore. This is weird.

I feel like the past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind. I left India and jetted off to Madrid, where I spent three incredible days walking with no purpose around the city, taking the metro to random stops I hadn't ever been to before and spending quality, Spanish-speaking time with one of my favorite people in the world: Concha. After Madrid, I came "home" to Tahoe for a few days and then headed down to the bay to see Lauren, where we spent a few days doing nothing productive and indulging in some of my favorite "American" activities (nail-painting, lululemon-shopping, Cheesecake Factory-eating... the usual). Now, I've been back in Tahoe a few days and will be heading to San Diego on Wednesday to search/beg for a job.

Since my life seems to be moving at a hundred miles per hour (thanks Tinchy Stryder for that one), I've had some time to reflect on my Indian experience. As I scroll through my millions of pictures, I look at them like I'm looking at someone elses' life. "Did that all just happen? Did I really get stranded in Bangkok and have to aggressively fight my way back into India? Did I really live without A/C and a shower for almost five months?" It all seems like a dream. But mostly, the question I've been asking myself is, "Do I really have to get a job? Can't I just travel the world forever and forget about living a cookie cutter life?" Of course that answer is easy. But after this experience, it's not that I just want to travel. As the child of a flight attendant and self-proclaimed gypsy, I've been traveling since I was in the womb and haven't really stopped since. But what I've found, only recently, that is even more exhilarating and amazing than just traveling, is traveling with a purpose.

So this might be the end, for now, of my India posts, but stay tuned. I can promise I'll be on another adventure soon (cross your fingers, South America) and in the mean time, I'll be reflecting on my Indian adventure here and, per usual, intermittently posting about my latest and greatest creations in the kitchen.

Namaste (though sadly not from India)

Sunday, November 6

the end for now

For some reason, I was a little nervous heading back to Nuggetville (the orphanage). I didn't know how I was going to feel, leaving just a few days after my return. I anticipated feeling guilty and torn, with the conflicting thoughts of wanting to stay but also feeling satisfied and finished with my work. I was happy, though, when I returned to the smiling faces of the wonderful nuns and all of the eager children, dying to see pictures of the Taj Mahal and all of my travels. This was just yet another situation that brought me down to earth and made me think, again for the milionth time, I am so lucky. Here I am in their country and me, the American, gets to see their country's pride and joy... along with several other cities (I felt almost embarrassed rattling off the list of places I had visited), yet all of them, who have lived in India their entire lives might never see life outside of this little village, let alone the Taj Mahal. That made me sad but also fueled my desire to change that... and with the Miracle Foundation's help, these children will be well on their way.

Slight obsession

Cuties, Annusha and Shubustri

Today, I said my goodbyes to the nuns and children. I spoke with Sister Lilly about sponsoring Santhosh, so hopefully that will be in the works and I'll be able to monetarily support him (once I get a job) and receive updates on his progress in school etc. Though it broke my heart to leave him and all of the kids, I also had a feeling of hope and excitement in my heart, knowing that I'd be back in a few years to visit and see all of the progress the orphanage will have made, especially now with the help of the incredible Miracle Foundation. Though the children really didn't understand why I had to leave ("Why would you leave?" "Can't you stay here forever? At least a few years?"), I think they saw it in my eyes that this was not the end of my relationship with them, but merely the beginning. I think of this trip as just a sneak peak into the ongoing relationship I will have with this orphanage and India in general for probably the rest of my life.
My main man

A child after my own heart

"Allie, mam, hip hip hooray!"

Even before I came to India, the country had a special place in my heart. Now that I've lived, worked and seen the harshness in which these people live in every day, and experienced, first hand, what it's like to watch a population of people truly trying to survive each day, India is and will continue to occupy my thoughts and take up even more space in my heart than I thought possible.

And even though I have only a couple dollars in my bank account and I have no idea what the future holds for me, it's comforting to know that regardless of where I end up or what I end up doing, India will be in it.
Post sob fest with my bestie, Bakkiam




My nuggets

Thank you to everyone who supported me in this journey. This trip was far from easy but as everyone told me from the beginning, sometimes the hardest things are the most rewarding, and I couldn't agree more. Thank you for all of the texts, emails and Facebook messages, rooting me on entire way, I couldn't have done it without you.

I truly believe with my whole heart and soul that one person can make a difference, and that it is our moral imperative as human beings to help other human beings who unfortunately were not born with the same rights or privileges as you and me. 

I encourage you all to visit to learn more about this unique organization that is literally changing lives all around India. There, you'll have to opportunity to monetarily donate or even better give just 10 days of your life to travel to India and meet this precious children in person.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi