Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Here at Last!

Greetings from Coimbatore!

It still does not feel entirely real that I am here.  But I'm not the only student who's saying that, so I don't feel too bad.  Besides, the past two days were spent in an unholy limbo of check-in, security, waiting for arrival, boarding, flight, layover, departure, luggage check, et cetera.  I'm not sure whether it felt incredibly long or whether any time had passed at all.  The flight details have blurred into one long montage of meandering around airports and going through security.  But I suppose it hardly matters . . .

. . . now that I've made it to India!  Our flight (the last of four) landed at 9:30am local time - although we'd made it to Mumbai at 12:35am local time and had a soul-sucking layover.  Throughout my journey, I was incredibly grateful that I was traveling with two other students from the India Studies Program.  I only expected to be traveling with Emma, but we ran into Faith while waiting to board the first flight.  Without the two of them, I would have felt very lost; it was a relief to navigate through airports, security, and customs with two other people by my side.

By the way, you can (and should!) follow Emma's blog here because she is a seriously awesome human being and she rocks my socks.

BUT!  The group rendezvoused in the Mumbai airport and we made our flight to Coimbatore with relatively little difficulty.  Although we were all pretty exhausted from our flights, we met the Director of the program, Kirk, his wife, and their two sons.  We had our first taste of Indian food (in India!  I just can't get over it) in a little café and were able to meet our peer mentors.  Part of this program is having a peer student from the college be paired with everyone in the program as a friend and resource to navigating Indian culture.

We then went to our apartments, spent the afternoon unpacking and walking around Coimbatore and taking care of some necessary paperwork.  We didn't do too much - our brains were all fried - but we found some stores, hung out with our peer mentors, got a tour of Bishop Appasamy College of Arts and Science (BACAS, for short), and finally went out to dinner with all students, peer mentors, and the Director's family.

These next few days are going to be a bit rough - we start at BACAS tomorrow, and there's a lot to do and get used to in a very short period of time.   It's a bit late here and I'm still jet-lagged, so I'm going to sign off right now.  But, as an example of the love and acceptance I felt waiting for me, let me show you the picture Kirk's son drew for me.  (Sorry about the light.)

A rose from the program and its students!
A letter from Kirk's sons.

I'll do my best to write again soon.  Wish me luck!

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