I have completely fallen in love with India. This country is just brimming with life, color, and spirit and as well as I might try to describe my time here, there is no way to really understand and appreciate India unless you travel here yourself. That being said, I have chosen the difficult task of picking out some of my top favorite things about living here.
I think I’ve decided that the best thing India gave to the British was tea, and the best thing that the British gave to India was teatime. Every day in my dorm building, between 4pm and 5pm there is teatime, consisting of endless tea and some sort of cookie to go along with it. There is tea at every meal as well though, so if you miss teatime, no worries, it will be available again in a few hours. Tea is one of India’s staples and you can find it practically anywhere at any time. It is most commonly drunk here with milk and sugar. I had the wonderful experience of traveling to Munnar recently, which is a hilltop city that is essentially a massive tea plantation, and one of the most beautiful places I have been in my life. Oh, and here’s a little secret I want to share: The Hindi word for tea is chai, so the next time you go to Starbucks and order a Chai Tea Latte, you’re saying you want a tea tea latte!
I really had no idea how segregated we are from nature back in the United States, until I arrived on campus in Hyderabad. I have so far almost collided with herds of water buffalo multiple times on my bicycle, been harassed by countless monkeys and have become close friends with the stray dogs that hang out around my student residence. This is all just on campus too. When I was in the state of Kerala I rode an elephant named Nandi. When I went to Hampi the weekend before, a monkey tried to steal my friend’s backpack at Hanuman’s Temple. Just yesterday, I saw a peacock in the wild for the first time. As an animal lover, all of this interaction with the local wildlife really makes my day.
My Fellow Tagorians
The residence I’m living in is exclusively for international students like myself. It is called Tagore International House (that’s why we’ve dubbed ourselves Tagorians). There are about 40 students who are here for the entire semester and I’m happy to say that I genuinely like every one of them. We all really get along and enjoy each other’s company. I think you must have certain qualities to want to study abroad in India: really adventurous, a little odd, and very easy-going. I’ve definitely found my niche here.