April 21, 2011

My first time across the Atlantic Ocean!

Hello friends & family!

Here's the first of what I hope is many posts about the big trip to India! It's 1:05am CST, I'm fully packed and almost completely ready to go. I can hardly think about sleeping which actually works in my favor (for the first time EVER). I'll need to sleep for the first few hours out of Chicago (I layover there after flying out of DFW) so that I can start transitioning to Gurgaon/Delhi time. When I arrive in Delhi at the end of my 15 hour flight, it will be 5:45pm local time which is about 7:15am CST. Needless to say, I'll be about a third of the way around the other side of the world and "transition" is a kind word compared to what I'll actually be doing. Gurgaon is ~8,200 miles from Dallas!

My manager, Sandy, asked me if I'd be interested in traveling to India to train people at a new partner company and it was all I could do to keep from jumping out of my chair with a big "yes!" I have only dreamed about visiting India, experiencing its rich culture and actually seeing in-person the second most populous nation in the world. With ~1.2 billion people, India will most surely be a near opposite of Texas's wide open spaces.

For the entire two months, I will be in the city of Gurgaon - a large IT hub in the state of Haryana. There are so many things I'd love to talk about. Most people have asked two main questions: what are you most excited for? What are you most nervous/scared about?

The answers to those questions have varied over time. Excited for...authentic Indian food, being in India, training others to do something I really enjoy, the heat, being a part of a big initiative with my company, seeing sights (the Taj Mahal!!) that I've only read and seen pictures of. All very exciting, all on my list at one point or another. Fears or anxieties...food sickness, jet lag, clogged ears from the flight, safely getting around the city, having all of my materials ready when they're needed for training, being understood well despite my Texas tongue, forgetting cultural sensitivities.

These things have made up a majority of my conversations as of late. Just over the last couple of days, though, a new concern has creeped up: homesickness.

It was one of the very first concerns Sandy had for me when presenting the opportunity. I waved it off, nah! Me? Get homesick? I love to travel! I've dreamed of living in other cities, taking long trips across foreign lands, even being a missionary in various places. I was sure homesickness is just not something built in me.

Unexpectedly, that attitude took a turn sometime last week and I started to see things a little differently. First, my best friends surprised me with a night of fun eating hamburgers (not much beef in India), drinking wine and enjoying one another one last time before the trip. Then, the reality of the trip started to sink in - I'm actually going to India! The real switch happened when my mom started crying over the phone during the most simple conversation. To make it worse, she mentioned my dad is having an even worse time "keeping it together" than she is.

That little phone call made all the difference. I spend so much time independent and doing life that I forget how intertwined we all are. It will be a fantastic experience, I do not doubt that at all! But, I'm being honest with myself and the possibility that homesickness might settle in.

That's what this fancy (or not so fancy, depending on your standards hah!) blog is for...to battle homesickness and in the meantime, share a few funny stories and pictures. I hope you enjoy and please leave comments!

I will try to post again once I'm setting into my apartment in Gurgaon and am no longer a walking zombie. Thank you for all of your support, thoughtfulness and prayers!


Molly said...

yay my sweet cousin! i'm soooo excited for you! 2 months will flyyyy by don't worry about the homesickness! i'm pumped for your experiences you're gonna have can't wait to hear about it!

Ashlee said...

YAY!!! I'm sure your going to love it and it will be a great experience. If you need any help with some tips of fighting home sickness just email me. Lord, knows ive been through it many times in thr last 8 yeasr of living overseas. I love ya and miss ya and cat wait to hear all about India and see you back in the states soon. =) *hugs*

More Than Lilies said...

Thank you Molly & Ash!!! It is a great experience so far :-)

I have survived almost 1.5 days so far with no major stomach problems, just a little more bathroom time because of the spices. But I will keep your offer in mind just in case!

I can't wait to get back to the states and have you there, Ash!! Keep me updated on your arrival dates so we can meet up!!