Friday, 28 December 2012

Full Circle

This time last year, I was a ball of nerves. It was the night before my flight to India for the adventure of a lifetime.  Now I sit here, 365 days later, wondering how time can fly so quickly. It really feels like only a short while ago that I flew halfway around the world to embark on a grand adventure.

I have traveled many places before, and even taught in England for a year after university, but going as far away as India was a big leap for me, and I had a lot of uncertainties leading up to my departure date (particularly about food and health, and whether or not I'd be stranded in Mumbai when my flight arrived in the early morning hours two days later...)  Funnily enough, everything worked out just fine!

Most of my family was able to see me off at YVR...

 So, what can happen in a year? I would love to say that the adventures have just kept coming, and to some degree that is true, but it's pretty hard to top celebrating the New Year in a different country.

New Year's Eve in India! What a way to start.
 For the three months I lived at Sangam and worked in the nearby community I experienced so many amazing things. I tried new food (mmm...kulfi and dosas. Even the McSpicy Paneer burger is pretty great.), learned how to get on and off a moving city bus, practically perfected sari tying, got a taste of the Indian education system, rode a camel, drove a rickshaw, and safely crossed busy streets. Better than all of that, however, I gained a whole new group of friends.  Sure, most of us don't live anywhere near each other but the bonds of Guiding/Scouting (and Facebook) help keep us connected. Perhaps our paths will cross again one day soon.
Our welcoming ceremony at Sangam. 
Kim and I on our camels. They were SO huge!

Driving a rickshaw requires a fair bit of coordination -- you shift gears on the handles.
(Yes, this photo is staged. Krista's coffee would be in her lap if I was really driving.)

The rest of my year was just as busy, but definitely not as exciting as the first three months. I came home at the end of March to 5 degree weather and rain. Lot's of rain. I don't think I properly warmed up until the middle of July.  My spring was full of teaching and sharing about my time India with friends, family, and Guide units. I've lost track of how many units I visited -- and there are more still to come.  I also hosted an Indian afternoon which gave my sisters an excuse to wear their saris and my friends an opportunity to enjoy some home cooked Indian food. I put my Sangam cook book to good use that day!  I'll post about those events in greater detail soon -- there are some fun things to mention. I started writing about them but then got distracted, naturally.  (I only just finished putting together my second photo album yesterday. I have at least one more to go...)  In amongst all of that, I applied to Grad school and am now working on finishing my MEd, while pretty much working full time.  Yikes!

All in all, 2012 has been an amazing year.  I am forever changed by my experiences in India and very thankful for the community in which I live where it is very easy to continue experiencing so much of the wonderful Indian culture through food, music, festivals, and even my students.

My local Indian takeaway. Delish!

Here's to a new year, with new adventures!