Tuesday, July 24, 2012

a road oft traveled

We’ve been in India just over a week, now, and it’s been an overwhelming experience in every way. There’s much to say, but with limited internet access and tons of teaching prep, I’ll limit this post to our travels from the U.S. to India.

Man, travel just wipes you out! We flew from Newark Airport around 8:30pm on a Sunday night and arrived in Delhi around 9pm on Monday. A whole day lost to travel and time zone shifts. (All of our luggage arrived – woot!) The wonderful Woodstock staff ushered us into a nearby hotel, where we crashed almost immediately. We barely had time to shut our eyes before the 4:15am wakeup call.

I can’t think of how to describe the bus trip to the Delhi train station. It was just getting light as we moved through some affluent neighborhoods that seemed vaguely right – vaguely American, but with new smells and colors and flora and fauna. And people, of course. The poverty quickly revealed itself to us, however. We saw people sleeping under overpasses on large group beds, and more stretched out along the actual roadways when we got downtown. The poor were right next to the well-off, a jarring image with every turn.

The train station was jammed with life, people moving every which way among the cars and scooters; it seemed to take nearly 30 minutes to go a mile. Our group of 30 foreigners quickly became an opportunity for stares and conspicuous cell phone pictures. It’s a strange feeling, being the center of attention – we’ll need to get used to it, but it’ll surely take some time.

Again, the contrast. Staff filled an airconditioned car with reserved seats, a luxury in comparison to the unreserved, A/C free cars stuffed with people. We had tons of legroom and full-service breakfast (complete with two tea services, bottled water, and veg/non-veg options). It’s strange to feel so privileged and taken care of, but this is the level of service Anglo teachers can come to expect over here. (More on that later, too.)

The spoils of our breakfast. We even got Coke amid the 2 tea services -- weird at 9am!

We finally made it up the mountains and to our staff house around 5pm on Tuesday, dead tired. More on our new home later this week.


  1. Glad you guys arrived safely, Melanie. I love hearing about "what's the same/what's different".

  2. Yes glad you both got there safe. Tell Chris the Mets havent won since he left the states!

  3. Thanks, Mel! Chris had mentioned how hard it was to see the poor but your description fleshed it out a bit. I does sound like there is a lot to get used to but it also sounds very exciting! I only realized you posted because I was on facebook - I signed up to follow you on email but didn't get one! Oh well, I will just keep checking. Brian mentioned the Mets winning since Chris left - is he intimating that there is a connection? I think he may be right!!

  4. Wow Mel, you have a marvelous gift of expression ! Keep it comoing we love hearing about all of this. Much love Dad 2

  5. Thank you, Melanie, for allowing us a passage to India through your beautifully written and fascinating blog! We agree with Kevin . . . you do have a marvelous gift of expression! Your words help us to "see what you see" & "feel what you feel". It brings all of us together so that we can experience this exciting new world with you. Love to you both ~ Mommy & Daddy

  6. Your Mom is so right, Mel - you really help us feel like we are there, through your writing! Your descriptions make it come alive. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us - can't wait to the next blog! No pressure though - we know you're busy! - love Mom2