Almost a week has passed since my plane landed in Detroit, and I feel like I’m in this surreal am-I-actually-back-from-India state. I immediately dove myself into American culture: a stack of pancakes post-flight, eating Michigan blueberries on the ride home, and a music festival the next day (would NOT recommend doing that jet-lagged). Despite fully immersing myself back into this American lifestyle, some things just felt off.
On the drive back from the airport I was utterly confused. I could see all these cars around me, but I couldn’t hear the cars around me! They were silent and in their respective lanes, something Bangalore traffic did not follow. I never thought the traffic was going to be the first thing I’d miss about India, but suddenly I found myself aching to honk at everyone just to spice things up.
Speaking of spice, I can proudly say that I accomplished one of my main goals going into my trip to India; I increased my spice tolerance! Considering it had no where to go but up this isn’t that impressive, but I’m happy nevertheless. One of the first family dinners back I actually used hot sauce willingly. If you know me at all, you know that this is completely unlike me and a sign of a changed Giuliana. New Giuliana misses the spices of Indian food and the insane amount of vegetarian options. I’d give a lot to be eating a freshly prepared dosa made by my host family right about now…or just to be sharing another meal with them …or really just spending more time with them. They really changed what would have been a fine trip into a trip of a lifetime. I’m so grateful for how they just took me into their family and helped me out at any opportunity. Without them I would have never gone to a Hindi movie, tried crossfit, or gotten my sim card properly. I don’t know how I got so lucky to have stayed with such an amazing family.
I could go on and write paragraphs about every little thing that I miss about Bangalore, but it would be less painful for you to read it in list form:
- the DOSAS
- auto-rickshaw rides
- Corner House ice cream
- being exposed to Bollywood music
- trying to learn the local language
- the doctors and PAs from the hospital
- …specifically coffee breaks with the doctors and PAs
- the colorful fashion
- seeing Café Coffee Day instead of Starbucks
- my walks in the nearby parks
- the café I went to at least once a week (usually twice)
Not every moment in Bangalore was a dream. There were times when I felt uncomfortable, lonely, overwhelmed, or just homesick. However the chance to work through those negative moments on my own was a priceless experience. Before I left someone told me that I would come back to Ann Arbor in the fall a new person. Despite what this person and Eat, Pray, Love suggests, I don’t think I will come back this new and enlightened Giuliana(with a new boyfriend). Rather, I think I have simply grown and developed certain aspects of myself. I think I grew the most in being more comfortable spending time alone and making decisions on my own. I’m also grateful that this internship gave me a chance to press pause on my life in the USA and take a couple weeks to be on my own and to reflect on who I am and what I want to do post-graduation. Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience abroad.