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In a Blink

by Maggie Barrett

I realized the other day that it has been over a month since I arrived home from Mysore, which means it has been over a month since I have written a blog post, which is exactly what I promised myself would not happen when I decided to blog about my travels.

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The third and fourth years we worked with were so sweet and enthusiastic about tongue twisters and songs to practice English!

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A statue of Ganesh for the holiday celebrating his birth. There are over 2,000 statues in Hyderabad alone, and, at the end of the celebration week, they’re all submerged in the lake in the center of the city

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Ishmeet cooked us a wonderful dinner of traditional street foods (so we could indulge without worrying about getting sick!)

My feelings are a sort of paradox, much like India. The exquisite beauty juxtaposed against harsh poverty, the hustle and bustle in the streets compared to the immense silence inside shrines and temples. I love it here, but at the same time I miss everyone at home so much that it is actually painful: homesickness manifests itself as an ache in my chest. I think a lot of it is because I know even the most detailed explanation will never do justice to all of the new, wonderfully amazing experiences I am having.

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Tulsi, or “Holy Basil,” the wonder plant of Ayurvedic medicine

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A (rather graphic) mural at the Ayurvedic Medicine College & Teaching Hospital

Before I came to India, I was working through an online orientation stuff for this program. One of the questions posed was: “What do you think you will learn about your home country during your time abroad? What else do you think you will learn?” This is dumb I remember (ignorantly) thinking. I’m going to be in INDIA, obviously I will be learning much more about India than about America. I suppose that alone is a testament to how much India has opened my eyes to things: about the world, about my home country, about myself.

One thing I have learned for sure is how thankful I am. During my life I have been blessed with so many things: healthy food, clean water, a warm home, a loving family and wonderful friends. Being here makes me appreciate more and more everyone (and everything) I do have. So I don’t want to give my homesickness that much of a negative connotation; I’m thankful that I have a reason to be homesick, I have people in my life that are so precious to me that I miss them to this extent.

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October is custard apple season! Easily the sweetest fruit I’ve ever eaten, though it is quite a task as you have to be careful not to eat the black seed

So, my dear friends and family, since I can’t have you all here in India with me (as wonderful as that would be), hopefully these pictures will give you a glimpse of everything that’s been going on!

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A shrine to Lord Shiva, Hindu god of dance, at our Kuchipudi bell ceremony

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Catch the Devoted Dancers at the cultural show on November 4th!

My sister texted me just this morning and informed me that it is precisely six weeks, three days, and twenty or so odd hours until I arrive home. Until then, I will be hard at work practicing kuchipudi (current goal is avoiding a face plant during our performance at the cultural show), studying hard for all my exams, and trying to take in as much of India as I can!

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Celebrating Dussehra, in honor of Goddess Durga

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Glamorously glimmering with sweat after 4 hours of dancing!

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