Posted on March 5, 2019.
When I was 19, I spent two months in the Northern part of India. All I wanted to do was explore, try new things, and have some life experience that looks impressive on a college application. Little did I know how it would change the direction of my life forever. These are five things that I didn’t expect while living short-term overseas.
People are very hospitable
Even in the short time that I spent in India, I have never experienced so much hospitality. People will stop driving and park in the middle of the road to invite you back to their house for tea and snacks (and it’s not as creepy as it sounds). Plus the chai is stupendous and is too hard for me to resist. People will help you in any way they can, and that is something so different from the “stranger danger” mentality that I have come to know most of my life. It is super refreshing. Its something I cultivate now in my life.
Sometimes Pizza is better in other countries
Some of you read that point and thought to yourself “no way, not possible.” Go to an Indian Dominos and then get back to me.
Living in the moment
You never get used to it; this isn’t a bad thing. I see it as a perspective of appreciation. It helped me to live in the moment. I’m sure that if I had spent more time in India, I would’ve eventually gotten used to the differences in culture, languages, and even smells (ew). It helped me to be aware of where I was and what I was doing. I would think to myself all the time “wow this place is so beautiful, I never want to leave”. I felt like I never took anything for granted and I have no regrets.
Transportation is crazy
There were some moments I remember being on my hands and knees in prayer because I feared for my life inside an Indian taxi cab. We walked or used public transportation most of the time, but those few times we entered into a car, it was scary. People honking their horns all the time, swerving, driving dangerously close to other cars at high speeds. I felt the urge to ask my taxi driver on multiple occasions if it was against his beliefs to stay in his lane, cause he never did.
Wet wipes are your best friend
Our housing situation wasn’t the most ideal. By ideal, I mean that we were riding the struggle bus. There were a full two weeks where our building’s basement was flooded, and that made it impossible for us to have running water on the upper levels where our rooms were. In 102 *F heat, we could not take showers, flush toilets without using a bucket of water, or even brush our teeth. Luckily we had a stash of wet wipes that kept us clean and smelling semi-fresh. Things will come up and destroy your plans, things get lost or broken, and you might feel very overwhelmed at times. It’s important to remember that those moments are temporary and if you let them, they can turn a mostly optimistic trip into a disaster. It’s all about perspective. I laugh about it now, and it’s a great story to bring up at any dinner table. I highly recommend the wipes.
These are just a few of the many things that I learned. So if you were thinking of traveling overseas for more than just a couple weeks, do it. See what new things you can discover. (A Discipleship Training School is an excellent place to start)