It was a brisk July evening when my whole family boarded a plane to Kerala State, India. It was the first time I ever visited a country outside of the United States. I was excited to see the home to which my mother and her siblings were brought up. I knew from frequent descriptions by my mom that it was no luxury suite. She would always inform us of the hardships she went through living in India and how lucky we were to be living in America.
The first plane we boarded was the Virgin Atlantic, heading towards Heathrow Airport in London. We then took two other planes to Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and then to Cochin, India. Our whole family was taking this trip to visit my cousin Sajo and his family. After arriving in Cochin, we were greeted with a mob of people trying to find there loved ones in the crowd.
We took a bus to Kottayam, where Sajo’s family lived. I was astonished how scenic India was. I always as a child thought of India as a desert covered in sand, maybe because the TV had taught me to believe that. When we arrived to their house, I saw an array of foliage surrounding the house. It was really a sight to see, tall trees, and vibrant flowers. It was as if they had a whole forest to themselves.
Sajo’s family was a warm and kind family. We stayed at their house through the course of the trip and I got to see how they all interacted with each other. Sajo had a sister, Smitha, and they were like best friends. I was thinking about my relationship with my brother, Jason, and how it was nothing like theirs. I was almost envious of them.
All the kids in my family got a tour from Sajo and Smitha, being as we never went to India before. We took a taxi to Mysore Palace, which was the residence of the royal family, Mysore. The architecture was beyond belief. Upon entrance, we had to take off our shoes, to not ruin the gleaming marble floors.
As we were taking off our shoes, a man who looked food deprived and seemed to have a missing arm, began to beg us for money. We quickly handed him some rupees, the currency of India, and headed for the stairs. I felt so sorry for the guy.
When we walked up the stairs, we saw numerous paintings surrounding the walls. They had an eerie feeling about them because the eyes of the subject would follow you wherever you would go. After the palace, we headed back to Sajo’s house. We had lunch and afterwards we went for a hike near the house.
As we were exploring our atmosphere, I noticed an undersized little house that looked moldy and seemed to be falling apart. Sajo had told me that this was the house my mom and her seven brothers and sisters lived in when she was younger. I was completely in awe of how small this building was and how much my mom probably had to cram to live in it.
That was my awakening, when I realized that I shouldn’t ever take anything for granted, especially my mother. It was the last day of the trip, and we all were tearing up. We probably weren’t going to see each other in awhile because traveling to India cost a lot of money. We gave each other our last hugs and goodbyes and boarded our plane back home to America. You never really appreciate what you have until you experience first hand how people in third eorld countries live.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.