Good day! My name is Chelsea Cravens and I am currently living in Patna, Bihar, India for three months. Before coming to India I lived in Kazakhstan for eight years. I speak fluent Russian and I will be learning Hindi. My family has been in India for three weeks and we have seen and experienced so much!
When we arrived at Patna International Airport, we had to walk on the tarmac to the terminal. It was sunny, hot, and we could see the banana and coconut trees in the distance. After collecting our baggage we were met by our friends that live here in Patna.
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They had nicely arranged an apartment for us to live in. On our way to the apartment we were amazed by the poverty and size of the city. The streets were packed with people walking,riding bikes,in rickshaws,and in cars. When we got to our apartment we found that behind it lives a colony of squatters. Amidst the progress and improvements of this city there is poverty everywhere.
During an excursion around town, we found a traffic circle where the fruit venders are . I have never in my life seen so many fresh bananas and mango s for sale. The temperature was in the 100s that day,so we decided to get fresh coconut milk. The man expertly chopped off the coconut tops with a machete, plopped in straws, and handed us our drinks. While we were sipping on our coconut milk I spotted a man with a pack of camels and an elephant resting in the middle of the traffic circle (a shrine to a Hindu god). Later we found out that it was a Hindu festival. I had figured that he was giving rides,but I had decided against riding on an elephant or camel, because I was wearing my new Indian outfit.
One thing that I have learned during all of my travels is that it is best to fit in as much as possible. A young girl my age, in this culture, could easily wear western clothing,but I have decided to go native. I have several Indian outfits that I wear when I go out. I have found that by wearing Indian clothing I bring less attention to myself while honoring the culture that I am in. Since I am really white( hence the nickname of Lily White),which said with an Indian accent would sound like really white, people notice me more in the sea of darker people that surround me. So I eliminate another reason for people to stare at me. That is not the only reason I wear Indian clothing. I find it cooler and prettier than American clothing.
On another adventure we found a Subway restaurant. I have never been so happy to see meat that wasn't chicken. Since a significant portion of the people here in India are Hindus, they don't eat meat. If they do, then they only eat chicken. As you might know, the cow, is considered sacred. Therefore they do not eat beef. It's funny because they let all of the cows wander around town. Only poor people eat pork. Anyway, I am a meat eater and the mutton salami on the sub was quite refreshing.
I could go on and on telling about all of the adventures and experiences that I have had here in India, but I will end on this note. I would not trade all of the things I have learned about this culture,place,and about myself while I have been here. That is all I can ask for in life.
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