Thursday, April 25, 2013

Goodbye India, Hello Thailand.

So I sort of fell off the planet the last few weeks wrapping everything up in India. Tons of things have happened so I feel bad that I wont get it all down for you. I did not cry when I left but I was pretty sad leaving everything. However, saying that I didn't realize how desensitized I was until I got into the Thai airport and there was TOILET PAPER in the bathroom stalls which didn't also reek of urine. In order to survive in India you have to become numb to a lot of things. Now that I'm sitting in a house where the power isn't going out multiple times a day surging all of the electrical appliances I realize how different my India bubble really was.

India is great though, don't get me wrong. I will miss all of the adorable children waving at me in the car even if I didn't know them. I will miss the flowers on the streets, in women's hair, and all of the flowers the people gave me. The food, I'm not that upset about leaving nor will I miss my right hand always smelling like curry because no matter how many times I washed that hand it didn't matter. Well, there's a huge list of things I will miss but it was really great while it lasted.

I have to tell you about my last day though. India really wanted me to go out with a bang. I woke up at the crack of dawn because the Indian sun just happened to be blinding me that morning and I could hear the children screaming outside. They got to go home for summer vacation that day so they were exploding with excitement. I had one last colony visit to go to but I ran through the school saying goodbye to children, teachers, and their parents who traveled for hours to fetch their kids. It was sweet having all of my friends there in the morning so I could say goodbye. So, I made it the entire morning without crying, and I got into the medical van very, very sad but I did it. The nurse did have to track me down because I was almost one minute late. They were a little strict about the time and I wasn't so much. That habit never died the entire time I was there.

Well, we go to the colony and we get flagged down by one of the patients. I was asked to stay in the car and  the medical squad went outside to talk to the colony leader. Apparently, there was a fight the night before involving a man from the colony and a youth gang from the surrounding area. The police got involved and a police officer was beat and had to go the hospital. While I was sitting in the car an ambulance drove away with a silver box the size of a coffin in the back. Someone died according to one of the people I was talking to but in all honesty the language barrier makes it hard for me to actually understand what happened; regardless, we decided it wasn't a good day to work in that colony so we went to another colony. The next colony was a lot safer but there was some bug going around and everyone was throwing up BUT the fans were working in the community hall so I was not burning alive. We got a new doctor (thank heavens because the last one was horrendous) and he actually does his job. One of the patients brought in a young boy who had some skin irritations forming all over his body which they think may be the beginning stages of leprosy Which no one likes to see but fortunately, it is curable so we can help him.

We packed up and said goodbye to our friends and I really needed to go home and pack my suitcase. Well, we got stuck on the highway because there was a real nasty motorcycle accident. While we were waiting in traffic there was a funeral procession with people dancing, singing, and playing drums in a line and at the end of the line there was a dead body in the back of a truck. I'm not entirely sure why they decided to do it down the highway but they got to walk by another dead body in the processes.So, yes, I saw 3 dead bodies within a few hours. Oh India. We ended up driving on the opposite side of the highway for several miles to get out of the mess. The rest of the day was full of goodbyes and dragging my suitcase all over campus looking for a scale. The drive to the airport was the hardest. I love driving around India and it was during one of those amazing sunsets I keep taking photos of. My driver specifically asked to drive me to the airport and fortunately he speaks English because we were stuck in traffic for 2 hours. I made it to the airport, security was terrible and I was not excited about sitting in a plane. AND, just as the cherry on top of my India goodbye, the driver hugged me goodbye. I've never seen a male and female touch each other let alone hug in India so the fact that he hugged me was a little unexpected and as awkward as you can imagine.

The flight was one of the worse ones I've had in a while. It left at 10pm and arrived early in the morning so I wanted to sleep but the lady next to me was taking up as much room as physically possible. I couldn't even put down my eating table to sleep on because she was in the way. She hit me in the face with her elbow multiple times folding the blanket for her child who, thankfully, was not screaming. But a few rows up there were children throwing up. How much throw up could I encounter in one day from different people? I then stopped sleeping and began to fill out my immigration card. It asked for a Visa number and I hadn't really thought about it before so I didn't think I needed one. But then I looked around and EVERYONE around me had a Thai Visa. I started to freak out. Why wouldn't I look that up before going to Thailand? What on earth would happen if I showed up into a country without a visa? I was a little relieved when I thought I could just stay in the airport for a few days but then I realized I was leaving from a different airport in Thailand. I was extremely stressed. Well, it turns out US citizens don't need a visa for Thailand but everyone on my flight was Indian so they weren't a good comparison. But seriously, most stressful 2 hours of my entire life.

I then got into the airport and needed to find a cab to get me to my friend's house. She gave me instructions in Thai to her house but I was still really nervous. I was imagining finding a cab in India at 3 am and that would be a little scary.  You would think with all of the traveling I've done that I've taken a cab from the airport but I haven't. There was NO one in the airport and someone who spoke English helped me. I made it alive!

First thing I did, sleep in, then pedicure/manicure. Not wearing shoes does nasty things to your feet. And I got a Thai massage which was a little painful but I feel good now. Now I'm just relaxing before my flight home tomorrow... not looking forward to it but I am looking forward to getting homesies!

I'll write more about Thailand within the next few days. I've got some entertaining material.

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