I must admit I’m sick of hearing this question. And as university has just started, I’m again meeting a whole bunch of people I haven’t seen in over a year and who are impatient for news.
The trip was overall a very positive experience. I would encourage anybody who has an occasion to have a similar life-experience to simply go for it.
I grew up a lot (but of course, one always grows up during a year) and feel that I belong to adult-land now.
The first three months were really hard, looking back. My solitary arrival, sickness the second day, a landlady I didn’t get on with and who gently kicked me out, illness and money problems in Delhi – all that was no fun.
The worst at that time was solitude. I was suffering from culture shock, slightly depressed, didn’t know whom to trust, and I had the feeling that try as they might, the people I confided in couldn’t truly relate to what I was going through. That was normal, of course – just as we have trouble imagining what it is for an Indian to land in our culture.
I wrote a lot during that time: my logbook, and “culture shock” notes – which I can’t really find courage to go through and sort out, as they send me back to deeply into those “hard times”.
Meeting Nicola in Delhi and the subsequent weeks in Rishikesh did me a lot of good. I had people to talk to, and got a chance to see how much I had already adapted to this strange culture. Going back to Pune was not too hard, as Mithun‘s family had kindly accepted to put up with me until I found a flat.
The third and last “part” of my journey is the longest – after having met Aleika and settling down in her big and protected home.
When I am asked what I did “over there”, I often answer (amongst others) “babysitting”. People often laugh a little.
It was much more than that, of course. Not everybody gets the chance of living with a baby before having their own. And I must say Somak and Aleika really let me take an important place in Akirno‘s life – I’m very grateful to them about that. It really contributed to making my Indian adventure such a great life experience.