Wow! Just Wow! - Olivia McCullough

WOW. That’s all I can really think day to day. This has been an experience I could have only dreamed about. I fell in love with India the second we walked out of the airport into the boiling hot night air, and continue to fall in love with it more and more. The smells, the people, the sounds, the views and the spirit that Is here in India makes me feel like I’m at home. 

            I work with kids all the time back at home, and I love them. But I didn’t realize that I could have such a different and even deeper love for the kids of India. They bring me so much joy and give me such an appreciation for the simple happiness that life can bring. Their smiling faces and the language that they speak with their cute little voices, makes them even more easy to love. I have loved being able to teach them and speak to them in ways that I didn’t think were possible because we speak different languages. 

            I have grown to love and have a deeper connection with my group members and my team leaders. There is no way I could have gone on a different expedition with anyone else. My leaders have built me up and made me feel like I am capable and worthy enough to be here. 

            Ok, now let’s talk about the journey here. The flight to Amsterdam was a party! I loved sitting by Emily and Natalie and talking to them and watching movies with them, it was great. I was honestly more shocked by Amsterdam than I was with India, and I think it’s because I had never been to another continent until then. We were definitely the standouts in the airport. They aren’t kidding when they say that Americans are loud, we were getting dirty looks from everyone around us, even though it seemed to me like we were having a perfectly normal conversation, haha. We took a river tour of Amsterdam, and it was incredible. It was so peaceful and serene, and the tour guide had a super sick Belgian accent. On the way back, Katie and I almost got left on the train because we got sandwiched in between the doors, haha. Even though we weren’t able to tour the Anne Frank house, this was a fantastic alternative. The flight to Delhi was full of sleepy people. Tim taking pictures of everyone while they were 21snoozing keeps the memory fresh! When we landed in Delhi, it was like we had entered a completely different world. I felt numb; I was in shock! The 18 hour bus drive to Kullu is something I will never forget. We had hundreds of close calls with passing busses, people, motorcycles, carts, etc. Sometimes it seemed like we were only inches from being plastered on the front of another bus. When we had reached the 12 hour mark that we had initially planned on, we breathed a sigh of relief. Then we heard that we still had another 6 hours, and that was enough to put almost everyone to sleep. 

            I will always think of Kullu as my home away from home. When we first arrived, I saw that there were lights on the mountains, and I instantly thought of one of my favorite songs from La La Land, City of Stars because it looked like a night sky with twinkling stars. Our hotel is so cozy and cute, and we are treated like royalty. I love the environment here, and the constant honking, cat meows, dog barks and bird calls that echo everywhere. It’s magical in its own way. Working in the schools has been incredible. I won’t even try to describe all the experiences and feelings I’ve had while I’ve been there, it would take all night, so I’ll save it for when I get home. Shopping for fabric for our coming home outfits has definitely been a highlight. I LOVE INDIA!!! I LOVE YMAD!!!!