Back In India

Being back in India has been incredible. I love that I get to have two completely different experiences in one amazing place. To all the parents of my fellow YMADers on this expedition—ya done good. India brings out the best in people and I have loved seeing that in each of your children. I fell up the marble stairs twice within 15 seconds of each other this morning and I was nervous that it would be a metaphor for the rest of the day, but it was actually pretty decent. I hoped to get covered from head to toe in henna, and so far I’ve got my arms down so that’s pretty chill. After it had all dried, I went in the bathroom to wash it off and little did I know, Pooja and Sakshi from the YMAD House were following me to scrub the dry henna off. Probably getting sleeve tats when I get home, so just something for everyone to look forward to.

Quick run down of our days: aggressive knocking that I do not hear to wake up (S/O to Belle for waking me up every morning). I get up, still half asleep and already sweating and get ready for the day. We go down for breakfast, and leave for the schools. We have about a 20 minute drive to our school where we pick up our translator, Tanu, and then a walk up through a neighborhood to get to Mugla Primary School. The walk is accompanied by the distant smell of the marijuanas that are growing anywhere you look, along of course, with just a touch of trash. After teaching for 5 hours and lots of sweating, we head for the YMAD House and get to hang out with those girls for a few hours. After that, we walk down to the market where I have panicked a couple times and bought weird stuff but like it’s India so I’m just doing me I guess. After market, we get in the jeeps and go back to the hotel and have dinner and chill.

My lessons are going pretty well, but they are very tiring. One lesson goes well and the next one is just kind of a disaster but the kids are all darling and want nothing more than to be acknowledged for their pictures of the suraj (sun) and flowers. Ankit is in one of the classes and he even wanted praise for making eye contact with me the entire time as he walked to the window and chucked markers out. Heck no, bud. They want to touch everything and see everything and any organization is something of my dreams, but I am having so much fun and catch myself smiling at nothing in particular multiple times a day.

We have had “life skill” lessons we’ve taught the YMAD House girls everyday that have been super fun. Me and Landen put together first aid kits for each of the girls and we taught them how to use all of the stuff in it. They were super interested and were having a great time with it. It was fun to see them all focused and trying to figure out a bunch of stuff that I had had such a fun time putting together for them (also thx mom).

At dinner every night we go around and everyone tells their favorite thing from the day and it is so fun to hear about the different experiences that everyone is having. Everyone experiences India differently and I love it. With this being my second time in India, I feel like I have been able to catch onto more things because I was briefly introduced to it earlier and now I get to have a second chance at picking up some of the social norms and standards.

I have embraced the bucket showers, and the fact that I have yet to stop sweating. The first couple nights we were at the YMAD house with somewhat normal showers, but since the hotel, it’s been a bucket and a faucet. I felt like what I think Elf felt like in his tiny shower in the movie the first night, but since then, the bucket is my bff, and I actually don’t mind them at all.

Me and Gardner walked through the market to get some fresh juice that he has seen a few times but has never tried, and it was a one time experience but it was fun. We got a mixed cane sugar and fruit drink that we’re thinking sounded way good, but as we watch them put it into our water bottles, the perfectly delicious juice met over a tablespoon of salt. Would have been good without that, but such good mems. I took a picture of it just in case it killed me, but here I am today.

We are all happy here, and just soaking it all in. Our cook, Lokesh is amazing and has been taking very good care of us. Oprah said it best when she was promoting Weight Watchers, “I eat bread every single day.” If you haven’t seen the clip, stop reading and look it up immediately.

Signing off for now, but love and miss you all at home! Love you fam, thanks for helping make this happen!

Love, Clara