Hannah Parkinson

I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons during these few days in India.-Driving in India is not like driving in the States. Horn honking means “Here I come; Hello; or just for the heck of it”. I’m sure there are some rules, but I can’t figure them out... Seat belts, stop signs, and shoulders don’t exist. It’s really incredible how experienced these drivers are. -Peeing in the woods isn’t fun for anyone. But I’m definitely getting better at it. You just have to make sure no one follows you. -Indian children don’t know who Elton John is. During one activity, we colored strange shaped paper glasses. “You can color them however you want, but we all know that only Elton John wears glasses like this.” I said. Nobody laughed! - Pull out your camera and it’ll be a fight to get it back from the children. However, they take incredible photographs, so may as well let them have it. -Men holding hands with each other is nothing to freak out over. The men here have a different level of friendship and affection for each other. It’s not uncommon to see them holding hands, walking with their arms around one another, etc. And it’s still considered “manly”. I think it’s really cool. -Don’t rely on expecations. The scenery isn’t at all what I expected Banjar to be like, but it is utterly breathtaking. So green and mountainous. Kullu, another town we drove through, had pine trees and palm trees right beside each other. When I expect something to be a certain way, it’s always different and usually better. I’m so grateful to be here. It’s the most amazing and unique place I’ve ever been. People are so happy here. It’s interesting, those who own less seem to find joy much easier than others. The children we work with progressively become more and more excited to see us. They learn so fast and they are so smart. I’m teaching them, but I’m definitely learning a lot from them too.