Pictures of India

GE DIGITAL CAMERALeaving Rishikesh on the Ganges (a holy River in India – what they do the water ceremony to)

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe Ganges GE DIGITAL CAMERAMaking Chipati and India dish – I will cook Indian in America (Can’t wait for my vitamix!!) GE DIGITAL CAMERAMy Host in Dehradun GE DIGITAL CAMERAHer Garden GE DIGITAL CAMERADogs are pets GE DIGITAL CAMERABut many are stray, They have more stray dogs than we have stray cats – they often hang with the stray pigs GE DIGITAL CAMERASome fair I went to in India – found some cool shirts there

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe one allopathic Doc I followed, he was a pediatrician.  This was a pharmaceutical demonstration on lactose free infant formula (for the lactose intolerant – I think those are the only babies in India that are on formula)

GE DIGITAL CAMERAMe and Dr. Prem Nath 103yr old – the legend.  He told me the secret to longevity – think positive.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe Ayuvedic doctor GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe Naturopathic Doctor

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Rishikesh – Yoga capital of the World

Rishikesh was awesome. Here I followed a Naturopath, did yoga and meditation. It was also where I found out I matched and met an Australian friend. There were a lot of foreigners because Rishikesh is the yoga capital of the world. It was a very spiritual, I had a lot of reflective transformation. I thought a lot about what it means to be a woman, my own confidence and feminity. It is interesting because literally as soon as I found out I matched 12:10am on Tuesday March 21 2015, I had an instant shift in my psyche. The alpha female, cut-throat, Pediatrics or bust laser focused mentality I had to have to be where I am as a woman of color isn’t the same attitude needed to be a partner. All of a sudden, I didn’t need that attitude in the same capacity anymore. It was a really interesting shift, probably the best week of the trip. I would not however had experience as much of a transformation had I not experienced Patti first. India has just been life changing wonderful trip. It was everything I expected and more.

The details of Rishikesh I would be willing to talk about in person with anyone who is curious.

Meanwhile, I am back in Dehradun now finishing up my last week. I am excited to leave but not excited for the stressors of 1st world living. Already, there are so many demands on my time, money and resources via email. It is going to hit me full-force once I hit American soil. But I think with my new Namaste mentality I will be able to handle it with a new form of grace. I have a few more journeys to take before Medical school, so alas the time off of school continues. I am looking forward to that.

Thank you for reading and following along on my Journey to India. Next is Dubai, Kuwait, New Zealand, Australia and then Kansas! Pray for me!GE DIGITAL CAMERARishikesh GE DIGITAL CAMERAWhere I stayed in Rishikesh GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe Hospital I trained at GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe name of the hospital GE DIGITAL CAMERAThey had an international yoga festival here

GE DIGITAL CAMERAInteresting pic of one of the Hindu gods

GE DIGITAL CAMERAHindu fire ceremony GE DIGITAL CAMERAHindu water ceremony  GE DIGITAL CAMERAHindu Guru GE DIGITAL CAMERABeautiful Rishikesh you can white water raft here

I promised…

On one of my blogs I said I would tell you about the Healthcare system and Bindi (the dots on Indians forehead).

Bindi:

It is a sign of marriage. When you are a married female you put a dot or bindi on your forehead. They have different colors I suppose to go with outfits. If you are a widow you are not allowed to wear bindis or any jewelry for that matter. In fact, historically only married women were allowed to wear jewelry at all. Now things have modernized and it is very common to see women of all ages wear a lot of jewelry. I mean a lot! Indian women wear: multiple toe rings, a ring on each finger sometimes, even men wear multiple rings on each hand. They will also have a nose piercing, and multiple ear piercings as well as bangles up to their mid forearm sometimes. I have never seen a woman in a sari that did not have at least 10 bangles. (Saris are worn as everyday attire, mostly by older or middle aged women, but it is not just for special occasions.) This is the Indian way. It’s beautiful. I am too lazy to put on that much jewelry everyday but it looks nice.

Indian Healthcare system:

I was not in the allopathic healthcare system much; I am in India to study complementary and alternative methods so I do not have a ton to say on this. However, the most astonishing fact I learned was that the Government medical school systems are better than the private ones, as such one of the best Government medical schools in India had 1 million applicant for 100 spots!!!! Can you imagine! That really puts into perspective how many people live in India if 1 million of them want to apply to medical school. Kuddos to those who beat out the other 99,900 that probably wouldn’t have been me.

There is no health insurance in India. I take that back, there is insurance but most people do not use it – it’s expensive. There is no insurance for private practice. The insurance companies only cover establishments with inpatient services. A lot of the hospitals that do have contracts with insurance companies try to exploit them and charge them for tests not needed to make money off of them:( The average Indian pays for all services out of pocket. It is not expensive relative to America but as you can imagine, the Indians believe it is. The average in-patient stay costs about 2,500 Rupees about 50 bucks a night. The average CT scan is less than $20 I believe. Private practice is even cheaper. One visit to the doctor with no procedures and injections costs 200 rupees – $4. To equate it to American terms, paying 200 rupees for something is like paying $20 for something. For example, I bought a skirt for 200 rupees at the bazaar. So it is not expensive but as in most countries there is a disconnect between the patient and Doctor.

I have often heard the average Indian complain that the Doctor only cares about money. One person told me that if a patient dies the Doctor should not ask for money. If the Doctor did their job the patient would be alive and then they can ask for money. Since the patient is dead they did not do their job and should not ask for money from the family who just lost someone. Of course this makes complete sense, outside of medicine. I understood the person completely and empathized with them. Unfortunately, my Doctor side knows that it probably cost more to keep that person alive as long as they were able to. A dyeing person costs a lot more in resources than a healthy person. Though it doesn’t seem fair, in order for the system to continue to work someone has to pay those costs and will no insurance support, it falls on the patient. It’s a very interesting dynamic here between patient and doctor.

The Match is tomorrow

I really just feel that everything is in God’s hands surrounding the Match.  That is the attitude I have taken.  Thus, there is not a lot of anxiety.  I am just ready to get it over with so I can start planning where I will live and such.  Even if I do not match I feel I will scramble into whatever program God has for me.  I will let you know what happens.

The Match = I will find out if I matched tomorrow and on Friday find out where I matched for residency.  If I did not match I will have to scramble for an unfilled spot.

Pray for me!

The Taj!

I went to the Taj Mahal by myself this weekend.  I took a day trip to a place that is 12 hours away. lol.  There are not many words.  It is breathtakingly beautiful.  The only thing I didn’t like was how readily people want to take advantage and rip you off.  Sometimes I just want to tell these people, you have more money than I do.  Anyway, I tried not to let that bother me.  Pictures are below.

Some brief Taj History:The King who built this had 4 wives of which he enjoyed the second one the most.  She died while giving birth to there 14th child of which unfortunately only 6 survived (the other 3 wives had no children).  The King then built the Taj as a mausoleum for her.  It took 22 years to build.  The King did not want it to take any longer than that because he was 22 years old when he married her, she was 20.   Out of the 6 surviving children, 4 boys 2 girls, the youngest son killed all three older brothers including one of his sisters husbands to attain the throne.  He later imprisoned his father in his castle under the guise of his father spending too much of the public’s money on the Taj Mahal.  His father actually had plans to built another Taj Mahal in black for himself, but his son imprisoned him to prevent this.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAEntrance to the Taj Mahal

GE DIGITAL CAMERATal Mahal GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe Taj Mahal GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERAMe chilling on the Taj, contemplating life

GE DIGITAL CAMERAEntrance to Agra Fort or The King’s castle (the King who built the Taj Mahal-others before him and after him as well)

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe King’s house GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe intricate designs and detail are jaw dropping

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThese baboons where everywhere at the Taj.  I am told they are dangerous but I think they are used to tourists GE DIGITAL CAMERAView of the Taj from Agra Fort.  You could always see the Taj from almost any window in Agra Fort facing that direction

GE DIGITAL CAMERAWhere the King was imprisoned  This was a room in Agra Fort but he could leave the room and walk the palace.  He could also go to the Mosque built next to the Taj Mahal and visit his wife’s gave at the Taj every Friday.  It was more of a house arrest.

I thought of going to Jaipur next weekend.  Not sure if I will.  We’ll see.

Patti

Ah Patti! Now this is what I am talking about. WARM! Funny, everyone told me it would be cold in Patti. Patti is a village 45mins from Dehradun. The mornings and evenings do get chilly, but majority of the day is hot. It must be in the 80s and I Love it. This is more of what I was expecting. The scenery is drop dead gorgeous, some of the beautiful Natural landscaping I have ever seen sans Malibu. It looks like something out of The Lion King vision board. This is because the trees have a dessert look to them, apparently they cut off the branches to feed to the cows and it makes the trees in the immediate view a bit barren. But the ground is covered by wheat crops that look like beautifully healthy long green grass that calls you to run through, peppered with equally tall lavender colored flowers and the landscape beyond that are plush tree laden hills for as far as the eye can see with mountains in the cloudy distance.

I have yoga first thing in the morning, 6am, we do it outside during the sunrise. (Can you imagine? I mean this is living.) This is followed by morning tea, breakfast and then morning clinic. Clinic is not very busy so I read mostly and have been very contemplative. The first day I just decompressed from Dharamshala and barely spoke much. It is very quiet and peaceful; a welcome contrast to Dharamshala. I appreciate the small convenience shop right next to the clinic. I can find everything my heart will desire there, for relatively cheap. Other than that there are no further opportunities to spend money and I am grateful. I know there will be plenty opportunities to shop in Rishikesh, but I am happy for the break.

The afternoon starts with lunch at 1pm followed by afternoon tea at 2:30pm before clinic resumes at 3pm until 5pm. The clinic moves very quickly akin to an urgent care.   The patient tells the Doctor their symptoms, he has me take vitals and then he gives his diagnosis and rights them a prescription. There is a pharmacy literally 24 inches away as part of the clinic. They slide in there and grab their meds before leaving. The Doctor, a Pharmacist and one volunteer run the clinic. Dr. Paul uses both Ayurvedic medicine and allopathic medicine. I do not know how he keeps both so well in his brain. The evening is concluded with yoga at 5:30pm (yes, at sunset) and dinner at 8pm.

Patti is the best place to read and be with your thoughts. When the clinic is not busy, I am reading a book given to be by Dr. Prem Nath, the 103 yr old legend. It was entitled Understanding Depression and Fear told from a Psychologist perspective. It is very intriguing. As it is from a psychologist point of view it talks lot about how childhood occurrences bring about depression, fear, anxiety and resentment in adults. It has me thinking a lot of my children (of which I have none currently) and how I want to raise them.

GE DIGITAL CAMERASuccessfully figured out the mosquito net situation in Patti

GE DIGITAL CAMERAYoga instructor, where we eat and did yoga

GE DIGITAL CAMERAPatti is brilliantly beautiful.  Look at what God can do

GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERAThere was a wedding while at Patti

GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERAWheat

Dharamshala

I went to Dharamshala over the weekend. It is where the Dalai Lama lives and has his temple (of course we went to the temple). Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, it was quite cold in the 50s, but very beautiful with snow capped Mountains as a backdrop. It felt like we were in Tibet. It is one of the largest sites for Tibetans refugees. Everything was Tibetan – made me want to visit Tibet now.

It is obviously a tourist center, so has a lot of shopping, hotels and restaurants. The food is again marvelous (had the best curry of my life here) and you can find dishes from around the world. It is a very busy but peaceful place. There are many foreigners there to learn yoga and massage therapy etc from the Masters. It offers many outdoor activities, treks, mountain hikes, boats etc, as well as, spa treatments, meditation and yoga opportunities. Everything is very reasonably priced some may even say cheap, in comparison to the cost in The States. Thus, it makes extended stays for things like yoga courses very practical.

We planned on staying one night there but few buses return to Dehradun from there per day and to our surprise, they fill up quickly. So, we bought tickets for the next day’s departure and were excited to stay another day. The last night in Dharamshala we switched hotels from the former for 3000 rupees to one for 1000 rupees. The more expensive one was more comfortable of course but they were both a great value for the price.

I slept on the floor at the first more expensive hotel, on a mattress with clean sheets, because there was only one queen sized bed and there were three of us. We could have all fit on the bed but somehow they got lice while in India so I was happy on the floor. It was actually quite comfortable and probably my best night of sleep yet because I had my own heater (200 rupees extra) while they had an electric blanket to share. I got a bed in the hotel we switched to which also offered a heater with a surcharge, however the comforters were a little more questionable and with no electric blanket it had a great distance to heat. The problem is, the heaters where warmed coiled wire that radiated heat to a limited square footage. Needless to say, it was cold. I did not sleep at all, that combined with the incessant cold weather and perpetual cloudy sky, constant buzzing of the town, no sense of personal space, constant fear of my toes being run over by moving vehicles and anxiety about spending too much money put me in a funk. It was time to go. Patti would prove to be a much needed escape. Bye Dharamshala until next time, you are beautiful and I will be back.

Got word that the other student who was supposed to join me is not coming this month. So I will be continuing this journey alone. Pray for me!

GE DIGITAL CAMERABest curry of my life, bad photo. GE DIGITAL CAMERATemple GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERAWhat a beauty.  I think this was the view from the second hotel.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAFirst Hotel in the middle, beautiful right?

GE DIGITAL CAMERAValley GE DIGITAL CAMERAView from 1st hotel GE DIGITAL CAMERAThis was from the second hotel

Ahh, beautiful, busy, pleasantly peaceful Dharamshala, until next time, Namaste…

Dehradun

Sorry, no internet for a week…

Dehradun is a lovely place. It reminds me a lot of Nigeria. Naturally, there are a lot of people, the permanent sound of honking in the background, shops on top of shops, people getting barbed on the side of the road, chai tea stops on every street corner and conveniently an ATM on just about every street as well. Same kind of congested traffic, accompanied by less than pristine air quality, cars in every nook and cranny, where there is no car, there is an auto ricksaw (autos), vikram (public transport van), or scooter. I believe there are buses too. Like in Nigeria or New York people are very aware of their cars proprioception or space in time in relation to those around. Thus they can maneuver amazingly well. Often in India, I have found myself on a mountain with a death-defying drop off on my left and another car on my right going in opposite directions on a one-lane highway.   Not something I would fathom trying, but commonplace in the mountains in India. I enjoyed the opportunity to travel independently and use the public transportation system here. The only thing I do not like is the fact that on the vikrams there is no conductor yelling out the stops or direction like in Nigeria so you have to know where you are headed and where to stop. I just told the driver where I was going and he stopped me there. The other foreigners who have been here longer actually recognize things and know where to stop. I haven’t gotten there yet. Another major difference between here and Nigeria is that people stare a lot, which I am not accustom to because in Nigeria I look like everyone else. My host is wonderful; she cooks the best food. The food here is awesome but heavy on the carbohydrate side. Also, I have noticed people use a lot of sugar in their tea and whatever else sugar goes into. I don’t use sugar in America so that was a shock to my system. Butter is also a commonly used ingredient, however the food is awesome so I am not complaining. I love that there is a neighborhood convenience shop and tailor a few feet away from my homestay, just like in Nigeria. Stray dogs are abundant here. Cows in India are like goats in Nigeria, in other words, everywhere; except here the cows are not eaten. I was walking to my host’s house one day and two cows where walking side by side towards me on the street. They were huge; I decided to walk around them instead of in between them, slightly intimidating. Anyway, off to Dharamshala for the weekend where the Dalai Lama lives! Check this post again tomorrow, I will put up pics.  Its too dark outside right now. GE DIGITAL CAMERA Some Dehradun neighbors