I am going to India to learn Traditional Indian Medicine or Ayuvedic Medicine for 4 weeks and blogging the trip for school. This post is long but you can just scroll down to the Namaste section if you don’t have time.
Preparing for India
I moved slowly in preparing for this trip to India, partly because I was anxious/busy, partly because I did not have my visa and only received it 18 hours before my scheduled departure. Once I received my visa however, things moved very quickly -I packed, disconnected the cable, made arrangements for my modem to be returned, finished all the requirements needed for graduation, confirmed my last rotation in Cali (occurring 1 day after my return from India), mailed my key to my Mom, cleaned my house, emptied the fridge, left chocolate and music for my Mom and sister, and situated my car for 10 weeks of immobility- all in the 18hours since receiving my visa.
The luggage situation was unique for me. I have never been hiking but was told that carrying belongings in a backpack was more convenient for travel in India and that all belongings should be held in front. Therefore, I bought a duffel bag that I can carry in front and a backpack. Together the bags are 60kg and neither have wheels. I have a feeling I will be loosing weight on this trip. I hope I do not get “Delhi belly” on top of everything, apparently that is a real thing (I do have antibiotics and pepto-bismol).
Backpack in front? We’ll see how this works…
I bought 2 mosquito nets, 2 bottles of OFF spray with deet and premethrin spray for my clothes to ward off mosquitos – NO Dengue Fever or Japanese Encephalitis for me please. Also, the Indian cashier at Walmart told me about a fan she uses in India that sprays mosquito repellent in the room at night and it is quite effective but smells bad. Now when the locals tell you they do something, you ought to try it – I will be looking for that asap. I hope I actually use these things. I am very bad at stuff like that. I usually never do buy such things (I’m even on malaria prophylaxis-I hate malaria proph.), but dengue sounded scary and there is no vaccine.
Messy apt. while packing for India. No I did not pack all those clothes
Apt. clean now
Pre-India reading (Fun-Facts)
Thank goodness most people in India speak English, well a least that what is written about India, we will soon find out. Another fun fact, the “head wobble” Indians do is a sign of acknowledgement. I have always wondered its significance. I have read some other facts about India that are not so fun. I refer you to the current world news on foreign females in India. Thus, I bought new clothes for India: lightweight and long-sleeved, no shorts or skirts. The goal was two fold: to cover as much skin as possible to avoid mosquito bites, also to look conservative.
Whoa, this is too long, so I am going to wrap-up. The final and probably my favorite fact I want to share is “Namaste” the greeting. It is widely used in India with the gesture of praying hands located on the chest (the heart chakra) and a nod of the head. From the Sanskrit word “Namah”, which literally means ‘I bow to you’. Na ma means ‘not mine’, referencing putting down the ego or making yourself second to the other person in order to connect. Namaste means I salute or honor the God in you. It is an acknowledgement that whatever God you serve or the goodness you see in the God you serve is present in everything and everyone. It is used as a global greeting for everyone. I love this. The saying “I salute the God is you” is such a beautiful concept. It is a philosophy I believe in and would like to put into more daily practice. If a country puts so much meaning in their greeting, it is a place I need to be.
Though a lot of things I read about India: treatment of women, “Delhi belly”, scams and pick-pocketers have worried me until I rethought my bright pink poka-dot luggage tag, my thought (beyond the importance of identifying my luggage) is you have to have fun and not let fear stop you from being exactly who you are and achieving goals. I am a hot pink, poka-dot loving, natural medicine practicing, world traveller who needs some more Nameste in her life. So India here I come.
Hot pink poka-dot luggage tag
WARNING: In general, I am not a great writer. The worst part about this all might be the fact that, I am consistently horrible at taking pictures and worse at sharing them. I echo John Mayer in his lyrics for his song Clarity where he points out that everything is seen and enjoyed so much better with your own eyes than through a lens, especially when your with someone. So I often forget about the camera. I apologize in advance.
P.S. my flight has now been delayed 4 hours as I sit in the airport in Columbus, Oh typing this. I hope I make it to Delhi.