Saturday, May 24, 2014

One week in

It has been one week now since arriving in India. I am currently working on a Public Goods Game experiment with the research and development team, which consists of 3 other interns from India, the department head, and myself. I knew I would have difficulty outside the office due to not knowing Hindi or Gujarati (though I am learning, 'pett bhraygyu' has been my most common phrase which translates as 'I am full' but I typically use it as 'Please...please stop putting food on my plate or I might actually burst'), but I didn't expect the difficulty in communication in the office because they all speak conversational English. Being the only one on the team not knowing their primary language can often times be difficult because they will, understandably, slip into Gujarati or Hindi or some mixture of all 3.
Every other Wednesday the organization meets for Wednesday Morning Masti at a complex by the river where Gandhi lived and led the revolution for independence. In a city where loud and chaotic are understatements, the peacefulness of this complex was a welcome reprise. Gandhi is also such an important man in the city's, country's, and the world's history that simply being there made me feel somehow more connected to all three. They have a guest speaker typically, and this week it was a man who had worked with PM Modi in the past. PM Modi has been a supporter of Yuva Unstoppable and the organization (and seemingly all of India) is very excited to have him as the new PM.
Since this is my first time abroad, everything about their culture is new. There is hardly an hour that passes without learning something new about the culture. However, I didn't expect to learn so much about my own culture. Growing up in a small town in the Mid-West you tend to think having a culture is something reserved for places like India, China, Africa, Europe, the American coasts, Mexico, South America...basically any place but the good ol' Midwest. However, after receiving countless amounts of questions about my life back in America, I realize that everything about my life in America is apart of my culture. Everything from PB&J's for breakfast, knowing how to handle -20 degree winter days, to going to Tiger games. Even when my mom taught me to wash my own dish after dinner so many years ago she was actually handing down a part of our culture to me, because it is not something that is globally done for males. Learning about Indian culture is exciting and I know my three months here will only scratch the surface but learning about my own culture back home has been an unexpected surprise. 

4 comments:

  1. It sounds like you're having a great time learning about life in India! I'm glad that you've settled in and hope you're enjoying your time!

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  2. Glad to hear you enjoyed the beginning of your stay! Can't wait to hear everything you learn -- about India and yourself -- this summer and when you get back this fall. Hope your week is off to a great start.

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  3. I'm so happy to read that things are going well for you so far, Dan! What are your accommodations like? Are you living with a host family?

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  4. I live with a guy named Malav, he is the head of operations at Yuva. He's also 22.

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