Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Running expectations

Have you ever had a dream where you’re running but not running fast enough?

The other day I was standing in a bazaar in Jaipur Old City when a man bumped into my backpack and took off running. My first thought: “Why is he running?” I finally made the connection between the bump and his run-he had taken my wallet-and I took off after him. I felt like I was in an action movie; I was Jennifer Garner in “Alias” running after a villain. Except I wasn’t sprinting fast enough; how in the world was I supposed to tackle this man and grab my wallet back? In five seconds, my heart rate had shot through the roof and I had broken into a hot sweat.

Another student on my program, who was walking opposite the running man thankfully, stopped him. But after I caught up to the man, I realized that I had made a mistake. My wallet was still in my backpack – untouched. I profusely apologized to the man, though I hadn’t yet learned the Hindi word for “sorry” which made me feel more horrible.

I’ve realized since this incident that I reacted the way I did because of what I’ve expected to experience on my semester abroad. Though I know I need to be careful with my money, I only reacted the way I did because I’ve anticipated having to be extra alert in India. I’m certainly not saying that India is dangerous country for me to be living in, just that I’ve imagined myself in this kind of situation and have set my mind in a mode to prevent it.

I’ve come to realize, though, what I’ve expected India to be and the situations I’ve imagined myself in have been contradicted or simply false. I expected Jaipur to be a desert-like environment – false; I expected to be living in a tiny house with no air conditioning for fans – false (my room is almost 3x the size of my room at home); I imagined lots of little bazaars and markets dotting the city – not quite, at least from what I’ve seen there are huge malls everywhere; and I imagined picking up Hindi quickly and navigating the streets easily – my most false assumption. Daily, I go through moments where I feel as though parts of my day aren’t right or that what I’m experiencing isn’t what I want, but I then realize though that I’m comparing my daily life with what my expectations are.

Though I can’t fully let go of what I’ve envisioned my semester abroad to be like, I’ve come to understand that to gain the most out of my semester I need to let go of my expectations and embrace my daily life for what it is. I may be learning Hindi at a much slower rate than I want to, but I can only learn faster by accepting that Hindi is difficult and studying more often.

On another note to leave you with: Random fun facts that have happened since my last post.

1. A bird pooped on a friend and me today. Apparently it’s good luck in India.

2. I’ve had two auto-rickshaw drivers get lost on the way to my homestay. When I get into an auto-rickshaw now, I remember that landmarks = solid directions.

3. Nutella is available in Jaipur for 125 RS (~ $3.00).

4. My host-mother has had the house “sprayed” so that no mosquitos will come in. “Spray” is somewhat ambiguous to me and I’m not sure if a copious amount of Deet is involved.

5. No matter how inconspicuous I try to look, I will always look like a foreigner; even policemen will occasionally drive by and yell something in English at me.

View from my morning auto-rickshaw ride to school
View from my morning auto-rickshaw ride to school

Until next time!

For more posts and pictures of my semester abroad in India with the SIT program, check out my personal blog here.

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