On leashes, on couches, chasing Frisbees…

Helen Angell

While my experiences in India have been wonderful so far (just read my personal blog to find out), there are more than a few things that I miss about home. Some are expected (family, friends, familiar food), while others have surprised me. Here two of the latter:

Dogs. There are a lot of dogs in India, but they’re not the fluffy adorable sweet yippy human-loving kind you find as pets in the U.S. They’re street dogs, and one of the first warnings we had upon arrival in Delhi was to avoid them. They come in four basic colors: light brown, dark brown, black, and white. They all look surprisingly similar to each other: medium size, short hair, pointy tails, long noses. It’s as if the dogs of India, which mate freely when there’s no owner to spay or neuter them, belong not to any particular breed but to a combination of all breeds, creating a generic Dog.

They are not cute (well, not usually). You cannot pet them. Some people have dogs as pets in India, but not to the same extent as in the States. That’s why I don’t just miss my dog, thought I do wish I could cuddle up with her right now! I miss all American dogs. I miss seeing dogs on leashes, on couches, chasing balls, chasing Frisbees. I miss petting them. And I miss the way that dogs are always the best ice breakers.

Driving. Yes, the traffic is “crazy,” by American standards. You can read the blog of fellow traveler and Whittie, Shelly Le, for a more detailed description of what it’s like on the road in Jaipur. The wild traffic, and the fact that Indians also happen to drive on the left side of the road, is the reason I am neither allowed nor would ever be able to drive in India. Not that I would ever want to, considering how stressed I get puttering around in mild Seattle traffic. But I miss the choice.

It’s easy to get around the city of the Jaipur, as long as you can find an auto-rickshaw that will take you, but getting out of town is much more difficult. I miss the freedom that American roads, American traffic, and American cars provide. While the environmentalist in me cringes to hear it, being in India has made me appreciate how easy it is drive in the states.