Home in Canada + my last few days in India

I cannot believe I am home right now. The last week has absolutely flown by! I thought I should hurry it up and write this blog post since I’m keeping my friends in the dark as to my whereabouts =) I suppose I can start off saying that I’m safely home in Barrie and I’ve spent the last few days settling into life in Canada and adjusting to the time difference while starting to organize my life.

I feel terrible that I never had the chance to write more posts about places I visited or things I did – like going to McDonalds! (although I still can’t determine if that was exciting or frightening). Although last week I was so consumed with studying for my exams that I never got the chance to update everyone on how I was doing. In the midst of studying I was really disappointed about missing Easter back home. However, earlier in the week my ipod “magically” started to work again after being broken for 3 months! No one could believe it, but it was the best Easter present I’ve ever had =) I worked really hard and I think I did well on all of my finals, so now I’m waiting with the rest of the UoG students for our marks in a few weeks. My last exam was last Saturday morning and that night we had our infamous banquet. All of the girls dressed up in saris and we had a blast at an outdoor garden party with all of our host families. It was not a shabby event – and it was an awesome opportunity to connect with the families and tie things up with the group. I gave a speech for own of our Coordinators Cynthia, which 95% of it was spent crying as per usual haha. I love giving speeches but I’m way to emotional for my own good!

This is my host mom and my homestay partner Jaime =) Maa opened her wardrobe for us and we were able to pick any sari we wanted to wear – I picked purple of course. The whole night and week went by way too quickly. It was a hard weekend with saying goodbye to the group and wrapping up loose ends. On Sunday (my last night in Jaipur) while I was exploring the infamous Monkey Temple, there was a traumatic event in my homestay house. It was really sad, devastating,  and unfortunate to leave early Monday morning at such a terrible time for the family – but I had my bus ticket to Delhi and had to move on. I’m really going to miss my host family in India and I know I will never forget them =)

I spent Monday – Wednesday in Delhi and absolutely loved it. New Delhi specifically is an amazing city. It’s beautiful and everywhere you go, you are surrounded by important buildings and institutions. It was cool to still be with friends without the professors and “herd”. I wasn’t able to visit Old Delhi which I really wanted to see but perhaps I will go there in the future! The girls who did go said it was incredibly crowded and a lot more dangerous than New Delhi.

New Delhi

I travelled home on Wednesday night/Thursday morning and made sure to get hennaed before I left India =) Travelling home went very smoothly with no problems or complications. It felt very strange to be in Canada after being away for so long, but it felt really good too. The sky looks so familiar! haha. And home smells amazing. I was very pleasantly surprised to see both my mom and my grandma at the airport – holding flowers and a “Welcome Home Erin” sign. haha. I didn’t expect that at all but I always wished to have such a lovely greeting so I was very excited.

My mom welcoming me home at the airport

My mom welcoming me home at the airport

I have spent the last few days getting back into life here in Barrie =) It’s a good thing I love home so much and so far the transition to Canada has been great. India seems a world away and it’s hard to believe I was there a few days ago. There are so many stories, adventures and places that I haven’t had the chance to explain here so please ask me all about them. The last 2 weeks have been absolutely packed with things going on. But now that I’m home I’m focusing on being here and what’s next in my life.  A new apartment, a new summer, and new adventures here in Canada =)

Thank you EVERYONE who have prayed for me, supported me, and loved me while I’ve been in India. It’s been a huge blessing to know I had all these supporters back home. There’s a stigma about people going to India to “find themselves”. Haha, I don’t know if I “found myself” but I know I have grown and learned so much – both about the world and myself. Going to India for 3.5 months has probably been one of the most valuable experiences I have ever been blessed with. I know that I will be drawing on these memories and lessons for years to come. As time passes I will learn more and realize the impact that this insanely wonderful country had on me. I have spent a long time waiting for India, and now that it’s over I’m looking toward the next year of my life and what’s next =)