Shortly after we got on the train, we settled in and chose beds. For a few hours we entertained ourselves until we decided to go to sleep. The beds hung on top of each other on each side. (Editor’s note: see photo below.) We were awoken to incredible picturesque views of the countryside, and ate a classic Indian breakfast around 8:30. Right before we dismounted the train, we were stopped for twenty minutes due to cows lingering on the track. During this time, we felt an incredible sense of fulfillment and good fortune to be on this experience in India.
After we got off the train, we boarded rickshaws, which delivered us to Krishna’s house in his village, Heranjalu. We ate a delicious lunch on banana leaves, on his beautiful porch. There, we finally learned the correct way to eat with our hands, as most of us had been doing it incorrectly before then. (It’s harder than it looks!) Later, we met our host families and walked to our respective homes. We were filled with excitement for this opportunity and curiosity to learn more about our cultural differences. Later, back at Krishna’s house, we reflected on our first experiences with our families. We were able to share ideas on how to make the most out of the experience with our host families. Some of the anxiety that had built up due to the language barrier was taken off of our shoulders through this reflection. Finally, all of us returned to our homestays to enjoy a delicious dinner and spend more time with our families.
This morning, the group is reunited after another great meal, and we journaled together on a prompt focused on the ways in which we could break barriers with our host families. Most of the host families speak a minimal amount of English, making it difficult to truly connect and communicate with them. Sharing these ideas was felt relieving because it is important to know that everyone is experiencing the same feelings and challenges. Moving forward, we all share the feeling that being able to have a close relationship with our host families is our ultimate goal. We want to make the most of the time we have with them, thus bringing us closer to South Indian culture.
- Kat and Toby