Thammasat University, Thailand
So I’ve not blogged for a while because I’ve had little to blog about. This is because as most of you know, I’ve been sick the last few weeks. I thought I would omit this part of my trip from the records but now have decided “What the heck”, sickness abroad is worth blogging about. For those of you who’ve been sick abroad, I’d imagine my three weeks worth of sickness would bring you to sympathize with me. As for those of you who have not yet been sick abroad, it’s terrible. At times you feel like you are on your death bed, waiting for the Good Lord to take you from your misery. I’m pretty sure that the rest of the time you literally are on your death bed, slowing dying. I have now been to two different hospitals, three different times, seen three different doctors, had a shot, blood taken, prescribed everything in the book, and been reminded of how much my decaying body weighs multiple times (the best part of course).
Despite the feeling like death and constant reminder that Bangkok has it out for me, I’ve had a pretty awesome support system and think that I might just make it out alive. Being sick abroad is nothing like being sick at home: different pillow, different bed, weird smells, and a sewage system that doesn’t quite support the mess that your body is ridding. The positive thing about being sick abroad is that you get to see how willing those around you are to help out. I’ll take this time to give a shout out to my awesome roommate Lorraine who’s taken wonderful care of me , my neighbor Le’Chelle who’s always checking on me, and my teacher who cares enough about her students to make a doctor’s appointment for one of them. I’d have to say I’ve been placed in pretty good hands while dying in Bangkok. I’ve also had some seasoned travelers (my parents) who have been able to show me where I went wrong (Ohh, you actually meant it when you said not to eat raw veggies, drink the water, and be careful of street foods). Got ya. So now I officially can give first hand advice to future travelers- don’t eat raw veggies or fruit without peelings, don’t drink the water, and be cautious when partaking in street vending. Oh, and listen to your parents who’ve spent over 20% of their lives abroad.
So as I wait for my test results I can happily say that I feel much better and have hit a milestone in my life that most cannot claim. That is that I’ve officially, successfully lived in Bangkok, Thailand for a month and although Bangkok has come after my life pretty hard, I’m still alive and kicking. So here’s to you Bangkok, bring it on.
Also, this picture has no significance other that it was taken on my way home from the hospital. It’s the UN building in Thailand!
To follow more of Kara's adventures in Thailand check out her blog Mai Pen Rai at http://karaloveday.wordpress.com/
Hyderabad University, India
An Excerpt from her blog post "Back Again"
The second week I was here, some girls were watching a cricket match on campus and a professor approached them and asked them if they wanted to set up an intramural team at Tagore. So when they started to ask around at Tagore I agreed, thinking it would be a fun way to meet new people and ridiculous to see a bunch of white girls playing cricket for the first time in India.
The first meeting/practice was on a Sunday afternoon, so me and a few of the girls walked across campus to meet up with the group. We met for about 2hr with the professor and a couple of students who had agreed to help out. Basically, there was a tournament being held the next week and since we had a team we'd be playing in it. At the end of practice the coach set up our next practice time, which was the next day at 6 in the fucking morning. He asked if that worked for everyone, and I was absolutely the most vocal in expressing that that did not work for me. I mean, thinking about me even participating in an organized sport is laughable, but then expecting me to wake up before noon to play that said sport is absurd. I politely informed the group that I would not be attending the 6am practices, but I was more than happy to practice outside Tagore with them between tea time and dinner (5-7pm). They said that was fine, therefore I did not even pretend to make an effort to get up for practice.
We were originally supposed to play our first game that coming Thursday, but India being India, our game was postponed until the next Tuesday. The tournament was "you lose, you're out style," and even though our coach told the girls that they weren't the worst he'd ever seen (allegedly, I wasn't there in the mornings to actually hear him say this), in no way did we expect to win any games.
So as Tuesday loomed closer we practiced almost every afternoon and were feeling semi-confident. We showed up to our game on Tuesday in total style, all wearing our hideously matching SIP polos we were given and black leggings. As fate would have it, we had 13 girls ready to play, but only 11 players are ever on the field. I was the first to volunteer to sit out, seeing as I didn't commit myself to go to any of the practices and would've only been a hindrance on the field anyway. I designated myself official bag and water girl and cheered 'til I was hoarse. A little into the game some more Tagorians came with signs to cheer us on. We may have been the oddest group there, but we absolutely had the most spirit.
Despite the fact that we were a bunch of white girls who had been playing cricket for only a week, we played a really good game! I mean, we still lost, but only by 4 points! The referee/announcer said he was really impressed by us and told us that there would be another tournament in March. So hopefully we'll regroup, and I'll actually practice, so we can make a come back.
To read more about Harper's adventures in India visit her blog There and Back Again: A Ginger's Tale
Hyderabad University, India
This is an excerpt from her blog post
"Home for the Holidays" at http://harperganick.blogspot.com/2013/02/home-for-holidays.html
At home, people would ask me to tell them about all of my “adventures,” but I just had no idea what to say. I ended up talking a lot about the cows, which I did miss a lot, but it’s really hard to describe India to people who have never experienced it. God, I hate saying that because I know how pretentious I must sound, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
Traveling opens a person up to new and different worlds and perspectives, but India isn’t just a different world, it’s a whole different universe! I’ve come to the conclusion that no one, regardless of caste/socio-economic class or heritage, lives in India; you have to survive India.
I mean, it is hard to live here, especially being a young, white, ginger woman. While its a general consensus that America is a patriarchal society, just saying that in India is laughable, just because it’s so damn obvious. Three facts about India: 1) It runs on Indian Standard Time 2) It’s the world’s largest (most populous) democracy 3) It’s a patriarchal society.
My guy friends here have no problem going off and traveling on their own, using couchsurfing and having great experiences, but you just cannot do that being a woman. India can be so backwards; they’ve had a woman prime minister, something the US still hasn’t managed, but whenever a group of us go out the rickshaw drivers and waiters always direct all of their questions toward the men in our group.
This is definitely a tangent that arguably doesn’t have anything to do about my holiday back home, but the thing I hate most about India is that I’m not just a “person,” I am a women and I am white, and here that makes a difference in every aspect of life.
I can’t put into words what I like about India, because I do really like it here. Maybe I don’t know. But that’s clearly a goal for this semester, to find out what about this huge subcontinent makes me keep coming back.