So I’ve avoided the blog thing for a while, mainly on the premise that I do not like having an audience for anything I do. I’m beginning to find that phobia a little ridiculous as I push forward into the “real world,” or whatever they call it. How am I supposed to find a job if I’m scared of performing for people? How am I supposed to find a job with my degree in history (don’t forget the ever-useful minor in interdisciplinary studies), period? So, in an attempt to develop my writing skills past fifteen page research papers, I’ve created this pretty little thing with one of the nice preset themes WordPress offers. Like the colors?
I’m going to India in about a week, which is another motivating factor for creating a blog. My mom wants me to be a female Anthony Bourdain and has been pushing me to record every moment of my trip. I don’t really tend to do that- I HATE seeing a new place through the lens of a camera instead of with my own eyes- but I owe it to her and the nice people at UCA Honors that paid for the trip to record it in excruciating detail. My boyfriend Hari and I will be spending four weeks volunteering with the Nirvana School in Pondicherry, and another week travelling around the state of Tamil Nadu. I have basically no functional knowledge of India, teaching, or travelling by train. I’m thankful Hari can at least speak Tamil, even if he hasn’t lived in India since he was a kid. I can’t really say what I expect out of the trip, because I feel as though India is going to be a completely indescribable culture shock. Although I am excited to arrive in Chennai on June 12, I can’t say I’m completely at ease about the entire experience.
The impression I have of India so far mostly concerns paperwork– getting a visa (which I didn’t realize I had to do until the last minute) was like paying to wrestle a bear while waiting in line at the DMV. I was so paranoid I wouldn’t receive it that I spent two full days simply filling out the paperwork and getting documentation in line. I’m finally ready, though; I have my passport, Hari’s passport, and Hari’s Overseas Citizen of India card safely tucked away in a folder, visas intact. I’m chronically disorganized so I’m making up for it by planning every square inch of this trip beforehand. Even then, I’m sure I’ll end up with a few mishaps. Between the paperwork, the Indian heat, and the threat of Delhi Belly I’ve become uselessly worried. The root of most of this is sitting at home with nothing productive to do besides clean my room, which I’ve of course neglected. As a result, hours upon hours of time have gone into researching the trip and frequenting the indiamike forums. I can’t help it– the history major in me loves to pursue knowledge, whether it is useful or not.
I’ve used up some of my free time in the past few weeks by beginning to dabble in genealogy again. Last summer, I worked as an intern at the New York Genealogical and Biographical society. It was an amazing experience, and I came back with both a love for New York and an even more curious mind than I had before. Messing around on ancestry.com always produces great results, and there’s never a lack of ancestral branches to research. Spending an afternoon tracing a far-off corner of my family tree back to 1600’s Virginia never disappoints. Currently, I’m reading the book Hey America, Your Roots are Showing by Megan Smolenyak. The book (so far) is about solving genealogical puzzles. I want nothing more than to be Megan when I grow up.
Whether I turn into Megan Smolenyak or Anthony Bourdain isn’t really important right now, though. Today I’m more concerned about selling my old clothes to earn some extra trip money and meeting Hari at Subway for lunch (we’re classy people, we go on classy dates). If I haven’t updated in a few days, call the police; I’ve probably been snared by a creature made of old jean jackets and lost socks in an attempt to organize my ridiculous room.