Last night I was at dinner at my friend’s house (who has the best cook in the world by the way! – their house is actually one of my favorite restaurants in Delhi!) and there were about five of us just chatting about what else … India? I swear I have never lived in a place where I actually talk about the place I live so much. The reason I think this is the case, is because there is always someone around that just arrived to India, which obviously, has been the role I have been playing for the last 7 months (as of August 10th!).
It’s kind of like college; we are all about the same age and have found ourselves on the Delhi campus of some crazy college – and no one has a boring story as to how they got here which is really cool. It seems there is a new group of Expats arriving everyday that are at the parties/etc. that I go to. How I know this is because when you first meet someone here is you or they ask "so, how long have you been here", (actually they first ask, “what are you doing here?", "you are here alone???") and the conversation goes from there, "so, how do you like it?" ‘it’s so hot” “it’s so chaotic”, “I love it, but I hate it, but I love it!”, etc. etc… you have a few cocktails, exchange your crazy stories, then you become friends on Facebook.
Last night I met this girl who, when asked that question, responded "2 1/2 weeks". By the way, everyone always knows exactly how long they have been here. People refer to the time they have been in India like a mother of a child under 2 (6 months 25 days - that’s me, 18 months, 22 months … etc). I was so excited when we asked the next person, they said they had only been here for like 5 days and they were complaining about the heat (95). I was like, “are you kidding, that’s nothing! I almost literally died a couple of times it was so hot (118 is HOT!). Then I realized, "oh my God ... I am not a freshman anymore!" I honestly feel like I did when you become a sophomore and you actually have stories to tell and some sort of wisdom to share (if you can call it that; I wouldn’t say I am wise to the ways of India quite yet, that’s laughable, but I definitely understand it much more than when I arrived. Let's just say, I won't pay more than 20 Rupees for a bottle of water anymore!).
My driver gave my new friend (the one that has been here for 2 ½ weeks) a ride home and she couldn’t remember where her house was and was so apologetic about it. I obviously, told her not to worry about it at all, that it has taken me until last week to really feel settled and completely understand my surroundings (and I was not lying). Being able to see similarities between mine and new friend’s reaction/perceptions of India upon arrival, and say, wow, that was me just a short time ago, is pretty cool. Wow ... this really is a good college!