There is something so amazing & thrilling about the first time you do anything ... and with travel, no matter how much you read/hear about place, you really can never understand what you are in for until you get there.
I knew this would obviously be the case in India, especially because every single book that I have read over the last two months and every single person I have talked to that has lived/visited India has told me the same thing ...
"NO MATTER WHERE YOU TRAVELED, NO MATTER WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN ON T.V. OR READ, NOTHING WILL PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR ARRIVAL TO INDIA."... even if you have seen Slumdog Millionaire ... which, by the way, has been the 1st thing people mention (well kind of) when I tell them I may be moving to India ... I swear I have heard this at least 25 times (not exaggerating).
Here's how it typically goes:
"OMG, you're moving to India, have you seen that movie?!... what's the name again???"
"um, ... Slumdog Millionaire?" I respond with a polite smile. (really?)
"YES!!!", they say enthusiastically. "Oh my God! India is CRAZY! ... that's crazy! ... you're crazy!"
"Yeah, you might be right."
The first thing I thought when I was driving from the Delhi airport to the hotel in Gurgaon was, I will NEVER be able to explain this place in words to my friends when they ask... which was the last actual thought I remember, because after that, the only thought in my head for the next four days was "WOW... that's what they mean by culture SHOCK" ... oh, and "seriously, WTF am I doing here?"