A Curry-Filled Glimpse

I’ve sort of been to India. Only sort-of.

My trip began with a rocky start. I had a connecting flight to Chicago that kept getting more and more delayed. When I finally arrived in Chicago, I realized I had missed my flight to India. After airline workers directed me to about five different places, they gave me a new route. First, I spent 9 hours chilling in the Chicago airport. Then, I took an unexpected trip home. Again, sort-of.

They re-routed me through London. You’re probably aware that I lived in England for half a year (if you were not aware, then—shameless plug—you should scroll to some of my previous posts). I hadn’t returned to England since I moved back to The States, and although I missed it, I didn’t realize I needed to be back for a moment.

I strolled into Heathrow Airport and became flooded with memories. I immediately went to an airport pub to get fish and chips, and then I visited a sweet shop to get a Bakewell tart. I struck up a few conversations with other travelers just because I missed their accents. I walked around convenience stores and pharmacies that are regional to the UK. Just that little walk down memory lane—albeit just three hours long—made my soul happy.

And then, I hopped on a long flight to Hyderabad, India, where I arrived just after daylight. It was a small airport. The unofficial taxi drivers flocked to me; I was alone and American. Despite my exhaustion, I pushed past them to an airport taxi and rode an hour to my hotel.

My favorite hotel room in India. I loved the emerald floors!

The thing about hotels in my line of work—I stay in some swaggy ones. Several of these cities do not have middle-of-the-line hotels. It’s either crystal chandeliers and plush robes or dirty walls and tetanus. So my work provides the posh ones.

I arrived in my room and took a thirty-minute shower under the waterfall shower head. I always feel gross after being on long flights.

Despite my original plan to get to the hotel the night before work was to begin, my delays and re-route put me there the day-of. So I stuck my face in cold water, downed two cups of coffee, grabbed some room service, and went to work.

I met with an agent and tried my best to not look like I was about to fall asleep in my chair. Then, I went to an exhibition hall, set up, and worked a five-hour student recruitment fair.

One of the representatives from another school commented, “You’re so smiley and full of energy!”

“It’s completely artificial at this point,” I responded.

I skipped dinner and went to bed. But I didn’t sleep long. I got up, got ready, rode to the airport, and headed to my next city to do the same thing. And then again. And again for a week. The finale city was different because, instead of a flight, it required an eight-hour bus ride. I had so little sleep throughout the week, and barely ate as well because I just didn’t have the time. The only time I wavered from an airport, hotel, or mode of transportation was when I took a fifteen minute walk outside one of my hotels before a fair.

So in a way, I still haven’t got a full Indian experience despite being there a week. But that’s OK—all the more reason to go back. I also had to remind myself that all my travel recruitment is not as non-stop as that trip. Most work trips have a little room for down time and exploration along with the hard work.

After I arrived home, I noticed I brought back an extra souvenir: Delhi Belly. If you’re not familiar with that, don’t Google it. It’s basically just a super upset stomach that lasts a few days thanks to lots of curry food that may or may not always be the most sanitary. It was horrid… but I lost five pounds!

To conclude this random glimpse of India, it was no resort vacation to say the least; however, it was enlightening. I talked to so many students while working there, several of whom were very interested in my university. With each conversation I had, I became more confident in what I was saying—more excited to be in the line of work I’m in. And just as some university representatives helped me find my way several years ago, I hope I have done the same for a few Indian students.

Now on to the next place. Trust me. It’s quite the journey.

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