Due to our schedule, we are often doing new things every day.  While it is an amazing and exhausting way to spend our time here, it is not as good for building relationships.  So I want to tell you a little about some of the people I’ve met, and what seems to be the recurring themes in what they like to share.

This is me with the neighbor kids on our last morning in Indore

Like Slovaks, one of the first things they ask is how we like their country.  More specifically, they want to know how we like the people in their country; strangely, they always seem skeptical when I tell them its all good.  They also really like to know the details of where we are staying- we don’t usually share them.

When they ask about my feelings on India, I always tell them that one of my favorite things is that just going down the road, we often see monkeys, camels, and elephants and I love it!  (Often, more common than those animals we see cows, boars, dogs, goats, and donkeys, but you know, a cow on a big city street is just common place now!)  The guaranteed response to my statement is something like this:  Oh! You know where you should go then… We have a zoo!  As if the novelty is in the animal itself and not the fact that I can reach out and touch it (or better, take it home!:)

—UPDATE: Scary monkey story coming soon!—

In Indore, people just loved us.  They aren’t really used to foreigners there and so our white skin sometimes brought them flocking to us.  One day as I was just killing some time in the mall, I was approached by a young man and we became fast friends.  We were chatting about all sorts of America/India things and he especially wanted to know the following, I’ll give you a rundown….

Sameer: So if I come to Australia, will you show me around.
Me: No, I’ve never been to Australia, I’m from America.
Sameer: Oh, so will you show me around America?
Me: Yeah, sure.
Sameer: Okay, what’s your phone number.
Me: No phone (true story).
Sameer: (shock, some conversation about how it is possible, back to the story) Okay so the number to your home, or your family?
Me: Well, it doesn’t really work that way in America.  I don’t really live at home anymore.
Sameer: And your family agrees to this?
Me: Well, yeah.  After University, most people my age just don’t really go back to their parents.
Sameer: (again, shocked) So after you graduate, you make some agreement with your family and if you both agree you no longer live at home?!  And they agree to this… hmm.

Basically, I blew his mind and apparently in a way that made us best friends because a few minutes later, he told me that he wants to marry his girlfriend, but she only wants to be friends.  Then he very bluntly asked me, What can I do about this?  How can I change so that she would want to marry me? Is there something wrong with me? Am I not nice?  So that was fun.

Last thought, these are Indians that we did get to build relationships with, and they are great!

This is the sister who tied the girls' saris and laughed at long fingernails!

We are often laughing at our differences, but it is extra funny when they laugh at us!  One thing that they laugh at guaranteed is when some of the girls from our group wear the saris they bought.  They meet my approval, but there are intricacies to tying them on that need years of practice, so the Indians always giggle at the sight of them.  The other thing that makes them laugh is long fingernails- how impractical!