Blog Oct. 22:
Home. It's overwhelming to be here. There is so much of everything. I find myself appreciating so many things I took for granted before going to India. Food everywhere, anytime you want it. Extravagance. Calm, orderly Toronto driving (seriously- it's all relative). So many places and ways to spend money. And so much money everywhere. Fancy shops, fancy cars, fancy houses. Even my own house (we rented a cute little bungalow two months before I left for India) is extra adorable. I love being home. It had truly made me grateful for the beautiful country I live in and also super aware that the majority of world doesn't have half of the luxury we accept as our own every day. We, the lucky, are a minority.
There were times in India when I was hungry. The food there, delicious as it was, did not agree with my system and I was basically living on cereal, nuts and juice for the last month and a half before coming home. I lost a lot of weight (hooray! but it wasn't the healthiest way of doing so). So, there was a morning when we drove into Chennai as everyone was on the road heading for work. What a mix of people. Villagers walking, carrying baskets on their heads, driving ox-carts, riding motorcycles, or non-villagers driving in cars, all down a dirt road in Tamil Nadu at 8am. It became apparent how not hungry I really was as, from inside our air-conditioned car, I watched a man who probably lived in a mud hut (let's hope not) with a walking stick supporting his emaciated frame.... walking to work. There's hungry, and then there's hungry. And he had a job to go to. There's hungry and then there's hungry... and then there's hungrier beggars on the street. The people who beg on the streets in Toronto may be hungry but the "untouchable" beggars on the streets of India are truly hungry. It really puts hunger into perspective. If I had been truly starving, I would have eaten the food that was making me sick with no hesitation. It makes you think before declaring that you're "starving" before heading to a meal.
After taking off from Chennai at 5:30 am, I actually got a little teary when the British Airways stewardess brought our breakfast. Airplane food (omelette, fried tomato, hash browns) has never tasted so good. During my layover at Heathrow I nearly kissed the ground. Instead I had a Starbucks coffee and sandwich. Yum! And seeing my beautiful country emerge from under the clouds, glowing in the autumn sunset as we descended into Pearson Airport was extremely moving. (It was kind of embarrassing to be so teary but the moment was pretty epic. And I hadn't slept for like a day or something.) But seeing my amazing boyfriend again at the airport was the best moment of all.
One thing I've realized being back in the west is how much of a media break I had while I was in India. T.V. commercials hit me like a brick. Burger and pizza cravings are slyly implanted in my subconscious before I know what's happening. It's crazy. I'm observing myself contemplating buying things and realizing that I just saw a commercial for that product a minute ago. T.V. is dangerous!
Another thing is the patience I suddenly have. I've always been a very impatient driver, TTC rider and crowd navigator. Now, it's like I'm on I.S.T. time still (India Stretchable Time). We'll see how long it lasts- hopefully a good long while because this is great for my blood pressure!
The jet lag is slowly dissipating and the fog is clearing. Now I'm left with the question "What next?"... Well, my amazing boyfriend asked me to marry him the moment we got home and I said yes! So... there's that!! We've got a wedding to plan. I've got an original music project to continue working on. Gigs to book. People to play music with and catch up with. Since this isn't a travel blog anymore, I'll be writing more about these upcoming projects and events. I'm still getting myself organized and figuring out where to start. But it's wonderful to be home and have all these things to explore next.