I'm one hour in to the fourteen hour flight to Dubai, followed by a four hour flight to Bangalore, and I still keep having to tell myself that when I finally step out of an airport, it will be two days later and I'll finally, finally be in India! It's been a week of frantic packing, long goodbye hugs, nerves, and excitement, but my head is still having a hard time wrapping itself around the idea that Bangalore is a real place, and that I'm really going.
For the next month, I'll be studying with eleven other UW students in the CHID and Honors program "Social Justice and Artistic Expression." We'll be doing a theatre workshop, working with media outlets that are documenting social issues in the city, going to concerts, living with host families in Bangalore, and witnessing what justice and art mean to people in this city halfway around the world.
Although we've been working towards this trip together for a quarter now, as some of my classmates and I waited for our flight to board at SeaTac, we all expressed the same sentiment: we really have no idea what we're getting into. I have the name and address of the hostel I'm headed to, a good idea of what not to eat if I want to stay healthy, and kurta and salwar kameez in my suitcase, but the fact remains that I had to get a passport specifically for this trip - I've never been this far from home before and the agenda for our program remains a mystery to my classmates and me.
So, am I ready to go? I guess that depends on how you define ready. I'm not fluent in Kannada or Hindi. I don't know my way around the city. But I'm ready to be challenged and to try things I've never done before. I'm ready to see and listen and think a LOT. Check back on this blog now and then and I'll try to post updates when I can. Here goes...