Seven Weeks of Names and Fruits
“Hi, my name is Amanda and um… I can’t decide if my favorite fruit is a mango or a raspberry, but since someone else said mangoes, I guess I’ll say raspberries.” That exact sentence came out of my mouth 7 weeks ago. Yes, let me repeat that: 7 whole weeks ago, we left our newly found rooms to head up to the 2nd floor lounge where we sat in the most amoeba-looking circle to have Julian ask us our names and favorite fruits. The goal, let’s be honest with ourselves, was so we could start learning the names of the faces we would be seeing for the next three months.
7 whole weeks ago, we landed in Bangalore, leaving behind our friends and family to fly for 27 hours while running 34 hours on the clock. All of this to move to a foreign place with people we barely knew to work on an impossible project somewhere so grandiose that we didn’t even know the spoken local language.
7 whole weeks ago, it took us 5 minutes to cross the street and somehow ended up unintentionally splitting our 27-person cluster into 4 or 5-person clusters to wonder to an art market that didn’t exist.
7 whole weeks ago, we realized that if the bathroom was sopping wet, that’s a good thing. No, no one peed everywhere but instead it’s been rinsed, most likely with a hand bidet or the same bucket that’ll use to shower the dust off after the scorching day.
7 whole weeks ago, we went to a BFC soccer game – halfway late of course – just so that we could cheer on a team that we had absolutely no connection with.
7 weeks later and the BFC WhatsApp group name has stuck and we no longer have to pull out our informational ID cards to direct us home to UTC. Now, we barter for cheaper autos back from ice cream when we easily could walk, but, hey, we're locals now.
7 weeks later and we still haven’t read the books we thought we were going to nor have we reflected on our experiences nearly as much we thought we would. Not because we didn’t want to but because we’ve packed our days with experiences and knowledge to the point that the only viable thing to do when we enter our room is immediately go to bed.
7 weeks later and we have eaten probably 20 jars of peanut butter. Let’s just leave that one there.
7 weeks later and we look at our calendars realizing that just yesterday we were imputing the dates of the three weekend trips, wondering if Julian really just said Pondicherry, and now we have that last trip this upcoming weekend.
7 weeks later and we’ve transitioned from not eating anything not packaged or fried, to spending hours at a street food market, shoving 13+ dishes into our mouths – even after a UTC dinner.
7 weeks later and we’ve gone from not comprehending what a “social media day” meant or how we were supposed to complete all of the work in the allotted amount of time, to completing our thousand-word initial reports along with nearly hitting everything on the syllabus.
7 weeks later and we’ve gone from continuously filling the canteen at lunch to coming back from work wondering where everyone is as we sit down wanting to check back in with what seems like old friends.
7 weeks later and we wonder how in three weeks we’ll be able to pack all the items that we feel we just unpacked and leave behind all our new friends and family and head back to what seems like a foreign land.
7 weeks later and we wonder where the time went and realistically how much of an impact we’ve had or what impact we can still have.
7 weeks later and we are still indecisive about our favorite fruits, not because someone else has said it – but because this time we’ve experienced many new fruits from many new experiences with so many new people.
7 weeks later and a simple question asked to break the ice, turns into a long, soppy, fragmented blog post written at 1 am. Not meant to solve any grand challenges or even spark any creativity for the day, but just to appreciate how far we’ve come and how intentional we need to be with our last 21 days in Bangalore. So, here’s to three more weeks…