Updated: Jan 15, 2019

| Author: Cristina |

I expected culture shock to be a literal shock. However, we have been in India for nine days, and now I know culture shock doesn’t come from ONE experience, and isn’t a shock that paralyzes or necessarily hurts you. Instead, it creeps up on you, as you realize through many interactions that the place you are staying in is nothing like the place, or places, you call home. Here are some examples of this in India:

1. Almost every platter served has been spicy.

2. Walking in the streets can be scary. I cross streets triple checking that we aren’t overlooking a motorcycle or a careless car.

3. In clothing stores, I expressed slight interest in a saree, and was quickly put on a pedestal, wrapped in one, and then offered 10 different patterns to try on or buy.

4. I am now used to locals doing the right and left head shake at the end of our conversations, but I am not experienced enough to know what it means, and therefore have little to no insight as to what the locals think of my conversation, questions, or even presence.

Despite these surprising differences, there have also been times when India feels like home. One of these moments was on Saturday, when we rented a sports arena to play soccer at. I didn’t expect so many people to be excited about soccer, but almost all of the GCIL students made the 20-minute trek through traffic and landfills to join or watch the game. The sports field was a small, indoor, turf field. The small field size made it easier for me to keep up with boys, who are too fast on a large field, and may have made it easier for us to work as a team, since the small size engaged everyone. The sports arena was very hot, and some of the corners were concaved, causing the ball to get stuck in them. We did not have strict teams, allowing subs to rotate in to either team. At the end of the game both teams tied up , at 14 – 14, and so we played to the tie breaker. However, the score is trivial since most players played for both teams. There was great sportsmanship throughout the match, and it was a great bonding experience. Everyone agreed that we had a lot of fun and there were high fives all around. We have decided to continue playing soccer at least once a week. When we left, the men who run the sports arena were setting up the field for a game of cricket. Maybe another time, we will even play cricket!

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