India – The Update

I think if I may be so presumptuous to try and sum up these past couple months in Bombay (post wedding that is, I’ll devote a piece to the wedding)… I would have to say unexpectedly infuriating! Ok, ok, I cheated and used an adverb, but you get the point. These past two months have been some of the best, and some of the most trying experiences in my life. Why? Good question.. let me fill you in…

Before I moved to India, I assured C that this move was something I could handle in stride – I’m an MBA grad for crying out loud, I can handle anything! But.. India is not just “anything,” let me tell you! India is anything but anything.. India is EVERYTHING… It is a juxtaposition of splendor and squalor walking, nay plowing, towards you at 150mph at every single moment. It is constant traffic jams that make the 405 freeway in Los Angeles during rush hour seem like a back-town street in New England at 2am. It is a sea of people everywhere you go at ALL hours of the day, having to push, shove and elbow your way through the crowds just to get a cab or even just to pick out vegetables for dinner. It is a tangled web of complicated procedures to get anything done. It is loud, it is dirty, it is chaotic and it smells. Phew!

However, with that said, India is a place that assaults your senses one second, and at the very next moment, offers you some of the most magnificent experiences you will ever encounter. India, you see, is a place that doesn’t so readily reveal her true beauty like her “easier” counterparts in the western world.. no, no no! India makes you work, and work hard to see her beauty. But let me tell you, it’s worth the struggle. As I have mentioned before, the country, enriched with the most fascinating history, which has unmistakably emblazoned upon her something magnificently elusive – something I have never experienced anywhere else in the world. Amidst the chaos, there are glimpses of beauty, peace, stillness, and sheer awesomeness with hospitality that leaves you yearning to experience more. It’s a country of over a billion people, with millions of gods, thousands of unique cultures, and one experience that cannot even be overshadowed by the majestic Himalayas to the north.

Anyway, back to the chaos of daily life, as it’s not everyday, I am able to look beyond the insanity. Not yet, at least. Things have been extremely difficult for me during this transition, the culture shock is just a compounding element around the fact that just a few months ago, I was probably one of the most independent people I know, working 60+ hour weeks, and when I was not at work or battling the scorpions at my apartment, was out and about with friends and yoga and just generally enjoying myself. And now, I fall into the totally dependent-category, having to rely on other people for virtually everything! I think that has been the most difficult part, actually. Having to rely on other people is quite a humbling experience, and has most certainly knocked me off my pedestal, that’s for sure! But, is that really a bad thing? It’s good to get a good hard dose of reality every once in awhile, even though it is tough to swallow, being grounded is a good thing.

And, just to get anything done requires so much persistence here that it puts good ol’ American hard work to shame. I have never had to work so hard for such little progress. Getting a gas-connection for your house, for example, requires several visits, affidavits, all sorts of paperwork and several weeks time just to be able to cook something requiring more than a microwave. And, don’t get me started on immigration. That has been a slow and painful process filled with undocumented steps and unclear procedures resulting in countless visits to dfferent immigration offices, cancelled trips, and several missed work-days for C just to get things rolling. Thankfully, it is. I’ll leave it at that for now. However, there are strong lesson that I have learned amidst all of this frustration: never overlook the small things and don’t take anything for granted, ever!

And, to add a few more elements to the already pandemonium here, a few weeks ago, I got really sick and had a very up close and personal glimpse into the Indian healthcare system – requiring several doctor and hospital visits. That, actually, wasn’t so bad, as I always felt I was in capable hands – but what WAS bad about the situation, was that for weeks I was not allowed to run, or do yoga or really able to work – all of the things that were keeping my sanity during the adjustment process were taken away in the blink of an eye! Thankfully, now I am healthy and slowly getting back into my running and yoga, however work is somewhat of a difficult scenario. As you know, I was working for my previous company doing contract work – a lot of freelance writing for their marketing blog (which will be another entry altogether, stay tuned for that one, it’ll be a good one), but that contract has ended now, and due to difficult times on their side were unable to renew it. So now, I am “in limbo” until I am legally allowed to work in India, which, given the glacial speed of my regular immigration work, might be some time off yet.

But, I have to say, during this entire maddening process C has been a rock. I don’t know how he has put up with everything that has been thrown at us PLUS all that I have thrown at him, as I have definitely taken a lot of my frustrations out on him over the last month or so. And, throughout it all, he has done nothing but try and make me happy and make the most out of every situation. He is truly the best – I don’t know how he does it!

So, for everyone asking how my time in India has been … there it is: an honest, real, un-cut, un-censored glimpse into life 9,000 miles away from home. It’s not easy, but no one ever said it would be. It’s not always exciting – but it certainly always is an adventure. It’s not always perfect – but overcoming adversity is what makes us stronger. I can honestly say that even though at times I question what the hell possessed me to leave everything and everyone behind to move to such a DIFFERENT place – but then he comes home from work everyday and I understand. LOVE. It’s what will get us through these difficult times – and it is what will make us better. And, now that things are improving and falling into place, I can say with 100% confidence, I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner!!! Stay tuned!

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3 thoughts on “India – The Update

  1. You know I so feel your pain on this one and Ive gotta say that your experience sounds way more trying than mine….’perspective’ is a beautiful thing. But now that you mention it, I realize what I’m missing here in Peru….LOVE. Let me get on that ASAP! Im sure that would make my life easier….

  2. Great insights to an amazing journey! Your words are very heartfelt and your experience is something we all can only imagine. 9,000 miles away and we are still thinking of you all the time. Your EmpowHER family misses you. Much love.

  3. …I thought I should write you a note after having snooped around in your blog…I saw this note about you having moved to India and I could not help but reading all about this amazing experience you decided to embarque on…I have to admit that this is probably the most courageous move I have heard about… As you may remember I lived in a few countries myself and for this reason I have always thought of me as someone that can easily embraces change..but I don’t know if and how I could find the strength to do the same thing you did…
    Congratulations for having made such a difficult choice Lauren..I am sure this will pay back..
    Take care
    Mara

    … I read recently that the most rewarding thing in life is to have stories to tell…

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