Milestones

There are a couple milestones I became aware of today. The first, and most recent is that I read an entire children’s book in Hindi. I think that’s just too amazing. It’s a simple book about an elephant named Aana who doesn’t like the way he looks. Aana is a boys name here. It’s a sweet book. A yam comes to tell him he’s beautiful because of all the things he doesn’t like about himself (big ears, long nose, thin tail, fat body) because that’s what makes him an elephant. It’s a sweet story. I just got really excited that I actually finished a book. I’m still figuring out what some of the words mean, but it’s a good milestone.

The other milestone I figured out is that I’ve become immune to many of the things that I used to find strange. I accept them as a part of my life as well. This realization happened when I was reading my friend Luca’s blog. He’s been here about two months. He’s my Italian friend and I’m super happy that I can read his Italian blog. Anyway, I was reading about the Indian youth and the contrast between the traditional Indian culture. Most of my friend’s moms still wear a traditional saree, my friends do not, nor do most of them even wear a slightly less salwar kameez (the traditional shirt pant set). My friends are given certain freedoms of going out at night, but most still have to report back home to their parents, even in their mid twenties; they have to take permission. Some, even some of my more progressive friends consider arranged marriages, even though they’ve tasted what it’s like to choose your partner independently. Those not from Pune or Mumbai will move back to their home towns once a partner is chosen (by them or their family). Some of them will rebel against their parents’ wishes. Sometimes they talk about family and values and I’m made to think why we in the West don’t value these things as much anymore. My landlady says we’re too independent. I also wonder if India will arrive at the western concept of family values.
The last milestone I realized is that this is the longest I’ve ever been away from home. Even if I count living in Italy as one long stint (I had almost a month break where I went home over Christmas vacation.) It’s been over 8 months; I’ll reach the 9-month mark in another week and a half. This I also compared to Luca’s blog. He gets to go home in August. I think I’m a little jealous, but at the same time I don’t mind. I’ve found a home here. If you can’t tell I’m not in a homesickness stint at all right now, and it feels good.

Just to add in something fun, here’s a collage my friends made for me for my birthday.

  1. Really good post Ana. The best american woman that I’ve ever known.

  2. …ah I forgot, only because you are the only american that I know….ahha

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