(September 11, 2016)

The Hindi Summer 2016 kids arrived back in the U.S. almost a month ago, and that is unfathomable. I cannot even describe how hard it is to comprehend that fact, in addition to all of the amazing things I did while in India. Being back, it has allowed me to spend some time reflecting about my exchange there. I have realized that it’s the little things that I miss the most of that amazing country.

16 Things I Miss from India:

1. My extremely bumpy morning bus ride that gave me back pain

2. Our main Hindi teacher's never-ending dedication, support, kindness, and love for us

3. Our other Hindi teacher's random stories and theories on life in the middle of teaching

image of two hindi teachers standing in a hallway

4. Daily conversations with the other exchange students about our host families, weird things we've experienced, and thoughts in general

5. The generosity of little kids on the bus who shared their snacks and candy with me, "Mei Didi"

6. The ability to take a nap everyday when I got home

7. Simply sitting with my host sister as we both scanned our social medias

8. Gossiping with my host sister

9. Visits to the Gurdwara

Visit to the gudwara; shows women in colorful clothing in a large room indoors

10. Having afternoon chai conversations with my host mom on the terrace

11. My host dad's little song he sang on Saturday nights that goes, "Sat-urday Night...Sat-ur-day Night..."

12. The ability to bargain prices almost everywhere

13. The crazy city traffic

14. Impromptu and last minute plans to go somewhere

15. Falling asleep to the sound of the monsoon rain

16. My fellow NSLI-Y family

image of the nsliy cohort with their suitcases

Each of these have shaped and changed me as a person, friend, student, and citizen. By observing and evidently adapting to these, I have created a better understanding of India and the world. NSLI-Y is not just about the language learning; it’s about the embracement and acceptance of a new life.

These little things were just life there; they had no real value to natives, but to me, looking back, they are everything. These are the stories I tell to my friends who ask how my trip was and what I did. I am so grateful to NSLI-Y for the opportunity to have all the wonderful experiences that I have had.

Mei was a participant in the 2016 NSLI-Y Hindi Summer Program.