Old cow in Old Delhi. Photo by Sofia, age 8.
We've been back from India for a week and I'm still wrestling with my thoughts, memories and lessons learned from this big adventure to share with all of you. I finally finished unpacking yesterday and I'm almost over jet lag - hopefully. With a full 13 1/2-hour time difference, it's quite an adjustment.
In a word, India is mind-bending.
In a nutshell, India stretched me, strained me and drained me. It also inspired and enriched me, and I'm so grateful for the experience. I'm also extremely grateful for our life at home. Travel is good for so many things - like appreciating all that we have!
India is SO very different than Seattle, or any place I've ever been for that matter. I'm actually having trouble coming up with the similarities with the western world.
There are SO many people India - or as my sister-in-law quipped one night in a tired stupor: "There are just extremely many people here."
It is also a country of extremes: extreme wealth, extreme poverty, extreme temperatures (fortunately it was very comfortable when we were there), extreme pollution, extremely many people.
New Delhi, where we spent half of our time and where the wedding was, is a city of 20 million people, in a country of 1 billion. It's the most polluted city in the world - which was very hard for me.
There are cows EVERYWHERE! I mean, everywhere. When we first arrived it seemed novel to see a cow lying on the side of the road, or running down the middle of the road. But after seeing about 1,000 cows (I'm not exaggerating), not in fields mind you, the novelty wore off. There are also stray dogs everywhere - and monkeys and pigs and elephants, and the occasional camel.
I think I now know the true meaning of culture shock. EVERYTHING in India is different - and I felt it acutely with all five senses, all the time. But it works - for them. For me, 18 days was enough!
Here I share a few pictures selected at random from our more than 2,500 that I'll be culling through to bring you the highlights: from sari shopping to the five-day wedding festivities to ancient forts, palaces and temples.