Saturday, April 21, 2012

India Winterim by Sophie L.

I went to South India for my OES 2012 Winterim. Although India is in Asia, India did not have any Asian “stereotypes.” Even as an Asian, I experienced one of most exotic events ever. I visited temples and historical sites and worked in an orphanage to spend time with kids. Below is a journal entry from the fifth day in India:

3/21/2012 Day 5

I finally picked up the morning call at 5:15 AM and got up. I was tired and couldn’t see the sunrise again. Dissatisfaction visited me and tears left my eyes hurriedly. Okay. This was like super fake fancy, and didn’t even make sense. I just followed what VJ told me: “When you write in your journal every night, that’s when you expand your writing. No one reads it but you, right?” Yes VJ, it is very true, but I prefer the easier way when writing journals...Haha. (Oops, all of you readers are reading my journal now!)...

Today I visited temples in one city, a 2-hour drive from Puducherry. I forgot the names of them, but I took photos of the name. It was magnificent. I always thought that Korea was really rich in ancient stuff, but yes, India is one of four ancient civilizations. Korea is nothing when compared to India. Maybe if Japan didn’t burn down Korea’s beautiful and precious architecture during the colonial era, I wouldn’t have to feel this way. The gates of the temples were so, so, so high, decorated with Shivas, Vishinus, elephants with lots of bright colors, mainly blue, that I had to force myself to close my mouth. I took so many photos of the gates! In the temples, I got to put some holy white ash on my forehead! Just like Hindi! And priests and assistants performed rituals that happen once in a while! Lucky day! There was a woman who kept singing songs in Tamil. VJ said she was just a volunteer. Wow! The only thing I don’t like about going to temple in India is that I have to be bare feet! Hmm...Lol.

Lunch: Steak, French fries, veges, Lamb fat!

Then orphanage @ 4:00 PM. Until then, I packed to leave for Chennai. I hung out with Hannahs (Hannah H. and Hannah R.), Erica, Grace, Sadhana and Thomas. We played Egyptian Rats and BS card games. We laughed too hard. I was somewhat happy that today was our last day in Puducherry because I wouldn’t have to deal with the kids at the orphanage anymore. That was really hard. I was wearing Indian clothes earlier, but I changed to shorts and T-shirt b/c I knew that the kids would challenge me a lot.

I arrived @ the place. All kids were sitting on rows on floor. There was a table covered in a cheap plastic tablecloth and chairs that one would see @ Korean convenience stores. When kids saw me, they ran up to me and hugged me. They even remembered my name and imitated the game that we all played together yesterday. I was surprised. I hung out with them until the director came out to the living room and introduced a new refrigerator that donors donated. My good descriptions on the orphanage are on my iPhone. People honored me for helping out with the orphanage. :) I said Bye and came out. There was one little boy who kept asking for me to hold him up...

Last dinner at Pomenade (hotel restaurant)! Good dinner! Oh, before we went to the orphanage, all walked to Baskin Robins under broiling hot weather, but it was closed due to strikes against the UN’s resolution on Sri Lanka. Bleh.
Here is what I wrote on my iPhone:

AASK and Baby Sarah’s House (the orphanage) totally changed my perspective.

Mentally and physically challenged kids and normal kids: no differences. Smile and laughter connect everything. Only difference is the title that is called to them. Language barrier, whatever. I used body language to play with the kids. They all smiled and laughed. I did too.

I’m going to write a novel in near future.

There was a kid who was sponsored by a dance company and he performed one of his moves in front of all of us to thank us. He didn’t seem to be mentally challenged. What would his biological parents say when they see their own son’s precious talents? The kids I spent time with during last 3 would they change if I come back a few years later? Will they be same? Or will they age and not be physically and mentally older because of their mental and physical challenges? I know I shouldn’t say this, but I hope the kids stay the same until I come back to the orphanage...

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