A couple of years ago I embarked on a plane in direction to India for a Diploma training course scheduled to last two years. Being originally from Ivory Coast(Cote d’Ivoire) a West Africa country, and being on my very first overseas experience, I was used to some certain types of foods, very less population in comparison to India, dressing habit weathers etc.,
Landing at Indhra Gandhi airport around 20h30 India’s time the first element to draw my whole mind to homesickness was the smell of the breathing air which I found somewhat unusual as if it was the norm when changing a continent for another. Clearly my homesickness had then just started! As I reached the arrival terminal and it was time to make a phone call to my host, great was my surprise to see piles of people at the airport and plenty of vehicles, some of them leaving and others coming and particularly the auto rickshaws which was the first time in my life to see was another indication that I was really far from home. Then I began to nurture the idea to catch the next flight back to my home country. However I mastered courage to move on my dream of having my training done before any idea of returning home. It took me almost an hour to meet my host for the mere reason that though we were talking in the same language (English) on the phone, we could hardly understand each other because of intonations and accents. That has led me realize that India might have its own English intonation. I was finally driven to my hotel room and in the morning of the following day I was taken to my training Institute and later on to one of the plentiful student’s hostel known nationally as PG (Paying Guest).Once there I would also notice that some people are referred to as vegetarians (Only eating vegetable-prepared foods) and that food habit hardly suited me because I couldn’t have food merely made of vegetables. There was a 3 meal plan (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) provided and therefore no possibility to make my own food. Then I realized that I had little choice left but try to get used to both lunch and dinner as I did not have any problem having breakfast since it was made of coffee and bread. But how could I survive with drinking only coffee and eating bread? For roughly 3 months(October to December)with the encouragement of some of my Indian friends I would force myself to be a vegetable eater but from the bottom of my heart being a vegetarian did not not suit me.
Then towards the end of December I would have the opportunity to switch to an apartment with the option of self-catering and stay with some Indian friends who did not mind eating vegetarian foods or sharing non-vegetarian meals with me.
But my ordeals where far from over as we enter December with winter period.Remember,I am from a country with 22 degrees Celsius( 71.6 fahrenheit )as lowest temperature and I was facing 9 degrees Celsius(48.2 Fahrenheit). I piled up myself with dresses upon dresses, socks upon socks but still felt cold and at a point I felt pity for myself.
As winter was nearing to its end my face would glimmer with joy day-by-day but that was short lived with summer getting near and temperatures nearing 45 degrees Celsius( 113 Fahrenheit ) while in my home country the highest would be 35 degrees Celsius(95 Fahrenheit) .Most nights in summer I would suddenly wake up and notice that not only was the light and the fan switched off due to power cut but also my whole body sprinkled with sweat and a tremendous feeling of a scorching heat.
These series of events and experiences have forged and made me ready for the most weird-looking and most exciting adventure travels to any corner of the globe. I would like to inform you that thereafter I have travelled and visited some other countries with different cultures, traditions, weathers, food types; demography etc. And my Indian experience has helped me a lot indeed.
Z L Florent