Kristin Lew at Vivek School in India – Week 1

I left the San Francisco airport at 3:45 PM for my flight to Frankfurt. It was about a ten hour flight and once I got to Frankfurt I had about a two hour layover where then I flew to New Delhi. I arrived there at about 3:00 in the morning and had a five hour layover where I just sat in the airport. And finally I arrived in Chandigarh after an hour flight from Delhi at about 9 o’clock (Indian time). I arrived in Chandigarh on March 18th after over 24 hours of travel, where I met my host, Ekam. Many may know her from her exchange two years ago to The Athenian School, but I had never met her before. One of the first things I noticed while driving to their home was how the roads and traffic rules differed from the United States, or at least the Bay Area. There are no rules about going into the other side’s lane or weaving in and out of lanes, and you don’t have to wear seatbelts in the back seat.

Once I arrived at her house I got introduced to the rest of her family, including her mother, father, cousins, and uncles. What was very different to me was that in their household they have maids and a “servant” (she is about 18 years old) that make you food and make your bed every morning. At first it was very strange not having to do my own laundry or get my own drink out of the refrigerator, but I am slowly getting used to this all. Another thing that I found difficult was the language and understanding what her family is saying when they are not speaking English, but Hindi. At first, I was quite clueless to what they were all saying, but being here for a week already I have picked up on some words and can understand the idea of what they are saying! (plus they say that my pronunciation is pretty good!) The best part of my exchange is that Ekam attended Athenian before, so it’s really interesting to talk to her all about the experiences she had there and understand exactly what she means. We would ask each other if we knew certain people (both teachers and students) and I would tell her everything that is happening at Athenian now. During the first few days of my arrival Ekam introduced me to many of her friends and I visited the Vivek High School, where I would be studying. The people there, both at school and outside, are very friendly and welcoming. They would all say “welcome to India” and “I hope you’re enjoying your stay.” Though I have not been to school yet (I begin on April 2nd) I can already tell that I will have a great experience J

Within the first week I was here, my family took me on a trip to Delhi and Agra, to visit different places such as the Taj Mahal and other historical structures. It was absolutely amazing because I learned all about the history and about the Taj Mahal’s structure; truly a wonder! The next few days consisted of tons of shopping and mostly exploring Delhi. Once we returned from our four day trip, the next few days were mostly hanging out and meeting many more of Ekam’s friends. Some days we would go out to lunch and see a movie and others we would go paintballing or boating in a lake. Along with this, I also left for a four day camping trip with a group of students in grade twelve, where we went to an adventure camp in the hills of the Himalayas. I participated in many activities such as repelling and trekking through the mountains. It was there where I met many other students that I would be studying with later that week on my first day of school! This first week overall has been quite busy and fun-filled! I am having tons of fun on my exchange and so far all is wonderful!