Day 29 (Saturday, May 31): Until Next Time, India + Budget + Bucketlist

Woke up around 8:30am. I felt like sleeping in, but Lauren and I planned to get breakfast at 9am. I wore my red with green vines Fab India shirt. We walked down with Taniqua. I vlogged Taniqua signing her name in the book for the last time and then Lauren getting food. Breakfast: one toast, two pancakes, omelet, and tea. Alvian was there too. Lauren walked with me to vlog the library. Taniqua asked us to buy Orbit gum for her with 50 rupees. We peeked into the library café and at first glance thought they didn’t sell gum, but it was on the counter. I can faintly picture seeing gum in my memory of ordering food at the café, so I felt bad that we didn’t take the chance of going in. Drew inspired me to purchase a maroon-colored Kasturba Medical College t-shirt at the Manipal campus store. I had around 1000 rupees left. We said goodbye to the library by taking individual pictures with the Manipal sign.

IMG_1589Back at the hostel, I gave Taniqua her 50 rupees back. It was around 10:30am when I returned to my room and hardcore packed. I thought I wouldn’t finish on time. I gave Taniqua some Ziploc bags when she came over around 11am. I checked my room several times, took out the trash, and finished packing all my bags around 11:45am. We were supposed to be ready at 12:05pm, so I was cutting it close. Taniqua and I visited the small snack shop on the ground floor of our hostel to use more rupees. Lindsey and Ashley were already in the lobby with their luggage. I purchased a Tropicana Orange Juice and Lipton Iced Green Tea with Lemon and Mint. I brought my luggage downstairs, turned in the room key, and rolled the suitcase to the bus.

Taniqua and I sat in the very back. The tiny air-conditioned vent above made the ride more bearable. I updated this journal and listened to music on my iPod. I relished the Indian scenery for the last time. I was pretty productive, but started to get a headache towards the end of the drive.

Arrived at the Mangalore airport and our flight itinerary were checked twice by army-like men standing at the doors. Alvian suspected he was discriminated against when the guy only told him, “no smoking inside.” We went through the baggage scan and check-in. In line, Sesen pointed out a half Indian and half Caucasian family. The little girl was beyond beautiful. We parted ways with Dr. Raj, Paul, Ashley, and Rachel because they were on a separate flight. I shook Dr. Raj’s hand and thanked him for everything. Sesen teased him about emailing us his whereabouts (he’s going to Poland for a conference) and he said no one reads his emails anyways. I hugged Rachel and Ashley and waved goodbye to Paul. We went through the carry-on scan and body check. Sahanna and Sesen needed to empty their bags because of metal. The bathroom at the terminal was surprisingly really nice and could have been mistaken for one in the US equipped with modern toilets, toilet paper, soap, and hand dryers. Only when Lauren and I returned and raved about it, did the others go too. We boarded and I sat in seat 11B, one row away from first class. One of my personal goals on this trip was to engage in conversation with a stranger on the airplane. It didn’t quite work out on the way here, so I was hoping I would have a chance on the flights back home. I believe we have so much to learn from one another by just talking, and the prospect of learning new things from another person’s perspective excites me. The first flight was unsuccessful. For food, we got an Indian-styled chicken and pepper wrap that was surprisingly very good, a mini water bottle, and tea. I love the plane’s tea. I wonder what kind it is. People told me it’s just black tea. I napped for 15-minutes towards the end of the flight.

We had a 9-hour layover in Mumbai. Hopefully the time passes by fast. We had the opportunity to see the airport from the outside, and it is gorgeous: peacock design, uniquely shaped trees, water fountains, Indian flags, and white designed ceilings.

IMG_1597IMG_1600We went to a restaurant called The Square for food. Sahanna and I shared a vegetarian platter and lava cake.

IMG_1607IMG_1609As we were leaving to go through customs and immigration, we ran into Anna, Lauren, and Taniqua as they entered the restaurant. The interior of the airport could have been mistaken for a mall!

IMG_1611I bought a green silk scarf that came with bangles for my mom and a small wooden elephant keychain at a store called The Lotus. They accepted US dollars, so I paid with 530 rupees and 5 dollars. I think I have an obsession with buying elephant figurines. Sahanna played the first X-Men movie on her laptop to pass the time at the gate. Anna, Lauren, and Taniqua eventually came to our terminal and hung out. Anna wanted to take a couple pictures and was sent on a mission to buy soft drinks for Sahanna and Lindsey. I went with her because I was in the mood to walk around. We checked out a tea shop. Anna bought me Slice mango juice because I spent all of my rupees.

IMG_1624Slice was sold at the Italian fast food restaurant on the 2nd floor Manipal cafeteria, but I never had a chance to buy it. I was excited to finally try it and it was good! Everyone was right in that it tasted better than the Mazza brand. Lauren and Anna split a chocolate brownie with their last rupees. Back at the gate, I transferred Dr. Raj’s pictures to Alvian’s flashdrive for him and organized my pictures on the computer. We hugged and said goodbye to Lauren and Taniqua as they headed to their Amsterdam flight. Then, we found out our gate changed. We walked further down and parted with Anna when the paths forked.

IMG_5724We boarded the flight and I couldn’t sit next to Sahanna and Lindsey because the flight was full. I sat in the middle section of the aircraft in the third seat of a four seated row. I tried watching X-Men: Origins, but I fell asleep. The guy to my right at one point was almost leaning on my shoulder while he was sleeping. Vegetarian lunch: Indian food, watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya, tea, bread roll, and water. The woman to my left started a conversation by letting me know something is leaking from my backpack (water). We talked for a good half hour about India, studying, Mysore, medical school, education, her visits to the US, her son in New Jersey, the difference between taking care of elders in India and the US. The flight landed and she patted me on the shoulder saying she’s not sure if we’ll see each other on the next flight. I told her to have fun in New Jersey and she wished me good luck in my career. Aw, so nice. I started watching a movie called Serendipity when she started the conversation with me. Fun fact: that’s my favorite word and the actress in the movie said it was hers too, so I was intrigued to watch the movie. It’s about a woman that believes in fate and plays with a man’s heart by saying that they’ll part ways and if fate brings them together, it’s meant to be.

Landed in Brussels and went through a bag and body check. The workers ordered Sesen to unwrap her hair and she was reluctant at first, but complied in the end. We went shopping for Belgian Chocolate, but the price was exorbitant. We bought food from a café.

Boarded next plane to Newark. I got an aisle seat – woohoo! I was in the middle section of the aircraft again in a four seated row. Two people are in my row, but no one sat immediately to my right. I finished the movie Serendipity, and watched Silver Linings Playbook and Love Actually. I let a guy in the left section borrow my pen to fill out customs forms. Snack: flakes made of peas. One meal: Indian-style wrap and chocolate ice cream bar.

IMG_5743I slept for brief periods. Listened to Bollywood songs and read the book, Quiet.

Landed in Newark. I kind of wish I had window seats for the transatlantic flights, but I guess that’s something to look forward to on my next international trip. Went through US customs and retrieved luggage from the belt. A police officer was walking around with a sniffing dog. I was so scared the dog would find my cashews and force me to throw them away, but everything went well. We re-checked the bags and took a shuttle bus to our terminal. Bought food at Starbucks: turkey and cheddar sandwich and strawberry and banana Naked juice. At the terminal, I talked with mom and Arif on the phone and updated journal. Sahanna’s extension cord started a conversation with a family of four. He asked us how India was. He said he’s really curious about the Pakistan dividing moment. We parted with Sesen because she’s headed to DC to surprise her mom. I told her I am so glad I met her on this trip.

Boarded plane. This plane was a little larger than the ones that typically fly into Columbus. It’s two seats on either side of the aisle, but normally it’s two on one side and one on the other. My seat was 11A and I asked the man in seat B, “can I get in there?” And he jokingly said “no.” That’s when I knew we’d have a good conversation. I let a couple minutes of silence pass, while I updated the journal on my iPhone. Then, I asked him “were you in Newark?” He said “yeah. You?” Me- “India.” He said “wow.” Told him I’m on this flight with three other students that studied abroad in India for one month. He asked how it’s different there. I said it was a humbling experience and reminds me to not take things for granted, like toilet paper. We talked about OSU, my future career plans, his home and family in Newark, job in Columbus, Chinese food, skiing, and his summer plans. He was very talkative, which was nice because I can cross off conversing with a stranger off my traveling bucket list. We talked the entire flight. I periodically would look out the window and he would bring me back to conversation. He flies back and forth between Newark and Columbus every two weeks or so and mentioned he needs to plan out his flights like two weeks in advance to avoid high prices. I asked him what city he preferred. He said Columbus, mainly because of the traffic. He said it takes him 15 minutes to drive to work whereas in New Jersey, it takes a little more than an hour and you need to use public transportation. I said “yeah that’s added stress to the day.” He said although Ohio has no mountains or bodies of water, it’s a nice break. He said “for example, at home, I need to mow the lawn, weed, install various things, and do housework. But in Columbus, I can eat dinner, drink a glass of wine, watch TV, and relax.” Haha. I asked if it’s difficult traveling back and forth. He didn’t really complain and enjoys the change in scenery. We talked about his daughter, who is a senior in high school and he expressed his concern about her choosing a college. I offered to help if she is interested in Ohio State. I gave him my BLF business card (haha quite possibly the first time I have ever legitimately gave one out) and he gave me his. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end this once-in-a-lifetime trip. So surreal and so blessed.

IMG_5746 IMG_5751Money Spent
Program Fee         $1,800
Air Ticket               $1,400
Personal                   $400
Total cost               $3,600
Wolfe Scholarship $2,500
Personal left             $100
Out-of-Pocket        $1,000

Bucketlist for India

  1. Ride a rickshaw & capture it on video
  2. Ride a camel
  3. Ride an elephant
  4. Ride the citibus
  5. Buy kurtis/saris/salwaar kamis
  6. Go to the beach
  7. Experience a “discotech”
  8. Make a local friend
  9. Go to a temple, perferably on a mountain
  10. Keep a blog and/or diary
  11. Try vlogging!
  12. Watch a Bollywood movie
  13. Eat on a banana leaf
  14. Drink tea
  15. O-H-I-O pic anywhere and everywhere
  16. Selfies anywhere and everywhere
  17. Try all food
  18. Watch a religious ceremony
  19. Handwash clothes
  20. Take lots of pictures and videos
  21. Go to the circus
  22. Purchase a Manipal t-shirt
  23. Explore the Manipal Anatomy & Physiology Museum
  24. Cross a busy street as a large group
  25. Try some Indian pastries at a bakery
  26. Take a picture with a monkey
  27. Eat/drink something mango flavored (be careful of raw fruit)
  28. Take a bucket shower
  29. Listen to Bollywood songs
  30. Wander and maybe get a little lost around a familiar place in a large group

Day 28 (Friday, May 30): Presentation Day

Woke up around 8am. Slept really late last night, like past 3am. I didn’t run-through the presentation last night, instead I jotted down bullet points on homemade note cards. I skipped breakfast and had a Clif chocolate chip bar, so that I could finish preparing. I left around 9am and saw some of the guys going through the gate to the library.

It was our last day in the classroom, so I vlogged for memories. Everyone was receptive, but wish I could have been steadier with the camera. I’m still getting used to vlogging. The presentations were interesting due to the diversity. This is probably my favorite part of the entire course. Nikki presented about drug resistance and highlighted three diseases, one of which was Leishmaniasis. Adam looked my way, along with either Kelsey or Lauren, and we shared a smile. Dr. Raj gave us a 10-minute break in the middle. Lauren’s was probably my favorite presentation. Her topic was menstruation, and she made it incredibly fascinating and funny. Xhonela was before me, and I was getting nervous and shaky during her presentation, but I prayed that I’ll get through it with no nervousness. I started out feeling happy and jumped out of my seat when it was my turn. Dr. Raj walked to the front with me because Xhonela exited out of the presentation files. After thanking him, I started with an energetic “hello!” People laughed, which made me feel better. I vividly remember learning in BLF that a little bit of humor is a must in all presentations. “I will be uncovering the neglected tropical disease, Leishmaniasis.” “First, I will give a brief statistical background, so that we can better understand the global burden of the disease.” Taniqua was like, “I don’t know what all these things mean.” Leishmaniasis is a long and admittedly fun word to say, but the different sub-types add to the complexity, but hopefully the stats introduced everyone to the numerical burden. I talked about: types, signs and symptoms, co-infection, sandflies as vectors, risk factors (gave Sahanna a shoutout for her topic of malnutrition increasing susceptibility), diagnosis. I almost took too long to find the right words to talk about microscopy, PCR, and western blot as techniques that were not feasible in developing countries due to the lack of resources, but I maintained a smooth speech pattern despite going off script. That is something I am working on in public speaking – finding the right words and sounding fluent when impromptu speaking. Dr. Raj gave me the 2-minute warning. More topics: ASHAs, public health prevention, medications (gave Nikki a shoutout for her topic of drug resistance). I got really happy when I was pronouncing the difficult-to-say drug names and introduced Dr. Kishor Wasan, who’s working on an oral amphotericin B pill. I mentioned his collaborations because I wanted to emphasize that the animal studies were done at OSU. I followed up with “Go Bucks!” at the same time that Dr. Raj gave me a timeout “T” motion with his hands. I said, “I’m out of time, but I’ll make this quick.” People laughed. “I’m happy to announce that the drug received a US patent last November… and a vaccine is in the works.” Conclusion: “With all these advances, we might see a day where Leishmaniasis is dramatically diminished and the mortality and morbidity rates lowered in tropical regions.” I recommended three documentaries (Nepal, Ethiopia, Peru) from the WHO site called “Trilogy of Injustice” in case people are interested in learning more.

After class, I was talking to Adam and realized he was wearing gray and I was wearing red, so inspiration struck. “We need a scarlet and gray picture” and it took him a couple seconds too long to get it, but eventually said “oooh. Yeah!”

IMG_5704Then, we took an O-H-I-O picture with Sahanna and Drew, who were also wearing scarlet and gray. So cute!

OHIO Manipal LibraryThen, I took a picture of Drew and Adam twinning because they had on the same tie and a gray-colored dress shirt. I should caption it “the faces of Manipal University :P”

IMG_5708At lunch, Adam said he wants to give some of his toiletries to Fahad and invited me to go with. Drew, Adam, and I walked a couple blocks down the road and crossed the street to the MIT campus. Stopped by the Manipal sweater store, but they sold out. Fahad wasn’t there yet, so we decided to take a loop around the campus. Talked about the MCAT with Drew. I almost walked into a dog lying on the ground. Adam laughed. We arrived back to the entrance and still didn’t see Fahad, so we sat under the large yellow MIT sign.

IMG_1549After several minutes, we spotted Fahad. Adam gave him a dollar bill along with the toiletries. Fahad walked with us back to Manipal’s main campus.

Half of the group is leaving for home today. I hugged and said goodbye to everyone in front of the girl’s hostel. Bittersweet feeling.

IMG_1558I had my backpack with me and some people thought I was leaving. Sahanna joked that I wore my backpack because I wanted free hugs. Haha. Dr. Raj showed us that we have an article written about our study abroad program in the newspaper, The Hindu!

IMG_1561Tea time: bean cookies with ketchup. Those of us still here decided to take a trip to Udupi. I rode with Taniqua and Lauren in the rickshaw.

IMG_5713First, we went to the gold store where Lauren purchased her nose ring. Sesen bought a nose ring for her friend. A man showed me the way to the silver part of the store. Our mini group stayed together, which was nice. I bought a leaf-shaped earring and pearls for 440 rupees. Alvian bought earrings also. Next, we went to the temple circle and I bought more bangles and three elephants. Hopefully, I have enough to gift. On the way back to campus, the rickshaw driver tried to rip Taniqua and I off and charged 130 rupees instead of the typical 90 (we know from the many trips we have taken to Udupi). Taniqua and I were steadfast and bargained for 100. After mumbling words that we didn’t understand, he finally complied. Granted, those 40 rupees would not have been a big deal to lose (equivalent of 60 cents or so), but the thought of being tricked for our assumed naiveté is irksome.

Dinner: cauliflower dish (one of my favorites). I bought Lauren and I ice cream cones for a nice last dinner dessert. Walked back to hostel and washed clothes, uploaded pictures from Dr. Raj’s flash drive, brushed teeth, and showered. Sahanna hosted a henna party in her room with Rachel, Anna, Lauren, Sesen, Lindsey, and I. I sat with Sesen on the little bed and gave her the flash drive. The others were watching Friends. I vlogged Sahanna and her artwork and everyone in the room. Then, I did a selfie cameo and everyone laughed and said they saw that. My henna turned out faint, but Sahanna is so talented with the design.

IMG_1569I packed a little and slept around 1am.

Day 27 (Thursday, May 29): Farewell Dinner

Woke up around 7:30am. Wore my Fab India cream-colored with green vines kurti I purchased last night. I love the fit and neckline – wish I bought these clothes earlier in the trip, so that I could wear them more. I finished revising half of my paper based on Adam’s editing before breakfast. With his good critical comments, I improved my paper by further explaining some topics and deleting other parts where he thought it didn’t flow. Walked with Lauren to breakfast around 8:50am: two pancakes, omelet, curry, and tea. Walked back to room to finish the paper due at noon. I submitted at 11:58am.

Lunch at 12:30pm: roti, barley rice, biryani-like rice, bean curry, eggplant curry, and yellow curry. Everyone was already there when I arrived and most of the group left shortly after I sat down to go to the beach. I opted out because I still needed to finish the PowerPoint presentation for the final paper. Bought orange juice after lunch and returned to room. I submitted the presentation around 4:30pm and feel pretty confident about it. It looks presentable with plenty of pictures. Visited Lauren, but she was putting finishing touches and pictures in her presentation, so Kelsey and I waited.

Tea time: Indian pizza and cake – yummy.

IMG_1438Talked to Lindsey about her speech tonight and gave her words of encouragement. Lauren and Kelsey went to the Manipal store and Smiles store to buy cookies and journals, but I returned to my room. I didn’t really do anything productive. I feel so relieved to be done with work – just a presentation tomorrow morning left.

Farewell dinner at the Grand Valley Hotel at 6:45pm. I am excited! Stopped by Lauren’s room to hear her and Kelsey jamming to Taylor Swift. We wanted a picture in front of the Manipal sign in front of the library, so we took a few with Taniqua.

IMG_1440Everyone met in front of the cafeteria wearing Indian clothes. I talked with Xhonela and Lindsey on the way to the hotel. Dr. Raj left us mid-way to get flowers for the dinner. We gathered in front of the Marena and Lindsey asked someone to take a group picture for us. I handed him my camera. It turned out really nice.

IMG_1444After pictures galore, we walked to the hotel. Upon entering, a sweet aroma filled the air in the lobby and the cold burst of air-conditioning settled pleasantly on our skin. We were in a different room this evening than the one we had the welcoming reception in. We were welcomed with a ginger orange juice.

IMG_1456I sat next to Nikki and Kelsey F. At one point, Adam, Sahanna, and Drew were playing the “stare at someone” game and I was the first “victim”, but I noticed right away.

IMG_1454We listened to a lot of thank you speeches with flower-giving featuring Dr. Raj, Dr. Kamath, other women that accompanied us on field trips, the chancellor, and the study abroad coordinator.

IMG_1462Dr. Raj was so cute and gifted people with chocolate. Taniqua, Paul, and Lindsey gave small speeches about our collective experience in India. Then, we received wooden elephants as a parting gift. Eight or so girls performed several traditional dances for almost an hour.

IMG_1522We had tomato spice soup as an appetizer followed by a dinner buffet. The food was really good, and I was full after one plate.

IMG_1534Dr. Raj teased me for submitting my paper two minutes before the deadline at dinner. Haha. He was on the other side of the room, so I didn’t hear how the conversation started, but I heard my name and turned around. Dessert: vanilla ice cream, honey-like substance, and fruit.

IMG_1536I was getting ready to pull out my camera when Adam said, “we need a picture”. Me- “yeah! I’m glad I met my twin in India.”

Farewell DinnerBack at the room, I uploaded pictures to the computer, brushed my teeth, and Skyped mom. I heard more about the creepy waiter. Mom told me he was so happy to find me on Facebook (not accepting…).

Day 26 (Wednesday, May 28): Shopping Spree

Woke up around 8am. Walked to breakfast with Anna and Lauren: omelet, curried mashed potatoes with onions, and bread with peanut butter that Lauren brought from Ohio. Nice memories of home filled my taste buds. Adam sent me his essay around 2:30am last night, the time when I fell asleep. I told him I’m almost done and should be able to send my paper in a couple hours. Purchased orange juice after breakfast and went back to room.

I turned off the AC in my room and turned the fan on high to make the temperature more comfortable. I was in the zone with the paper and completed 75% of it by lunch. The process of editing Adam’s was helpful for me to gain a better grasp of how to structure the paper and the type of writing style to use.

Lunch: two rotis, barley rice, squash curry, paneer tofu-like balls in yellow sauce, and another yellow curry. Went back to room to work some more. I was surprisingly very productive. I sent Adam’s reviewed paper back to him. He thanked me and I told him my goal is to finish before tea time. That didn’t quite happen, but I read some interesting sources, one of which mentioned OSU. Apparently, we helped develop an oral pill that’s in clinical trial to treat Leishmaniasis. So cool! I can’t wait to share that with everyone.

Left for tea time around 4:35pm. Ran into Sahanna and Sesen as they were getting on the elevator. I met up with Lauren and Kelsey on the 5th floor and we updated each other about our papers. Kelsey is done and Lauren just got done, but hasn’t edited yet. The snack was bread garnished with curried spiced onions and other ingredients. I enjoyed it – tasted like roasted pork buns that are popular in Chinese cuisine. Adam said he should have read his own paper before he gave it to me because he’s embarrassed by all the grammatical errors. I told him that’s the fun part. We talked about going to Udupi later for a last shopping trip. I wanted to buy elephant figurines and check out the gold store and Fab India. Adam was excited to go to the gold store also. Bought vanilla and chocolate soft serve ice cream with Taniqua for 20 rupees. Yum. I could eat ice cream all day every day. I took a picture and Paul was making fun of me that I could easily get the same thing in the US, but I said it’s all about the context. Haha.

IMG_5699Almost everyone in our group planned to go to Udupi after tea. They all left the cafeteria, while Lauren, Kelsey, and I waited with Adam for his friend, Fahad. Sesen strolled in and said she just woke up from a nap. We talked about her online anatomy class, and I wanted to share the Michigan Medical School practical site that was helpful when I took anatomy. Adam ended up leaving the cafeteria to search for Fahad. Sesen isn’t going to Udupi because she still needs to work on her essay and the online anatomy class has started already.

Kelsey, Lauren, and I caught a rickshaw to Vedas. Lauren bought one kurti, while Kelsey and I sat on chairs and gave feedback. Then, we walked around the block to find the temple stores. We emerged in the circular plaza and saw some of our people. It was Anna, Sahanna, and a couple others. Then, we turn to our left and see Adam, Drew, and Fahad. I was so happy to see all of them. Adam asked if we’ve gone to the gold store yet. We hadn’t, but I still needed to buy elephant figurines, so Adam took me there first. I bought three elephants and one camel. We reached the gold store where Lauren purchased her nose ring, but they were closing up shop as we approached. Adam took us to Bhima instead, the one where Sesen bought her nose ring.

10440736_891230427570400_5659176578165896505_nThankfully, they were still open. The uniformed doorman held the large glass door open for us and we were greeted by a crowd of women. One nodded and said “Namaste”. I told her I am looking for earrings. She pointed the way for us to go upstairs. Another woman greeted us at the top and asked, “what are you looking for?” Me- “earrings.” She questioned, “silver?” Me- “yes.” The girls and I took a seat before a counter. The boys followed and Adam inquired about watches. The man said they did have some and the boys went to check them out. Kelsey and I were both looking for silver earrings. They brought out two cases of earrings with varying designs: apples, unique architectural patterns, hearts, bows, studs, flowers. I ended up buying an extremely shiny flower design for 410 rupees – such a good price. Kelsey picked a circular one. We were told to go back downstairs to pay. The boys came back and didn’t like the three watches they were shown. I asked how much it was. Adam said 10,000. I had about 5,000-6,000 rupees left at that point. We waited for a little bit, asked Adam to take a picture of Kelsey and I, signed contracts, paid, and received our earrings in a red box enveloped in a sparkly bag that was placed in their store bag.

IMG_5700Then, we were ready to catch a rickshaw to Fab India. Adam told us girls to get in one along the street that we were walking on, but Fahad informed us that they are not allowed to pick anyone up mid-street and that you need to go to a stand. We walked a little further up and encountered the stand. The street was very busy for crossing, so I passively waited as Fahad and Adam watched the traffic. Fahad helped us tell the rickshaw driver that we wanted to go to KFC, which was easier to say than Fab India.

The boys got there a little before us. They went to a store called Fasttrack first. Adam purchased a wallet and watch. The way the store workers intently watch you in department stores makes me feel self-conscious. I am learning to adapt, but it’s still a weird feeling. I went through all the small-sized shirts and found six articles of clothing that I wanted to try on. I fell in love with a white and green kurti. It’s pretty sheer, but I brought a tank top that I could wear with it. I decided I’m going to wear it tomorrow for the farewell dinner! The other one I decided to buy was the red chili pepper design shirt that I tried on the first time I went to Fab India. I’m going to wear this one for the plane ride. So comfy! The boys came in and I sought out their help with guy clothes. They are obsessed with Fab India and have bought 5+ articles of clothing from there. They found me a blue long-sleeve button-up. I liked it and ended up buying it for Arif, who’s birthday is coming up. Adam persuaded Fahad to buy something, despite him saying this store wasn’t his style. It was a shirt that Adam had bought. Kelsey bought a 1700 rupee blue sheer shirt, which looked amazing on her. Lauren bought a kurti. I had a conversation with one of the workers or manager. Him- “do you like your internship?” Me- “we’re studying abroad here. We’re leaving on Saturday and have been here for a month already.” Kelsey and Lauren were looking at their beauty products and teas. Thank goodness because I ended up buying jasmine tea and vanilla mango tea. I love tea and can’t wait to try it. In total, my purchase cost around 2,400 rupees. Adam said he needs to leave some clothes here because he can’t fit everything in his luggage.

IMG_1431We decided to walk back to Manipal instead of catching a rickshaw. It was about a 15-minute walk. We ate dinner in the cafeteria. Adam- “how do you feel about making a dent in your wallet?” Me- “I feel happy because I needed to spend it the rupees somehow.” He said he’s glad he was part of the experience. Xhonela talked about how her paper is too long and Adam mentioned I am having that problem too, but he added he’s gonna help me out. On the walk back to our hostels, we were talking about collecting bags from stores. Adam likes to do that with diverse places he’s been. Often times, he would buy something small just to get the bag. I said to him, “why are we the same person?” because I collect bags too. I’ve kind of stopped, but I still have the tendency. He thinks he influenced his sister because she collects Hollister bags. I did that too and still have like 50 at home. Drew mentioned he used to have a stack of shoe boxes. Adam- “glad to know we’re all hoarders.” Haha! I shared I use my shoe boxes for storage. Adam- “I collect past school papers.” Me- “Oh my gosh. I do too. I have some from Kindergarten.” Adam- “I keep all the birthday cards and notes that I’ve gotten” because he feels bad about throwing them away. Me- “I have a box with all of that stuff and it’s nice to look back on it years later.” I guess we are both very sentimental people. Then, the guys and girls were parting ways as the girls’ hostel neared. A car was coming, so I was still walking with Adam and Drew. Adam jokingly said, “Ellen’s coming to the guys’ hostel tonight”. Me- “there’s a car, I can’t cross”. Hahah I’m going to miss nights like these back in the states – worry-free adventures and soul friends.

Back at the hostel, I put away my purchases, washed clothes, showered, and finished editing my paper. I finally sent the paper to Adam and he analyzed it really critically.

Day 25 (Tuesday, May 27): Fishery

Officially woke up at 8:30am – the longest I’ve ever slept-in here. Thankfully, class was at 9:30am, so I didn’t have to scramble in the morning that much. Breakfast: mashed rice dish, yellow rice, and omelet.

Listened to two lectures taught by Dr. Raj. Some interesting things we discussed in class:

  • They are checking for MERS from Dubai to Mangalore. I remember mom mentioning the disease a few days ago, but I initially didn’t think much about it.
  • Posed question: is gun violence a public health issue? Common class consensus was yes. He was referring to the Santa Barbara shooting and how mental illness is always brought up. Lindsey shared with us that there’s always more to just mental illness. It’s often how the person is brought up and the mentally ill are the ones who suffer from violence, not the other way around. Basically, Dr. Raj made a call-to-action for us to do something about gun violence. Sesen shared that Israel has a stringent process on obtaining a gun, including a mental health test. It’s an issue between personal rights and governmental control.
  • Someone asked if doctors who worked at tertiary care centers make more money than primary. He said at Manipal, it’s comparable because people want the prestige of being a staff at Manipal University.
  • In the biotechnology lecture, he used the example of cellular phones in the introduction. He flashbacked to the days of beepers/pagers, which were most commonly used for notification of a baby delivery. 1990’s was when everything changed in regards to technology.
  • Cell phones are cheap in India. Poor people own them, even those who cannot afford to eat.

Dr. Kamath came in the classroom to deliver a brief lecture on the fisheries. Then, Sameer took us to the fish market.

IMG_1419It was exactly what Dr. Kamath described and showed in the slides. Women were selling fresh fish with bare hands.

IMG_1405We saw a lot of cutting and scraping. Occupational health issues: skin candidiasis (fungal infection), contact dermatitis (inflamed skin), and chronic paronychia (soft tissue infection around fingernails). We passed by a slum neighborhood on the way there. Blue tarps served as roofs and children were playing in an open field near an old landfill.

Traveled back to campus for lunch: two rotis, barley rice, veggie/squash stew, bean curry, a sweeter bean curry, and the coconut milk jelly dessert. I sat next to Adam, and we were both fishing in our backpack at the same time, but I pulled out my hand sanitizer a few milliseconds before he did. He was like stop copying me. Anna was wondering who’s the oldest person in our group and she thought it was me and her because we share the same birthday, but we found out Lauren is turning 22 in July! Bought my pulpy orange juice after lunch. The lady at the store front now recognizes me and automatically knows what I want. Haha loyal customer.

Walked back to the hostel with Lauren. Hoping to make some mad progress on the paper! I worked at the desk, while the laptop was charging, but eventually moved over to the bed. I uploaded pictures from the fishery and finished the field trip experience essay about Manasa Jyothi. I learned this fun fact! Karnataka only knows three seasons: spring summer, hot summer, and rainy season. I changed to a long-sleeve shirt and long pants because it was cold in my room. I ate a peanut butter Clif bar because I wasn’t planning on going to tea time. Wish I had brought more Clif bars here! Then, I decided to work in the lobby of the hostel for a change in scenery. I really like the temperature down there – clash of cold and hot air. Anna and Sahanna said hi when they left for tea time. Taniqua said hi when she came back from tea and wanted to join me in the lobby. I made some more progress on the paper. Lauren came down with Taniqua because she wanted to buy mango juice at the mini-store in the hostel. Taniqua bought a chocolate ice cream bar. Nikki, Xhonela, and Ashley came down to go buy dinner on the second floor of the cafeteria. Then, Anna entered and showed us clothes she bought from Fab India. When we no longer ran into people from our group, Taniqua and I had a thought-provoking conversation about life, religion, and love. Some advice she gave, which resonated with me: “do it for yourself because in the end, you’re gonna live with your decision, not your family.” She talked about faith as an intangible thing and people have problems with believing in something they cannot see. The only unconditional love is from God and love from anyone else is conditional. She told me to pray to God for guidance and hindsight. I expressed concern about the uncertainty of the future and she said “go with the flow. You never know what might happen. Things could work out later down the road.” I believe in that too. We talked about believing in more than one soul mate and she thinks soul mates are formed by marriage, which I’ve never thought about that way before. She wants her first marriage to be her only, even if he commits adultery. They’ll work through it. From traveling, she wants to adopt a child in addition to having her own. I’ve thought about that too. Before dinner, I gave Taniqua one toilet paper roll because she told me she needed some and I was afraid of having to take some home with me because I have about 2 full rolls left for 3.5 days. I borrowed her room bug spray because I’ve been getting colonies of ants in the bathroom.

Dinner: two rotis, barley rice, potato and veggie curry, black bean curry, peas and potato curry, and yogurt. I feel like I’ve been eating a lot lately. Talked to Drew about his Fab India purchases and his birthday. Then, Adam arrived and I asked him what he got at Fab India. He showed Lauren, Kelsey, and I his purchases: an Indian-styled red shirt, a western red button-up shirt, and a western gray button-up shirt. I really liked them.

Went to library café with Kelsey and Lauren to work on the paper. I really wish I could Shazam the songs played in there. It’s like Indian EDM. Haha. I purchased Darjealing tea and a mango cup.

IMG_5698Anna, Adam, and Drew came into the library café too. I finished my paragraph about ASHAs. I think that’s the most interesting/well-written part of my paper.

Went back to hostel with Kelsey and Lauren. I washed clothes (I love the hand-washing routine now. It brings me so much joy. I’m weird) and showered. I submitted my field trip essay at 2:30am, which was around 777 words when Dr. Raj wanted 500… hopefully that’s okay. I always write too much.

Day 24 (Monday, May 26): We’re on a Boat!

Woke up at 7:15am. Wore my blue swirl-patterned kurti with the blue swirl-patterned pants I borrowed from my mom. They match so well! Reviewed all of the PowerPoints again before going to breakfast at 8:45am: two onion pancakes, omelet, and tea. While eating, I studied my handwritten notes. On the way to the library, Adam was quizzing Lauren and I.

In the classroom, Dr. Raj passed back quiz 2. Everyone was talking about how poorly they did on it yesterday after checking online, but I waited to see my score in person. I received 16/20 points. Adam got the same score. People were skeptical about one question and asked about it. Dr. Raj said he would give a 0.5 point back, so yay I guess. Took quiz 3. It was on the same level of difficulty. I didn’t know the answer to a couple of the questions. Sigh. Hopefully everything will be fine in the end, grade-wise. Adam, Lauren, Taniqua and I talked about the answers after class. Downstairs in the lobby, Adam said he finished his paper and wants to peer-edit with others. That’s my favorite part of the writing process – editing.

Walked to the cafeteria to meet Dr. Raj at 10:15am. He took us to the Public Health Department on campus, where we met a woman that accompanied us on one or two previous field visits.

IMG_5692We walked a couple blocks to the campus hospital (Kasturba). Lindsey and I were at the front of the pack and we had a conversation with the woman. She asked how we have liked India. We both said good. Lindsey told her we’ve been very busy. She asked us what a typical day is like back in the states. Lindsey talked about how it varies because people choose different class times – not structured at all. We learned about how the Kasturba Hospital manages solid and liquid waste.

IMG_5693Returned to the hostel around 11:30am. Knocked on Taniqua’s door to head to lunch together at 12:30pm: roti, barley rice, 2 types of curry, and yogurt. Kelsey R went to lunch today! She and Lauren went to the doctor’s earlier. She got a malaria blood test, but they suspect it’s only a viral infection. Dr. Raj stopped by the cafeteria and gave her acetaminophen and a loaf of white bread – so cute. Purchased my go-to orange juice.

Back in the room, I worked on the paper and finished reading the 200-page document. I felt tired by the end of that, so I took a one-hour nap between 3-4pm. Woke up and thankfully read the email from Dr. Raj informing us of a boat ride and to meet in front of the library at 5pm. On the way down, I ran into Lindsey.

We boarded the yellow Manipal bus and Dr. Kamath came with us also. I sat with Lauren. The group was divided into two for the boat ride. I went on the first one.

10333683_10203000245340581_6551039987432330840_oVlogged with Lauren and enjoyed the peace and serenity of the water.

DSC_0265A professional photographer was snapping pictures of us and the landscape.

DSC_0142Then, we waited while the second group went on the boat ride. Dan jokingly said to me that he found me a seat on a little boat hanging off the edge. We met the Chancellor of Manipal University and took a group picture with him.

DSC_0296From 6:30-7:30pm, I uploaded the day’s pictures on the computer and updated my word doc journal. Stopped by Lauren’s room at 7:30pm and also knocked on Taniqua’s and Kelsey’s. Taniqua said she was taken aback by the force of my knock and I teasingly said I wanted to trick her for what she did to me during lunch. I offered to get her lemonade and she told me to make sure there are no bugs in it. When I returned with the drinks, she told me there was one and I was very concerned, but she started laughing and said just kidding. Taniqua and Kelsey R bought food upstairs. A small group of us were eating downstairs: Kelsey F, Paul, Drew, Adam, Lauren, Alvian, Dan, and Sesen. Lauren and I exchanged sentiments that we both liked the cafeteria food still. It’s weird that I am just now craving it when it’s the end of the trip. Dinner: two rotis, barley rice, potato and veggies, a more bland curry, and yogurt. Adam was giving me weird looks the entire dinner and I called him out jokingly. Then, Paul started narrating him eating and I teasingly said that’s what you get. Sesen and I talked about how we both found a document that includes everything we want to talk about in our final papers. Then, she asked what day I’m on for the blog. I said day 10. S- “How about the fake blog?” Me- “I’m caught up until yesterday.” I asked her about her journal and she said she stopped at the Tuesday before Mysore. She’s counting on my detailed accounts to finish hers. Haha. Dan asked if I’ll upload them when I get back home. I said probably. Adam reminded us to let him know when we’re done with the paper, so that we can exchange and do peer-editing. I said okay that’ll be my motivation to finish. Lauren waited for me to finish eating, so that we could walk out together.

She went to the library café to get work done. I went back to the hostel, washed clothes, showered, talked to Arif, read his email, and listened to the songs he sent. I started typing for the paper, but the thoughts were not flowing. Hopefully I can sleep and wake up tomorrow with a fresh mind and find the flow. I worked from my bed and eventually fell asleep, but woke up around 2:15pm (Ohio time) to Skype mom real quick. She was at work. It was an interesting call… One of her fellow waiters kept creeping on our conversation and I talked with another worker. He asked how I was and I asked how he was. Mom tried to get me to speak Spanish with him, but I hesitated because I already have problems hearing English on the other end, so that would have been a disastrous communication problem. He asked how everything was over here when mom informed him I am in India. Then, the waiter came back and creeped again. He said I was good looking, asked if I have a Facebook and I quote “I told your mom I’ll make her a grandma.” Hold up, what? Is that supposed to be a pick-up line? Hahhaha. It’s a bit funny, but not acceptable. Fastest way to turn a girl off. It was a nice change in scenery for a Skype date with mom though.

Day 23 (Sunday, May 25): Leishmaniasis

Woke up around 8am. Stopped by Lauren’s room to see if she wanted to go to breakfast. She just woke up, but didn’t feel like going, so I went by myself. Ran into Dan, Alvian, and Drew in the cafeteria. Researched for the final paper in room until lunch time. Finally pinpointed my topic, Leishmaniasis (neglected tropical disease) and learned how to pronounce it. I looked at many articles and started Google Docs for the paper and PowerPoint. I wrote the title and abstract and sent the information to Dr. Raj. Had a slight headache afterwards.

Stopped by Taniqua’s room to see if she was going to lunch soon. She still needed to change and brush her teeth, so I waited for her. I was feeling quite hungry, so it was a good meal: roti, barley rice, lentil and potato curry, chickpeas, tapioca curry, and yogurt. Bought my go-to drink, pulpy orange juice. It makes me think that I am eating fruit, even though it contains artificial substances.

IMG_5684Retrieved laptop from dorm and headed to the library with Taniqua. We checked our bags with the attendant and went into the group study room to meet Lauren. I updated my journal for the entire time.

IMG_5686Then, we moved over to the café, where Taniqua bought iced coffee and a chocolate cake. I wanted something, but felt bad eating unhealthy food, so I resisted. I wrote in my journal some more and vlogged in the coffee shop featuring Taniqua, Rachel, and Alexa.

Tea time 4:30pm: pastry with curried veggies inside and a chocolate ball flaked with coconut.

IMG_5688Afterwards, went back to hostel with Taniqua. I am reading (or skimming) a 200-paged WHO report on Leishmaniasis – ¼ of the way done! It’s like everything I want to talk about in my paper….. A housekeeping staff knocked on my door. They come so consistently lately even without signing up for a room cleaning appointment. I am grateful and wondering if they get paid by how many rooms they complete. Dr. Raj sent an email with all the titles of our final projects. The topics are really diverse, except for children and nutrition (3 people are doing something along those lines). Then, he gave me a shout-out in the email for questioning about the quiz 3 topics and revised what he said to us previously. That made me smile. I’m such a dork.

Dinner: curried potato dish. I’ve been really craving the food here lately – like I always feel hungry before the meals. I told Paul I like his Indian long-sleeved shirt. Paul was talking about how he doesn’t like tomatoes. Adam wants to eat more tomatoes because they’re a good health food, but he doesn’t like onions. I questioned out loud that I don’t know what food I don’t like. Lauren mentioned fried foods and I said oh yeah. Adam said sweets. I said nooo I like it, especially ice cream – that’s my weakness. I mean I enjoy eating ice cream for breakfast… Then, Adam asked if we heard about the shooting in Santa Barbara, California. He told us the details about how the 20-year-old kid went on a rampage and killed about seven sorority girls because he was bitter that no girl has liked him before and that he’s never kissed a girl. He saw it on the Google news page and I said that’s where I saw it too! Then, I shared I always mentally prepare myself in case there is a potential shooting in lecture halls. Adam and Lauren said they do too. Adam said he always plans what he’s going to do. He thinks he’ll just lay on the ground. Lauren said she would run. I thought that would be a bad idea because they’ll want to shoot you first. Paul said it depends on where you are in the room. I said I would pretend to be dead. Then, Adam said he thinks about what it would be like to be a professor, what if a student that hated you wanted to shoot you? And I’m like I think about that too!! Like what if a student wants revenge… #dinnerconversations. Kelsey R wasn’t feeling well and has been in her room all day, throwing up from time to time. Lauren was going to get her food, but she said she probably won’t keep it down.

Went to the library café with Lauren to study for the quiz. We got Aasam tea and chocolate/mango cups.

IMG_5689I got the mango and it tasted like mousse – so good! The chocolate tasted a little different. We studied individually for the first part because I was writing stuff down. Then, we went through the last three PowerPoint presentations together on my laptop. My eyelids were getting heavy by the end. We left around 10:30pm. Back at the room, I washed clothes, showered, and Skyped mom. Then, studied for quiz until 2am. I was reviewing all the online quizzes and kept drifting off, but proud to say I made it through all of them.