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 20 (Thursday, May 22): Airport Security at the Movies

Woke up an hour ahead of my alarm. I’ve learned to leave the AC off and put the fan on a little higher to make the conditions more comfortable to sleep in. Fell back asleep and woke up again at 7:15am (real alarm). Feeling very refreshed and energized – even had time to read a case study on leprosy. I think I might choose to do my final project on this. The disease is a mix of microbiology and neuroscience, which I find very fascinating. And it’s exciting that we have the opportunity to visit a leprosy hospital today! Breakfast around 8:45am: omelet and two pancakes. Took group photo in front of the library by a professional photographer.

(16)Bus ride was long – a little more than an hour. Saw their College of Nursing and medical college.

IMG_1170IMG_1172Followed guy in a white coat to a lecture room.

IMG_1175Went to the bathroom in someone’s office.


Refreshments were served: lime juice and a cookie.

IMG_5594The guy in the white coat talked for a little.

IMG_1179We saw a video about the history of the campus and Father Muller (German. Heal and comfort, selfless service, putting patients before self, compassionate care). Dr. Kamath then delivered a powerpoint on leprosy. I knew about half the info because of reading the case study this morning. Hehe.

  • Communicable- spread by droplets, contact.
  • Numbers are coming down into the double digits. On the elimination (1 case per 10,000). WHO is donating meds, which helps the decreasing cases.
  • Myths- curse of God, past sins. Failure to appreciate the social and psychological factors.
  • 750 beds
  • Medical college (2001). Hostel for 1500 students.
    Homeopathic medicine.
  • Occupational rehab. Run a store (sell item as service. Patients receive profit).


  • Braces (equalize pressure on foot).


  • Visited some patients.
  • India has 60% of cases.
  • Signs- White patch. Test: close eyes, cotton feather or pen, no pain sensation. Hypo-pigmented, nodule in ear lobe, acid fast bacilli, nerves sensory loss, weak muscles, foot drop, hand drop, absorption of fingers (no blood supply, no nerve. No need to amputate because not spreading), claw hand (ulnar and median nerve), thickened nerve in elbow.
  • 1st stage: sensation loss (housewife move hot pot and don’t feel). Can reverse. 5th stage: irreversible disability.
  • Everything is free. Vaccine in trial.

Slept on the way home. Ate lunch in cafeteria with Dr. Kamath. Food tasted really good because it was already 3pm when we ate.

Back to room for about an hour. I continued reading case studies. Now, neglected tropical diseases really interest me.

Tea time 5:15pm: pizza roll-like bread and cake.

IMG_5596Ran into Paul at tea time and had a sincere conversation about our future careers, movies, and aspects of this trip. Walked up to the second floor of the cafeteria to find about seven of our classmates sitting waiting for food. I decided to try the aloo patty at Subway for dinner because it was the sub of the day and Sahanna had previously raved about it. I didn’t know what to expect, but it tasted just like hash brown! I like this better than chicken breast. Subway (with an Indian twist) might be one of the best things I’ve had here. Haha.


Everyone went to the movie theater to watch X-men in 3D. At first, I wasn’t too enthused about the movie choice because I never watched the X-men series and thought I wasn’t intrigued by superhero movies, but boy was I wrong. The ticket cost 180 rupees ($3 USD). They assign seats upon purchasing the movie ticket. I sat with Kelsey and Lauren.

Entering the INOX movie theater, a couple of fast food restaurants line the perimeter. To the right, begins the line through security. The first guy rips the ticket. Then, stop by a counter where the women check inside your bags. I had gum and my camera battery confiscated. The language barrier was a problem, and I didn’t understand what she wanted me to do about it. Thankfully, a girl behind me in line helped me out and said they’ll keep it at the counter and a matching tag will be handed to me, so that I can pick it up after the movie. I walked through the metal detector and then another personnel waved a wand around my body, just like airport security. We couldn’t bring water in. The US should adopt some of these procedures in light of the recent movie theater shootings. After this, we were finally able to walk up the stairs. Kelsey R said I looked traumatized by the experience. Haha. There was a typical concession stand of movie theater food.

IMG_5600Inside, the auditorium felt just like the US. Attendants showed us to our seats and offered a menu for food. Three previews played.

IMG_5598Overall, the movie far exceeded my expectations. I loved the humanitarian aspect – lots of deep quotes. The narration at the beginning and end of the movie was superb. I found myself nodding my head a couple times. I liked the tie to science also – DNA and mutations. Here are some quirky notes about Indian movie theaters:

  • When someone on the screen smokes, a PSA pops up “Smoking is injurious to your health”. I like this a lot.
  • They silenced out a swear word (f#$%).
  • The audience really likes cheering and laughing when the parts aren’t really that funny.
  • Intermission in the middle of the movie. I surprisingly liked this. Affords a bathroom break and builds up anticipation for the second part.

Random: I liked the small amount of Vietnamese spoken in the movie. Haha. I’ve never experienced that before.

In the bathroom, they had square toilets and toilet paper!

IMG_5599Lauren, Kelsey and, I individually took a pic of the bathroom and we shared this factoid after coming out and Lauren was like “we’re soul mates”. Rickshaw back with Lindsey and Taniqua. Washed clothes, showered, skyped mom and got all caught up on the word doc journal!