on Sustainable Dignity (India), 25/Aug/2011 10:40, 34 days ago
Gina writes:In 3 months, we’ll be sitting down to an amazing turkey dinner to celebrate Thanksgiving… with our families… in the U.S.! As we approach the end of our 2-year odyssey, we have a lot going on in our heads, from logistics planning to finishing stuff at work to trying to remain “in the moment” in India.Travel PlansOur last day at our VSO placements in Koraput is somewhere around October 22. This date was chosen because our visas expire on October 27, so we can’t be in India after that. We don’t want to be starting new jobs until after the holidays, so we thought we’d take the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel for a month in Asia before traveling home!The plans are just about finalized; we’re heading to Nepal for an 8-9 day trek up to a basecamp in the Himalayas. It’s not rigorous climbing or anything, just steady hiking with amazing views. Our friend Tim and his girlfriend did almost the exact trip; their blog entry about it ishere. From Nepal, we head to Thailand for just over 2 weeks. We fly into Bangkok and then immediately leave it to head to the beach at Ko Samet for 4 days (infoandphotos). Then we head up to Chiang Mai totraipse about in the jungle, ride bamboo rafts, and ride elephants! After 3-4 days there, we make our way to the Northeast part of the country, where I will take part in a4 day silk-making class, complete with finding the silkworms, feeding them mulberry leaves, spinning and dyeing the silk, and weaving a scarf! Corey will relax in the cute homestay and try not to show his jealousy of my experience! From Isan, we go back to Bangkok to catch our flight to Delhi-London-Chicago-Toledo. On our one day in Bangkok though, I’m running theBangkok Half Marathon! Since Corey and I ran a big race in the hours before we left Pittsburgh, it seems to be an appropriate marker to say goodbye to Asia too!We arrive in the Toledo airport at 5:30 p.m. on November 21, just in time for Thanksgiving!Status CheckWith less than 2 months to go (21 completed) in Koraput, we are doing pretty darn good. We’re both fairly busy at work, but not so busy as to be frazzled and stressed. Socially, we’re not doing too much “chasing after cultural experiences” and we’re not feeling guilty about that at all. Our house, with the cool breeze flowing through the open windows, is a peaceful and comfortable place for us. It feels like “home”.We’ve been talking a lot about “when we get back…” and doing a lot of logistics planning (finding an apartments, jobs, registering our car, etc.). But we’ve been careful not to let those conversations and plans override our appreciation of the last few months in India. Contrary to what someblogs we’ve read and friends have said, the frustrations of day-to-day life in India are not getting to us any more than usual. We’re looking forward to hot showers and high-speed Internet and wine and Western-style workplaces, but the lack of it doesn’t seem more pronounced like we were afraid of.Our 2-year placement seems to have been about the right length for us -- in terms of work objectives, immersion in another culture, and being away from the U.S. and our families and friends. We're excited about returning to a relatively unexciting life in the U.S., but are still enjoying our days here in India.