Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Final Post

Well I am home safe at last. Allow me to say for the record that 15 hours on a plane is at least 10 too many. Wowie. Apart from being too long the trip was okay—a few noisy kids, a few people who appeared to have been suffering from tuberculosis, but otherwise not bad. My first night at home, I dreamt that a rat was in my bed and didn’t fully awaken from the dream until I had flung myself out of bed and turned on a light. Clearly the emotional scarring created by the Mt. Hermon Rodent Posse will take some time to heal.

This will be my last posting for Kate in India. My journey is over and thus so is this blog. I’ve created another one at but I haven’t decided yet how much I’m going to keep blogging. I’m not sure that my musings on life in Pittsburgh will really merit continued posting—somehow without tigers, huge spiders, monsoons and typhoid fever I’m not sure I’ll have enough to be witty about. We’ll see.

But to end this blog, I wanted to reflect back on some of the things I learned while in India. When I really started thinking about it, there are a lot of ways in which my knowledge has been enriched through my experiences there. I’ve learned practical life lessons such as:

How to cook curry

How to use a wood stove without burning down the house

How to crazy quilt

How to use a pressure cooker

How to purify drinking water

How to set up a tent

How to perform a successful “squat pee” under a variety of circumstances including in the toilet of a moving train

Other, perhaps less practical (but still extremely worthy) life lessons including:

How to wrap a sari

How to win a confrontation with a monkey (okay, so I never really mastered that one but I understand the theory)

How to identify the call of an octet owl

How to haggle with a rickshaw driver

How to ride side-saddle in a skirt on a motorcycle

How to recognize a cobra plant and to identify this as a herald of impending monsoon

How to exchange pleasantries in Hindi

How to slack line (it’s like tightrope walking—notice I do not claim to be good at it)

How to tell if a litchi is ripe

And I’ve learned a few things about myself:

I get carsick on mountain roads

I can handle mice and big spiders in my living quarters

I cannot handle rats in my living quarters

I can walk confidently through the jungle by myself at midnight (and yet I cannot walk confidently across the street in Pittsburgh by myself any time after dark)

I actually do like (some) small children

I can move to a place where I don’t know anyone for 7,000 miles and make friends and a life for myself

I am not happy unless I have a functional kitchen

I enjoy the occasional hike

Happiness has very little to do with your circumstances and everything to do with how well you are able to adapt to them

So there you have it. Move to India (or any foreign country) and you’re sure to come back a little more confident, a little more self-aware and with all kinds of fun new skills. I suggest you try it.



At 8:20 PM, Blogger Preya said...

Bravo Kate! I'm so glad you got home safely. I look forward to reading your writing if you decide to keep blogging:)

At 12:58 PM, Anonymous LINUX FONT said...

hello! warm greeting ^^!
you have a nice blog 0_0

At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I was wondering if there was some way to contact you, as your blog has been inactive for 10 years I was wondering if you would be willing to give up the title and domain? It would mean a lot, my name is India Kate and I really want to start blogging. Maybe you could change it to KateinIndia as that's how you sign off? Hope this doesn't come off rude, thanks :)


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