These were my first few days here at Hope House, India, and I am slowly settling in. I arrived at the Chennai airport in the afternoon of September 20th, and we drove for about three hours to Hope House.
To my surprise, the children were very extroverted and immediately hugged me, even though we had never met. This friendly and welcoming atmosphere is holding on until today. So, after I said hello to everyone, we sat down and had dinner. And I can tell this was something new for me: My first time eating with my hands! There was no fork, spoon or knife like in my home country, Germany. But I learned now that you can eat with your five fingers perfectly fine. At first, it felt strange, but now I have gotten used to it, and you do not have to clean the cutlery.
Before I got to rest after not seeing a bed for 24 hours, I called my family to share my exciting and eventful last hours with them. Without unpacking my suitcase, I just went to bed and fell asleep with a positively overwhelming feeling.
I have to admit that I did not attend the daily “morning walk” at 5:15 am that the girls have to do, just because I was too tired. But from experience of the coming days, I can say it’s worth it. The cool air must be exploited here in India and the early getting up is paid for by the beautiful pink colored sky.
And again, at breakfast I got surprised: we ate rice with some curry for breakfast. I must say that this was not easy for me to start the day like that. But I came here specifically for these experiences.
It would be boring not to step out of your comfort zone, wouldn’t it? So, what I definitely learned the past few days: the German bread is the Indian rice. :) After
breakfast, the girls had to go to school, so Magdalena showed me around and explained to me the daily routine at Hope House. We were walking around, and I let the impressions get to me. I really enjoyed the past few days with its ups and downs, the different food, the different smells and the different habits.
To my statement that I would be going to India for the next six months, everyone in Germany replied surprised and sometimes even shocked that I would have a cultural shock and that I should prepare myself for that. But I must say that I have settled in very quickly so far, and it is easy for me to adapt myself to the new conditions. And this is not at least due to the friendliest people in the Hope House. I am so glad that I can get to know a culture in one of the most interesting ways - by living in a local community!
Thank you, Hope House, in advance, for this hospitality. I look forward to getting to know you and your culture better.