Read part 1 of Heartache to Adventure here
I Didn’t See That Coming
The cost of a wedding dress, flowers and fancy napkins bought me 2 months in India. Having ancestral routes from Goa on my great Grandmother’s side, it was a country that had always fascinated me. Waving goodbye to my panic-stricken parents at Gatwick airport, I joined a Dragoman trip that started from New Delhi and would finish in Chennai. This trip had the most significant impact on my perspective of life and confidence, and funnily enough, it did help the withdrawal symptoms from those Almond milk lattes.
Not the best first impression
I won’t lie; New Delhi was a shit hole. Having been deliberately made lost and then charged double by the moronic taxi driver on my first day in India, my first impressions consisted of open sewers, rivers of phlegm and chewed tobacco spat on the streets. Great, this is what my house savings had paid for.
This perception quickly changed and I fell in love with the copious amounts of beauty that this country offers. Firstly it was an overnight camp in the Jaisailmer desert.
Silence and nature
After being sardined into tiny jeeps and driven to the desert, we met our camels and their riders. My rider was Mariam and his camel was named Babalou. He liked to stop often for the occasional snack of leaves and twigs (the camel that is, not the rider).
Once settled at camp the Kingfisher beers were cracked open, the Frisbee thrown around. As the sun was setting we sat on the sand dunes and witnessed the desert disappear into the shadows. Trickles of Scarab beetle footprints started to appear around us, and the stars glistened above our heads as the campfire burned throughout the night. It was the silence I loved and being exposed to pure and natural environment.
Nothing in the world mattered as you sat there, and I forgot and was engrossed. Same at the paradise beaches in Goa and Varkala that stretched for miles, people basking in the sun and swimming carelessly in the sea: nothing like an afternoon stroll and seeing cows walking alongside you!
India really is a cooking pot of different religions that do and have co-existed throughout history. The Kany Mota Rat Temple in Jaisalmer was not my particular favourite, having to walk barefoot among the 25,000 rats that inhabited the temple. Funnily enough, not a single rat touched me. However, one decided to run over my foot at one of the largest preserved forts in the world. Seriously, my size 5 ½ feet and it chooses to run across mine in a humongous Fort. Anyway, I’ll leave my resentment of that little shit to the side for now.
A taste of fame
I know that I will end up in some local Indian family’s Facebook page, with a status along the lines of ‘Selfie with a tourist!’.
Throughout my visit I had parents hand me their child so that they could take a picture, without even saying a word or asking my permission. Then swiftly they take the child out of my hands and move on. I will always associate eating a chocolate ice-lolly to my third day in India when over 20 men stood and just stared. One spokesperson asked ‘You watch cricket?’
At first it was intimidating, as we are not used to that in our culture. But you learn to somehow overlook that and embrace the attempted conversations you have despite not speaking the same language. I loved the wobbling of the head when they respond to your questions, as it is such a mystery as to what it really means. When asking Tuk Tuk drivers whether we are in the right place, the wobble either means; ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Maybe.’ It is down to you to decide which one they mean because they sure as hell won’t tell you!
There is so much more that I could say about this fascinating country. It was totally worth the price of a wedding dress.
A random Skype interview
Out of the blue, I received an email from an international school in Malaysia. They were asking me for a Skype interview for a teaching post they had. With 10 minutes to spare before the interview, and already half cut on 3 Kingfisher beers, I thought… ‘Hey, why not. Let’s have a laugh!’
The beers (and one strong black coffee) worked a treat. I was offered the job a week later. Shit. Did that just really happen?! How did they not hear me slurring my words!
Once sober and after much soul searching and questioning, I decided that it was an opportunity I could not allow myself to pass. I was full of excitement, apprehension and joy; how life could have changed so much in such a short space of time, not even 4 months had passed?
With the complete support of my family and friends, I accepted the job. I booked a flight for the day after Boxing Day. I would be on my way to Kuala Lumpur to start a new life in Asia….
Part 3 coming soon
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Always wanting to have different experiences and learn new things (and a good strong coffee), Clare currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia working as a teacher. She loves living life to the full and completing new projects, whether it’s running a half marathon, hiking or visiting a new country.