Thursday, May 31, 2007

In case you haven't noticed...

"The white people are melting." This is a quote from my favorite
Mathew Perry film, Fools Rush In, and it is exactly how I am feeling
here in India.

My trip here began with a few bumps in the road. I got the the
airport and the lady at the ticket counter didn't have any tickets on
file for me. Called the travel agent and found out that I was
supposed to come and pick up my paper tickets, which she never told
me otherwise I would have! So someone from the travel agency dropped
off my tickets at the airport and I got on my flight. I made it to
Chicago fine and didn't have any delays, and I realized that while
O'Hare may be very busy, it is a very nice airport. Then I flew to

After I got into London I had to change airlines so I asked the
airline agent that answers questions after you get off the plane
about what I was supposed to do. He explained how and where I needed
to go to get that done but also made sure that my bags were checked
all the way to Mumbai. Well good thing that he checked because my
bags weren't checked all the way to Mumbai, they were only checked to
London. So if he hadn't double checked that I would be sitting here
in Pune with no suitcases. After I went through customs and
immigration, I went to go check in with my new airline and learned
that they weren't open yet so I was stuck with my bags. Well since I
really wanted to go and take the tour of Wimbledon I had to find some
place to put my bags. At the airport they had a left luggage place so
it cost me 18 pounds or roughly 36 dollars to have my bags held for
the day. After that it only took a hour and a half on the London tube
and a 15 minute walk down the road and I was at Wimbledon. And I got
to see Centre Court even though it is currently under
construction!!!!!!! Even though it started to rain during the tour
and I now have a really gross blister on my foot, it was totally
worth it!!!!!!!! So I took the tour and bought some souvenirs and I
headed back to the airport to check in. Then I found out that I could
only have 1 personal item. I couldn't have a carry-on and a personal
item, which is always my backpack. So then I became one of those
people you make fun of at the airport who is standing at the counter
shoving stuff into other suitcases and trying to make it all fit
without going over weight. Plus my personal item couldn't weigh over
10 kg (which I don't know is in pounds) and I kept trying to take
stuff out of it but it was still weighing more and finally the lady
at the counter told me it was ok. I think that she was just trying to
get rid of me.

After all of that my flight to Mumbai was really great. No one was
sitting next to me and I had a window seat so after I ate, I watched
an episode of House on the really cool video on demand system that
they have on the airplane and I feel asleep and woke up when the
flight attendant asked me if I wanted breakfast. Then even more fun
started. I got through customs and immigration just fine, both my
suitcases showed up (thank goodness) and my ride to Sangam was
waiting for me. Let me tell you driving in India is the craziest
driving I've been around, and trust me that is saying something. I
wasn't too nervous because this guy is a driver and that is what he
does but man I thought we were going to take out a few people on
their motorcycles. Crazy!!!!!

So I'm at Sangam. One other girl, Anna, is already here and the other
2 girls are arriving tomorrow. We will all be sharing a room for the
first week, so we can better understand what a participate goes
through when staying here. We will start training tomorrow afternoon.
I think that I'm going to have a really great time...Once I get used
to the humidity. Everyone says that this is the worst time of year
because it is so humid and the monsoon hasn't started yet and once
that starts, the humidity should break. I figure after a few days, I
won't notice the humidity and heat anymore.

I have already been in the pool and boy was it refreshing!!!!!!!!


ps: sangam has wireless internet so I can hook up anywhere in the
range and email and type away!!!!!! Hopefully I won't be so busy all
the time that I can blog very often!!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm Ready!!!!

I'm all packed and ready to go! Both of my suitcases weigh under 50 pounds and I have plenty of reading material for the airplane. My ipods and computer are charged and ready to go. Hopefully the combination of the 3 will last the 18 hours of flight time. I have a few last minute things to pick up and I'm off to the airport.

The next time I blog will be from India!!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

18 hours!!!

That is how many flight hours it will take for me to get to India from Sioux Falls. The flight from Sioux Falls to Chicago is only 1 hour and 30 minutes. My next flight is from Chicago to London, which is 7 hours and 30 minutes. That isn't so bad, I've done that one before. The flight from London to Mumbai is 9 hours long. That one seems a bit excessive but I guess I don't really have a choice, unless I wanted to take a ship, which probably would mean that I would have had to leave 2 weeks ago! Well, it is a good thing that I can sleep anywhere!

I have finally started to actually make piles of things that I need to take with me. I have a huge pile of clothes laid out, which I will dwindle down to the essentials before I shove it all into my suitcase. I have started to put my shampoo and conditioner into small travel size bottles, because it saves space to put it into smaller bottles rather than lugging a huge bottle of shampoo half way around the world. More importantly, I have all my swaps finished to take with me. I'm really looking forward to collecting swaps from all over the world. I hope that I get some really cool ones.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

I leave in less than 2 weeks and I'm still super busy. I'm trying to come up with a master packing list so I don't forget anything. I still have some things to find and buy but I think that I have most everything ready.

I have also been busy planning my day in London. I have a day long layover in London before I leave for Mumbai. I'm looking forward to going to visit Wimbledon and hopefully I can get to a few other things as well. I've realized that I saw most everything that I wanted to see in London when I was there for my Wider Opportunity.

Everyone has been curious about the language in India. India has 23 official languages with English and Hindi being the most common. The working language at the Center is English, although that doesn't mean that everyone will be fluent in English. I'm really looking forward to learning Hindi so I can watch and understand all of those great Bollywood films.

I also found out some very excited news. I have been nominated for a position in the Peace Corps. I had my interview last Friday and was nominated during my interview, which doesn't happen very often. I will be working in the primary level teacher training program somewhere in Africa, and I will be leaving sometime in November. I'm really looking forward to this next exciting step in my life!

I have to bring items to decorate a 2 by 3 foot banner that will be displayed at the Center to represent me and my country. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions about what I should bring. Thanks!

I have also added a few more links if you would like to explore more about India.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

2 weeks, 2 days, and counting!!!

I leave in 2 weeks and 2 days from today. I am SUPER excited. I have my visa and my plane ticket. All I have left to do is pack.

A lot of people have asked how I came across this opportunity and how I was chosen. I thought that I would take this time before I leave to share with all of you the whole process.

A few years ago, I was surfing the web and was looking at all of the World Center websites. I found on the Pax Lodge website an opportunity to volunteer there as an assistant. I remembered meeting some of these volunteers when I visited Pax Lodge during my Wider Opportunity to England in 2000. I decided to look into this same opportunity at the other Word Centers and found that Sangam also volunteers for 3, 6, and 10 month periods. Since I was still in college, and not able to fit the volunteer work into my schedule, I kept that idea on the back burner.

As I entered my senior year of college, I had to start thinking about what I was going to do after college and I remembered the World Center volunteer positions. Since I have always wanted to go to India, I immediately went to the Sangam website, downloaded the application, and started the process.

I had to have my application and 3 confidential references sent to India by Dec. 31. After my application was submitted, I was then selected for a telephone interview. I had to wake up early for my interview since there is a 13 hour time difference. My telephone interview was with the Sangam Program Manager and lasted 30 minutes. During the interview, I was asked about my Girl Scouting experiences, my travel experiences, my opinions and views of other cultures and religions, and also was asked what I would do in certain situations. A few weeks after the interview, I was selected as one of three Program Assistants at the World Center. The other two girls who will be volunteering with me are from Canada and England.

I am very excited about going and will be very busy preparing for the next few weeks!


Thursday, May 3, 2007


I will be going to work at the Girl Scout World Center Sangam, in Pune, India. For 4 months I will be volunteering as a Program Assistant. My duties will include things like helping plan and implement programming, helping show groups around the Center and the city, and be an ambassador for my local council. I would like to keep my local council informed of all my experiences while I'm there which is why I set up this blog. I get to live at the Center and am looking forward to meeting people from all over the world who come to visit the Center while seeing and experiencing India.

You can post comments or questions to my posts (you don't need to be a registered user to post!) and I will try to answer any questions to the best of my ability. I'm not quite sure how often I'll be able to post to my blog since the internet connection isn't the most reliable but I'll do my best to post as much as possible and as often as possible. I have posted some links that you might find helpful if you are wanting more information about India, the World Center, or Girl Scouting in general.

Thanks for your support!