A 30- minute cab ride, two hour airport wait, two and a half hours for the plane to get fixed wait, 16 hour flight, 10 minute metro ride, and 6 1/2 hour government bus ride...I was exhausted and didn't know how well I'd be able to talk properly when I met Arun's family. But they were so amazing, they didn't care that I was ready to collapse...and they gave me energy and love and warmth that pushed me ahead!
Even though we arrived at Arun’s sister’s house so much later than we had expected, she had prepared an amazing feast for us. Her husband taught me how to eat the treats, and she explained everything. The food was amazing; the spice level was higher than Indian food in the States, but truly wonderful.
They had two adorable daughters; one was four and spoke zero English but was adorable and fell in love with me; she called me "Cherie Didi," didi being the term for respected older sister. And the other was a wonderful and brilliant 14 year-old and super smart and taught me a lot about India. I had heaps of fun with both of them. They made Jaipur waaaaay better and less overwhelming. Arun's sister was so warm and welcoming and the best host; and her husband was also wonderful and hospitable.
They fed me tons of local food. So much amazing Indian food that I could not often finish it. My favorite were here “milk teas” - her version of chai had tulsi, or holy basil. It was so good I would drink two cups in a row.
We went to visit historical sites; the Pink Palace, an astronomical site, and Gel Mehel, the floating palace. Then we went to rest (more tea!) and I talked to the girls. We looked at photos of our families and friends, talked about animals (their dog is named Cutie and a super energetic black lab puppy), life. I learned about the caste system, marriage, dating, schools. It was really interesting.
They took me to an awesome restaurant for dinner with such amazing food. On our way there, when we stopped, they insisted on having me try the local snacks - these fried things stuffed with mashed potatoes with a hole and sauce dipped over. It’s hard to explain but they were great.
After, we hung out until we went to sleep.
I fell asleep and woke up an hour later, bladder bursting. (All that spicy food makes me drink lots of water...which makes me pee.) I went to the bathroom - and couldn’t fall back asleep. Jetlag.
I tossed and turned. Then I started thinking…..I shouldn’t have quit my job - how could I? I messed up my life. I DESTROYED it. I left my boyfriend; will he ever forgive me? And my cats….how could I leave them?
Turn on the tears.
With the time difference, Wayne was home from work already. I called him bawling. He calmed me down, “No, you needed to quit. You were unhappy. This will be good for you. Enjoy India. Have fun. I’m not mad.” etc.
Then I’d calm down, try to sleep, and start crying. And call him again.
In the morning, I felt wrecked. I had been up for three hours, crying and stressing.
Arun and I headed to the Amber Fort. Unfortunately, my bags came with us and my back was KILLING me. Aching with out of control pain. It was beautiful, but after a while….I just sat down.
And then we got on the bus to Delhi.
Special note - this entire trip was possible because of Arun. Yuri, an ultrarunning friend in NYC, saw I was going to India and introduced me to Arun on FB. Arun graciously helped me out, invited me into his family's home, acted as interpreter, and was an awesome friend besides. He also hooked me up with Meenal in Delhi, and was wonderful host. I'm grateful I met him!