Now that the dust (no pun intended, Delhi is sooo dusty) has settled I have more or less a set routine in India. Of course, there are drastic differences between India and the States including constant honking, cows in the road, and no order what-so-ever to basically anything. It is amazing how quickly you get used to these differences.
My days mostly look like this:
5:30 – wake-up, get dressed, meditate (I’m addicted to the app Headspace)
6:60 – walk to yoga; one of my roommates showed me a yoga studio within walking distance from my house so I head there for a class Monday-Friday
7:00-8:00 – yoga; sometimes I replace my morning yoga with a Skype call back to the states being the time difference is so great it is easiest for me to call friends and family during my morning
8:00-8:30 – drink chai and call an Uber; I Uber to work everyday, it is easier than taking the metro which I also love but it is too far away for everyday use – the metro in India feels like another world – it is super clean and always on time! There is nothing else in India like it.
9:30-6:00 – I am at VisionSpring all day Monday to Saturday (yes, we work on Saturday too)
I don’t reach home until around 7:30 so by then I am ready to sit in my room and read and code. I’ve read six book already and done numerous online tutorials to teach myself more in depth web development. I love this time alone! It gives me ample time to knock out my New Year’s Resolutions.
Since I sit in an office all day, I don’t take many pictures. I need to take more! The other night my Uber couldn’t get through becuase there were so many cows in the way! Haha. Cows are sacred here so they are never eaten or killed. They are let loose after they are no longer able to produce milk so they just wander in the streets.
Because my office is located in Dwarka, New Delhi which is not a super fun place to live, I live in Gurgaon, Haryana which is a completely different state. Even so, it only takes me about thirty to forty minutes to Uber to work. We have an Uber competitor here too called Ola but for now, Uber is more reliable.
I live in a PG. We have nothing similar in the states except maybe a college dorm. “PG” stands for ‘paying guest’ and each PG differs extensively. My PG is houses sixteen working women all in their mid-twenties. It is not safe or culturally acceptable for a women to live alone here so it is extremely common to live in a PG.
When I moved to India I never dreamt I would end up living with sixteen girls. Before living in Nashville, I never had a roommate. I lived alone for almost six years so going from having five (!!!) roommates in Nashville to sixteen in India seemed like a lot. Turns out, it really is not. Sometimes I only see our cook or security guard for an entire day! Traffic is insane in India so it takes forever to get anywhere and employees work long hours and often on Saturday too.
Everyone I talked to before moving to India had advice on what to wear and what not to wear. I did a lot of research and felt pretty well prepared to adhere to all social dressing customs while in India. I was surprised to find that girls at my office all wear skinny jeans, converse, and t-shirts. I quickly ditched my fake Indian garb and decided to acclimate to the office culture. I feel much more like myself. Below is a typical outfit, definitely not much different than something I would have worn to class at Belmont.
Tonight marks one week since I arrived in India.
The first week has been full of adventure and adjustment. I was supposed to arrive in India on Wednesday night but due to bad weather in DC, my flight was delayed an entire day. There is only one flight out a day to New Delhi on my airline.
I started my fellowship the day after I arrived in India. The first few days were pretty hazy and I felt very jet lagged. The eleven and a half hour time difference is an adjustment to get used to. Once you’re used to it it is hard not to stay awake at night when your friends in the states are awake too.
My first week at VisionSpring has been about settling in and learning the ropes. I have spent a lot of time getting to know the different departments of the company and am starting to find my place on the team. Our team is spread out over five different states in India.
On Saturday (we work on Saturdays!) I attended a field visit to the state of Haryana. In Haryana VisionSpring has field vision camps, retail stores, and locations in eye hospitals. I got to visit each one of these and was able to better understand their piece of the VisionSpring puzzle.
Below is a photo from one of our vision camps in Haryana:
At these camps our main focus is adult vision screenings. Screenings for children most often happens in schools or at eye hospitals. We have healthy eye programs in schools here in India.
I am excited for this coming week!
Bye for now,
I’m Rae Hatfield. I graduated from Belmont University in December with a degree in Social Entrepreneurship. Life has been a whirlwind since graduation. Here is what I have been up to:
- The day after graduation my brothers drove through the night to Nashville and packed up my apartment to move my stuff into storage so I could move to India.
- I traveled from Nashville to Kansas City to Minneapolis for the holidays.
- On December 30th me and six people I did not before know boarded separate planes and ended up in Bogota, Colombia for what we called The New Year’s Adventure Club. We traveled around Colombia for two weeks together. We jumped off cliffs, rode rickshaws, learned spanish, got painfully sick, and most importantly became friends.
- Our last night in Colombia turned into an unforeseen adventure as our passports were stolen. Never. Ever. Let. This. Happen. To. You. But if it does, I’m your girl. Anyway, this hiccup kept us in Colombia for another five days. No big deal. After being illegally flown across the country to the US Consulate, everything was fixed.
- From Colombia I flew into NYC to get an emergency passport, Indian Visa, and to work for what was supposed to be 10 days but it ended up snowing 30 inches the day I was supposed to fly out so I ended up spending another week in NYC. I didn’t mind. There are much worse places to be stuck.
- From there I few back into Kansas City to prepare to leave for India.
I am a Technology Fellow for VisionSpring and am spending the next four consecutive months living in New Delhi, India because of Lumos. I am thrilled about living in India and for the opportunity through Lumos to embark on this great adventure!