Iris Chiang
Iris Chiang
India 2016-2017
I studied psychological science and art studies at Belmont University. I am going to Auroville, India to work under an art therapist for a program called Sankalpa. Read More About Iris →


There is a huge money issue here in India right now. Basically, the government told Indians— just a week before— that all their 500 rupee notes (7.29 USD) were invalid because of corruption and black money. As you can imagine, this causes some problems. (Seriously, I wouldn’t know where to begin. My money problems are trivial in comparison to many people here. I’m just peeved.) So I’m standing in this line for the ATM right now, twenty people in front of me, five behind (and growing)— a considerably small crowd for an ATM filled with money. Usually, lines wrap around the building and down the street and it takes about three hours for the cash to run out and you must wait until the next day for the ATM to be replenished at an unscheduled time of day. And while I’m standing here, there is no guarantee that 1) my card will work for this particular bank or this particular ATM, 2) the ATM is not depleted before I reach the machine, 3) the limit is still 2500 rupees (instead of the usual 10,000) or less because they ran out of 100 and new 500 rupee notes, 4) the security guard will not get angry that you’re taking too long to figure out how to read this non-user-friendly machine, and 5) any store or business will take that new pink 2000 rupee note because they’ve also run out of change. Help. On top of that, it’s stormy season! 🙂 They say the storms are fairly mild this year. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t had our share of sleepless nights in torrential downpour, never-ending flashes of lightning, and crashing thunder forever. It for sure means slippery, uneven mud roads and no wifi or power for hours or days.
deep breath

There are days that are harder. But then, there are quiet Sundays after Thanksgiving (even though I feel so far removed from the American holiday season and spirit).

We sit at the window. It’s a nice window. There aren’t many large windows in India with a view completely filled with plant life.
“I picked this house because of this window,” she told me as we listen to the vibrant green leaves rustle.
We sit and listen.
She points excitedly to the neighborhood cat passing by.
We sit and listen and watch.
We chat with the cat about his bad habits of lonely mewing at night.
We sit and listen and watch and chat.
And then we just sit.
And I get that feeling again. You know that feeling that everything is okay and can you believe it this is your amazing spectacular life.

There are so many things to be thankful for this year. Happy (belated) Thanksgiving from a thankful American abroad.

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