I was slightly nervous to spend Christmas away from home for the first time but it was an amazing experience. Getting to be creative with Naomi and Megan’s gifts was fun, although slightly stressful. Then again, the fact that present giving was one of the biggest stresses in my life felt truly wonderful and so was a gift in itself. Getting to open my stocking and watching Megan and Naomi open their’s was just the right mixture of new and old – making me feel Christmassy but in a unique and special way. The day continued like that: a fabulous mixture of traditions, like having a special Christmas dinner, and new experiences, like having a mutton korma for dinner. Overall it was an exciting and nostalgic day that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Our holiday with team Kolkata was a real treat. Every new city was different to the last and reminded me of how blessed I am. Picking a favourite moment feels much like choosing between cake and pizza, every day was different but equally wonderful. Having said that I think I quite possibly had the most magical 19th birthday ever. Getting to spend it at an Elephant sanctuary was beyond crazy. Feeding, painting, washing and walking the elephants was incredible and the hours absolutely flew by. We also had a homemade Indian meal for lunch. I’m going to miss eating roti with everything when I get home. What really made the holiday special though was all the people we met and had the privilege to talk to. That and the fact that Rajasthan was considerable hotter than Delhi!
Christmas away from home for the first time was strange, but it was a truly special day. I enjoyed spending time with the girls, celebrating together and attending an English speaking church all dressed up in our sari’s. It was so nice sharing a meal and movie with our supervisors, feeling so much love and joy, a day I will remember!
Wow. Our holiday was just incredible. Amongst the amazing monuments, sunsets, sunrises, elephants and zip-lines its so hard to pick a favourite moment. However, there are some key moments that I adore. New Years eve is one. A very joyous evening, spending time together, chatting, eating and reminiscing on the year gone and looking to the year ahead. I went into new year with a huge smile on my face! Another thing I loved about our holiday was the rooftop restaurants we went to. As we traveled around a lot it meant a lot of eating out. This was a great chance to try some delicious Indian food! We found some amazing rooftop restaurants overlooking the city lights and the spectacular forts of Rajasthan, great food and great views!
If I had to chose one location we went to which was my favourite, I would have to say Jaisalmer. I choose this because of the lovely people we met and the amazing experience of spending a night in the desert. We were took on the safari by some men who lived in the desert and they were just so fascinating to get to know! I loved chatting to them about their culture and finding out more about them. They were the loveliest people and I was amazed to hear that they could not read or write yet were trilingual. Sleeping in the desert was also just so special, being surrounded by sand dunes, sitting by the fire looking up at the stars in the sky. The stars were just insane, I couldn’t sleep as I couldn’t keep my eyes off them.
I didn’t fully know what to expect of an Indian Christmas. Safe to say that it was unlike any other Christmas I have experienced. It was such a privilege to hear a sermon in English, give and be given presents and watch a Christmas movie. What I loved the most though was the feeling of being in a family. Although it was strange to be away from the people I have spent every Christmas with up to this point, I was so blessed to spend it with my team who I know consider my family as well as with our supervisors who continue to treat us like their adopted girls!
In case you haven’t picked up on this yet in the blog- holiday was a truly magical experience. I may or may not have done my travelling round Rajasthan with my stuff in my mum’s old backpack to officially be able to say that ‘on my gap year I backpacked round the Golden Triangle’! There was so many unforgettable moments and experiences that we had that will forevermore circle around my small-talk repertoire. Some of my favourite moments, however, came at times I wasn’t expecting to take memories away from. The trains were often the settings of many of these encounters. We had lengthy theological discussions with newly made Christian friends, a lady gestured for me to hand over my knitting and she completed a row and walked off and another lady shared her food with us!