So, as you may or may not know, I am going WAYYYY out of my comfort zone in order to visit my boyfriend’s parents and friends in India. As I have only ever been in english speaking countries, this is a lot for me, and I would like to say that I’m completely excited and not in the least bit nervous….but that’s just not true. I am incredibly nervous. Because of my anxiety, I am terrified to get back on a 24 hour flight. I’m terrified to change planes in another country. I’m terrified to meet my boyfriend’s family who may not understand what I’m saying like my own family does, and I’m terrified about being a minority when I’ve always been in the majority my entire life.
All this aside, I am excited about this opportunity too. I’m excited to experience a culture so beautiful, rich, and very different from my own. I’m excited to take this next step with my boyfriend and his family, and I’m excited about getting to see parts of the world I never in a million years thought I would.
Anyway, on to more practical things….
For the first time I have to get a visa to enter another country. I’ve heard from others that having an American passport is like owning a golden ticket because, for a lot of countries, including New Zealand, you can basically just walk into the country without having to go through an application process. Unfortunately, India isn’t one of those countries you can just walk into. I spent all last night trying to make sure I completed my visa application the correct way and feeling that split second of panic about the possibility of not being let into the country due to something wrong on my application. (Honestly, I had no idea traveling was such a process!!)
For the application, you have to upload a picture of yourself similar to what you would get for a passport application. You also have to scan parts of your passport and fill out a fairly short application stating your reasons for traveling and other information they may need on you before allowing you into their country. Hopefully I’ll get it approved sometime soon.
India also has diseases that are not so common in the US, such as malaria and dengue fever which are carried by mosquitoes. Because of that, I went ahead and made an appointment with the travel clinic at my college to make sure I was safe health-wise before I jumped across the pond. I was sad to hear that I needed two shots (I HATE shots!) which I got. One of those is still hurting pretty bad while I type this. I also found out about some preventative measures I could take for the mosquitoes.
I’ll be taking a preventative for malaria before, during, and after my visit just to be safe. There’s also this bug spray that you can buy which repels mosquitoes from your clothes and belongings, but apparently you can’t get it on your bare skin and have to wait until it completely dries before you can touch it or bring it inside….so I won’t be using that. It kind of scared me lol. I’m just going to try my luck with some safer mosquito repellants.
Basically that’s about it for not regarding India. I just have to wait until my visa gets accepted and then start packing closer to the time I have to leave!
If you want to hear more about my adventure to India, don’t forget to follow my blog! Also, if you have any tips for me, I would love to hear about them in the comments!
When I finally got off the plane, extremely tired, hungry, and incredibly excited, I was probably a bit too excited about being in a new country with a different culture. I was taking pictures and trying to video everything. Of course, I was also insanely anxious and excited to see my boyfriend again for the first time in about six months! I won’t bore you with the details, but you can imagine how happy we were to see each other again after being away from each other for so long. Long distance sucks!
Anyway, we finally got out of the airport, and I got settled into my room. I basically slept the entire rest of the day as you can imagine since I hadn’t slept since I left Georgia. For dinner, I decided to be adventurous and got Pizza Hut (a little sarcasm there) delivered. I was surprised, though, that the cheese tasted slightly better than it did at home!
Eventually, though, I finally got out of the room, and we started to explore the city of Auckland a little bit. One of the first things that I noticed was just how welcoming it seemed to be. Everyone was very nice and nobody seemed to mind or stare at us since we were in a mixed relationship (which is always something I’m slightly concerned about. I mean, who really likes being stared at?). The city itself was actually really nice, and unlike in most of the big cities in America, we could walk down the street in the middle of the night without really having to think a lot about safety.
Since I had never really been out of the country before either, I was also pleasantly surprised to see some fast food favorites of mine making an appearance (even though the menu was slightly different) like Burger King, KFC, and, of course, McDonalds. Sometimes you just want something familiar, right? Anyway, we spent the night mainly exploring the city, so I’ll just cut off here and let you enjoy some pictures!
Flying for the first time can be incredibly intimidating….especially if you’re flying by yourself for about 18 hours. Nobody in my family has really travelled outside of the United States, so I also wasn’t able to get much information from them about it either. Luckily, my parents were able to drop me off at the airport and help me until I had to enter security, so that made it a bit easier.
I have to admit, even though I was initially scared going through the whirlwind of getting your boarding pass, making sure your luggage is fine, and security (especially security), when I finally found the right gate and sat down to watch the airplanes, it was incredibly amazing and exciting. I think a lot of people forget just how special it is that we can fly thousands of feet up in the air fairly smoothly around the world in just one day. Since it was my first flight, though, the thought was definitely not lost on me. I couldn’t believe that no one else was staring childlike out the window watching the ground move further and further away and watching the scenery change with ever minute.
I never realized just how beautiful and different the west of America is from the east. The landscape is just so different. I loved being able to visit each of the states from Georgia to California even if it was just for a few minutes to hours from the air. If you ever get the chance to sit in the window seat flying through America (or any country really!) I would definitely recommend taking a few moments to just enjoy the scenery below you.
After I landed in California, though, it was very late at night, and I had about a three hour layover before I could board again for Auckland. I have to say that this was the scariest part of my trip. I had never switched planes before, especially by myself, and I was so afraid that I was going to get lost and miss my flight. Luckily, though, the gate I needed to be at was only a few gates down from where we landed, so I had plenty of time to get settled at the gate, buy a cheeseburger, and read a book before I had to board again.
My flight from California to Auckland was during the night, so you would think that it would go by quickly since you would most likely be sleeping….It was not that way for me. For some reason, I just can not sleep on planes no matter how hard I try. I also got a migraine each time we got up in the air and since I forgot my migraine medicine at home (please always make sure you have your migraine medicine on flights!), I have to say that the flight was largely a miserable experience.
Finally, though, we made it over New Zealand, and the ocean and beautiful green islands below me made everything worth it! New Zealand is an absolutely beautiful country, especially from the air!