With the legacy of last year’s interns in mind, I decided that it was time for another trip three weeks before the end of my internship. Bill, a 2015 Leap intern, had told me about his legendary travels in India during his term. Since I only had about only 3 weeks left, I wanted to make it epic and relaxing. I wanted to take off from the stress of deadlines and Tribyte related things.
If you are wondering what Tribyte is, then I will gladly share more information. Leap has decided to finally use an offline Learning Management System called Tribyte to engage better with their students. An LMS is something that almost every college uses, and every Penn student is familiar with Canvas. My co-intern and I were mainly in charge of developing content that related well with the lesson plans and learning outcomes. At first, it was a very daunting task. However, as we were nearing the end of the program, the project was coming along very nicely. When the content was already developed for most of the days, I thought it would be a good time to leave and visit a different part of India.
I first went to Mumbai. Even though I only had a day there, I was determined to make the most of out it. I went to the Gateway of India, walked long Marine Drive, and went to markets to shop (I didn’t end up buying anything however). I also had a chance to meet Miguel, a former exchange student at Penn, who was also doing an internship in a company there. We went out to a restaurant called the Barking Deer (I thought the name was hilarious) for dinner and chitchatted about life at Penn and abroad. We had a good time talking about our experiences and travels within India, and when it was time to part, we planned to meet again despite knowing that it would be hard to see each other again since Miguel’s exchange period was over.
After the bittersweet parting, I went back to the hostel I was staying at (which had amazing people by the way) to get ready for my next trip. I was going to Varkala in Kerela! I was going to meet my fellow CASI interns, Alexi and Mallory, for more adventures. We met at a hotel in Varkala that had the most amazing view of the beach from the cliff. Seeing other CASI interns made me realize how much I missed Penn and the opportunities to meet my friends everyday. We had time to catch up, swim and eat amazing food.
Then, together, we took a train to Alleppey for a houseboat night stay. The beautiful view of the backwaters and the canals took my breath away. It was a great time to pick up a book and read while navigating through the waters. The houseboat also included our own personal chef (ooooh la la) so we were treated to authentic South Indian Food. I can attest that the Dosa we ate there was the most amazing Dosa of my life.
But of course, all good things must come to an end. However, we couldn’t leave without doing more touristy things. Although I am not a touristy person myself, Alexi and Mallory had me in the spirit of things, and I realized that it is actually fun being a tourist. On our way back to Kochi Airport, we made a few pittstops for elephant rides and nature visits. Although I didn’t personally have the chance to ride an elephant, I still managed to get a couple of pictures of them up close. The elephants were so cute, yet, reality hit as we heard the clangs of their chains every time they took a step. We tried not to think about the cruelty of not letting them live freely and wildly and to continue on with out day, yet, those sad eyes continue to haunt me till this day.
The trip overall was very successful. I can say that I truly did my best to make those 5 days worthwhile, and I am proud of myself. I managed to see 4 places in a relatively short amount of time. Although I wished that I could have stayed longer to truly appreciate the beauty of each place, alas, time was not on my side. One thing that I did realize on this trip was: I am definitely coming back to India in the future.