A Quick Turnaround

Hello, fellow interns and readers of my blog (ahem, Mom and Dad)! Welcome to what will become my little stream of consciousness account of my travels in India. Before I ramble off and attempt to coherently describe how excited I am for this trip, let me first introduce myself. My name is Emma and currently I am a rising junior enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, studying International Relations and Spanish. I was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Funnily enough, this might be the longest amount of time that I have spent in Cambridge over the summer. As far back as I can remember, my parents spent basically the entire winter devising elaborate plans to ship me and my little sister off to crash with our grandparents for the summer. Then, starting when I was ten I started going to camp up in Maine, where I lived for seven weeks outside with no electricity or electronics (although, this was pre–iPhone!). When I grew out of that around age fifteen, I did everything I could to create my own travel plans; mini road trips around the Eastern states, more camping trips, a summer working in the Dominican Republic. As a consequence, I suppose, I view the summer as a ripe time to concoct the most wildly adventurous approach to spend the only three completely unplanned, uncharted and unstructured months out of the year. This year, I think I’ve out done myself.

Me, biding my time waiting for my visa, aided by a weekend trip to Montreal, post devouring a Montreal-style bagel. (Side note, stay tuned for an in-depth description of all my Indian eats)

I leave my front doorstep tomorrow morning at 5:45am to board one of three long flights that will result in my arrival in Delhi on Saturday, June 15th at 10pm. Overall, the entire estimated travel time is just under thirty hours; I fly from Boston to New York City to Guangzhou, China and finally on to India. My journey doesn’t end in Delhi, however. On Sunday, my co–intern, Sophie (shout-out Sophie!!), and I will turn around and fly to Hyderabad, where we will be trained to start work with the Naandi Foundation on Monday, June 15th. In Hyderabad, we’ll go shopping and gather our collective wits about us to turn around yet again on Thursday the 18th to fly to Visakhapatnam, where we will be transported to our final destination in the Araku Valley.

All of these plans, which basically boil down to a series of quick turnarounds, are the result of the severely delayed acquisition of my visa. Sophie and I were originally supposed to leave the States on June 7rd and start work on June 10th, but for some reason or another my visa did not get approved until just two days ago. And with that, here we are!

To tell the truth, I’m a bit nervous to set off on this daunting, crazy, rewarding, and challenging adventure. Most of my anxiety stems from my extreme fear of flying, which I deliberately attempt to ease via exposure therapy. However, with all the of the delays and obstacles to get up to this point of departure in my rear view, I can say with complete confidence that I have never been more ready in my life to board this little silver bullet flying 40,000 feet up in the sky at nearly 800mph and set off into the unknown. Cheers, to quick turnarounds and to India!

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About Emma Harris

College of Arts and Sciences class of 2021, double majoring in International Relations and Hispanic Studies. Intern at the Naandi Foundation, Araku, Andhra Pradesh, summer 2019.