Monday, December 9, 2013

Julia is getting ready to go abroad again!!!

What better method of procrastination than....oh I know...a blog post! This semester I got to write a few less academic posts (oh yea, I'm in grad school now) and it made me yearn for the days of writing whatever my heart desired.  And now I have an excuse to return to Julia's abroad blog! For abroad I go.  This time though, I will be headed to far away lands very unlike the places seen in this blog.  In 18 days I head to Dhrangadhra in Gujarat state in India! 
After borderline harassment by us for the better part of a semester, a Public Health professor is taking me and four lucky ladies to India to do a project on domestic violence in this small town of around 100,000.  We will be doing exploratory qualitative research, as well as visiting retired cows, temples, and perhaps practicing some yoga.  So instead of writing about stress reduction for women with substance abuse disorder, I think I shall write down some of my expectations for the trip.  
For starters, I am hoping to see a whole lot of mustaches like this:

This is actually a photo of an ancestor of a Temple professor.  We will be staying in his family's home (palace) which according to the internet will look like this:

NO this is not a joke.  Somehow this is real life right now.  Not to mention how excited I am to have the opportunity to do research in a field and on a topic I really care about.  When I think about how amazing the opportunity is I get too excited and it immobilizes me so I try really hard not to think about it too much.  
Ok - so - real expectations in no particular order:

1) massive amounts of bonding time with close friends from MPH program of course
2) to feel the jolt and surreal feeling of being thrust into a culture so unlike my own that I feel disoriented, but in a good way
3) many sad emotions at the poverty and violent stories we will be listening to and recording
4) wonder at the beauty of the place and its people
5) the joy of purchasing power in a land filled with beautiful jewelry and fabrics
6) to get experience collecting qualitative data, and to be a part of an amazing research team
7) form a relationship with a really awesome professor
8) to eat a lot of amazing food and drink a lot of amazing tea
9) to have a lot of tummy aches
10) to feel the rush and excitement of travel, the oddity of looking different from everyone everywhere, and the awesome humbling nature being a stranger in a strange land. 

I leave you with a few photos from the generous internet that have helped me to get a small feel for where we are headed:

The Dhrangadhra Arms

A Temple

Salt Mining - Looks like this might be a major industry 

In preparation for my trip I will try to pre-acculturate myself with documentaries and research.  I have been told by friends that the culture shock will be world rocking and I'd like to be ready.  Can't wait to post my own photos.  Until then, see you in India!


Ann Behar said...

I'm so excited to be following your adventures again! But I also look forward to you coming home too. Can't help it--I'm a Mom!

Erin said...

The blog is back! I also can't wait to follow your adventures and see your photos. Bon voyage!!

Reed said...

Wow! Big adventure!

I have many friends in Gujarat. Most of them are in Baroda/Vadodara. Not exactly next door, but not far, either! Let me know if you want me to make any connections!