This past month has been a lot of fun and the CSC program is still a valuable part of my day. I helped review applications for next year’s CSC program. I met a new CSC Alum (Diane) during the review process and she was great to work with. It was also interesting to see the process from the other side. I presented to the CSC India 20 team about my experience in India. It was fun to remember how I felt early in the process and get to talk to some of the other India 19 members. Elsa checked in with wedding pictures (congrats Elsa! you looked beautiful and so happy) Finally, yesterday was Mikimasa’s b’day.. so we all got to say happy b’day to him and catch up briefly. Its amazing how the experience continues to provide networking, professional development and social opportunities months afterward.
I’ve been home for just over a week. I feel like I am falling back into the scheme of things.
There are some things I miss that I knew I would miss… like the energy of Kolkata and being in the middle of a city. I miss the IBMers as well and some of my ONergy officemates.
On the flip side, I am THRILLED that I have heard from many of of my CSC and ONergy team over sametime, email and facebook. Its great to get the latest updates on their lives (Thanks to those who reached out, in case you are reading this blog).
One pleasant surprise. I was really worried about fitting back into my job and my day-day life. Honestly, I was getting kind of frustrated by my work before I left. Additionally, family errands seemed very hard to juggle. The surprise is that I am not feeling as stressed or overwhelmed or frustrated by things. Maybe my CSC assignment gave me some resilience without me realizing it. Maybe its just that there is not as much going on at work yet.. (though familywise, this past week was slammed with team and scouting events.. more so than any other week in the past). We’ll see. But, I feel a lot more calm deep inside, which must be a good thing.
I made it home safely.. and my whole family was very sweet.
Christopher and Justin made posters and decorated my bathroom mirror.
My first order of business was to take a nap… I somehow flew for over 14 hours without sleeping… though I did see 4 movies in between trying to fall asleep, sparing my husband from seeing some chick flix with me later this month! Hastings joined me on the bed as well… so I took that as a sign that she was glad I was back.
Its good to be back. Though I know it will feel weird later.
Our last day in Delhi was a whirlwind. We started the morning with a visit to a temple and I ended it with an enjoyable tea/coffee break with Francis, his wife, his brother-in-law, and Jill. Last chance at real chai for a while! (Francis’ family is super nice by the way, in case anyone doubted it)
In between, Jill and I did some shopping and lots of site seeing including Ghandi’s memorial, the parliament area, lotus temple, and Humayun’s tomb. Our favorite stop was an archeological park that has the tallest tower from the 11th century, Qutub Minar. The tower is surrounded by other ancient and medieval structures and ruins.
I had 2 highlights in Jaipur:1. Matilde and her sister stayed at the same BnB as we did (so that was a nice surprise since we hadn’t realized we’d overlap in our travels at all!)
2. Riding an elephant up to the Amber fort, which our guide assures us should really be called the Amber palace, since the piece we tourists see is really the home of the Maharaja and his wives. The elephant ride was very fun (and yet bumpy) and has a great view as you go uphill. The palace/fort is beautiful with lots of inlay, a famous mirrored ceiling, and lots of ornate carvings and stone work. Many of the elephants are also beautifully decorated as well, with colorful swirls of flowers painted on their faces and rumps.
Fatehpur Sikri is an abandoned city in between Jaipur and Agra. It was built by the Emperor Akbar and then abandoned about 10 years later. Its location is the site where a holy man predicted that Akbar would have a son. (He had been childless by his 3 wives before that). Akbar’s wives each followed a different religion: Hindu, Muslim, and Christian. As a result, the architecture at Fatephur Sikri is a mix of the 3 styles. Akbar also was creating a new religion, which was a mix of the 3 religions of his wives.
The site is a UNESCO world heritage site and is very beautiful. Definately worth a visit.
After we were done in Kolkata, a few of us flew to Delhi. Some connected with family there, but Jill and I took a mini-vacation to Agra (known to most Americans as the home of the Taj Mahal).
We had a great driver and a great guide. We did see the Taj Mahal, but we also saw Akbar’s tomb (which my boys had learned about in school), and the baby Taj (Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah). The Baby Taj was built by an empress as a tomb for her father and other family members and has several architectural elements that were later used in the Taj Mahal.
We also saw 2 cottage industries– a handmade carpet store and a marble inlay store. We were able to see artisans make the products which was very interesting. The quality of the products was really amazing. Very beautiful. Jill and I both got something at the marble inlay store where they create delicate designs using thinly shaved pieces of semi-precious stones. We ended the day with a view of the Taj Mahal at sunset from the Mehtab Bagh gardens and then a yummy family style dinner at the Bed and Breakfast.
Next stop Fatehpur Sikri