Friday, March 30, 2012

Amazing Ahmedabad

Just found this post that I wrote ages ago but never posted. 

I went to a city in North-West India, called Ahmedabad, in the beginning of October. Here's a brief description of my amazing time there!

The trip was made possible by the AFS chapter in Ahmedabad, who planned an event for exchange students all over India to be hosted in their city for three days. It was a lot of fun not only to see another part of India, but also to connect with the other exchange students around . The Ahmedabad chapter brought us around the city, put us with great host families, helped us learn traditional garba dancing, and taught us about the festival of Navratri. Every night I was out dancing with either AFS or my host family. During the nine-day Navratri festival in Ahmedabad, people stay out until early hours of the morning decked out in colorful clothes and dancing a circle dance called garba to the rhythmic music of Western India.

When I was in 11th grade, a girl named Karishma Vahora from Ahmedabad, India was hosted in my town through the YES program. We met in class on the first day of school, and she soon became one of my best friends. I still vividly remember saying goodbye to her and the other exchange students at the airport more than a year ago--all of us crying, not knowing when we would see each other again. Fast-forward a year later, and I found myself calling Karishma to tell her that I had been accepted into the YES Abroad program and would be spending a year in India! I was thrilled when only three months into my stay here, the AFS returnees in Ahmedabad planned an event for exchange students all over India to be hosted in their city for three days to see the festive Navratri festival. For three awesome days I got to re-unite with Karishma, and I even got to spend time with two other old friends, Nilly and Sid, who were YES students at my school four years ago! I went to Karishma's house for a few hours one day and was welcomed with warm and open arms by her sweet family. I know it sounds cheesy, but the whole thing really was like a dream come true. The whole time, I could barely believe that I was actually seeing Karishma, Nilly, and Sid again. I can't wait to return to Ahmedabad and for Karishma to come visit me in Chennai. It is life-long friendships like these that make the YES program such a wonderful thing.

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