Tag Archives: India

Eat, Pray, Love and More!

Incredible India – A Place to Eat, Pray, Love and More

Travel is a funny thing.  It is so personal and every traveler approaches a trip with their own style and set of expectations.  Most of us maintain some form of a travel wish list with lots of new places and things we want to see  in our lifetime but other people are content with a simple travel tradition, going to the same place, at the same time of year, year-after-year.  Occasionally I’ve run into individuals who have no travel dreams or thoughts at all. It’s shocking to think about, isn’t it?  In fact I have an aunt who saw the ocean for the very first time when she was 75 years old and her daughter (my cousin) told me her mom’s response when she saw the Atlantic Ocean and heard a wave for the very first time was, “okay, I’ve seen it so I’m ready to go home.”  My aunt loves the farmland of the Midwest.

For me being able to see the Taj Mahal in my lifetime was near the top of my travel bucket list and oddly as I prepared for my trip and mentioned to friends just how excited I was about going to India, conversations would always leave me a bit worried.  Here are just a few nutshell versions of some of the comments and thoughts shared with me by some of my closest friends.

“I don’t really want to go there. But you go right ahead.”

“Aren’t you scared?  Don’t they have terrible problems with violent crimes against women? Did you see in the news where….?”

“Oh you are going to get so sick!  Don’t eat or drink anything.  Bring your own packaged food.”

“India?  Why?”

So these are the comments worth sharing.  More often than not, many people would simply add a non-feeling “that’s nice,” and quickly change the subject.  So many people I know will talk about Paris until the cows come home but Delhi….not so much.

I have to admit that the odd exchanges frequently left me questioning what I knew in my heart to be true.  I wanted to go to India.  It also left me thinking about how many times the negativity or small-minded remarks of others might have impacted my decision-making about other matters.

To counter the negativity I spent a lot of time watching and re-watching Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and focusing on a comment from Evelyn: “[N]othing can prepare the uninitiated for this riot of noise and color.”  And who in the world doesn’t want to add some color to their life?  Not just color but a riot of color!

I took nearly 2000 photos from my trip.  It seemed that everything I saw while was a picture.  Color, motion, beauty, history, architecture, style, people, poverty, traditions, health, religion, beauty, art, relaxation, education – India was everything and more.  I’m still trying to put into words the amazing experience.  The food was unbelievable, the time spent reflecting and meditating was inspiring and I found a newly formed love and respect for a country and the people of India – eat, pray, love.  The visit was was incredible.  And you can be sure there will be more posts and stories about people, places and things in India but meanwhile, let me share the colors.

India

Eat Pray Love & more

India

Peacocks are a native bird and can be seen throughout the country.

India Celebrations

Holi Festival – a celebration of color

Floating flowers

Reflecting with flowers

Prayers, India

At the Ganges – Varanasi

India

Marigolds bring good luck

Shopping for a Cause – GAIN

Georgia Asylum & Immigration Network

 

I’m on the board of an incredible organization and I’m very proud to have been one of the volunteers who helped form the organization.  GAIN, or the Georgia Asylum & Immigration Network is a group of volunteer lawyers who work to help immigrant victims of human trafficking and individuals fleeing persecution seeking asylum in the United States.  The stories of our clients are so compelling and hearing their stories always inspires me.  Almost daily GAIN clients remind me how lucky we are to be living in America.

This week GAIN hosted a book signing event featuring Anna Rodriguez, the woman  behind the creation of human trafficking laws in the U.S.  Her stories and her work are incredible.  Her new book is Ma’am Anna for those interested in learning more about human trafficking and Anna’s work.

Now, on to the shopping.  A few of GAIN’s clients offered to make a few items for a silent auction to help give back to the organization which has given so much to them.   This factor alone inspires me.

At the auction there were two queen-sized embroidered pieces with pillow cases hand-embroidered by an Indian client who had been in an abusive relationship.  Thanks to GAIN’s volunteers she has been able to establish a new life in a new country and is safe from her abuser.  Sadly she was physically damaged by the years of abuse making it painful for her to sew but she stitched these two pieces to help GAIN.  Given all the news about India and the treatment of women, having the opportunity to help a female victim of domestic violence in some small way was especially meaningful.

India Embroidery

Can you believe that I was the lucky bidder? I’m so proud to have won this treasure!!!  There is no match for the heartfelt handwork that was stitched into the fabric.

Embroidery

Handmade Embroidery

Today I’m linking up with The Tablescaper celebrating Seasonal Sunday.