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Yesterday I woke up to my alarm at 5:20am, ready to get on the bus for our day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. While I could write an entire post about the Taj itself, from its complex architecture to the beautiful love story behind its creation, it was my time on the bus there and back that left the biggest impression on me since my arrival in India just over a week ago.

The drive from Delhi to Agra is just over four hours in each direction, during which I spent most of the time that I wasn’t dozing off or day dreaming staring out of the window at the countryside and reflecting on my experiences from the past week. I thought back to the first time I stepped out of the doors of the airport at almost 2:00am, when the combination of heat and humidity was something I had never experienced before, but is now the norm with only a third of the trip behind me.

“Having nearly nine hours yesterday to think was therapeutic. It was a week of adjustments to new sights, sounds, smells, and experiences. Reflecting on small adjustments and new things gives me the opportunity to appreciate it all more.”

Weather has not been the only adjustment. While the bus ride on Saturday was really the first time in a few days that I had time to think, it was not the first time that my mind has wandered since arriving. Prior to the beginning of our work with the students at Vidya school, we had some free time during the day, which left me to my thoughts. The excitement and anticipation in starting to teach the local children was mounting, but with that came some anxiety and nervousness about the unknown.

I realized on the bus that I was no longer nervous about the unknown, since everything here is so new and different for me. I have begun to appreciate these small adjustments that I have each time I experience something new. We are very busy here and each day bleeds into the next. From working out at 6am to teaching until mid-afternoon, followed by either a cultural learning experience or more volunteer work with the Earth Saviors Foundation, there have been few chances to reflect on my time here so far. Having nearly nine hours yesterday to think was therapeutic. It was a week of adjustments to new sights, sounds, smells, and experiences. Reflecting on small adjustments and new things gives me the opportunity to appreciate it all more.

I cannot wait to spend the rest of my time here getting to know the people and the culture better with my fellow ACE athletes through our shared, yet each unique and individual experience!

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