I N D I A
This is going to be a long post so grab your coffee & join me as I recap our first journey across the world!
I’ll start by saying that experiencing India with the love of my life was a complete dream. It made us fall in love with each other even more and it was definitely the most heart felt trip we’ve ever been on together.
A little backstory:
My husband, Vishal, came to America when he was nine years old with his dad. His dad remained here with him until 2011 before returning to India. Vishal’s parents wanted him to stay here in America and go to college. And so hes been here ever since. He spent a total of 20 years without seeing his mom and 7 years without seeing his dad. It’s hard to imagine which made this trip even more important for both of us.
We flew right out of our hometown of Sioux City, IA into Chicago. From there, we flew to London.
The flight from Chicago to London was roughly nine hours. It was EXHAUSTING as you can tell from Vishal’s face lol. There’s nothing more rough on your body than long flights!
When we arrived in London, it was approximately midnight. We were tired, HANGRY 😂 and just wanted to rest. The London Heathrow airport is huge and with it being midnight there was no one around. I’m not joking, NO ONE. We felt like we were the only ones in the entire airport. We were totally lost and were basically going in circles trying to figure out where to go. It was awful. Finally, we saw a worker and she guided us in the right direction. Here’s the sketchy part: every worker that we came across was so rude. They wouldn’t let us go beyond a certain point in the airport and it made me feel extremely isolated and uncomfortable. Our flight to Mumbai was scheduled around 8am so we had a long time to be stuck at Heathrow. Vishal ended up falling asleep almost instantly while I had major jet lag and was unable to sleep. I remember sitting there all night watching Vishal sleep with poor WiFi in this huge room. It was horrible and I remember just wanting to leave that airport ASAP lol.
I will never forget walking out of the airport. There were SO many people waiting. I remember saying to Vishal, “How are we ever going to find your dad?” Lol.. But Vishal was able to spot him almost instantly. They embraced each other and I had to hold back tears because it was so heartwarming to see him and his dad reunited. I was so excited to meet my father in law finally! We loaded up all our stuff and began the five hour car ride to Surat, Vishal’s hometown and parents residence.
We arrived in Surat around 2am. At this point, I was experiencing what they call a “culture shock” I remember feeling speechless. It didn’t feel real that we were finally in India. We arrived at the village where Vishal’s family was staying. It’s a cute area and the village homes are all nice and right next to each other. I did take a video of Vishal embracing his mom for the first time but it was super dark due to it being outside but we will cherish it forever. She was crying. He was crying. I was crying. It was amazing and so perfect.
The first event that we got to be a part of was Vishal’s best friend’s wedding. In Indian culture, the weddings are about a week long and each day there is something new that takes place. Needless to say, they party everyday! It was so fun and by far the coolest and most “extra” wedding I’ve ever been too 😉
We took this big bus to the pre-wedding event. The groom’s family all sits together and they play games and everyone just has fun! There was a lot of laughs during this 🙂
In our case, it was three miles to get to the wedding. I think I lasted a mile before I couldn’t dance anymore (hello heels and sore feet!) I had to take breaks but it was so much fun. The music was playing the whole time and there were also fireworks bursting into the sky. A dream I tell ya.
We left the village and headed to the city where his parents main house is. It’s located right in the middle of the city but it has its own little area where it’s secure and quiet.
We headed to Mumbai a day earlier before heading to the airport so that we could have a day of exploring the biggest city in India. Mumbai is HUGE y’all. I actually felt claustrophobic! I never let go of my MIL’s hand because I felt like I would be a legit goner if I did. 😂 We visited the main temple where photos were not allowed. We prayed in front of Ganesh and it was a very meaningful experience.
We stayed in a hotel and spent some time together just the 5 of us laughing, talking, and drinking mango. It was the night I’ll cherish most. Just all of us being together.
My SIL left before us during the night and we said goodbye to her before bed. It was hard. I know it’s not goodbye, but rather a see you later but it doesn’t make it that much easier!
I knew the goodbye was going to be the worst. But I didn’t expect to get that emotional. When we arrived at the Mumbai airport, my FIL was unloading our bags and that’s when I broke down and cried. My MIL ran up to me and embraced me and began crying, then my FIL started crying, then Vishal started. Here we were, in front of the biggest airport in India, bawling. We spent time just embracing each other and my MIL kept kissing our cheeks telling us it will be okay, and said she had big plans for next time we come visit.
Vishal and I entered the airport and had to check in. We were both still crying and I think every time I looked at him, I’d cry even more. Needless to say, I’m so glad we didn’t know anyone in that airport. We truly looked like a MESS. After we checked in, we went over to the glass windows where his parents stood. We said goodbye once more and exchanged I love you’s before departure. It was the hardest thing ever. For three weeks we were together and now we had to leave? I had gotten so close to them during our trip. I truly couldn’t have asked for greater in-laws and I feel SO lucky to be loved by Vishal’s whole family. An unforgettable trip that we will forever cherish. We can’t wait to come back and visit again. It’s such a beautiful country and it made me appreciate my own life and to never take anything for granted. There is a lot of poverty and it was heartbreaking to see people and dogs with no home. I highly recommend visiting another country. It will change your outlook on everything.
India will always be home. 💗 until next time!
Also, it just so happens to be New Years in India right now! Happy Diwali to all my family & to all a Happy New Year filled with blessings!