This Is India 2017 – Part Seven

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February 28th, 2017 – Flight Home-Mumbai, India to Ottawa, Canada

The morning of February 28th I caught my last domestic flight from Cochin to Mumbai and had all day to go shopping in Mumbai and take it easy before my flight back to Canada.

Just when I thought my adventures were over in India, little did I know that my flights home were going to be more adventurous than I ever expected.  Some of you have heard this story before and I apologize in advance!  For those who are reading it for the first time, hold onto your seats because here we go 😛

Mumbai, India to Zurich, Switzerland- 1 A.M. IST Feb 28th: Halfway through the flight, I awoke to an older lady in the aisle who got upset because she didn’t make it to the bathroom on time so she started screaming at the flight staff and everyone around her. Passengers tried to help by yelling out to her, asking if she is ok, then the staff tried to get her back to her seat but she refused to sit because she had wet clothes. She walked throughout the plane screaming at everyone, sitting on armrests of other passengers and almost on top of a baby. Her son tried to calm her down and return her to her seat but couldn’t. The co-pilot came by and tried to convince her and couldn’t, he ordered the staff to block the emergency exits and he called overhead for a Dr to come help this lady so luckily a Dr volunteered. After an hour of convincing, he gave her some medication they had on board to calm her down because it was either that or make an emergency landing in Saudi Arabia and get her off the plane. That was a 9-hour flight and we were all happy to land in Zurich.  Whew!!  As soon as I got off the plane, I headed straight for the Lindt chocolate store and started eating chocolate right away!  The fact that it was 7 a.m Swiss time was irrelevant and I bought so much to bring home for my kids because we’re all addicted to it and proud of it 😛

Zurich, Switzerland to Toronto, Canada:  One hour into the flight, another overhead page for a Dr or nurse was made out of panic. Being a nurse, I got up to see what was needed and a lady who had surgery 4 weeks ago was traveling sooner than expected. She had abdominal pain, rapid breathing, increased pulse and was dehydrated from vomiting prior to boarding.  She was also on the flight from India like me so she had already been traveling for a long time.  After laying her down across 4 seats, we contacted a Dr. on the ground and I applied oxygen, took her blood pressure and pulse, started an IV right away and gave Gravol IV. Thank God I got the IV first try because they only had one cathalon on board in their emergency kit and it’s been 4 years since I inserted an IV!  It was either that or make an emergency landing but knowing we were over the Atlantic Ocean I’m not sure where we would have landed; maybe Iceland.  The staff was great with me, they wrote everything down I was doing and I stayed with this lady for the entire 8-hour flight while she recovered. When we landed the paramedics came on board to take her off first and I gave them the full report of what happened.  Air Canada gave me a discount for 2 people on my next flight because I was the only medical person on board and it was a way to thank me for the help which was very nice of them. Next trip will be with my 2 kids and the discount will help for sure.  So 2 back to back close call emergency landings later, I had one more flight to go to get home and I was praying it would be calm!!  As soon as I landed in Toronto I had to eat because I was starving 🙂

Toronto to Ottawa: The usual turbulence but other than that I arrived safely and exhausted.  Thanks to my great friend Diane for picking me up at the airport, I was so dead!  I missed you!!   Back to the chilling cold of Canada.

I’ve been home for about eight weeks now and it took me roughly 2 weeks to recover from the jet lag, my vacation, and the flights.  I started a new job 2 days after getting back so it’s been very busy for me ever since but I am enjoying my time there.

Many thanks to everyone who has been following my This Is India blog adventures, it’s been just as fun to write as it is to read and answer the comments ❤  Many thanks to everyone who played a part in my This Is India blogs, you guys are the best, love you lots!  For those of you who would like to connect with my friends, here are their blog links:

Darshith – https://darshith0000.wordpress.com/

Nimitha – https://nimzrevealed.wordpress.com/

Pratyusha – https://naughtyinnocence.wordpress.com/

Deepika – https://deepikakumaaraguru24.wordpress.com/

Vineet – https://vineetpandeystories.wordpress.com/

Rafat – https://imrafat.wordpress.com/

Rupali – https://lettersandpoetry.wordpress.com/author/missbookthief/

KP –  https://kp14191.wordpress.com/

Karthik – https://powerfuloverflow.wordpress.com/

Noorain – https://theplatememoirs.wordpress.com/

Neerja – https://ametalk.wordpress.com/

Vipul – https://thehorsemanhitsagain.wordpress.com/

Nitin – http://tinytidbits.in/

If you’ve never been to India, you have to go.  If you live there, you are extremely fortunate and if you ever want to get away, please come to Canada and see me 😉

That Was India, 2017.

 

Lots of Love ❤

Jen 🙂

**P.S:  On a different note, my next blogs will be about my upcoming book release which is right around the corner in May so please stay tuned for that, I am super excited to tell you all about it!!

 

 

This Is India 2017 – Part Six

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February 20th-27th, Bangalore – Many cities within Kerala; Cochin, Thodupuzha, Munnar, Maniyamkavu, Puthenchira, Vellangallur, Kodungallur

This was my final week in India and what a week it was!  I decided to take some time just for myself during my trip and the time was in Cochin, Kerala at a beautiful hotel called Ramada Cochin Resort that had an amazing swimming pool I could just relax in and do nothing.  It was a busy but fun holiday so far and I find it’s always nice to take some time out along the way.  Things are very affordable in India compared to here and I was extremely happy about that!  This Is India.

So for the next 4 days, the main things I did at the hotel were, sleep, eat, swim, suntan, repeat….

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I also met a very nice young lady by the pool on my first day there who was also taking in the sunshine.  Her name is Emma and she’s from the UK.  We ended up spending the entire day at the pool together, chatting about our solo tours around India and she visited some really great places I would also like to see one day.  We had so much fun talking and getting along that we also had supper together and later that night, Emma had to fly back to the UK.  I was happy to have met her and now we are friends and keep in touch through Facebook.

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After 4 days of relaxation, it was time to move onto Thodupuzha to see my blogging friend KP again and his family who are extremely nice and full of hospitality!  They own a restaurant and hotel that makes a great dosa and lime juice drink you’ve never had!!!  KP’s entire family is so welcoming and they invited me, Rafat and Darshith to stay with them because we were all going to the next wedding together.  That is one house that is full of happiness!  😀 KP’s mom was very generous to let me borrow 2 of her saree’s to wear to the next wedding, it was such a lovely offer I felt very grateful and gladly accepted!  I was excited to wear them and show her my pictures later.  We all stayed up late talking until I could barely keep my eyes open then I had to go to bed while everyone else stayed up and played Scrabble!  I was so dead 😛

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The next day, KP, Darshith, Rafat and I had the day to visit an amazing place in Kerala called Munnar that is known for its tea plantations.  The scenery is just gorgeous and the temperature is cooler which felt great!  After awhile, +40 C is very draining, especially without a pool nearby!  KP drove us there and all over town while we stopped at random places and took many pictures of Munnar and each other!  We also took a boat ride which was fun and something different, I felt like a kid again and that’s never a bad thing.  We had a great day and then went back to KP’s family home to sleep again.

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After a great night’s sleep, it was time to wake up and go to the wedding of our blogging friend Nimitha.  It was a few hours drive and KP was up for driving again but that same day so was Rafat!  Halfway through the trip, KP and Rafat switched places and Rafat took the wheel with attitude and got us to the wedding!  We even made a live video during the drive and it was so fun and got many hits on Facebook.

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Day one of the wedding was in Maniyamkavu, Puthenchira and the Mehendi ceremony took place at night in a big auditorium.  The dress code was traditional Kerala saree for women and traditional Kerala Dhothis.  Rafat and I had some help from Nisha, Nimitha’s sister and her family to drape our sarees. It was really hot, even at night but we had so much fun wearing the sarees and taking several photos!  A cute young boy about 8 years old sitting beside me said he liked my saree and asked if he could get a selfie with me so I said: “of course!”  Before I knew it, a huge group of kids came over and asked if they could take their picture with me and before I knew it, everyone was taking selfies with me!  I had that celebrity feeling again and it was fun.  We all made our way to Nimitha and her family who were also very welcoming and extremely kind with us.  I met so many people at the wedding and once again, I was the only foreigner and in a saree!  The food was amazing and we all ate so much, the food in southern India is spicy compared to the north and yes, I love spicy food! ❤  Nimitha arranged for us to stay at a hotel that was close by and once again, I was the first one to sleep and the others stayed up all night partying!  It was so funny, my age was showing… 😉

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The next day was day two of the wedding and we had to be in Vellangallur, Kodungallur in the morning so we could see the Nikkah ceremony, then tying the knot.  I wore the second saree that day and a team of 5 young girls in Nimitha’s family put it on me, which was really fun to watch them!  We had a very beautiful lunch and I met Nimitha, her husband, and her entire family again who were so nice.  Being able to attend another wedding in India was a huge privilege for me and I was grateful again for meeting such kind people, eating such wonderful food and learning so much about the India cultures.

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That night, our adventure was ending, Darshith and Rafat had to go home by bus, I went back to the hotel and KP went back to his home.  We all said an emotional goodbye and went on our way.  Thank you so much to you and your entire family KP for treating me like one of your own and touring all of us around Kerala.  Your house and everyone in it gives off a powerful happy vibe that lasts forever.  Darshith, it was so good to see you 3 weekends in a row during my trip, I am very grateful.  Miss Rafat (Sana), you are such a beautiful soul, it was great seeing you at both weddings, getting to know you more, chatting about life and everything about it.  Nimitha, thank you for inviting me to your beautiful wedding, it was so good to meet you, your friends and family.  I hope you can all make it to Canada one day soon so I can show you around here too.  And bring Miss Rupali too 😉 I miss you guys! ❤

I had to get a good night’s sleep because the next day I was going back to Mumbai to catch my flight home to Canada.  I couldn’t believe how fast my trip went but I also couldn’t believe how much love I received along the way which felt great for me after everything I have been through.  At the same time, I was looking forward to seeing and hugging my kids again and showing all the gifts I bought.  Even though we talked and laughed each day online, it was going to be great to see them again soon.

Stay tuned for the final chapter…

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

 

This Is India 2017-Part Five

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February 17th – 20th, 2017 – Bangalore, India

So far my flights were on time no problems, until now.  I was in Cochin airport which is 100% solar powered and for some reason, many flights were being delayed that night.  I didn’t have any plans until the next day so it was ok but I wanted to get to Bangalore soon.  Finally, the plane took off and I was in the air again! 😀

Bangalore is known as the IT capital of India, therefore a great place to work if you’re an engineer.  Many of my friends are engineers and I was about to meet one of them again…Darshith!  🙂  As it turns out, it’s Darshith’s birthday so a very big Happy Birthday to you Darshith, I hope you have a really fun and inspiring day that is full of gifts, cake, and love ❤

When I arrived at my hotel which was an hour cab ride from the airport, it was really late and I was tired so I didn’t do anything except text my friends, that I arrived and went to sleep.  The next day I had plans to meet Rafat, Darshith and Pratik, another friend of Darshith’s, who is a very nice guy too.  Unfortunately, Rafat wasn’t feeling well so she couldn’t join us, so the 3 of us set out to Cubbon Park in Bangalore and there was so much to see there!  First, we went to eat which was great because all 3 of us were hungry already!  We had dosa, salad, noodles, everything was so good, I’m getting hungry again!  Then it was time to go to a museum in the park.  We took lots of pictures, saw many things including a 3D film on bugs which was very good!  We even took turns to go on TV to tell the weather to all of India!  It was fun being silly and feeling like a kid again in the museum, we had such a blast!  We later went for a walk in the area and Bangalore has some really nice green spaces and the weather there is awesome.  I took some more pictures and then we were all hungry again!  Time for supper!  We had so much to eat, I don’t remember what we had but I do know it was great and really fun.  The day went so fast, but I was glad we still had Sunday to roam around.  Darshith was so nice he gave me 2 books and some sweets that his lovely family had made for me which were so delicious, I ate them at the hotel and throughout my trip!  A very big thank you to you and your family Darshith for taking great care of me!  It was really great to meet you too Pratik, thanks for a fun Saturday!

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On Sunday, I met Darshith again and we set out for the day.  First, we ate lunch at an amazing buffet!  If there’s one thing about Darshith and me, we love to eat and we are always hungry!  We definitely worked up a good appetite trying to cross the street in Bangalore in their traffic because it’s like taking your life in your hands and tossing it up in the air!  What would normally take about 20 seconds to cross a street here, it took us 10 minutes to inch ourselves across the street while standing in the traffic in the middle of the road while cars circled around us, honking, not stopping!  I held on for dear life and we finally made it.  This is India.

Darshith was so sweet and bought us tickets to see a speaker named Dirish do an inspirational talk called A Take On Life.  The topic was on Connections and it was one of my favorite things to talk about and listen to so it was perfect.  The talk was held in a bookstore and people of all ages gathered to not only hear what Dirish had to say, but to participate too.  I have to say, this was a great activity that inspired everyone and once again, I was the only foreigner in the room so when I spoke, I had lots of fun!  Please check out the page A Take On Life on Facebook and see what it’s all about or attend a session if you’re in Bangalore.

When A Take On Life was over, we met another blogger friend of ours, Noorain, who is a professional food blogger in Bangalore!  What a perfect night out for all of us!  Noorain and her husband picked us up and we were heading out to a great restaurant called NH8 that Noorain knew was awesome and with all her moutwatering pictures on Instagram, everything she posts is amazing so we were in GREAT hands!  NH8 was so good, they served Rajasthan style food and so many dishes were on one big plate!  I was stuffed way too early, I wish I had that plate again now!  Noorain you have such a bubbly personality that is very fun to be around, I hope to see you again soon!  Thank you so much for a great time Darshith and Noorain and for the gifts, you both gave me as well.

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The weekend flew by so fast but I was still in Bangalore for the day on Monday and another blogger/published author and friend of mine was coming all the way from Tamil Nadu to see me for the day!  Miss Deepika Kumaaraguru!  This inspiring young lady is in her early 20’s, she wrote her first book at 17, published it, wrote a second one recently and published it, now she’s working on a 5-part series that is due to come out this year.  I’ve never met anyone like this and she’s one of the biggest commenters on my blog with multiple emoticons which I love 🙂 ❤  I was very excited to meet her and on Monday morning, she arrived with her mom and grandma at my hotel.  We hugged so tight and I talked with her mom and grandma so much. They are all very sweet and lovely and I felt like they adopted me on the spot!  Later, Deepika and I stayed at the hotel while her mom and grandma went to visit Cubbon Park for a few hours.  We talked so much over lunch, it was great to meet this wonderful friend of mine that I only knew from the comment section of my blog and her writings as well.  Deepika was so sweet, she gave me a copy of her book Etheral and I am very honored to read and review it.  I believe there are still copies of it on Amazon for you to purchase.  Thank you very much, Deepika for taking the train from your home with your family and meeting me in Bangalore!!  I have such great memories of our meet up and talks! Lots of love to you ❤

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That night I was flying back to Cochin because I had plans to stay at a nice hotel with an awesome pool and just relax and do nothing for a few days on my own before gearing up for the next bloggers meet up and wedding!  Stay tuned for more stories of This Is India

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

This Is India 2017-Part Two

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February  9th– 11th, 2017-Hyderabad, India

After landing in Hyderabad, I felt the heat in the air more than in Mumbai.  It felt really great since Canada was so cold at that time of year and I was enjoying the high temperatures very much 😀

Karthik and I caught a cab that was pre-arranged by our friend Pratyusha who was getting married very soon.  I think Pratyusha is the most organized bride I’ve ever known and seen!!  We had time to go to the hotel and meet our other blogging friends and when I saw them I was so excited and gave them all the biggest hugs!  I hadn’t seen Darshith since last year and this time I met KP, Rupali, and Rafat which was so amazing, I felt like I knew them forever 🙂 It’s always fun to meet people in person and feel their energy that you already connect with through their writing.

We all arrived at the ceremony which was taking place all day and night.  One of Pratyusha’s friends asked if the girls wanted to do a ritual with them called Mangal Sanam which involves pouring water over the bride’s head as a symbol to wash away any bad omens and everyone gives good wishes and blessings.  It was the first time I was doing this and also the first time I was meeting Pratyusha!  It was such a nice moment and I couldn’t believe all the beautiful and colors everywhere, not to mention the gorgeous outfits all the women were wearing!  I met Pratyusha’s family who are so warm and welcoming, they made me feel like family immediately.

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We all sat down for lunch and I was impressed yet again with the presentation of food.  There was a banana leaf instead of a plate and on it was vegetarian food served by many people.  Not only was it interesting to look at but it was so delicious too.

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We all left to go back to the hotel again and change into our next outfit.  It is customary for people to perform a song or dance for the bride and groom if they wish and since I was the only foreigner at the wedding, I decided to do this!  I did a salsa dance to the song Bailando by Enrique Iglesias and faced my fear of being in front of a crowd!  It’s easier to do something like this in a room full of people you don’t know that much!  A very big thanks to Darshith for filming it 😉 one day I’ll be brave enough to post it..Haha 😛

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After the 24 performances by people of all ages, it was time for everyone to get really dressed up for the big wedding ceremony which was happening at 1:49 am on Feb 10th.  Pratyusha and her family arranged to have a saree ready for me to change into and off I went to get wrapped in this beautiful outfit for the first time in my life.  Pratyusha’s make-up lady was so good at folding and wrapping it around me and after I was all dressed, I went outside the room to find the wedding photographers waiting for Pratyusha.  Since she was still getting ready, they asked me to do some photos while they waited which was really nice and fun!  Thanks to Muninder for the impromptu photo shoot 😀

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It was such an amazing moment to feel so part of something and look so different.  Everyone was extremely kind with me and I had many pictures taken again with my friends and Pratyusha’s family there.  The real star of the show, though, was Pratyusha in all of her outfits and she looked absolutely gorgeous, this is one of my favorite pictures of her!  The next picture is of the bride and groom looking amazing, it was really interesting to see the wedding ceremony at that time of night and all the rituals that happened afterward until about 6 a.m.  The supper was to die for and I loved everything about it ❤

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My friends and I slept at the hotel for a few hours and then woke up to check out.  We all went our own ways at that point but I knew I would be seeing some of them again soon.  I was so tired I ended up sleeping the entire day away, which I never do!  By night I was feeling better but was also really hungry and when in Hyderabad, you have to try the famous Hyderabad Biriyani which is exactly what I did with Pratyusha’s brother Praveen 🙂  We went to the famous Bawarchi for supper and it was so good to eat this food and get to know Praveen outside of the wedding.  The only thing missing was a picture, I think both of us were so tired, we forgot to take one, but I guess that just means I’ll have to come back again and visit!  Everything was arranged by Pratyusha’s family to take care of me and they did it so well.  Many thanks to everyone for all your care, generosity, and help, I really appreciate everything you did for me, I had the time of my life ❤

Despite sleeping all day, I was able to sleep at night which was good because I had to leave by 3 a.m. to catch my next flight to Pune and visit my other blogging friend and master chef Neerja.  We met last year and she insisted I visit again for a fun weekend of cooking and eating at her place 😀

To Be Continued…

 

Much Love ❤

Jen