Thursday, August 10, 2017

150 days in India

My journey in this wonderful country was cut short, 6 months short, but the experience and the adventures will now live with me forever.

Five months will never be enough for India, sometimes I even think you need a lifetime to be able to enjoy every thing this country has to offer, from the food to the religion, to the perception that people have of the world and the beauty that surrounds it.

"To adventure is to find yourself whole"

Getting used to the madness that is India, the loudness and the crazy amount of energy that impregnate the busy streets is not an easy task. Anxiety and anger filled my body and head at times but once you understand how everything works, there is nothing left than to enjoy the power and the intensity of living in India.

People have this perception of India being dirty, loud and very very crowded, well let me tell you it is, insanely crowded and loud. I used to work on the top floor of a building that led right to the main road of Kotla in Delhi and I would just catch myself staring at the window to appreciate the madness of Indian traffic. Sometimes I hated it, sometimes I loved it, but most of the times I found it amusing. Never in my life had I heard so many people honking at the same time for absolutely no reason at all. The noise of the heavy traffic was the background song to my Indian adventure. But actually having to catch a cab or a bus was not as fun as looking at the traffic through my office window. I think fast and furious can get a run for the money versus Indian drivers, are there even any traffic laws in India? It's scary at first, you may think you will die, but trust me, these people know what they are doing, at least that's what I would tell myself while I clung to whatever I could in the back seat of the auto.

My experience with public transportation is not the best, the first few months I would take the bus to and from work, but as the summer began to get hotter I would opt for an auto rickshaw which most of the time thought I was a rich tourist and would want to charge me double and even triple of what my ride would normally be. Uber is not much of a help either, if you have no clue where you are going I suggest you have google maps at hand because they will be even more lost than you are and add the fact that most of them don't know English so you will be required to use hand gestures and the little to nothing Indian words you may know. I would get myself in the trickiest situations, I get lost even in Colombia, so of course, India was not the exception. It took me about a month to be able to memorize the route to my house and if I changed that route I'd end up in very random places, but it's all part of the adventure. A tip, in this case, would be to be patient, most of the time it'll be hard to communicate, but patience is key, not that I ever was, but still.

Food is heaven. There is so much to chose from, at times I didn't even know where to start, it was probably the most difficult situation I encountered, what to order for lunch? It was so overwhelming at times we would just get stuck eating Maggy and eggs. If you're vegetarian you will hit jackpot if you're not you will face some very difficult situations, but there is always chicken available almost everywhere and mutton, beef you will get at some very weird and scarce places. I could write about all the things I ate, but honestly, I can't remember the name or the ingredients they contained.

DO NOT STAY AWAY FROM STREETFOOD! Yes I know, Delhi belly, as much precautions as you take you will get it sooner or later. For me, it happened on my last month and it was when I was mostly taking care of my eating habits. Street food is amazing; greasy, flavorful, delicious and incredibly spicy. If you think you can handle spicy food, think again. These spices made my eyes water in a matter of seconds, your blood begins to boil and you feel as your heart is going to pound out your chest any minute. But, apart from the pain, the chilli gives you, the dishes are too good to be true. I was very lucky to have Indian friends that would take me to the most amazing places to eat and a few blocks from my house was a restaurant called Rajinder, all I can say is: I love shawarma rolls.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to experience as much of India as I aspired to, but the places I was able to go took my breath away. Every place is so different and unique you sort of feel like you are traveling to a totally different destination and the ride to get there is another adventure of its own. When traveling throughout the country I suggest you do your homework so you don't end up in the backseat of an aboslutely stuffed to the roof bus with no air to breath or no space to move. In my experience, AC Bus was always the most comfortable, but the train ride wasn't so bad either, again booking the right locality. Wherever the destination, I can assure you, there will always be a friendly person willing to help you if anything ever goes wrong. 

There's so much more I wish I could share but words fall short. Sometimes I miss the noise of the heavy traffic, the epic themed parties and our endless search for a wedding to crash on, because 150 days in India is not enough, not even a lifetime in India is enough. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Moving to India

On the 11th day of January I undertook a trip that would turn my world upside down. I moved to New Delhi to finish my last semester of Interactive Media Design.

Making the decision to move more than 9 thousand miles away from my home, my family, my friends and everything I've known all my life was not easy. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be sitting here, writing this entry in a place where I know not a single soul.

I've only been here for less than a week and there's so much more for me to learn, see and experience, and even though I've met some outstanding people the transition has been everything but easy. India is so different and unique; from the food to the insane traffic and the infrastructure, it's quite a lot to take in on the first day. I've read in many places and have been told by many that India is a country you either hate or you love. The cultural contrast to the things you're familiar with takes a toll on you the most but with patience and an open mind you get to enjoy the little things that surround the everyday life of this insane but amazing city.

It's been almost a week and I'm barely hanging onto the rhythm of the chaos, I've yet to learn how to catch a rickshaw without sounding like a complete idiot. Of course being a foreigner doesn't help and the drivers don't take me very seriously, but I'll get the hang of it sooner or later.

The endless variety of flavors give your taste buds an explosion of cultural diversion you never knew existed before. Of course back home we have indian restaurants, but nothing compares to the actual thing. The spices and the herbs blend so effortlessly with every dish you keep asking for more and yes sure if you're not fond of spicy you are really going to have a hard time, but I've find that many places cater non-spicy food.

I would love to give you a more detailed description of what everything is like but I have yet to discover so much I am afraid my description at the time might not be very accurate.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

7 types of costumers

I've had my fair share of part-time jobs during the last five years. It all started with my eager eighteen-year-old self to grow up, little did I know being an "adult" actually kinda sucks (at times).

I've had numerous amount of jobs that have taught me to be highly patient, forgiving and respectful. From having a job as a cupcake decorator to being a waitress to the nightmares of working in retail, I have plenty of stories to tell. People need to understand that working in customer service is no joke, the things I've had to put up with like, grumpy attendees, picking up booger covered food from five-year-olds and dealing with crude uneducated customers is the highlight of every employee.

Recently I was hired as a temporary employee in a highly recognized clothing store and for the past few days I've been labeling every single customer that walks in because when you've worked in retail for quite a while you know what client will make your day and which one will test your patient to the fullest, with that said, I bring you the 5 clients will you HAVE to put up working in retail:

  1. El chismoso (The chatty one)
    I love chatty people, it makes me feel less like an employee and more like a friend, if I can get to know someone better I could definitely recommend something that I know will fit their needs, but some people just take it to the next level. You will know EVERYTHING about them, from whom they're dating to the color of underwear they're wearing. If you're not busy they make agreat company but if you have to tend more people it can be a handful, nevertheless they tell great stories.
  2. The quicky 
    They come in pick whatever and get out, they literally have their shit together and know exactly what they need.
  3. El indeciso (The indecisive)
    I consider myself a really patient person depending on the situation, throughout the years I've learned to control myself, but even the nicest person has a limit and these people will take you to the edge. You don't know if they are doing it on purpose or if their sole life depends on questioning every single movement. They will question everything from the fabric of the garment to the color to the price and will spend an immense amount in the store for nothing, because they will buy ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I've had people try on everything they could possibly find, make you look for every single size, make a mess all around the store and walk out empty handed. Patience people, patience is the key here.
  4. El inseguro (The insecure one)I know many people have had at least one encounter in their lives where they simply just cannot feel good about their appearance, nothing seems to fit and the longer you spend looking at yourself in the mirror, the worse the situation becomes. Having said that, looking for comfort from a sales person is not the way to go, most of the time we will just say whatever to get you to stop crying because I've had plenty of weapers. Does this look good? How about this one? Ugh, I hate it. This color isn't for me. I don't feel pretty. Do you have something else? Because there is not a single clothing item in the universe that can please them.
  5. El indiferente (The indifferent one)Have you ever met someone so shallow and mercenary that you wish you could give them a piece of your mind. Well, this type of customer will do everything in its power to make you feel inferior and lousy. They are rude, they yell and demand things that are not even physically possible, this are the kinds of costumers you dread, the ones you wish you'd never have to encounter. Basically, they're a walking nightmare. Kudos to you if you can keep your cool with these people. 
I am sure there are many other types of costumers I am missing, but those as by far the ones that have had the most impact in my journey as a sales person. I would like to think that I don't fit into any of the categories mentioned in the list above, but I sure do have a few characteristics of the indecisive and the insecure, so, what type of customer are you?

*Photo by pexels
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