Before arriving to Kolkata, our India missions team arrived in Banglore. Although we didn't leave the airport, we got a little taste of Indians culture and weather. As soon as we arrived at Banglore airport, I was reminded of El Salvador, which is where I'm from. The airport was simple, small and not as full (as I expected it to be). We boarded our plane, and I was so excited that we only had a 2 hour flight ahead of us. I kept looking out the window, hoping the plane would go faster than usual. My anticipation was high and I couldn't wait any longer! Finally, when the plane was landing, I had a high and distant glimpse of Kolkata. There was a lot of greenery, colorful buildings and many cars. When we finally landed, I looked At the land and I shed a couple of unexpected tears of relief, joy and gratefulness to God for this opportunity.
Once again,this airport reminded me of El Salvador. Our team picked up our bags and began to look for the missionaries who we are partering with for the next few weeks. We finally saw them and they greeted us each with a red rose. We got in the van and began driving to our guest house. I was so excited I forgot I was tired.
Kolkota reminded me so much of El Salvador; the palm trees, the heat, the crazy traffic, random farm animals on the street and poverty. Of course, Kolkota's poverty is worse than El Salvador's. Maybe it was the fact that Kolkota reminded me of my country that I felt at home; I felt so comfortable.
We toured different parts of kolkata that day, including the Ganges river. We walked the city's streets while our white team members were starred at and pulled at by poor people begging.
Our whole team was warned repeatedly of the culture shock we would experience. We waited the entire day for the shock to hit us...and nothing. In my experience, I felt so at home and comfortable, I did not experience that shock to my senses or my cultural norm. I think this was a blessing and a positive experience.
Lastly, I just want to share that twice on my first day in Kolkota, I was told I look Bengali. I laughed because I knew this would happen!