2 weeks in India

3:09 AM

I wanted to make this blog post as personal as possible because I’d like to just write about all the experiences that I had whilst in India. As I was growing up, my parents would tell me and my brother stories about their travels. My parents love to travel so whenever they’d go back from a trip I’d always look forward to all their photos and their stories. One particular country that always took my interest was India. My grandfather, Bill would frequently visit India because he works there. He lives in Pennsylvania and Ireland but would travel often to India to do “work”. His job was never really clear to me until this trip. My parents would tell me that he works as a missionary. Whenever my Grampa Bill would visit the Philippines, he’d always read the bible to us every day and say prayers every night. As a child, this was a huge hassle for me but growing up I realized how important it was to him. 

My grandfather is 90 years old. The reason why my whole family decided to visit India was because of this. Firstly, because it was his only request for his 90th birthday. Second, it was his favorite place in the world and the place closest to his heart. And third, my parents wanted us to experience what it was like to not be a tourist for once and actually immerse ourselves in what was really happening around the world. 

I guess traveling to India alone didn't make me feel so comfortable. I usually enjoy flying to different countries alone but my flight from Manila to Bangkok to India was quite a hassle for me because of the layovers. The flight was a total of 6 and a half hours but the layover was an additional 5 hours in Bangkok in the middle of the night. One tip for teenagers specifically girls who are traveling alone, DO NOT TRUST ANYONE. I've had a horrible and quite traumatic experience in the Bangkok airport that I'd like to share. 

I was sitting alone by the lounge because I had about 4 hours left before my flight to Chennai, India. The lounge was empty and slightly hidden because there was a small opening as an entrance. I decided to stay in that area because I didn't really feel like interacting with people. My parents specifically told me not to talk to strangers. A few minutes after sitting by the lounge, watching a movie on my laptop, a man around his late 20's sat a few seats away from me. I didn't really want to assume or judge so I just continued watching my movie. I noticed he was looking at me and he was trying to look at what I was watching on my laptop. He started to move a few seats closer to me and started talking to me but I pretended not to hear him since I was feeling uncomfortable. He started sitting closer to me and sat right beside where I was seated. He tapped me and I took out my headphones and he asked for my name and what I was doing. I gave him a different name and told him I was waiting for my flight. He casually tried to strike up a conversation and asked for my flight details and of course, I gave the wrong details as well. After a while he started to get flirtatious and started saying very inappropriate things. He asked if I had a boyfriend with me or if I was seeing someone and he asked if I knew anyone else in the airport. I closed my laptop, started using my phone and put my earphones back on and I started messaging my boyfriend about what was happening. Shortly after, he started pointing at my phone, asked who I was talking to and I told him to move away because he was invading my personal space. He suddenly acted differently and tried grabbing my phone, asking for sexy pictures that I have. At this point my heart was beating so fast and told him to move away or I'd call security but he insisted on opening my laptop that was placed on my lap and grabbing my phone to see "sexy photos" that I had. Another man comes in who seemed older and I felt relieved until the man sits with us and introduces himself as the guy's friend. They started talking in their language and this was the point when I thought that I had to get out of that place and look for people. I stood up, grabbed my things and walked away really quickly. I looked back and the guys were following me. I looked for the nearest bathroom and stayed there for about 20 minutes waiting for someone to come in so that I could leave with her. Luckily, someone came in and I walked out as fast as I could only to see them sitting by the chairs right outside the women's bathroom. I started walking faster and went to the nearest security to tell them what was happening. The lady was nice enough to escort me to a different and private lounge. This experience was really traumatic for me because bad things could have happened. My dad explained to me that human trafficking was a very common crime in airports. These people threaten young girls who travel alone to exit the airport with them. This was probably the scariest experience of my life but I was glad to be able to escape from it.

After that experience, I felt very uncomfortable throughout the whole flight going to India and told my parents about what happened in the airport. Despite what happened, the rest of my trip to India was nothing but beautiful. On our first day, we visited my Grampa's office and met some of his coworkers and he told me the story of how his company came to be.

The story goes like this, Bill and Joyce Scott both worked as missionaries and were both from Europe. Bill, a 23 year-old man decided to head on to India to work as a missionary. Just like your not-so-typical romance movie, Bill meets his once true love at a mission center and God decided to bring together Joyce and Bill on a boat to India together. My grampa would tell me stories about my grandma whom I’ve never met. My grandparents traveled to India to work as missionaries. They were both Christians and their goal was to help in building Christian communities in the provinces of India. India was a place that didn’t embrace the coexistence of all religions. Hinduism and Islam were and still are the two biggest religions in this country, which made it tough for my grandparents. Throughout the years of working together, they built and found a company. A company with a goal to spread the word of God through subsidized Bibles for the poor. When my grandma passed away, my grampa decided to build an orphanage named after her. It was called the “Joy Children Home”.

In this orphanage, young orphans are raised in a Christian community. They’re given food, shelter and a new family. Not only are they given their daily needs but also education. I was lucky enough to meet all of the children that stayed in this orphanage. I’ve met some who were already in college and some who were as young as 6 years old. All of them were going to school and all of them have dreams and ambitions. One man that I met was a 23 year old who was taking up Political Science in a college nearby. The most heartwarming thing about these kids is that even when they’re grown-up, they still come back to help in the orphanage from time to time.

The first time I went into the orphanage, the first sight that caught my attention was the smiles of all the children as we entered. I have never seen such genuine smiles. They all approached up saying hello and we proceeded to taking a tour around the place. All of the children were so excited to spend time with us and see us. Here in India, violence is prevalent because of the coexistence of all the religions that are present in the country. Because of the country’s size, it’s become so diverse that religious wars and bombings occur. Thankfully, the area where we went to is more accepting when it comes to Christian communities. The children prepared a program when me and my family arrived because it’s their tradition to honor their guests. The children prepared a dance and song number about the “Song of Noah”.

I’ve realized a few things from my trip to the orphanage. One is that the world is much bigger than my problems. Being in India made me feel free, made me feel like I could breathe and made me realize that all of my problems and the things that stress me out back home are so little compared to what people go through. These kids can still manage to be happy and to strive for their dreams despite having so little. These children have the most genuine smiles I have ever seen in my life. Being in India also made me realize how important family is, no matter how they may come. These kids consider their friends in the orphanage as family because they’re all they have.

Another was that India was a beautiful and rich country with so many sights to see. I found their history so interesting that we ended up going to the heritage sites by the South of India. We even visited Pondicherry which was my dream destination because this is where the movie, "The Life of Pi" was filmed. It was a French colonial settlement in the South of India and it's one of my favorite places in the world without a doubt. We also went to a UNESCO World Heritage site in Tamil Nadu which was Mahabalipuram. It consisted of stone temples and statues that were built in the 7th and 8th century.

People often ask me what's my favorite part about India. My answer will always be the diversity that this huge country has and there's so many things to learn and see. So if you're traveling to India, let me know and I'd love to give you tips about this beautiful country. I dream of going back one day, coming back to the kids and exploring more of it soon.  

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  1. Thanks for this story Kim! I'm so inspired with your grandparents' story!!! And also with your solo travel!❤️ much love!!

  2. Love the inspiring story of your Grandpa and your experience in India, Ate Kim! Thank you for letting us know this story. Please take care always, Ate Kim.

  3. Wow! Your trip seems really fun and memorable. I love the Indian culture. :) Also, thanks for sharing your story about being careful of who to interact with when traveling. You never know what situation you can get yourself into.

  4. thanks kim for sharing ur story..it touches my heart..really u have a gentle and kind heart..try to be extra careful when ur travelling..always stay with ur family and make sure they know where ur heading..god bless!

  5. ganda ng story mo :D mas maganda talaga minsan kahit independent kang gawin yong pag ta travel kahit saan <3 pero di parin naiiwasa yong katulad na nangyari sayo. ty u for sharing ur story, love it. much love for u kim :)

  6. Next time be careful and pray pray pray ka lang nice experient


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