Written by Mary Kate Moloney, (University of Notre Dame) Student Correspondent UW in India: Delhi Intensive Language, Summer 2019
I keep a journal and for each new month I create a page to write down a highlight of the day. I love doing this because it does not require a full entry of the day’s events, but it still provides enough information for me to look back fondly on.
On July 15 some of the other students and I found a nice coffee shop down the street from my house and studied in there. India is really nice because you can find peaceful, yummy places to work and eat with a small price tag. These types of restaurants offer more westernized food for when you are in need of familiarity and Indian food when you are ready to try something new. The best is when you find an Indian spin on a western food (did someone say Butter Chicken Pizza??), and it allows you to try all at once.
Chadni Chowk had been discussed in class, so on July 16 we decided to venture out there. I am glad we waited so long to go because it was an experience that would have been overwhelming had I just arrived in India. Chadni Chowk is a market full of distinct streets, or “gullis.” It is very crowded, loud, and anxiety-inducing– luckily by this time I was used to navigating through traffic and looking down to make sure I do not step in any questionable substances on the ground—so I perservered.
We had read about the Paranthe Gully and had to try. I got a banana paranthe and a layer paranthe and they were delicious. We also explored around and found some side streets that were very quiet compared to the rest of the market. Hidden gems like that are so cool to find. This was a great way to try some local Indian food as well as experience life in Delhi a little further.
Wednesdays after school are devoted to activities as part of the curriculum. July 17th we went to Lajpat Nagar with “buddies” who helped us speak Hindi to local shopkeepers. This market was outside, open, and not crowded at all. It had stalls but also buildings with shops in them. It was very different from the crowded Chadni Chowk and was a very pleasant experience. I tried Kulfi which is kind of like ice cream and I loved it. I have found that getting butter-scotch flavor anything is the way to go—India does it best.
Because most of the students in the program are in ROTC, we were able to get a visit to the US Embassy on July 18th. It was such a change of pace: the street all the embassies are found is well-kept, open, and vibrant. We talked to active-duty military officers doing work here in India. They described the pros and cons of living in India, one of the main pros being that money goes a lot further here. I was really inspired by what they shared, and it made me interested in embassy work. Who knows? Maybe I will be the one giving that presentation one day.
Lastly, on July 19th I wrote down that the best part of the day was walking around with my roommate around our area. We checked out a bunch of local restaurants and made plans to try them all out. We have found that we do not spend much time at home or in the area, but there is so much we have not taken advantage of that requires no travel. I’m predicting that next week will be filled with eating great food all within a few meters of our homestay. This is when one is really able to appreciate living in a huge city… there are so many options and so much to try.