Friday, November 9, 2012

After-effects of India

I think most of you can probably tell by my posts that India was an eye-opening experience for me in many ways. I've rather enjoyed this adventure and being able to share it with you - the ups and downs. My entire purpose for starting this blog was to give a real life example of what a non-Indian going to India could experience. Of course, my journey is unique but there's still a lot to be learned from what I went through. Maybe one day this journey will have helped someone else better prepare themselves for the things they may face and how to deal with them. I really hope that's just what it does.

Repatriation is no different. I want to share these experiences as well. And now that the weather is getting colder, I'm realizing the value of some of the wisdom that was imparted to me while I was living in Amritsar. Two things stand out in my mind right now.

Don't drink cold water in the winter months.
This seems like a no-brainer but I must admit that I'm an ice addict like many other Americans. I like my iced drinks year round. I loved refrigerated water with ice in it. When I got to India this is one of the first things they said to me was not to drink my water too cold. Did I listen? No, not really lol.

They told me that it was bad for my teeth. I still have no idea if that is true but they also told me that it's not good to drink cold drinks in the winter because it makes your body too cold. This simply wasn't an issue in the US and my stubborn attitude reared it's ugly head and so in the beginning I still drank cold drinks. I couldn't imagine drinking warm, or even room temperature, water. But, I did wind up drinking it room temperature a lot in the winter after all.

The water was chilled because the air was chilled so it was sufficiently cold to make my taste buds happy. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I imagined. Trying to drink icy water really did make me cold.

Now I'm home and you would think things would go back to normal but no. India has changed me forever. Several times recently I've been out drinking drinks with my meal and had ice in them and gotten a chill in my body. I swear I never noticed this before. I can't say for sure that it is only the cold drinks with ice because my body hasn't yet adjusted to the cold and doesn't seem to want to but the ice does make a difference.

Each time this happens I swear that I'm not going to get icy drinks anymore. That's easier said than done when you go out to eat though. At home, I'm back to drinking room temperature bottled water. I have some chai in the pantry that I may make soon. I just haven't really been in the mood but it's getting really cold so I expect that to change soon. I also have hot chocolate and marshmallows stashed in there as well.

Don't shower late in the afternoon.
I still don't completely understand this one. I know it has something to do with the weather. I was told I would get sick if I showered late in the afternoon. Showering early in the morning when it's freezing cold or late at night don't seem to have the same effect. I can only guess that since the mid-afternoon is the hottest part of the day and then the temperature starts to drop and your body hasn't adjusted to it which enables germs and viruses to more easily attack you.

One other thing that I wasn't told but that I learned was how to dress to prevent the cold from getting into my bones (so to speak). I'm wearing thicker clothing and not turning the heat up as high. I've changed my choice in fabrics and a lot about the way I live here. These things are new to me but I'm glad to have my eyes opened to a different way of living.

The clothing part is hard to explain unless you've experienced it but to help clear it up, before India I wore mostly yoga pants, t-shirts and a hoodie. Now it's more likely a sweater, thick winter pants and one of many jacket's I've picked up since coming home. Instead of lower necklines, I'm wearing higher necklines and not nearly as opposed to wearing sweaters that cover my whole neck (not a turtle neck though). Instead of slip on tennis shoes I have a wide variety of shoes. That wasn't common for me in India but I need things that go with the new clothes and flip flops (thongs) will not work in this weather.

It's only early November but already the temperatures have been down in the 30'sF (32F = 0C). There's an icy chill to the air daily that was only felt once or twice a year in Amritsar. It's difficult to adjust to that so it's not uncommon to find me layering clothing. I worry how hubby will deal with this weather when he comes here because he already has difficulty in Amritsar when the temperature doesn't get nearly this cold. I'll be sure to post about it though.

1 comment:

  1. I think the shower thing is strongly cultural, because even in Summer I've been told showering int he evening is not healthy, and I never found the reason why. In Winter it could make sense that after stepping out of a hot shower you will feel cold, but isn't what finish do when they go in a sauna and then dunk in ice cold water?
    In Switzerland it is considered super bad hygiene not to shower in the evening coming back from work, it is simply not done to drag ghte sweat dust and grime of a day in bed, and I follow that one, I can happily skip the morning shower, since I shower after coming back from the playground with DD around 7-7.30 pm on most day I step in the bed clean, and come out of it clean too. And Switzerland has a cold climate most of the year too, so again not showering in the evening to preserve your health is not founded. By law the heating in appartment buldings back home cannot be turned on until mid-november or such, and has to go by march, so there are still cold days before the heating can be on and after the the switch off.
    The hot to cold thing has been proven to increase blood circulation, so definitely not a bad thing at all :-)