Your body listens better than you think it does, so choose your words carefully.

Photo: Pinterest

When I was eight-years-old I ran a mile race. Well actually, to be more accurate, I started a mile race.

There I was at the starting line, in my green tracksuit, pigtails that my mom braided, with matching green bows. “I am going to win this,” I thought to myself.

When the starting gun was fired, I took off so fast that I completely lost my breath, starting panicking and had to get picked up by the police officer that was driving behind the entire race. I was brought to the finish line in the back a police car. I think I threw up somewhere in the middle of all of that too.  My eight-year-old ego was not happy.

I remember my parents waiting at the finish line, very worried.

I got out of the police car, crying from embarrassment, and decided at that moment I was not a runner. And guess what, I was right.

In college, after the 1000th time I told myself and other people “oh, I can’t run”, “I’m not a runner”, I thought to myself, “why do I keep saying this? … What a bunch of bullshit.” There was no evidence to support this claim, other than the time I was a competitive little kid who ran too fast, freaked myself out and then gave up on running.  Maybe I was just lazy. Hmmm. Let’s find out.

In my quest to see how right or wrong I had been for all of those years, I signed up for a half marathon when I was 24. A funny thing happens when you sign up for something … miraculously, everything changes. I became a runner, ummmm, because I started running. Funny how that works.

After the 10 half marathons I have ran over the years since then, I realized that once I stopped telling myself I wasn’t a runner, and started telling myself I was, I was right.

Fast forward to last week. It has been about 4 years since my last half marathon. On Thursday, I decided I was going to run another one on Sunday (3-days later), just to test myself (and my body).

Most days I wake up and say “o.k. body, we are going to run 4 miles today.” … and it listens.

Sunday morning I woke up and said, “o.k. body, we are going to run 13.1 miles today” … and it said “WTF?!, Well, alright.” and thankfully, it still listens.

A challenge for you: Think about the things you say you can’t do and why you say that. For fun, start saying the opposite and see what happens.

… And remember, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” – Henry Ford

I haven’t been this excited for Christmas since I was 6.

I seriously have never been so excited for Christmas! (well, maybe when I was 6 … I seem pretty excited about this pinball machine don’t I?) … because, last year (which feels like 5 years ago), while yes, I did celebrate 15 different holidays (a.k.a. Festivals), I did not have a Christmas. Unless, you consider walking through a mall in India alone, holding back the tears when I heard “I’ll be Home for Christmas” playing throughout the mall, a Christmas.

Actually, a better way to describe that day … well, you know I love India, but let’s just put it this way, if you are ever interested in a great location for a huge blowout pity party, I highly suggest Delhi, alone, on Christmas.

So, to all of my friends/family, I would like to apologize in advance, if I am ultra happy during the holidays this year, or if I start playing Christmas music in November, or if I keep posting annoying Christmas songs on the Happy Song of the Day site (which, btw, I just got really excited about), or get extra excited about Christmas parties, snow, eggnog, and Santa.

I promise I won’t wear any holiday sweaters (which is actually something I probably can look forward to in the future because, I think the affinity for them is genetic), but I am going to listen to a lot of Christmas music, and I might even make Christmas cookies (which, if you know me, would be a miracle).

So, for me, Christmas starts now, and to celebrate, I would like to share two of my favorite holiday songs … and just because it’s not after Thanksgiving, you can still listen to them too.

Don’t be afraid to admit you like either of them … just wait, they both kind of grow on you (bonus, they added Bieber this year).

Joy to the World!!! (yes, I am going to be that girl).


Bollywood Dance Party

I was missing India today (it happens) so I put together a playlist on iTunes of my favorite Bollywood songs that I used to blast in my house and dance to (& yes, I can sing them all too!) when I was living in New Delhi/Gurgaon*.  I totally love how music can take you back to exact moments in time … it truly is the best time capsule! 

Check out: Bollywood Dance Party on iTunes … and enjoy your “DANCE” party! … is there really any other kind? 

*Random living in India tip: Listening to Hindi Songs and translating them on-line into English actually helped me learn the language.


Eat. Pray. Work… My life in India, a different kind of love story

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globe-india_i-11“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”– Neal Donald Walsch

Namaste friends!

When I was offered an opportunity to work abroad in India, I remember desperately searching for any information/stories about American women working there, and all I could find was a downloadable 10-page brochure about how Expat wives could adjust (obviously, not helpful).

Bad news was, I had to learn the hard way, good news is, if you happen to be offered a similar opportunity, you don’t have to.

Eat, Pray, Work … A Single Woman’s Guide to Working Abroad in India is a collection of posts from my time in India from my blog Going with the Flow

Although this is a way for me to share my work-related/personal experiences from my perspective (as someone that moved to India alone, as a single woman), regardless of whether you work in India or not, are a man or a woman, single or married, my hope is that you will not only enjoy these stories, but they will somehow encourage you to be open to experiences that take you out of your comfort zone, force you to live in the moment, or do something that not everyone else is doing. Trust me, it’s not as scary as it initially seems.

From the “WTF am I doing here” stage, to the “my hair is falling out” stage, to the moment India and I feel in love (December 2009 – March 2011) 

An Insider’s Guide to Doing Business in India via Executive Travel Magazine

Bryan Adams is extremely popular in India and a few random things you may not know about this fascinating country

  • It is totally acceptable and common for guys to hold hands and rub each other (however it’s a huge no no for guys and girls).
  • Guys can pee where ever they want. It’s totally fine.
  • You don’t ever pay full price for anything; or at least you don’t have to. Even at department stores you can ask for a discount and most of the time you will get it (ask for 10%-20%).
  • As crazy as the traffic is in India, if a black cat crosses the road everything comes to a halt until someone comes along that didn’t see the cat and is the first to “cross the path”.
  • If someone invites you over to their house at 9pm, you would never dare show up before 10pm.
  • At parties, dinner is the last thing to be served (usually around 11pm or 12am) and once you’re done eating, it’s time to go home.
  • It’s common for your co-workers or customers to call you at 11pm, even on the weekends.
  • When you order a beer in India it will be presented to you before they serve it … your job is to touch it to ensure the temperature is to your liking and then say yes (or theek hai if you want to be fancy and speak in Hindi) to accept, or no to get another colder one.
  • If it’s your birthday, not only do you bake sweets (or buy them) for everyone (and feed everyone by hand – really) you also have to pay for everyone if you go out for dinner or drinks. Happy Birthday?

Incredible India

Go there! Love it or hate it, India is nothing less than incredible.

Gratitude

globe-india_i-11Well, it’s time … My adventure in India will soon be coming to an end and I seriously can’t believe it’s time to go home (I am facing this fact with many mixed emotions as you can imagine; especially because I use the word “home” loosely; I am actually not sure where that is exactly). Although, I am again facing the unknown, I am actually very excited about new opportunities and a new chapter (which should be interesting being that I only have four suitcases to my name!).  One cool thing about moving to India by yourself is that you can pretty much bet that most things you experience after this just won’t be quite as hard, so I am not too worried about returning to the dangerous streets of Encinitas, California (cue the crickets).

I am actually feeling pretty sad about leaving, (because there will be no chance of me passing a camel on the way to my friend’s house in the U.S. like I did yesterday), but I am also feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all of you that have been part of this adventure with me in some way or another. So with that being said, I send you the most sincere thank you.

To everyone that has been reading along: Being able to write and share your experiences with people is an incredible gift and I thank you for taking time out to share this time with me … as I have mentioned, it has brought me a tremendous amount of comfort throughout my time here knowing that many of my friends and family have been following along. I really do hope that reading this has provided you some inspiration to travel to India someday to experience this incredible place yourself. Love it or hate it, it’s nothing less than incredible.

To my family: Mom – Thank you teaching me an integral part of your spirit that “everything will always work out”. I don’t know how, but you have passed down the best gift that anyone could have given both to me and Garth, the ability to start each day with a positive heart and mind. I could have never have done half the things I’ve done in my life (especially India!) without this. I am thankful for you daily and love you dearly. Garth – Thank you for coming all the way here (and fitting India into your travels around the world) to experience this place for yourself. I am looking forward to going on one of your amazing holidays with you soon! You skiing in The French Alps and me in India … that just wasn’t right. Love you!

To my friends Zen, Surbhi, Ujjwala and Abby: I so admire the friendship that you have all created and it was a blessing to be a part of all of your lives just like I was an actual Sherwoodian. Zen, a very special thank you to you and your mom for all of your generosity and for sharing your home and love with me. I am eternally grateful for you.

To Lodi Garden and The Yoga Studio: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

To all of my beautiful friends back home: I can’t wait to actually sit down and have a glass of wine with each of you (& surf!). I also want to thank you in advance for not talking about me behind my back about how annoying it is that I talk about India so much. Believe me, I am ready to talk about something else just as much as you are. I love you and will see you all soon!

59138_10150265374550545_881230544_14540313_2402757_n-1To Aakarsh: Well, I have to say, it’s really kind of a miracle that we didn’t kill each other. I still think we should’ve had our own reality show; we certainly had enough drama and it would’ve made for a very exciting show on cross-cultural (mis)communications. I want to thank you for showing me the real India, and doing your best to show me how it works… the good, the bad and the frustrating parts. For being my phone translator every time I just handed you the phone and said “you talk to him” giving you no indication of who it was or what I needed, for fixing my messes, and for your honesty (even the brutally honest times). I wish you all of the best and you know that you will have a friend in me always. I will miss you and will forever be thankful for you.

And lastly …

To India: People from all over the world come to you to “find themselves” or “experience their true self” (any pay you seriously large amounts of money to accomplish this). This was not my intention in coming here, (If it was, I could’ve saved myself a lot of trouble and just walked down to the Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas) however, you decided you would show me anyway.

You seriously broke me down into someone I had never seen before, then when I had enough, you broke me down further. It was your wisdom that knew what would emerge and although I cursed you for it at the time (and contemplated driving to the airport several times), I think you may have known what you were doing all along. I thank you for allowing me to experience your indescribable and immense power, all of your beauty, and for knowing when to send me support in some way or another … and knowing when not to. You will be a part of me always. Goodbye for now, but I will see you again soon!

My Love Affair with Delhi (Eat/Shop/Run/Yoga/Play)

Eat 

  • Buddha Xpress in Vasant KunjWe serve nourishment for the body, the mind and the soul. The creations we offer are a gateway to enliven the senses that lead to fulfilment of the purpose of living and the desire to nourish our being continuously.” – what more can you say than that?
  • Travel Cafe in Haus Kaus Village. Tip: Just sit down anywhere … The seat by the window is the best; someone will come over and ask you if you want coffee or tea, (and really good cookies!).  When you are ready to leave, just get up and leave a “donation” in the box by the door. They have basically every travel book you can imagine and you can stay here all day if you want. It’s an actual live chat room for travelers. Very comfortable and chill place.
  • The Living Room in Haus Kaus Village. If the weather is good, go all the way to the top floor! Good live music most nights and excellent food! I highly recommend the The Kous Kous with veggies and the Bubba’s Shrimp appetizer is my favorite! This is basically Expat central. 
  • The Good Earth (Latitude) Cafe  @ Khan Market (Shopping too!) Have the Vietnamese Spring Rolls! Getting there: Just go into the Good Earth store and go all the way up to the top floor to reach the cafe.
  • Amici @ Khan Market (Margarita Pizza and Pineapple/pomegranate Juice!)
  • Lodi Garden Restaurant @ Lodi Garden (Beautiful Garden setting)
  • Wasabi @ The Taj (Super expensive, but some of the best sushi I have ever had in my life!)

Shop – Stores 

  • Joss – Khan Market (They get new stuff in almost every week! LOVE this store!)
  • Good Earth in Khan Market (lots of fun stuff for the home)

Shop – Markets & Malls 

  • Khan Market – The place to be seen in Delhi … it’s also where the tourists go. Lots of great shops/restaurants/coffee shops/people watching.
  • Galleria Market in Gurgaon (great place to get all of your groceries & misc. items in one place)
  • Select City Walk in Delhi
  • Promenade in Vasant Kunj
  • Ambiance Mall (a.k.a. Ambi Mall) in Gurgaon
  • Emporio Mall Vasant Kunj – The Rodeo Drive of New Delhi
  • Sarojini Market – Most things are 150 Rps (about $3 USD). You can find all brands here and really nice things if you have the patience to look through everything and fight the crowds. In my experience, I can only handle this market for about an hour … but some of my favorite shirts are from here.

Hair (Blonde Hair Friendly Salons) 

  • Naresh @ Looks in Khan Market 
  • Barbara at Levo in Gurgaon (Behind Ibis)

Yoga

http://www.theyogastudio.info

Run

  • Lodi GardenThis is my favorite place in Delhi! Enjoy a great run around the perimeter of the park.

 

Today in Old Delhi

Last night my friends and I decided we were going to go to Old Delhi today and have a photography contest. Here are my entries from our five hour excursion. Seriously, India has to be one of the most photogenic places on the planet.  As far as the contest goes, we ended up calling it a tie (which, btw is actually a very uncommon thing to do in India)  since our friend Abby is actually a professional photographer and we were using Coolpix. Enjoy! 

I have ______ more times in the short time I have lived in India, than all the other times in my life combined.

  • Witnessed a car accident and watched the driver of one of the cars get out of the car and punch the other driver in the face (Total: 3 times)
  • Said “oh my God, that is disgusting!” (by the way, my definition of disgusting is not what it used to be)
  • Heard the word “Expat”
  • Thought to myself, “do people here know that you can actually swallow your own saliva?”
  • Been terrified to cross the road
  • Watched “Friends”, “Two and a Half Men” & “How I met your Mother”
  • Said … “well, in the U.S….” (I try to stop I promise… I think it’s ingrained in us Americans!)
  • Witnessed men peeing in public (Total: over 10,000, at least!)
  • Seen the L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Commercial
  • Heard the word “discount”
  • Ignored a questionable bug bite or rash on my arm that in the U.S. I would surely visit the hospital to have examined
  • Heard the sound of a car horn
  • Said “WOW!!!”
  • Come within 1 inch of my life in a car accident
  • Sang and danced to Bollywood songs
  • Thought to myself, “should I consider whitening MY dark spots?”
  • Said “Urggghhhh…. sh*t!!!, there is no toilet paper!!!!!!!”
  • Said “I am almost there, I just passed an elephant on the highway”
  • Said “WTF am I doing here?”
  • Cried
  • Showered
  • Worked
  • Gone without electricity
  • Looked in the mirror at myself, laughed and shook my head, reflecting on a day I just had
  • Witnessed someone carrying a large television on a motorcycle (Total: at least 10 - Very impressive!)
  • Narrowly escaped serious injury on a treadmill when the electricity suddenly went out
  • Been electrocuted
  • Said “watch out for that cow in the road
  • Been in an air-conditioned room
  • Road in the back seat of a car
  • Seen children sitting in the front seat of a car with no seatbelts (pre-India total: 1…bet you can guess who!)
  • Said “I CANNOT believe that just happened!”
  • Ate mutton
  • Been completely shocked by someone’s action (both good and bad)
  • Ate things without knowing what I was actually eating
  • Been to the movies
  • Been to the mall
  • Drank chai
  • Ate dinner with friends (You hardly ever eat alone! – Love that!)
  • Ate dinner past 7pm (Normal time for dinner: 10pm)
  • Had a massage
  • Had a pedicure
  • Had a manicure
  • Been stuck in traffic
  • Said, “oh my God, I haven’t heard this song since junior high school!”
  • Had a stomach ache
  • Appreciated my friends and family
  • Been thankful
  • Talked about India!!!