What a trip... So many new experiences and so much to bring home! It's been almost a week since I got home and I think it's amazing how your life can differ from day to day just like that! I'm now back at our apartment after eight weeks overseas and it feels amazing. As they say, there's no place like home. I wasn't so found of Umeå at first, but it just gets better and better all the time and I love our apartment!

So this first week home has been so nice. We went home to my parents over the weekend to meet family and friends. So nice, I love the high coast so much and the Swedish nature overall during summer! Everything is so green, I love it! I showed my family some pictures from India, we celebrated my birthday, ate lots of cake, had lots of coffee (omg, I've missed Swedish coffee) and we also went to Box Distillery on Saturday. A perfect weekend with perfect company!

I also bought the cutest dress for my niece when I was in India! She wanted to wear it strait away and it's the absolute cutest thing I've ever seen!!! So much happiness and joy in such a small person ♥

I love how I said before I left to everyone who asked me how I'm feeing about leaving Joacim for five weeks and I always said that five weeks is nothing. That it's good to be apart from each other and so on and so forth... And in a way I still think I'm right. I think that you need to be able to be apart from each other and also that it's good to miss each other a bit, but five weeks... thats just too long. Hahaha, what were I even thinking. A weekend or a week or so that's okay, but I will never travel for five weeks along again. I'm still so glad I did this trip! Traveling with Sara has been amazing and this trip has just been so nice. As I've said over and over again, we've gotten so many experience in so little time. I think we all have learned so much and it's so fascinating to see how other people in the world think, behave and live.

It's now Monday again! For those who doesn't know me that well, it's my favorite day of the week. This Monday was just a chill day, so tomorrow it's time to step it up again. Sitting still too long isn't really my thing. But what about this blog? I only started it because of the trip to India, but it's been so much fun that I'll just have to keep it. What I'll write about, how often I'll write, continue in English or start writing in Swedish, well thats's all up for the future to decide! But all I know for the moment is that this was so much fun and you should do what makes you happy with no pressure and no stress! Have fun and take care!

Love, Elina ♥

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29th of July! Yeeey, birthday time! Yesterday morning, we went to the mushroom rocks on campus! We were suppose to take a shortcut, which turned out to be not that smooth because apparently people don't use that path through the woods anymore... But I really like the walk and it was so nice being in the nature. I really miss that from home and it also kind of reminded me of walking in the rainforest in the Caribbean, so I really enjoyed it. We also got to see some peacocks, but the highlight was of course the mushroom rock! It was a perfect start of my birthday! After that, we went to have breakfast in Hitech City and then some of us went to a market. It was actually the first real market I've been to so far. We got to pay a ticket of 40 rupees to the in to the area and when we were inside, we could just walk around in all of the shops. It was such a nice and calm area. The salesmen were of course a bit in your face, but not bad at all! I really liked that market and they had everything. Everything from jewelry, sandals, scarfs to souvenirs, henna tattoos and all kinds of stuff! I really liked it!

Then we got back to the hostel! We took a power nap (hehe), had dinner and after that it was time for a theatre (in Hindi!!!) and drinks afterwards. AND I ALSO GOT A CAKE!!! Bhargavi had bought this beautiful and so tasty birthday cake for me!! Omg, so so so nice of her! And it was so good! I definitely had a wonderful birthday with so many lovely people! Thank you guys so so so much! ♥♥♥


Today, we went to Golconda fort again! This time we went up the fort and got to see the view over the whole city! We climbed about 400 steps and the view at the top was amazing. We were suppose to go this morning though, but three cabs got stuck at the gate so they didn't get to go inside the campus area. We decided to go after lunch instead. It was such nice weather in the morning, but just before we were about to leave this afternoon it started raining... Such bad luck... It was fine getting up to the top but when we got there, the rain just lashed down. We were so wet when we got down again, haha. But I'm so glad that we did that trip because it was so much to see.

After the trip, a friend of Bhargavi's came to do some yoga with me and Sara! So nice of him! We had a short session and then I also got to try some acroyoga!! Omg, so much fun!!!

Tomorrow, we are going the the Forum mall to get some henna tattoos and then we're leaving at 2 pm from the hostel. I can't believe that it's almost been five weeks now. That is just crazy! It has been such an experience being here and to have gotten the chance to get to know the Indian culture! I really like it here, but I'm actually quite glad that we are going home now. I'm really looking forward to spend the whole August in Sweden before my studies and works starts. I actually need to study in August as well, for a course that I haven't taken because a shifted university... but that's fine, no pressure. But Sweden during the summer is amazing! I look forward to go to the high coast, eating Swedish food (and sushi!!!), exploring more of Umeå (it's actually our first summer in our apartment in Umeå, so exiting!), maybe going to the north of Sweden and so much more! This summer has been great so far and I'm really looking forward to the rest.

You will absolutely here from me when I get home! I have so much left to tell that I haven't had the time for... But it will be up on this blog, I promise! So our first flight back leaves tomorrow at 5 pm. I'll have an almost 30 hour long trip back to Umeå though... But it will be fine! I hope!

Hope you all are having a wonderful summer so far! ♥♥♥

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This Monday, we got to visit the Indian national centre for ocean information services! Where they for example have developed the technology to discover tsunamis. It was really interesting and so fascinating (from a physicist kind of view) so see how they do to discover them.

Their mission is to provide ocean information and advisory services to the society, industry, government and scientific community through sustained ocean observations and constant improvements through systematic and focused research. So interesting as I said and so nice that we finally got to see and hear about some physics. Even though it has been really interesting to see the different cultural things, this was definitely the best field trip.

Before the trip, we also had a lecture with Dr. S. M. Ahmed who has worked for ISRO, Indian Space Research Organisation and done missions as The Moon Impact Probe mission and he has even worked for NASA! How cool?!??! Me and Sara will hopefully (fingers super crossed) meet him today! Omg, the inner nerd couldn't be bigger.

Yeah.. and except our lovely science day, we've had other lectures and other stuff going on this week. Tuesday was the last day for submitting the field report and I had my presentation yesterday because I missed it last week. So now, the course it's almost over... We will have a minor exam on Friday for those who's taking the 10 credit course (I still haven't decided if I'm going to do it, but it'll work out) otherwise this course has come to an end. It's crazy...

We are going to have a cultural dinner and evening today and I get to borrow some Indian clothes from a Norwegian friend, so kind of her!!! And we even need to say goodbye to some friends that are leaving tomorrow(!!!), time just flies by... especially in the end. Me and Sara still have the weekend though, to do things that we haven't had time to do so far!

If you are going to take this course in the future, I really recommend to have some days both before and after the course, even if you're not going to travel afterwards. It is really nice and there is so so so much to see.

I hope you all will have a lovely day!♥ We we're going to enjoy the last two days of this course and you will hear from me in the beginning of the weekend.

♥ ♥ ♥

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Today we had the alarm set at 6.30 am because we were going to a yoga institute in town, the one that I’ve been talking about some posts ago! We went up, got outside and the cab didn’t show up... omg, I had really looked forward to this day but and we actually thought about staying home. But NO!! Nina, one of the girls in our course ordered an Uber instead and yes, Nina really saved my day! And not to mention the whole trip!

This was definitely the best day on this trip so far!! We went to this place called ‘Bodhi Yoga Institute’ and it was the best experience. The yoga instructor, Ashok Vankineni, started the day with sun salutations, after that we had a 40-minute meditation session and then massage! And we also got to try some Aerial Yoga, I’ve never done it before but I definitely liked it. Yeah, everything was amazing. I felt so calm and relaxed after the meditation session and then going to a massage after was perfect. The massage was an oil massage, with warm oil. It was a full body massage and I really mean full body. Everything from face, scalp, hands, feet and all the other bigger parts of your body and when the massage was finished, we got a to step inside like a steam room but only for your body for 10 minutes. And not only to mention that it was really nice, my skin has felt so smooth and soft the whole day after the oil and it smells so nice as well!

After the yoga place, the instructor took us to a really nice organic and vegetarian restaurant for breakfast/brunch and the food was so good! Everything was really good, sure a bit spice but definitely not too bad! We got dosa, idli, wado, upma, and two more dishes I didn't remember the names of and of course green tea.

My body is just so relaxed and so recovered after this illness, I feel like a whole new person and I can’t stop smiling after this wonderful day!

I also want to mention that some of us went to this microbrewery yesterday evening that was quite near the campus! It was a newly opened place called ‘Over the Moon‘. I only had half a glass of their beer because I’m still eating the antibiotics, but it tasted so good. The place was really nice, but the music was a bit too loud. We couldn’t talk so easily after they changed the DJ… But it was still a really fun night! And I know I’ve said it, but I’ll say it again! Everything is so cheap. We were 7 people, we ordered like 3 cans of beer, two cocktails, one staut, one whiskey, some snacks and my soda for like 700-800 rupees each, so like 10 Euros (100 Kronor). I actually payed 200 rupees with is 3 Euros (30 Kronor), so yeah I’m surviving. (Btw, pay some extra attention to the bathrooms. Finally someone how gets it)

Hope u all are having a wonderful day! See ya! ♥

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I know it’s been a while since I last wrote… That’s because it’s been some weird couple of days for me. I manage to send in the book review, the field report and I also manage to finish my presentation for the research paper that I was supposed to have yesterday! But then I got sick, again…

I took all the vaccinations, including dukoral and I still manage to get sick (twice), how is this even possible?! I really envy Sara (and almost all the others), she didn’t take any vaccination and she’s fine.

This time I got a 39 – 40°C fever, a really bad stomach flu and low blood pressure… I actually don’t know the reasons why, but I was so dehydrated that I needed infusion drip. Yeey! And the funniest thing! They said that I had so sensitive blood vessels and that they were so near my skin, that they needed to get the needles and stuff they usually get for children! haha, but everyone was so nice and I definitely don’t know what I would have done without Bhargavi, our program assistant. She’s the best!

So let me tell you a bit about the experience at the health centre!

Alright, just imagine going to the bathroom with a bag of infusion drip (and not on a roller thing, just the bag in your hand), a needle if your left arm, a bad fever, a sipper of the left side of your trousers, you have a bad stomach flu and when you’re finally sitting on the toilet you realise that the hostels bathrooms is just an exception here in India and that there is no toilet paper. That was me yesterday. Btw, you are supposed to use you hand and water and yeah they actually had soap and I also used tons of hand sanitiser afterwards. I always keep some toilet paper in my bad, but of course not this time! Haha…

So yeah, I've definitely had the full experience of India. But I like it! Everything is so soft and slack, at home you would be crazy if you didn't use your knife and fork when you eat for example. Here it's the straight opposite. I'm so glad to have been able to get this experience, I've definitely learned so so much! I really really like it here! It is a wonderful campus and I think the whole experience of just being in India is really giving and important. I have learned so much on this trip so far and it’s still 10 days left. I’m really sick of being sick tho, I just want to get better so I can finish the course and have some fun this last week.

As I said, it’s just 10 days left! omg time runs by so fast!! I'm definitely looking forward to this next week and going a lot of fun thing with this group before the course ends. It's so funny and so special how you can get so close to people you've never met before in just some weeks. Take me and Sara for example, 10 mounts ago, we didn't even know each other and now we’ve travelled to the other side of the world together! It's amazing how things can work out just like that! So grateful! ♥ ♥ ♥

(and sorry for the lack of pictures, but I think you know the reason why hehe)

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Saturday, Pochampally was on the schedule! It was really nice! We got to see the different stages in making a silk saree and it was so nice to get to see how people actually live and work in that village. People have a loom at home and they just sit and work from home. We asked one man and he worked for twelve hours a day, everyday of the week. So fascinating. We aslo went to a museum and a saree shop in the village, but my personal highlight of the day was that we got to see the cutest monkeys! It was a really fun day and it was actually the first time I got to see some real nature so far on this trip!

Sunday was a study day, until lunch! I didn't get as much done as a would've wanted, but at least some. Then after lunch me and some friends on the program went to the mall to do some shopping and after that we went to try the street food! I didn't have any food tho, but the ones who ate it said that is was amazing. It is so nice to get out of the campus as soon as you get the chance, so you get to see more of the city and this lovely country!

And today! It's time for a movie 'Chak de! India', a lecture about Urban Space in Contemporary India, more yoga and some studying for the research paper! How fun! Love Mondays, best day of the week!

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When we first got here, I saw on our schedule that we were going to have a lecture about yoga. Ever since that, I've been so excited and at the time it seemed so far away!... But that day has finally come!

Yoga is of course a big part of India because it originally comes from here and I am so glad to have gotten the opportunity to get a lecture about it from a yoga instructor who's from India! Yesterday, we finished a two and a half long lecture talking about the true meaning of yoga and we also had a 20-minute-long meditation session. Before I got here, before I read my book ("The Tree of Yoga") and before I had this lecture I would never had imagined how much of the true meaning of yoga that actually gets lost in the western world. Of course not everywhere. I would never be that prejudiced, but at least most of the classes I've taken in Umeå has never brought up the importance of meditating as they do here. It's such a contrast and I think it is really interesting and most of all important! The lecturer has his own yoga centre as well and we're thinking of visiting it on Sunday! I really hope it works out and I'm definitely looking forward to it.

So back to school. I’ve been sick for a couple of days now, but yesterday I felt so much better! I definitely think it was the food I got sick from… All this spicy food and my sensitive belly wasn’t such a good combination… but I think now that I've been sick, I’ll not get it back (fingers crossed). It is such a different food culture compared to Sweden and well, we just have too sensitive stomachs. But now I’m good and we started the day with a lecture about religion and politics. I thought it was really interesting, I personally would have liked if she had talked about politics a bit more but it was good. After that we had the yoga lecture I talked about above. Then me, Sara and Lovisa went on a mixed yoga class. Basically a yoga class for everybody and it was so nice. It is almost a 6 km walk in total if we go to the yoga centre and then we have the yoga session, so I think it is a good time to really relax.

In the evening, we went on Ladies Night at Heart Cup Café! It was so much fun! Ladies night actually means a night out for everybody, but free drinks for girls from 8.00-9.30 pm. I only had a diet pepsi, water and the best coffee I’ve had since a got here. A coffee mocha. So good. And it was so much fun! We also sang karaoke and danced. On our way home, we talked about the atmosphere at the pub/club so much. Everyone felt that it was so different from home and I did as well. Everyone was just dancing and talking, just to have a good time and I've never gotten that feeling in any clubs back in Sweden, ever. In Sweden, it feels like it's all about dressing super nice to find a date and if you're not interested, it can get quite boring. So I though this evening was so much fun!

The last two pictures is of the nature and of a sunset on campus! I just wanted to show you what a lovely campus this really is!

Now, it’s time for a lecture on India and International relations and tomorrow we're going on a field trip to Pochampally!

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Yesterday we went on a city tour! We visited Birla Mandir, Salar Jung Museum, Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Laad Bazaar, Chowmahallah Palace and Golconda. It was quite a busy day as you can see. We left our hostel at about 8.00 am and got back at 9.30 pm and I definitely think it was the hottest day on this trip so far!

At first we visited the Hindu temple, Birla Mandir. It was beautiful and the view from the top of the temple was amazing! Unfortunately, we were not allowed to bring electronic devises in to the temple but I will post a picture of from the outside below! (you can see it in the background)

After that we went to this museum called Salar Jung Museum, it is actually one of the three National Museums of India. It was huge! We were there for about 2 hours and even though we rushed through most of it, we didn’t have time to see everything.

After the museum it was time for Charminar and Mecca Masjid. We had all dressed so well because we wanted to see the mosque! We had covered our legs, arms and hair (see picture below) and still half of the group wasn’t allowed in because our clothing was to provocative... As I told you before, everything is so different from home!

Laad Bazar was crazy. There were literally people everywhere. I’m personally not so found of places who are really crowded so Laad Bazar is not a place I would recommend people to visit. I bet the market is really good and cheap and that you can find really nice things like jewellery etc. But there were just so much people and also a lot of traffic in the area we were in. Luckily, I brought my earplugs. That’s a thing in general with India… bring earplugs!! You will really appreciate it in traffic because everyone is honking all the time to tell people where they are on the road! Another crazy thing, I know! But that’s the truth.

At last we visited Chowmahallah Palace and Golconda. The palace was really nice and also so peaceful, it was the perfect place to visit after the market. I will post some pictures of it below so you can see for yourself how beautiful it was. It was another bus ride between the palace and Golconda and it was supposed to take 45 minutes to one hour but because of the traffic it took us like one and a half hour... But to be honest, I definitely did not complain because everyone was exhausted and I think almost everyone fell asleep!

Golconda is a fort that the Kakatiya dynasty started to build in 1143 as a part of their western defence. It was really cool, but because of the long bus ride, we didn’t have time to see so much of the fort. But we say a light show there and we learned some history of the place, so it was nice.

And I totally forgot! We ate our lunch on leafs. I’ll leave a picture below!

The day ended with some Abba sing along on the bus on our way back to campus. What a lovely, lovely group!!! ♥ ♥ ♥

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Yesterday we had our first lecture! It was a lecture about the historical diversities in India. Our teacher Dr. V. J. Verghese talked about the history of how India became what it is today. It was really interesting and it was a really good first lecture. I sometimes have a hard time understanding the Indian accent though... but I think I just need to get used to it and that it will get so much better in a few days. And important, in the middle of every single class there is always tea time!! Such a nice way to take a break in the middle of class and to get to know each other better! I love it!

At the end of our classes, our course coordinator, Dr. Shaji S, took us to a little library in the SIP building to look at some books for our book review. The examinations in this course will be a book review, a field report and a research paper for the 7.5 credit course and for those who is taking the 10 credit course there will be a minor examination as well. I actually found a book called The Tree of Yoga. The author B K S lyengar is one of the world’s foremost teachers of yoga and the book is about his thoughts about yoga in our daily lives and the chapters includes health, childhood, love, death, faith, teachers, teaching and much more. I’m going to talk to Dr. Shaji if the book is contemporary enough, but I hope it will be fine.

So that was the studying of yesterday! But at 5 pm some of us went to this k-pop event in Hitech city! It was really good. I don’t have any old experience of k-pop (Korean pop) and I have never listened to it before, but it was actually really good. I absolutely didn’t know that k-pop was such a big thing in India! When we got there, there was a competition but in the end of the event a k-pop band called Lucente played as well. They were really good and everyone was so excited! The best thing though during the event, was when some girls who sat in front of us just turned around and said that they had seen us on the news and wanted to take pictures with us! That was the best thing I’ve ever heard! We’re famous!! haha…

In the middle of this event we also decided to find somewhere to eat and we found this really nice vegetarian restaurant called Gana. The food was so good! You should really try it if you're going here in the future! When we ordered, we didn’t know that a main dish was made for 2 to 3 people to share so in the middle of the orders the server like “the main dish is for 2 to 3 people to share” ... so we had ordered WAY TOO MUCH food! But we got it right in the end and was the best food I’ve had on this tip so far.

So as you can see, we have a great time here in India! Now, time for yoga and some reading!! See ya!

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I’ve always wanted to write a blog, but never felt that I’ve had a purpose to do it... But my University wrote to me today and asked if I was keeping a blog or something because it would be interesting for future students to read about it and I was immediately like super exited! So here I am in Hyderabad, India, about 8000 km from home writing a blog. I'm going to write in  English so that everyone who is taking this course can read it if they feel like it. 

Me and my friend Sara who’s reading the same program as me, Engineering Physics in Umeå in Sweden, arrived at the airport of Hyderabad at 4.20 am on the 30th of June and we are going to stay until the 31th of July, so about five weeks.

The course we’re going to read is called ‘Contemporary India’. It is a four-week long program covering a wide range of topics, including politics, economy, society, religion, and development in India. We’ve had three days discovering Hyderabad before the course started today and it has totally been amazing. So many new impressions and we have seen so many new things. So if anyone is taking this course in the future, I strongly recommend to come a few days before the course starts.

Yesterday we went to a festival and it was so crazy. We took a cab from the University and as soon as we stepped out of the cab at the festival people were starting to take our pictures, asking us to join the festival and started interviewing us for Indian television. We actually made it to three newspapers, international TV and youtube (see the link below). It was crazy, but it was such as amazing experience. At the end of the festival we arrived at this temple and we started talking to this lovely family who wanted to tell us so much about their culture and traditions and they actually invited us to have lunch with the afterwards. I have never met a more open and welcoming family in my entire life, it was lovely.

Today we started the course as I mentioned. We had an introduction and a tour around campus. It was a really fun day and so nice to see the whole camps because it is huge. The classes will start tomorrow and the first lecture is ‘Historical Diversity’, looking forward to it!

I think I will probably stop here. I could go on and on for ours, but I think I need to stop at some point! I hope you all have a lovely day and you will hear from me in a couple of days!


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uOoFVslRbqE&feature=youtu.be

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