Welcome to Incredible India!

After more than 19 hours in the air and a seven-hour layover in London where we met up, the 2018-2019 Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellows arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India.

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After taking long-awaited showers, brushing our teeth and getting acclimated to being in a much different time zone (twelve-and-a-half hours ahead of my own), we gathered for an enormous, delicious Indian buffet meal with my favorite – naan!

What we didn’t expect was a beautiful welcoming ceremony from our amazing hosts, Rajesh, Pooman, Mamta and Sonia!

They welcomed us by using red turmeric paste to dot our foreheads and then gently tossing small flower petals onto our heads as a blessing. They gave us gifts of brightly colored bags and promised to guide us well as we make this incredible educational journey in India. We learned that pressing the palms together when you meet someone and saying, “Namaste,” not only shows respect, but is also joining your hands at very specific pressure points: those for the eyes, ears and mind. When pressed together, those point activate parts of our brain that help us remember the person we are greeting for a long time.

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And “Namaste” is from the Sanskrit meaning “I bow to you.” Namaste recognizes the importance and value of each soul, and it strikes me as a wonderful start to this journey.

We need to value each and every person we meet – whether inside our classrooms or beyond our borders. We need to show appreciation and gratitude for each and every experience – for those who have worked hard to make this possible. We need to recognize that, as Mahatma Gandhi said, “Relationships are based on four principles: respect, understanding, acceptance and appreciation.” By showing consideration and respect to others, we help make our world a much better place for everyone.

Namaste! Let the adventures begin!

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The Best Laid Plans …

Twelve of us are beginning our travels today from the USA to India! We have made all the necessary preparations we could think of for this amazing trip: currency changes, vaccinations & what clothes to pack. We were all very excited to see our flight agenda which has us meeting in London at Heathrow International Airport July 1st and then taking the same flight into Indira Ghandi International Airport in New Delhi!

However, due to storms with 80-mile-an-hour winds in Chicago, five educators have delayed or cancelled flights! But are they despairing? No! They are using WhatsApp to communicate with us and the Fulbright staff. They are driving rather than flying to connecting airports, and they are reworking their travel arrangements so we can (hopefully) all meet in London in time for our flight.

That’s the funny thing about making preparations – sometimes things don’t go as you plan. But as my fellow teachers are proving today, that’s all right as long as you don’t give up! Try something else! Ask for help! It may very well be that things turn out even better than your original plan!

Expanding Your Borders

There are many borders to cross as I fly out to Delhi, India, this weekend: The Atlantic Ocean (a natural border), twelve time zones (temporal borders) and airport security checkpoints (safety borders). But the border that has caused me to reflect the most is the one around my comfort zone.

It makes me wonder, what exactly are my personal, emotional, psychological borders?

I’m excited for the journey, especially meeting new, enthusiastic people to learn and share ideas and experiences with as well as build bonds of friendship and understanding. But as I pack outlet adaptors and precautionary medications, I realize spending almost a month in a place halfway around the world away from my family and home is making me a little anxious.

What I know for sure is we don’t learn and grow unless we push ourselves. Arthur C. Clarke said that the only way to define your limits is by going beyond them. Necessity is the mother of invention, so how can you really learn anything if you don’t push past the borders of your own comfort?

The important thing is to keep moving forward, to take that first step.

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move,” said Anthony Bourdain. “As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”

The wonderful words of friendship and encouragement I’ve gotten in emails from my two host teachers in Kolkata (and the amazing agenda they have put together for my time with them) remind me that, as Barack Obama said so well, “We are defined not by our borders, but by our bonds.

We must cross over our borders of comfort to discover the world and ourselves. What more could we learn and accomplish if we are fearless?

Are You Ready for The Journey?

How wonderful to have YOU join this journey to India and learn not only about the amazing people and places there but also about some new and cool technology that we’ll be testing along the way! My humble thanks to the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program for making this possible!

If you are NOT a Room 9 Kid, thank you for joining me on this website. WhatAreYourBorders.net is the place to follow my journeys through India, and I will be blogging and posting as much as possible so you can also discover the wonderful people and places of India!

If you ARE a Room 9 Kid, thank you for being a part of Mrs. Dunbar’s India Club! As a token of thanks, please download the digital badge below to display with pride on social media! If you are an active participant on this incredible journey, you will earn another very special badge which you will receive in the Fall of 2019.

Click HERE to visit my online Sway for Mrs. Dunbar’s India Club! Be certain to fill out the form on the Sway, then watch your email and – if you sent along a mobile phone number) your smart phone for updates, opportunities and interactions!

Thank you again! Namaste!

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