Friday, June 23, 2017

On the Flip Side (of the World)

Hey, want to hear something crazy? Louise is in Pune, India. Yeah. Pune. India. That’s over here:

Which is to say, very far away. Ten-and-a-half time zones away. (Yes, half-time-zones are a thing.)

And what the hell, might you ask, is Louise doing half way around the globe by herself? Well, she’s not actually by herself. The clever (not so) little gal got herself accepted to the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program to study Hindi! (Short version: Uncle Sam wants more Americans to learn “strategically significant” languages — Arabic, Korean, Hindi, Mandarin, etc. — and they’re willing to foot the bill to send dedicated late-high school language-lovers to travel overseas for seven weeks to participate in their immersive language study programs.)

And so, off our little birdie flew, last Sunday, from the Big Easy to the Big Apple, where she converged with her fourteen young Hindi-studying compatriots for a couple of days of intensive orientating. Then a Tuesday night direct flight to Mumbai.1 And a middle-of-the-night drive to Pune.

And there she is! Doing some more orientating. This weekend she'll settle in with her host family, with her two new little host sisters. She'll live with them for the better part of the next two months. She'll take Hindi classes with her group, for twenty to thirty hours a week. And they'll traipse around together, engaging in various immersively cultural activities and just generally getting their minds blown. And then they'll head back to the US of A in early August, knowing a hell of a lot more Hindi — and a hell of a lot more of all kinds of things — than they knew when they left.

So, yes. This little pumpkin, who long time readers will remember from the early Slimbo-years:

is now this big pumpkin, out in the world, learning and doing all kinds of kind-of-unimaginable things:

Seriously crazy, huh? Oh, yeah! And chip-off-the-old-blogger, she’s documenting her travels here:

You go, grrrrl!

1 At fifteen-hours-and-change of direct flying, it was already one of the longest non-stop flights in the world. It was made still longer when they sat on the tarmac at Newark Airport for three hours, before taking off, because a broken coffeepot somehow snowballed into a crew timeout.

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