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The Eternal Rickshaw Ride

By juliaraewagner

One of the best reasons to study abroad is that you learn how to roll with the punches. In the past few months,  I've experienced more than my fair share of situations that would typically drive me (and my type A personality) bonkers. Living in countries where the unexpected is always the expected, however, has forced me to lighten up a little and enjoy the ride.

I was reminded of this lesson last night when my girlfriends and I decided to catch a classical Indian music show. My roommate Allie and I had planned to meet up with a friend before heading to the show. We had never been to her house before, but we figured the pick-up would be seamless as we'd discovered that she lived in the same neighborhood.  We hopped into a rickshaw,  the infamous 3-wheeled Indian taxi, and gave him our friend's address: the house behind the store in the alley next to the gas station behind the gold coin building. These instructions may as well have been jibberish to us, but seeing as most of Ahmedabad runs like this, we had faith that our "ricky" driver would have no problem locating the house.

Unfortunately,  he was just as clueless as we were.

So, we started the standard process of asking random people on the street if they had any idea of where we were going. Usually, we get a solid answer on the first try, but last night, we were having a lot of trouble. We asked 5 different people where to go,  and they all had different ideas about how to get there. We finally reached our friend's house 45 minutes later after a neighbor escorted our rickshaw to the house on his motorcycle. We realized then, that our friend lived only two blocks away.

With our friend finally in tow, we set off to our show with high spirits, hoping that we would not get lost again. We had her host mom give the driver explicit instructions to the music hall just to be safe. Unfortunately,  they weren't quite right, and we had to start the question process all over again. Five people and one trip to the gas station later, we made it to the music hall. We all clapped and cheered before we realized that the show had already ended! We rushed back outside to find our driver stretching after this two hour slog through the city. There was definitely a look of dread when we asked him to take us back home.

Luckily,  we made it home without any other issues. Normally, I would consider missing the show a huge inconvenience,  but I realized as we laughed our way home that the crazy rickshaw ride was the highlight of my night. Living here is not so much about patience as it is about keeping a sense of humor and a sense of adventure,  no matter where you're headed.