Buddhist thangka
Buddhist thangka

When I was six months old, my parents took me to Bodh Gaya, India where we lived for about a year. I don’t remember anything from that time period, but it did start a tradition of me going to India with a parent. The next time I went was 2005 with my father and grandparents. After that, it was in 2008 where I spent two weeks in Nepal and then two weeks in India. On the flight back to New York from this trip, I got very sick. It turned out I had gotten typhoid and was quarantined at Beth Israel for a week. Most of my memories of India were negative, how poor and different it was from New York, how hot it was, and of course, how I got typhoid. I also remember that every time I went with my father, he would buy very expensive and beautiful thangkas (pronounced tahn-kas). Thangkas are Tibetan Buddhist paintings, usually on cotton or silk and depicting different buddhas. I was always so intrigued by the detail and the artwork. It wasn’t till this year that I slowly started to appreciate traveling to India. When I was younger, the culture shock was too much for me, but now I’m thankful I got to have an experience like that. Part of my definition of being American, involves being aware that other countries and cultures are very different and I think it’s essential to experience it rather than just being isolated to consumerism, fast food, and the opportunities we have as Americans. I never would have thought that I would feel more American, after going to such a different country.  

Place(s): India, New York
Year: 2008

– Pico D.

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant