After firstly attempting to sledge my enormous, 20kg rucksack from my front door to Norwich train station in the aesthetically pleasing yet hugely impractical snow I managed to get the train to London without much dilemma.
Headed to Putney, where we had our final, yet essentially unnecessary final debrief in the UK. It did however give me a chance to meet my fellow volunteers. I was admittedly quite nervous about this and had consciously decided not to engage in any facebook stalking of my fellow travellers in case I stumbled across something incriminating or just awkward. Luckily, we all gelled quite well and there's a huge array of characters, each of which totally destroyed or justified my initial impressions of my team.
30 of us British ICS/VSO workers set off to Heathrow, with half of us discovering that our plane which we had been sitting on for three hours had too much ice on it... so we had to get off. GR8.
So, in some sort of bizarre Derren Brown esque situation we were thrown together on the floors of Terminal 5, after having been rejected by our pilot. We turned to M&S for salvation, and used cardboard boxes as tools of entertainment until we were offered an 'upgrade' which emerged as the carpeted floor of a nearby conference centre with sleeping bags, yoga mats and out of date Boots Meal Deals. Definitely felt as though we were experiencing the prelude of some sort of Tundra based Zombie Apocalypse with hundreds of strangers kipping on the floor of an expansive, red light hall.
However, after some British Airways hospitality and being sat next to a lovely, insightful girl who gave me some great tips about Bihar and Jharkhand, we arrived in Delhi airport about two days after we had set off. Albeit without any of our luggage....
Despite the fact I've been to India before, it is always a shock when you walk off the plane and instantly feel the density of the air change, and of course the smells. Once we had completed our first obstacle of Indian bureaucracy (invoking the discovery that queuing is NOT a thing here, and that people love stamping bits of paper in an arbitrary and pseudo official fashion) we stepped out of Delhi airport where we saw a welcoming Indian gentleman hold out a sign for VSO. He was surrounded by a thick Indian fog, men in balaclava s, barely a woman in sight. Our personal space was immediately invaded and an audible gasp reverberated among the lips of the locals as they witnessed the joyful yelp expressed by one of my colleagues as she took a drag on her first cigarette in almost days.
Welcome to India.