By Carie Small (@CarieIsSoVery)

Out the back of the van day 1

After a very long flight my body is exhausted, achy, swollen (reminders that I’m not getting any younger) but it’s easy to keep going running on the excitement of being in a new place, with people I’ve just met for the first time only a day ago.

We’ve settled into what will be our home for the next couple weeks and I’ve had a chance to contact my loved ones.  The general consensus is that it’s HOT. Having left Southwest Florida behind to get here, it doesn’t feel overly hot or humid to me. As a web-based business owner, I have the luxury to work from anywhere and I often choose to make the beach or pool patio my “office” so heat is definitely something I can handle. But that choice I make leads me to think about the luxuries I’m leaving behind for this experience. Flexibility, the ability to spend a lot of time with my son as he enjoys his summer vacation (now I’m on the other side of the world!) being constantly connected and plugged in. I’ve even thought about safety as a bit of a sacrifice. I’m never a fan of bugs but this is the first place I’ve traveled where I’ve had to take daily malaria medication in case I get bit (which I have been assured, I will). Early this morning when we were walking out of the airport I became very aware that the rules of the road are very different here when I got bumped by a car. Even though I’m an adult, my mother will freak out when she reads this so I will clarify, I was barely nudged, it felt like someone has stepped on the back of my foot, causing my shoe to come off…but when I looked back, I saw it was a tire rolling up on me. WHAT? My very first experience in India was getting hit by a car! So, traffic rules and safety, those both stayed in the United States too.

We’re about to venture into Chennai for our first day-time look around. I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to soaking in as much of the local culture as I can. But what I most look forward to is meeting the campers tomorrow morning. Specifically the girls. I’m very excited to be able to participate in these young ladies being introduced to a sport that means so much to me and has so much to offer. We come from completely different places in the world, but through the sport of basketball, we can find commonality. I can’t wait to learn more about them and share their stories. Through basketball, we are presented opportunities that help us grow as individuals in all areas of our life. I feel extremely blessed to have met Shaun and the Crossover program and to be able to join them on this journey to change the lives of these young people, and our own in the process. Hoops Creating Hope. It’s going to be an amazing two weeks. I hope you’ll follow our journey and share our cause.

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