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Kushi Alluri AC'20 :: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pi's, Entry 5

Hey guys! I’m Kushi Alluri a rising junior and AC’20 currently serving as the Vice President of Membership Experience at Gamma Iota and I am one of many members who were lucky enough to travel abroad this summer. This summer I took an unforgettable six-week trip to the country I am originally from, India. When I think back on this trip I am filled with emotions such as joy, gratitude, and admiration. I am a first-generation immigrant whose parents came to the United States around 30 years ago for a better life. Leaving India also meant leaving their families behind and raising me and my sister in a completely new environment. Luckily for me, my family typically goes back every 2 years to visit the ones we love, but this time it had been 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of all of the times I have been, this one felt the most special.

For the first weeks, I spent time with my mom’s side of the family in Hyderabad, a major city in South India. Seeing my grandparents for the first time in five years was a feeling of joy I can’t put into words! My days were filled with shopping for traditional clothing and gifts for friends, watching Bollywood movies with my cousins, looking back at old photos, learning how to cook Indian dishes from my grandmother, and spending quality time with family. I even got to go to a wedding with my family and dress up in handmade traditional clothing my grandma stitched for me!

For the next two weeks, my family and I left for a world tour of India. We visited family and national monuments in 5 cities including Tirputi, Chennai, Delhi, Agra, and Bhimvaram. In Delhi, we visited the Agra Fort the main residence of a Mughal emperor in the 1500s. Our tour guide didn’t speak English so I took a lot of time taking photos and just trying to wrap my head around how something so beautiful could be built in those times. The next day, we took a day trip to the Taj Mahal and woke up at 4 am to beat the rush and experience the monument in peace. Let me tell you, it was worth it. I now understand why it is one of the seven wonders of the world. We spent hours sitting on a bench staring at it mesmerized by its size and beauty. The last stop on our tour was my dad's hometown Bhimvaram. Here he took me around to see the village he grew up in and introduced me to his childhood friends who still lived in the area. Seeing how excited he was to be back in the place he calls home was so special and something I will never forget.

Overall, being in India is like living through an alter ego. I speak a different language, wear different clothes, eat different food, and partake in different activities. As a child, I was always ashamed of where I was from and thought being a part of a different culture and having different values made me stand out in a negative way. As I grew older I learned that this is far from true. Coming into college, I remember being afraid of whether or not I would find a place that would accept all the different sides of me. In the end, I found that and more through ADPi. The constant support I feel and the importance that the chapter brings to DE&I is why I choose to call this chapter home. True friends do not care about where I come from or how I look, but who I am as an individual. I feel extremely lucky to call a country like India home and to be able to immerse myself in its culture and I'm even more thankful to ADPi for not only accepting but valuing this part of who I am.

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