Ever been to The Taj Mahal in France?

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Greetings from France!

I’ll be reporting from an ocean’s distance closer to India from now on, as I am about to start a Master’s program in Dijon in a couple of weeks…

It’s good to be back after a year away from my “second set” of family and friends. Things are just as I left them, for the most part, and the beauty of fall in France is a nice welcome.

But I’m still homesick. I miss my family and dear friends in the States. Facebook gives an odd sense of closeness: I see events going on around the town I left, I comment on ideas and updates. In the end, though, I am too far away for hugs and strolls down Bardstown Road and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

My fiancé, Nicolas, knows I’m homesick. So, he did what any man would do and took his girl out for Indian food.

Yes, the first date-night dinner we shared was at the Taj Mahal, a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant whose scents of curry and coriander and cumin wafted into the narrow French street and brought a sense of security to a girl so far from home. I could not have chosen a better place than this little purple-walled, vibrantly decorated place.

(It’s sometimes hard to find [good] ethnic food in France, which has always been one of my chief concerns about living here. [Does that sound strange?] Coming from food-centric Louisville, I am pretty demanding when it comes to variety. You should have seen how much Mexican food I ate in the weeks before my departure. Ghastly.)

Nicolas and I loaded up on Indian comfort food, beginning with vegetable samosas and chicken skewers and fresh naan. Then there was curry. Buttery, basmati-fied curry. As they say in France, “eet was zee best!”

(They don’t really say that in France.)

At the end of the evening, I was feeling a bit philosophical. Existential questions included, “how does a girl from Kentucky come to France and feel comforted by Indian food?”

Well, my friends, I think it has to do with associations. I’ve never been to India, you know. I didn’t even grow up with a vast knowledge of Indian cuisine. But in this last year, Anchal has brought me closer to India, and to my sisters there, than I imagined possible. By working with Colleen and Maggie and the rest of the Anchal gang, I’ve developed a funny sort of long distance connection with people I have never met, not to mention a tangible connection with the amazing women and men working stateside on the Anchal Project.

Staying connected, even in small ways, is good for the soul. My little French Taj Mahal reminded me of Anchal, and how grateful I am that I can stay involved, even across the Atlantic.

Now, that’s some powerful stuff, right?! If you’re reading this and wondering if this kind of Didi love is your thing, don’t hesitate to get involved! We need you!

-Emily

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