December 31, 2009


[Insert "Annie" tune.] We're gonna fly out... tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun (at least in Gujarat, that is). I cannot believe our GSE trip is finally here! Here's the countdown:
  • 1 hour 'till we ring in the New Year,
  • 9 hours 'till our group meets at the airport,
  • 13 hours 'till we depart Atlanta, and
  • 42 hours 'till we arrive in India!

What an incredible way to kick off the New Year. Happy 2010 (early)!

December 30, 2009

Two Days and Counting

The anticipatory emails are scorching the ether. The team SEEMS to be prepared and the tying of loose ends is the order of the day. Our Indian hosts have been busy organizing our vocational days and clearing our itineraries with Rotary International.

December 8, 2009

Final preparations

What a way to hail in the new year. On Jan. 1, the District 6900 Group Study Exchange (GSE) team will depart for Gujarat, India.

Since August, our five-member group has met to prepare for a 30-day adventure in the northwestern state that borders Pakistan. Each month we have learned of Rotary's expectations and our respective responsibilities.

At the meetings we were graciously joined by guest speakers — former District Governor Robert Hall, past GSE team member Jennifer Myers, and Gujarat natives Keyuri Joshi and her father Bipin Bhatt — who shared their knowledge of Rotary’s charitable endeavors or spoke upon the Indian culture. We were welcomed into the home of Holly Sims and feasted on beyond-delicious cuisine (like watermelon gazpacho) from chefs Kate Barney and David Bies, formerly of Restaurant Eugene.We thank all for their generosity and kindness.

We also extend whole-hearted appreciation to the Rotary clubs of Buckhead and Sandy Springs from where our members hail; District Governor Roy Strickland and all the region’s clubs for sponsoring our trip; GSE District Chair George Siggins for his insightful leadership; and the club members of District 3060 in Gujarat who have shown us great hospitality, albeit mostly through electronic mail.

I can say it's already been an extraordinary experience, as well as a challenge (only the best adventures are both). Along with securing Indian visas and enduring sore arms from multiple vaccines, each team member has been individually studying and preparing for what fast approaches them.

With less than a month before departure, the GSE team now must tie up loose ends and take a deep breath, as soon they fly far from the familiar to land in the unknown.

October 21, 2009

The first post

In about two months, five Atlantans will leave for a month-long adventure in India. As members of the Group Study Exchange program sponsored by Rotary International, the four young professionals and one seasoned Rotarian will journey to the western state of Gujarat. There the team will present to local Rotary clubs, gain vocational experience and visit attractions all the while immersing themselves in the Indian culture. Members will stay with Rotarians from Gujarat and enjoy activities with the host families.

Please visit often for more tales from the team.