10 years ago to the day I started at a new school.
The American International School of Chennai, or AISC, in India.
I was born and raised in Australia - Happy Australia Day! - and while I was well-used to moving house, or even interstate, this was a total shock to the system.
Culture shock was rampant. I went from a very strict private school (where once a boy was asked to leave because his Sikh turban and beard didn’t adhere to dress and uniform codes, yeah.) to a progressive American school where uniforms were only worn by the armed guards that patrolled the grounds.
It was the most incredible, challenging, and defining period of my life so far.
I learned about life and other cultures at such a young age and now have the most wonderful friends dotted all over the globe.
My mother is sadly not computer literate (despite owning a full suite of Apple iProducts), so scanning and emailing the pictures that just predate consumer digital cameras was a bit too much for her.
Pinterest and old Facebook albums to the rescue!
Auto rides around town during our lunch breaks - my mother would kill me if she knew how often I careened around in these.
India Week at school meant traditional dress! Now this photo is OLD. That’s me in cream.
Fisherman’s Cove resort had a gorgeous pool and swim-up bar. It’s a bit of a hike along the ECR out of Chennai, but I lived way out by the beach so it was ideal. If you’re an expat kid, then legal age and ID aren’t really an issue; you are hitting nightclubs from the age of 14.
I came back to Chennai for a visit in ‘06, to see some of my friends graduate.
Aditi (left) and I have an amazing friendship. We still manage to see each other almost every year now that she works in Chicago…
Reunited this summer in London, 5 years later :-)
Aditi trying her first Guinness at my 18th birthday party in Dublin… perhaps it’s an acquired taste.
And here are some pictures that evoke nostalgia and memories… curated from Pinterest and some light Googling:
Don’t even get me started on how much I miss the food.
For my Indian street food fix in London I discovered Roti Chai near Marble Arch tube station, an amazing little place that even sells Kurkure, cinnamon biscuits, and authentic Chai. Tucked behind Oxford St you can skip on Pret-a-blander. I find the Indian food on Brick Lane vile and nothing like real Indian.
It’s really cheap, great for sharing, lighter than a greasy takeaway, and best of all, absolutely no risk of amoebic dysentery!
Now I’m a little homesick for Chennai.