The start of a new life


Kyle Milligan, Coeditor

On Oct. 3, 2007 freshman Jeanne Yedo moved to India. Her life was suddenly turned upside down. She would later find out that this change would be positive.

Yedo said her move to India was due to her mother’s career.

“My mom got a promotion,” Yedo said, “and everyone agreed it would be a good experience.”

Yedo’s mom, Julia Yedo said she wanted the move to serve as a learning experience for her children.

“I felt strongly about providing the kids an experience,” Julia Yedo said, “that would show them how differently others live in the world outside of Johnson County, Kan. I knew they would then understand how privileged we are, and how lucky we are to have been born in the USA.”

Although the move was a big change, Yedo was somewhat looking forward to it.

“I was mostly excited,” Yedo said. “I felt a bit sad the day before I left. The thought of going to a different country cast other emotions into shade.”

Yedo and her family moved to Bangabre, the south middle part in Karnatika where the area was not so appealing.

“It literally looked like the slums,” Yedo said.

Julia Yedo said leaving their home was hard on her children but they soon began to embrace India.

“It probably took them about three months to fully get used to India,” Julia Yedo said. “I think they learned a lot and when we asked them what they would do if they had this type of opportunity come up for their own families, they all said they would take them to India.”

Yedo went to an international school with grades K-12 separated into four buildings.

“It was an international school,” Yedo said, “so mostly my grade was made up of Indians that were born and raised in America, but then moved back to India with their parents. There were only a few people who didn’t speak English fluently and they still had good enough knowledge to communicate.”

Yedo said school was very different in India compared to schools where she went in the U.S.

“Everyone was a lot more relaxed,” Yedo said, “since most of the kids like me were only staying for a span of one to four years. Nothing was that serious and everyone just lived in the moment. The teachers had zero control of their classes, and there were few days when the teacher simply didn’t show up at school. No one called for substitute teachers either.”

Yedo said equality between the two genders was not the same in India as in the United States.

“Before, I went to a school where girls and boys were treated roughly the same,” Yedo said. “In India, girls were treated with a tighter hand than boys.”

One thing the school in India and SM North have in common are school assemblies.

“Every single Wednesday we would sing the National Anthem of India, sing the school song, and then listen to the principal blabber on about something he thought was important. Usually it wasn’t.”

Julia Yedo said that people can get a sense of the poverty and living conditions if they watch the movie Slum Dog Millionaire.

“India is a country of opportunities if you have wealth and are born into the right caste,” Julia Yedo said. “There is a huge population of very poor people, many who live in a home of cinder blocks with a blue tarp for a roof. Everyone is hustling for a few rupees to feed their families.”

After only one year Yedo’s mother received another promotion prompting them to move back.

“I was sad that we were leaving,” Yedo said.

Yedo said what she will miss the most in India is the food.

“My favorite restaurant is still Bagini, an Indian restaurant that served the spiciest food I’ve ever had,” Yedo said. “Chili chicken is my all-time favorite.”

Julia Yedo said she was somewhat relieved for the kids to come back to the United States.

“The kids were having a lot of fun,” Julia Yedo said, “but it was becoming very apparent that the international school was not meeting our standards. However, I can say I miss a lot about India and can’t wait to go back for vacation and a trip to Bagini will be on the list of things to do.”

Despite the fact that Yedo and her family left India she still stays in touch with the people she met there.

“I met many people from all around the world,” Yedo said. “We talk through Facebook all the time.”

From living in India Yedo said she learned about culture and values.

“It makes you see the big picture and what’s really important,” Yedo said.