All the best

Below are links to the blogs I published this year which I consider my best. Enjoy!

26 May, 2010Why I’m spending 11 months in India next year
4 July, 2010Why you don’t need to be sad when I leave
31 July, 2010On the digestion of Indian culture
20 August, 2010Tabla, Tirakita, and avoiding the Indian timepass
10 November, 2010RYLA, Part two
24 November, 2010South Tour: Ooty
29 November, 2010South Tour: Alleppy
4 December, 2010South Tour: Kochi
13 December, 2010South Tour: Mumbai & Nagpur
25 December, 2010Christmas in India: Part three
25 December, 2010Christmas in India: Part eight
29 January, 2011Something to make you smile
1 February, 2011Why I woke up at 5:55 on a Sunday
11 February, 2011“Foreigner!” – The saga of standing out in India, Parts onetwo & three
23 February, 2011Cricket: A new kind of fandom
4 March, 2011North Tour: Jaisalmer: Once upon a camel
7 March, 2011North Tour: Dharamsala: An antidote for hubbub
16 March, 2011North Tour: Varanasi & Bodhgaya: A picture or 1,000 words?
26 March, 2011North Tour: Kolkata: Something India shouldn’t have
30 March, 2011Cricket: India versus Pakistan
2 April, 2011Cricket: India versus Sri Lanka
14 April, 2011Zindagi achii hai (Life is good)
24 May, 2011The saga of a Chicago Cubs baseball cap


For the time being, this is the end of my blog.

My exchange technically ended when I met my mom at the O’Hare airport in Chicago on 8 June, but in reality it didn’t end until a month later, at the Central States Rotary Youth Exchange conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 7-10 July.

At the conference I met hundreds of other exchange students going to and coming from dozens of countries around the world: France, Poland, Mexico, Taiwan, Peru, Spain, Chile, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, The Faroe Islands, The Philippines, Brazil, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, India… The list of countries goes on and on, and each person I met had at least one interesting story to tell. I met three students about to leave for India, two Indians who had spent the year in America, and four I knew who had just spent the year there. It was the best weekend I’d had since arriving back in America, in spite of the fact the DJ turned down our three requests to play Sheila Ki Jawani at all three evening dances.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my departure for India. 365 days ago I left America for a country I knew little about, and 42 days ago, I returned an expert – that is, as close to being an expert on India as an American can be.

This isn’t the end of writing for me. Not at all. I’ll probably keep blogging in some capacity, and there’s a chance I could land a job that would publicize my writings. I’ve decided to write a book about my exchange, and much of it will be based on what I’ve written here, on An Indian Year. I don’t know when it will be published, or even how, but when it is, you’ll certainly hear about it.

And I’m certainly not saying goodbye to India. I can never bid farewell to a country I’ve grown to love as much as India. Someday I’ll return. That’s a promise.

Thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to read my blog and learn a bit about India, America, or both. You are my motivators. You are the ones who kept me going this year whenever I started to feel lazy. You are the ones who lit the sparks for the best entries I wrote. I’ll forever be grateful to everyone who contributed to my exchange – my Indian family, my American family, my Indian friends, my American friends, Rotary in India, Rotary in America, and all the exchange students I’ve met, wherever in the world they’re from.

Thanks to all of you, I can deem my exchange – and my writings on it – successful.

All the best.



9 Responses to “All the best”

  1. Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

    Chris, Miss your writing! Are you writing on some other place, any new blog?

    • cyoder Says:

      At the moment, I’m not writing a blog. However, I am currently working for the sports department of The Daily Californian in Berkeley, California. You can go to for excellent journalism by my colleagues.

  2. Marie Midtlid Says:

    Hi. My name is Marie, and I’m a student journalist at a high school in Indiana. For the next issue of our newspaper I’m writing a story about outbound exchange, and I found your blog! It looks like you’ve had an awesome time, and I would love to inspire more people to do exchange programs, because I believe it’s so rewarding for the future. I wonder if you would like to answer some questions, about your time abroad? In that case please reply to my e-mail,, as soon as possible, or contact me on my blog: . Thank you! -Marie Midtlid

  3. Brian Allen Says:

    Was thinking of you and your blog entries as I sat watching “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. Don’t know how accurate it was, but it reminded me of some of the things you wrote about.

  4. Megan Jones Says:

    Hello! I am a future exchange student to india. I have two quick questions: did you speak hindi in school? And did you learn hindi and a regional dialect or just hindi? Thanks!!

  5. Megan Jones Says:

    I think I found the answer to my first question in your blog actually. Oops! second question still stands. Another though: how fluent would you say you were when the year was through?

    • cyoder Says:

      Hi Megan. I lived with a Marathi-speaking host family in a part of India where Hindi is the link language. Meanwhile some of my friends’ families spoke Gujarati, Sanskrit, and Bengali. In addition, Indian English takes some getting used to. It was jarring, disorienting, and 9/10 of the time I couldn’t understand anything. So there’s really not much you can do about learning the regional dialect until you hear from your host family. India is like Europe: very linguistically diverse.

      Still, I’d recommend you start learning Hindi as soon as possible, since there’s really no downside to learning it. Don’t be discouraged if your host family speaks another language at home. If you’re in a good school, the classes should be in English. (If not, that’s a red flag.) But in north and central India, Hinglish will be the language of your peers.

      To learn an Indian language, you will need to find a good tutor, so pester your Rotary club and your host family to find you one. They’re called “tutions.” I knew no Hindi when I traveled to India, and my ability to navigate the culture skyrocketed when I started taking Hindi tutions.

      To summarize:
      1- Learn Hindi now, but be prepared to hear other languages.
      2- Fight like hell to learn the appropriate language when you’re there.
      3- Don’t be afraid to learn a third language as well.

      • Megan Jones Says:

        This is so helpful! I plan to learn some hindi with rosetta stone but I’m expecting to still be pretty perplexed when I arrive. I also would love to learn a third language if that’s how things worked out! Thanks for the advice about tutions I don’t think I would have ever discovered that from my internet research. Thank you so much for your speedy reply!

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