First Weekend

Friday. I’ve made it through a half a week here. It feels like I’ve been here less than that, but it seems like I’ve been away from home for forever. I’m looking for apartments this weekend. Nothing can really happen until I have a place of residence; I can’t get a sim card for my phone, I can’t get internet in my house, I can’t figure out a gym to register with, I can’t register myself with the government. On Sunday I’m going to look for places in Aundh with a girl from work, Janvhi.
I’m waiting for stomach problems to arise. Today at the school visit I participated in Diwali celebrations, which included eating homemade food from the kids’ houses. This happened at both centers I went to. So far I’m ok, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings. I also met some of the most enthusiastic girls that I’ve ever met. I wish I could remember their names. They were very excited to show me any and everything, ask me many questions, and speak in English. For their last service project they created a small library for the community. To do this they even asked around to see what days people (kids) would use it. It is one small cabinet, but it is highly used. After their class, they took Susie and myself there. There was a line of small children ready to exchange their books. After showing me their library and the temple right next to it, all they wanted was for me to take their picture on the jungle gym. It reminded me of the kids in Guatemala by the cancha (large concrete area – used for drying coffee and also as a soccer field).

Saturday:
I spent the early afternoon looking for a flat in Koregon Park. It’s weird that I think that $200 rent is expensive. My housing stipend covers me for 10,000 Rupee, a little over $200. Gas can get expensive so I’ve heard, and when you hear others getting a furnished apartment for 4,000 or 6,000 Rupee, it makes those that are 14,000 seem ridiculous, even though it’s technically only about $300, seem expensive. Needless to say I didn’t get any apartments. It was exciting to travel around on the back of a moped of the old hippie real estate guy. He used to do yoga with the guy who initiated the ashram here. We discussed some politics and education. It was also unnerving to find out that he and his wife are still recovering from Dengue. I now think about my many mosquito bits a little differently.
He insisted brining me back to Susie’s apartment, so Susie, her husband and I got a beer at a “jazz bar.” I was excited to hear that they have live music on Thursdays. I hope to go there to see what they have to offer. After we came back, I got some gym clothes to see if I could get into one of the gyms on a day pass. On my way there I saw an Elephant!!! It was just walking amongst the traffic. There was a guy on it and its face was painted with an ohm. I’m thinking it might be out and about for Diwali, but I’m not sure at all. Of course I didn’t bring my camera, but a photo from my iphone will have to do. I didn’t get to the gym, but I did find a little park where a bunch of folks were playing soccer, so I sat down to watch. Nightlife isn’t exactly the lower east side. After a trip to the internet café I went home and waited to hear from my sister. It was really nice talking to someone who knows me, who can give me a great pep talk and tell me all of the goings on. It does feel like I’ve been gone forever for some reason.
I do accept all phone calls. I’m usually home after 8/9ish, this will be until next week some time when I get an apartment but please, call! I’ll post this number and when I get a cell phone anyone can call at any time, but for now, please call from the hours of 11am-1:00pm ☺ 011- 91- 20- 2615 – 6735.

Sunday:
Today was a productive, in some ways, day. I woke up a half hour before the alarm clock went off and contemplated on going running for a few moments. Unlike being at home with a million and one other things to do, I decided to take the time for me and go for that run. There’s one lane in Koregon Park with big mansions and less traffic. There’s greenery along the road. Before running it I thought it was much longer. I wove in and out of several streets, going back and forth a couple times. I feel much better. Although I knew I needed to bring my heart rate up to release endorphins, I always forget how much better it feels after exercising. I did some capoeira movements a few times in my room, but nothing’s like a capoeira class or a good run.
I went to Aundh to meet with Janvhi. We painted dias (little clay flower like trays) used for the Diwali holiday, we looked for apartments on Pune flat share – unsuccessfully, and watched Grey’s Anatomy. That’s the only show I ever watch, so it felt good to catch up on some episodes. On our way out she asked her upstairs neighbors if they could check on their work’s bulletin board. I looked at an apartment in Koregon Park this evening as well. The girls were really nice, but it would be sharing a room with one of them. I’m not sure I can give up that much privacy.
I also got a chance to speak to my friend Chapel, from grad school, who lives in Delhi. It was really nice speaking to a familiar voice that knows a bit of what I’m feeling and going through. He was great and found a bunch of list servs for expats living in Pune, for people looking to share apartments, etc. Hopefully something will come up tomorrow.

    • gaurav
    • November 1st, 2010

    just keep going..you are doing wonderful. India will be a huge shock to your system, allow yourself to be felt, turned, delighted and tormented. It is a relationship that you will not forget. Pune is a lovely way to get to know India. It has a lot of bars , so you should have options in the evening. Go to Thousand Oaks..in the weekend, if you want you can go to Mumbai…its only 3 hrs away on a bus…and remember to be firm in your bargaining!! enjoy! beautiful blog

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