pre-christmas pt 1?

While taking a break from packing, eating, showering, and preparing for a new journey (back to Bombay) I’m going to try to give some updates on everything. I wanted to write last week, but couldn’t find the time. I’ve been running so much and by the time I get home I eat, chat with my friends (whoever might be on line in the morning time in the US), and sleep. Even with that, I never get to sleep earlier than 12.
Last weekend we – the capoeira group from Bombay and I – went to Alibaug, small beach town about 4 hours from Pune. I decided to leave last minute. I received several text messages from folks asking if I was coming. It feels so good to know that people want you around, not saying that I don’t think other people want you around, but I also think it’s a part of the culture to make sure people are ok and that they know that you’re wanted. I love it. Saturday morning, before going to work, I decided to make the journey. It was a great bus ride, as you can see, or will see, from some of the photos. We spent the evening sitting by the beach with a bonfire, playing music, being silly, playing cards, and chatting. Even though we went to sleep super late, we all woke up around 9ish and played music, ate breakfast, played a lot of capoeira on the beach. It was a really amazing time. Amu, one of the guys from the group, has a house right along the beach. Everything is open (which made the night kind of tricky because it was a little chilly). The trip was amazingly fun. Even though I feel very connected with the people in this group, they make me miss my friends a lot. I’m lucky though to have found a group of folks here who are like my friends from home, silly, fun, and a little crazy in a good way.
I remembered what happened last week. I was trying to move out. Well, I met the landlord of this new place; he’s an 85 year old man who sat me down for a proper interview. I was very exhausted that evening and his questions dragged on. He ranted for a good 5 minutes questioning my organization and why we train teachers for our programs if that’s something people learn at universities. He also made the brokers ask if I was staying alone, that I wouldn’t have guests over and no musty (mischief). I informed them that my friends do come over, that there would be no musty and that if it’s my place then they should leave me alone. Boys wouldn’t be allowed over, but the problem is that I have friends who are boys, so I couldn’t oblige that either. His son lives below that flat so he could keep his eye on me and would be like a little family. He said he would take a day or two to think about it. The brokers didn’t really seem that happy but accepted it. The landlord called my office the next day to ask about the organization and me. He asked things like, what’s the financial position and stability. I think he really made the HR manager upset. After all of that, I decided that it would be exchanging one headache for another if I moved, so I might as well pay 500 less for a headache that I already know about.
What else…Work is going well. My mom said that she can’t really explain what I do to everyone who asks, so I guess I’ll go into that a little more. We have 23 centers across Pune. In those centers there are teachers and volunteers who work with our kids for 2.5 hours on weekdays. They teach English, values, math, and do community service projects. Our teachers, who at one point in time might have been volunteers with us, do not come from the field of teaching. Many of them have other jobs in the afternoons, are retired, or quit their job in another field because it wasn’t what they wanted to do. This isn’t everyone, but these are just some stories I’ve heard. The come to us with a little experience, but we guide them, along with some great resources, on how to conduct a class, how to engage kids, what direction they should go. Many teachers don’t need our guidance, some need more support than others. Some centers don’t have a teacher so they get by with great volunteers, some of our office members go and take centers for days. The education is the same all over the world. There’s never enough teachers. Anyway, we plan different events for the teachers and the kids, different trainings, different opportunities. It’s a lot more teaching related than my last job. I love working with the kids though. That never changes.
Before I post this and get back to packing, cleaning, and getting clean myself, I thought I’d update that I taught a “batch” at a gym this evening. They made capoeira signs and advertised throughout the gym. It was a great first class. I was so excited and nervous. At first it seemed as if only 5 people were coming, but there were around 20 folks. The trainers said that they even want to make a special request so that they can take the class as well.
I might post more later, but I have a lot of packing to do. We have a meeting in Bombay tomorrow and Thursday and I took Friday off to spend with friends in Bombay. I’ll be there until Sunday. I’m excited.

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