Holi is a holiday where you throw colors (wet or dry) on people. This is what I did with myself this weekend. I went out with some of my friends in Mumbai. We painted each other various colors and then went to the beach to wash it off. It was fun. It was also pretty awesome to see the streets full of colorful people. Even on the train there were people with red, purple, pink, blue, green, and yellow faces. I have photos that don’t see to want to upload. I’ll have to deal with that later.
There are so many things that I feel I need to update you all on (I know I say that all the time). Here is a short list and commentary on a few of the things on my list of topics I need to address.
The homesickness is dying down a bit. One reason is because I made my parents call me a lot last week, the other is because I’ve been very occupied with my bike. I’m finally getting the hang of it. Most of the time I get scared because I can’t shift into first gear, not because of the traffic. This morning I went to a center pretty far away. I managed well I think. Managing well means I didn’t crash or get hit. My mirror did get brushed on my way to the office though. It’s not a peaceful ride, and it definitely keeps me on my toes.
Other things that have changed since my friends have been here include my perception of how much I’ve changed; also on how I’m malleable. The food and the traffic were things that I knew I would adapt to, and adapt to fast. If I didn’t I might have been miserable here. Another thing is the pollution and weather. I will complain about how hot is here now, but the pollution has to be really bad to affect me. The heat also is getting a little out of control. When Erin and Noemi were here, I could bear it much more than they cold. It also didn’t help that they were coming from New York where it was still very cold. I also found myself talking about water and energy conservation a lot more, explaining how I turn off the tap, make sure all the lights are off, that I’m not doing anything in excess. I’m also more conscious of Indian culture. I could have taken the tourist route when they were around but I didn’t; I ate with my hands, tried to keep up with other cultural norms. I can’t think of them now, but there are some small subtleties that make me feel more comfortable being here than I thought besides the language and the food. Erin pointed out that I’m definitely better with spicy food than I used to be. I can actually eat spice now. I used to have no tolerance. I’m proud of my taste buds.
It’s gotten really hot here. I mean really, really hot. It’s not even summer yet and we get to the high 90s. I’m definitely going to melt in the summer. I can’t imagine that it could get much hotter than this. The only good thing is that here in Pune, it’s a dry heat. That could also be bad because you don’t realize you’re dehydrated, but at least I’m not a sweaty mess all the time.
This weekend I took a bus and then a van to and from Mumbai. I took a bus because it was the graduation day of our 10th standard girls at one of our centers. This center is a home. Most of the girls are not orphans, but some are. Most of the girls will go back to their homes in a few weeks. It was a great event. My coworker put together a great slideshow of them throughout the years they’ve been with Akanksha; their mentors spoke, their teachers spoke, staff members spoke, I spoke. It was a really nice send off. They’ll be around for another two weeks or so. I don’t want to miss them.
The bus ride was nice. It was a smooth ride, air conditioned, with one stop. It was perfect. I’m going to get spoiled. I put some music in my ears and passed out for two hours. It was something I really needed. On the way back a van that was traveling to Pune found me on my way to the bus. It’s Rs100 cheaper to take the vans so I hopped in. Although it’s not as nice as the bus, I still managed to pass out for a little over an hour as the wind from the open window hit my face. It wasn’t pleasant, but I got home safe and sound. It’s a much different experience than taking the train. People still stare, sometimes people talk, but no one really engaged in conversation. I guess passing out didn’t really help either. On the way back at the rest stop there was some shuffling around of passengers in vans. I ended up in a different van than I came in, in order to get a little closer to my home. It all seems so shady but for some reason it works. I think it goes with a bit of the chaos that happens here. I think it can be described as semi organized chaos.
Tomorrow, March 22, is World Water Day. I’m celebrating it with some of the kids at one of our centers by making save water posters that they will then post throughout this section of the city. My eyes are closing as I write so I think that means it’s time for bed. Goodnight. Think of tomorrow as Earth Day but for water. You can look it up on line, just under World Water Day.

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