almost a year and…

Before my computer dies again I thought I’d get in another post about the goings on as they’ve been important. I went to Mumbai on Thursday so that I could go to the FRRO office first thing in the morning on Friday. A friend of mine came with me for company and just in case I needed some translation. He was great moral support. The FRRO office in Mumbai is much, much, much more organized, nicer, friendlier, and efficient than the one in Pune. After a short wait of almost an hour I got the information that I can stay here, and if I want to leave before I get my extension, I’ll have to get an exit or return visa so that I can leave and come back. So much of a stress relief. I wasn’t sleeping properly because of all of this. I have an interesting story to go along with the FRRO office visit. I was teaching my friend some words in Portuguese when this man leaned over across some of the seats and asked, “Vocé e Brasilera?” I said, in Portuguese, that I wasn’t, and gave him a brief rundown of how I speak Portuguese, etc. and eventually, through conversation, he told me his story. He told me in Portuguese because he didn’t want to create a fuss. He’s from Rio, from Recreio, a really nice beach area of Rio. He worked in silver. He’s been in India for five years. He’s spent more than three of those years in Shantaram, a jail, for allegedly smuggling drugs. It took him over three years to be proven innocent and to have all charges dropped. He was waiting for his exit visa so he could finally go home. They told him to come back next week and he wasn’t having it. Finally, after some maneuvering and speaking to the officers in Hindi (to their surprise) they said that he could go home on Tuesday. He said it was a pleasure to meet us and went on his way. It was a great story.
I spent the rest of the weekend I spent relaxing. I was going to do many thing, but I ended up just spending time with my friends, not doing anything. On the train back to Pune I looked over at someone’s newspaper. All the headlines were about 9-11. It’s strange not to be in New York or to feel like it’s even September. Times like these I feel quite disconnected.
I also realized that I can now say I’ve been here almost a year. That’s a bit crazy for me. I don’t have to say I’ve been here X amount of months, I can not round to a year. Today we’re having a mini party, just because. We’re not celebrating Ganpati, (I’ll write about that later hopefully), we’re just gathering. It’s capoeira friends mostly, we’re now a little family, a group of friends. It’s an amazing feeling. I need to nap – I had no sleep last night, so I’m off.

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