a visit from mumbai

My friend came from Mumbai on Sunday to hang out with my friends and me. It was amazing fun. I call him my little brother. For raksha bandhan I tied a rakhi around his wrist to basically say I’m his sister and we’ll take care of each other. If I had a real brother I’d want him to be like him. We left at 7am in order to avoid any Ganpati festival traffic and obstructions on the train. The festival is very, very big here in Maharashtra. I’m a little upset that I didn’t get to go to a big Ganpati visarjan (where the put the Ganpati statue in the water) but I’m a little anti the festival because materials like Styrofoam are dumped into the water because it’s a part of the festival. Some statues are made out of clay, but many aren’t. many visarjans consist of people getting quite drunk and dancing around. Many visarjans have huge drum corps that play awesome beats. I’ve been listening to them practice on my way home at night.
Back to Pune, we slept the whole afternoon, he met my landlady who gave him a bout of 20 questions, grilling him on who he is, what he does, where he comes from, etc to see if it’s ok if he stays in my room. I found it a bit amusing. We went out for the evening to my friend and student Kritika’s house. She has a great terrace and all of the capoeira group and some extra friends came over for some food and drink. We’ve been out as a group twice since Sunday and although I’ve said it before, I finally feel like I have a group here, a “family” for lack of a better word. Last night, a new student, a friend, who’s also from the US said that this is what has been missing in his time in India. We were out after capoeira class eating at a burger place (no beef). Everyone was talking, eating, laughing, making fun of each other. We’ve been around each other long enough to “get” each other. We make plans for the weekend, we call each other for free time, to do “time pass.”
On a side note I’ve continued to adopt little Indianisms like time pass, which essentially means hanging out, or passing the time. It makes so much sense. Sometimes I catch myself forgetting articles, mostly when I say I’m coming from office. If you hear something enough times, you adopt it. I definitely have the head shake, I have a really bad case of the head shakes. You shake your head for yes, for no, for maybe. You also say ha, ha, with a nasal a sound. That means yes. I do that sometimes when I speak Portuguese with my Mozambique friends.
People are kind. At the InspirED conference, my manager met a woman who works at a private school in an area close to one of our centers. They offered to give our kids free computer classes as well as transportation to their school once a week. They’re providing for everything. It’s pretty great. I went to visit the school today. It’s a beautiful building. Oddly enough, they have a partnership with a school or set of schools in Sweden. In the headmaster’s office, there was a drawing with an Indian and Swedish flag. While on a tour of the school I mentioned that I hadn’t seen that many foreigners all together in a while and they mentioned they had an exchange program with a school in Sweden. That’s different.
I’m also on the move again, meaning, I’m moving in with a friend of mine. Everything is on the other side of town. Even in no traffic, to get home in the evening takes me about a half an hour. I can’t go home between work and class because it’s in the opposite direction. There’s actually nothing in this direction except my home and a nice neighborhood. Since my contract runs out, and I have a friend to move in with, I’m off. We found a great place, we’ll see if we can take down the rent a little bit, and then we’ll move. I’m excited.
My friend Gaytri said that the rains would stop after Ganpati. They have a little bit. There were two days with almost no rain. Except for the massive downpour yesterday and today, there’s been no rain. At least now I’m getting soaked on my way home as opposed to on my way to a center or the office.

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