Posts Tagged ‘ travel ’

birthday, staying…

Last weekend was a birthday fun filled ball of Gayatri. It started with a lovely face painting party at home and we never really made it out. Manoj bought Gayatri face paints and it was her present to be able to paint everyone’s face. She matched each design to each person perfectly. It involved the elements of a party, music, some alcohol and a group of really fun loving people. It was so much fun. We talked and acted super silly as adults should and had a great time. Even new people from our group joined in and seemed to have a great time. We are now three Westerners – 2 Americans and 1 Canadian – all girls. It’s nice to have some folks from the West back in my life. The last time I had that was Maite and she’s been gone for a while now. They’ll both be here through most of the winter.
The party turned a little sour when we saw that the police were coming. Our music was off by 12:00, and although we were talking loud, I don’t think we were half as loud as the guys who used to live across the hall from us. They used to party until 2am with loud music. I used to store their beer in our fridge. Anyway, they barged into our home. I was told to go in the room and sleep while they were here. They came into my room and observed Gayatri and I sleeping for a while. One of them commented that, “you know how German girls are.” First of all, no, I don’t, second, I’m not German! It was awful and we didn’t appreciate them being here. Strangely enough they wanted to take all of us to the precinct for disturbing the peace but they were on a motorcycle and there were more than 8 of us here. I wonder how that would have happened. Anyway, after an hour and a half of negotiations, they left. It was a bit nuts to say the least. It made the party even more memorable.
The rest of the weekend went by slowly for a change and was perfect. It consisted of lazy days and long conversations with friends – silly, serious, politics, socially conscious, etc. It helped me come to the conclusion to stay a little bit longer. My two years is up on the 26th of October – contract up, time to come home. Only now I can say it’s just not time to go back to the States, at least not yet. I don’t want to write any more about that here. Some things I don’t write about, and that’s all I’m really going to say about this here.
There are exciting progressions happening at work. I’m making travel plans, making staying at home plans, it’s going to be an exciting couple of months coming up.
This Sunday we’re taking our kids, and some work kids are also going, to the Vipassana center to participate in a kids day.

Indian Yom Kippur

Why is my roommate amazing? We were on our way home and there was an older man who seemed like he was struggling to walk. We waited for a moment (we were in the car) and he was having trouble breathing; if he was drunk we were going to leave, if not we would help. Manoj got out of the car to see what was wrong. Apparently he was working but then went to the hospital and didn’t have enough money for full treatment and they asked him to leave with partial treatment. He was trying to get to the bus station by foot. He showed signs of an asthma attack. He needed to get home which was around 4 hours from Pune. We dropped him at the bus stop and as we were telling the bus driver that he wasn’t well and asking him to look after him, he proceeded to kick him off the bus. His excuse was what if something happens to him on the way, who would take responsibility? He didn’t want to be responsible. Both of us were shocked. He finally agreed that if someone would watch over him on the bus he would take him. We spoke to one man on the bus who said ok but when we put the old man back on the bus, he was immediately kicked off again. Manoj and I were in awe at people’s inability to be nice to be someone. We argued with them for a while and called the man a bad man, the bus driver obtuse. I argued that they shouldn’t take anyone on the bus. What if something happened to him? It was awful. The old man felt bad. We put him on another bus and walked away. We didn’t say anything that time but when the bus pulled off he wasn’t on it. Apparently he vomited. We tried to get him on another bus but he said he would take the train at 10pm. Were we swindled? We don’t know. But we did it with good intentions and Manoj fought for him the whole time. I don’t know many people who would do that. It was valiant.
That same day I did a full day meditation at the Vipassana center about 10 km from my house. It wasn’t the same. I found it very difficult but a part of the teachings include not getting frustrated with obstacles. I have to accept them. What was very beneficial from the day was that I found out they have kids classes the first Sunday of every month. Next week we’re bringing a few of our kids and I’m brining some of work kids as well. I’m very excited for this.
Other goings on…I went to a conservative Jewish temple for Yom Kippur tonight. It was kind of by accident and very much for the experience. My friend Daniel invited me and I accepted. It was interested. I don’t think I’ve been to a synagogue since my Bat Mitzva and I would rarely identify myself as Jewish. I usually explain how in my blood I’m Jewish but don’t do anything Jewish. Anyway, it was interesting. Everyone was in white. I was in a maroon skirt with a green shirt. Everyone was very nice. It was also a Safardic Conservative temple. I went to an Ashkenazi Reform temple. When I went back in the evening for the blowing of the shofar I met Daniel’s mother. After the service I got to speak about his grandmother whom I also met. Daniel’s grandmother goes on my list of amazing people who I’ve met in my life. When she was 16 years in Burma, during the second world war, she was coming home from school and told her grandmother that she saw silver falling from the sky. They were bombs. With her sister and grandmother, they walked from Burma to Assam in India. At that time it was all one country. Her uncle and cousins were taken captive by the Japanese and then released once the war was over. Her two cousins were two of the first children of Israel after the war. They were children of the state. She walked at the age of 16 from Burma! I’m completely amazed.

post-vipassana happenings

I walked into my favorite south Indian restaurant, the one on the second floor of some unknown building and was greeted by the owner with a big, “Why were you in Madhya Pradesh?!” My friend is his travel agent and he was enquiring where his foreigner friend was because I hadn’t been to the restaurant in some time. It was a great welcome back.
Another welcome back came in the form of a text message from the FRO office. My visa was ready on Monday. This was almost exactly a month after I applied for it. This was a huge shock for everyone. No one believed it. For a while I thought that maybe they just rejected my visa and I started to come to terms with the fact that I’d have to come home in fifteen days (they give that much time as a grace period mostly). After sitting in the office, amused and enjoying that this would be the last time that I would have to sit in this office, I finally made it to the signature room – the main FRO officer who is in charge of visas called me into his room. The officer I worked with last year called me in. He signed my passport and hands it to me. Of course this was too good to be true. It was only extended until the end of October.
As with most things since being back, I managed to control myself quite well. I even managed to laugh a little bit. So, I’ll do this all over again.

Today was the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi. I had a day off which was amazing. For the first time, I attempted to make parathas. Because I love methi (fenugreek) and never feel motivated enough to make it because of the long cleaning and trimming process, Gayatri and I embarked on a methi mission. We made methi with channa dal as well as methi parathas. I feel quite successful. Afterwards we went the the kids’ house of course. We ran into them the other day and they said we had to come. They danced a lot! It’s always fun to watch them in their element of fun. Their families and community members have no hindrances towards us anymore. We could probably walk in at any point of the day on any day and feel at home.
I did just that with my coworker/friend. It was awesome. Each Ganesh statue has its own little temple around it. You perform a pooja to an aarti (song during the pooja). We walked through to receive three prasats (sweets given after the aarti). Mothers, sisters, and brothers greeted us with big smiles. One older brother exited the community on his motorcycle stopped short just to say hello. They all made sure we got prasat. Ishwar’s mom invited us in for dinner but we had already made plans with my coworker’s husband for dinner. It was really nice to feel completely 100% at home.

There has also been an influx of people into the capoeira class since I came back. I walked in on Monday to find that I didn’t know more than half of the people in the room. The new folks are super nice. There is one more American girl – we total three foreigner girls: 2 Americans, 1 Canadian. They all seem very enthusiastic and even come for juice after class. Our little community is growing.

Salsa in Banglore

Last weekend was tiring, amazing, full of energy, and full of dance. It also reminded me of the other side of India that I’m not always exposed to. I don’t get to see this part of India because of my social circle, but I think mainly because Pune isn’t a huge metropolitan city (although it’s slowly on its way). I went to Banglore to participate in a salsa congress. It was amazing. There were international artists from Italy, New York, Cuba, Japan, and Singapore. Salseros from all over India came to participate; from ALL over from Delhi to Chennai and everywhere in between. It’s pretty amazing, I think.
When I got to the airport in Banglore I did get a reminder that I’m not from here, that I look different. Often times amongst my friends I forget that I’m different and a foreigner. We’ve created such an atmosphere of friendship and sense of belonging that I forget that I’m different, if only on the outside. We danced from 9am until 4am every day. The mornings were full of workshops for different kinds of salsa and dance and the afternoons had a pool party with a DJ and more dancing. In the evenings shows and competitions preceded the party and after party. I made new friends, met old friends from the last congress, and danced a lot! It was exhausting in an amazing way.
I left early Monday morning, straight from the after party, and came home to make up for lost rest. It was Eid. Last year I spent some of Eid at my co-worker’s house. It is the celebration for the end of Ramadan and they have an amazing feast. Guests come over for some khir (a yummy noodly sweet dish) and some other food. I was invited yet again this week and happily broke my rest for some sweets.

Sinhgad and Kothaligad

Last weekend was more than should happen in just one weekend. The result, a huge headache that lasted for 3 days, a stomach problem where I actually submitted to taking medicine, and an amazing time with all of my friends which made it all worth it. On Friday we were supposed to watch a movie at Maite’s house. Maite is from Brazil and is studying ayurvedic medicine and who came to our group via the capoeira group in Mumbai where he sister is studying. We needed a cable to hook up her computer to her TV. This was a huge task and 3 people were involved, none of whom were able to get the correct chord that would make it work. We did end up with a lot of chords lying around and then didn’t end up starting the movie until past midnight. While some slept, some watched. We chatted afterwards and it quickly became 4am, wherein we decided to take a trip to Sinhgad, a peak in Pune that has a great view, especially for sunrise. We took a 45 minute car ride, 5 of us stuffed into one tiny car and walked up the green path to the “windy point.” The view was amazing. We were in and above clouds. It hasn’t really rained this rainy season but things were still green. It was beautiful, quiet, spacious and peaceful. Sometimes, even if it’s at 5am before the sun completely rises, you really need these things in your life. These things aren’t readily available in Pune. It’s crowded and based on my cussing at cars when they honk I’ve developed quite a tongue because the honking and noise comes so often. Exhausted both mentally and physically, it was a nice hour long vacation. We had breakfast up there as well. The dahi (yogurt) came in little ceramic cups. It’s a specialty for Sinhgad and was yummy; as well as the bhakri (like chapatti but thicker and with stuff inside).
We made our way down the hill, running into two people I know, one from dance and one from running (which I’ve somehow completely avoided for the past month or so). Pune is quite small. We packed in the car; I slept. And we went home to sleep. The job for Saturday was to find a place to print t-shirts and a place to hold our batizado (capoeira event). After a night of non sleep this wasn’t the easiest of tasks. I don’t think it’s an easy task in general. From about 2:00 to 9:00 we weren’t from store to space looking to no avail. Finally we found one place for t-shirts but with complications, and a space. Even more exhausted we went home to prepare for our Sunday trek to Kothaligad in Karjat.
Kothaligad is supposed to be a great trek, not too easy, not too hard. We were under the impression it was a two hour drive away. That two hours really meant a little over four. Manoj drove the nice car, and I drove his. It was fun; I get a sense of pride when I can say that I can drive a car here. It’s on the left side of the road, the driver sits on the right side of the car and, most importantly, it’s a stick shift. Of coursed we stopped along the way, were silly and crazy in the car with games that involved red cars, like we have punch buggy games in the US.
It was hot, really hot and humid. We hoped for some rain to break the heat but the most we got was a little spit from the clouds or some covering from trees. The hike was easy most of the way but rocky. We’re a great group of friends who found anything amusing. I can’t say I know how many times we stopped for nimbupani (lemon water where you can put either sugar, salt, or both, with a little masala). The views from every stopping point were beautiful. I’m not sure how it got so green, but it was. It was the trip out of the city that I think everyone needed. At the top there was a fort with huge stairs. It reminded me of Tikal and Qirigua in Guatemala. The rest at the top involved snacks of biscuits, channa (the small chickpeas), chikki, the last of our water, cookies, and other random snacks. The decent was much easier than the climb, especially because we veered a little bit off of the path for the climb up and took a longer and more difficult detour than necessary.
We reserved lunch at the mini I don’t know what you would call it at the start of the trek. It’s like a small shop but with tables outside and apparently a kitchen inside. The food was great but at that point a headache that lasted until today began to fester. I became useless and the only thing I could do was grab my head and close my eyes. We made it back, even as it began to rain – yes, almost a month late the rains have started, but only barely.
There are many other things to talk about, but I think two posts for one day is quite enough.

Hip hop and grandmas

It’s the little things that keep you going sometimes. Equally it’s the small things that get you down. But I had a good thing and it brought me up on Sunday. I live in the same area as some of the kids from work. One kid in particular, Mayur lives quite close to me. I didn’t work with this center last year, so maybe if I had seen him I might not have said anything to him, nor him to me. But on Sunday, he called out my name Ana didi! And rushed over to me to see what I was doing, where I was going, how was my weekend. It was very special.
I also got to discover a new aspect of Pune. No matter how long I live here, and how small this “town” is, I always manage to find something new. At the dance congress I met a lot of new people. Two of my new friends came to my capoeira class last week and then invited me to their hip hop class this past weekend. I wasn’t really sure about it. I know they’re great dancers but somehow it’s still in my head that India isn’t huge on hip-hop. There are some select crowds that I saw last year and the year before, but it doesn’t fit in my day-to-day picture of India. I sometimes still get very involved in salsa and then catch myself thinking about India as I used to; my perceptions have changed so much – I think especially lately. I also told an American friend of mine that I’d be going to a hip-hop class and she laughed, as in, yeah right, hip-hop in India. So I went and it was amazing! The folks who give the class are super nice and super talented, one in particular. It was quite impressive. We went out for juice and exchanged jokes and stories afterwards as well. This made us late for our evening activity.
Vineet asked us to come over, everyone, for a music session. His grandmother was in town and he wanted us to meet her. I joked with him when he asked that he loves us so much he wants to show us off. He replied with, “isn’t it obvious?!” His grandmother didn’t speak English and he made me speak with her to talk about capoeira in Hindi. In my opinion it was a disaster, but she understood a little bit and he spoke to her in Hindi so that I’d be able to understand. Some of it got lost in Punjabi but that’s ok. It was really special. Vineet spends most of his time with us so I guess it was important for her to know what he does. Apparently he was doing handstands at home and she wanted to know what craziness got into his head. We played capoeira music, he learned a new song which was applied in the capoeira class. We should keep people’s family members around more often so that they learn more. It was a really sweet and nice experience. She sat there and enjoyed our company for a while and then we left.

Morning noise and entanglement

India is noisy. Sometimes because of horn, often because of horn honking actually, people yell, mini fireworks on the street to celebrate something or other even if it’s not a holiday, banging and clanging of construction everywhere, it’s hard to find a space and time where you can just go aaaah. One of those times should be in the wee hours of the morning when you’re waking up at 6:30 -7:30. That’s not really the case though. This morning, after breakfast, I had to ask myself why I was up so early, I didn’t have to be anywhere until much later so I decided to nap. There must have been at least 8 different bird calls sounding every few milliseconds or so. On a side note, sometimes these birds perch themselves on our balcony and you can see such pretty and strange looking birds. It’s pretty cool. The watchdog Boscar barks a lot! This I knew already, but between that and the bird and the drums, yes, drums, it gets a bit intense. Sometimes there are gypsy looking folks who walk around with a kind of handheld drum, well, it actually goes around your neck, and a shirtless man walks around with a long whip. He cracks that whip sometimes. They walk around asking for money. Yesterday I made the mistake of looking down from the balcony and he saw me. I think they were waiting for me to come back or come down. Sometimes instead of a shirtless man, there’s a shirtless boy. Both wear makeup and have some red lines on their faces. It’s interesting to look at but then you have to pay. Plus, I’m not going to lie, they scare me a little bit.
I managed to sleep somehow this morning amidst all of the ruckus. I had to go to a center far off and one of my bike fears came true, although it was a really pleasant experience. There was a clothesline near the road with a saree hanging off of it. The wind blew and the saree ended up entangled in my wheels. It was scary for a half a second until I realized I could break; I wasn’t going that fast. As soon as I stopped, the saree owner walked towards me, without seeming too concerned, and three men walked up from in front of me to help me out. I got off without removing my helmet or scarf. The men diligently told me not worry, one of them yelled at the woman for keeping her saree there and the other unraveled what was left of her cloth. They were really nice. I don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting it at all. Last week in Mumbai a friend of mine and I were joking that if you fell into the puddle in the train station because people were pushing to walk on a drier spot, no one would stop to help you up; “it’s like that only,” he said. But this morning, I felt desperate for only .5 seconds. People were there and they were nice. It was a good feeling.


I finally started yoga classes after almost a year and a half in India. It’s kind of silly it took me this long to find a class. It wasn’t for lack of effort, well at least a little effort. In February I asked to join Iyengar (not spelled correctly) who is supposed to be one of the best yogis ever. There was a waiting list until June. I gave up shortly after that. Every once in a while I would look at a class here or there, mostly in my neighborhood, and they were all really expensive, and, funnily enough, I think foreigners gave most of them. Who wants to live in India and take a yoga class from a foreigner? I don’t. So while wandering around two weeks ago, I wandered into an institute and registered for their month long yoga class. It’s cheap, so I guess you get what you pay for. It’s not anything at all like any yoga class I’ve taken in the US. It’s a beginner’s class. A lot of it focuses on breathing exercises, which sometimes make me lightheaded. Most of them don’t at all involve flexibility. Some are even a little boring. But, I really want to do this. In almost every class there’s something new, which is good. The only time I can say this was not only not good, but also really, horribly wrong was last Friday, when the class was told to go outside the building and vomit. I’m sure there’s some kind of weird yoga explanation to this, but yea, nothing would or will convince me to self induce vomiting except if I had something that really needed to come up. Besides that, everything seems to be going well. I like to call it older person relaxed yoga. Sometimes your heart rate goes up after doing a movement that involves movement, but there’s always the relax, relax, relax part afterwards. According to the teacher, relax means, ank ke bund, hat piche, legs apart (eyes closed, hands behind). She’s great at mixing Hindi and English. I have no idea what the different movements are called; they all have quite long names. There’s a chant before and after each class. And om is at the beginning and end too. Because of work it’s actually the only month I could have done the beginners class, next month as work starts earlier, hopefully, I can move to the intermediate class which is an hour earlier. It feels good to do something “Indian” after being here for so long.
There are a few regulars who I now recognize while walking in and out of the class. We smile. It’s nice. After, because I go straight to work, I have to change. There’s no real changing area except for the “ladies section where women go for strange massages, mud baths, other kind of chemical baths, and sauna. For a country that seems to be kind of conservative about bodies and women exposing themselves, this place is all out in the open. Women seem quite free in walking around in their bodies. It’s a nice change and reminds me somewhat of when I used to go to the gym in New York and everyone was “free.” Most days the woman who sits at the desk in the front is used to seeing me and I don’t even have to ask where I can go change. Most of the time I get funny looks, but somehow they don’t faze me anymore.

Different kind of Friday night

Today is a vacation day. It feels like it. I have nothing to do but relax and enjoy the day. I feel like often I write when I have days like this – which may lead one to believe that I actually rest a lot more than I do, but I feel like I never have a day. I also, as Jessica pointed out, as my parents have pointed out, load everything on my plate. I barely have an evening to myself where there isn’t some activity, where some friends haven’t planned something – sometimes as little as getting juice or just coming over to hang out. I kept it like that for a reason. When I first got here I wanted to be busy. I didn’t want to think about home, I didn’t want to miss anyone or anything. Now that this has turned into a home, I just like seeing my friends, doing various things even just getting some juice or ice cream with them. Right now at Naturals (a local ice cream store that’s amazing and sells ice cream based on fruits that are in season) has a mango option. They put in mango ice cream, mango pieces (and they put in a lot, not like many ice cream places in the US that only give you 5-8 fruit pieces) and then on top of that they give you a scoop of malai ice cream. It’s like heaven for your taste buds.
Anyway, last night was a night I planned to come home, take a walk, make dinner, have a glass of wine and watch a movie in the AC room and fall asleep. That, of course, didn’t happen. It was Ishwar’s sister’s wedding on Tuesday. In his community, girls get married at 18, boys at 20. He invited us, he specifically invited me, and none of us went. On Thursday I passed by the Chinese corner place where some of the other kids work and Chapel mentioned that Ishwar was mad, like really mad. He doesn’t care that we had to work, he wanted us to go, and we disappointed him. I went to his house last night to make amends.
Sagar and I already were trying to make a “make up” activity. We found a circus to take them to and I was excited to give them the good news. It’s been a while since we’ve taken them on a trip. Ritesh met me there to meet them. None of our kids were outside when we got there, but one kid who we’ve spoke to before told us to come and he’d take us to Ishwar’s house. I had been inside their community before, but not like this. Ishwar met us. His mom and sister were both outside the house and we met them, and everyone else who just happened to walk by. Ishwar told us how he or one of the other kids was related to anyone. He asked if we had eaten. I told him my plan to go home. We were invited in to eat at his grandmother’s house. The dal chaval was so good, Ritesh thought it amazing. We continued to meet people as they came in and out of the house. We met his new brother in law. Some of the older boys came in to take a picture. He speaks Kanada with his family, Hindi with us, and Marthi in school. Later on in the evening he told me he wants me to teach him a bit of English. His accent was pretty good. After we ate we decided to visit the other boys who were working. After some conversation with them, he asked, didi what are we doing now? They spoke about how tonight there’s a dance show at the new mall down the road – this mall is another one of these huge malls with super pricey stores (even by American standards) on the inside and half of the stores aren’t even built yet and just have coming soon signs outside of them even though you’re unsure about when or what is coming soon). So we reminded them that today we’d be going to see the circus. Ishwar wanted to see the mall, so we went.
It’s funny because Ishwar is small, if he passes his exams, he’ll go to 8th standard next year. It’s also hard to get rid of the shy boy image that he had with us for so many months. On our walk to the mall he mentioned things like that they didn’t go into the mall because if they went in, the guards would see their clothing, know they’re from the slums, and then kick them out. Once, in fact, they went in the mall (I’m not sure who all they is), got ice cream and they were kicked out. He also said that he never really wanted to bring me into the community before because I’m a foreigner and people would act or look at me differently, maybe even ask for money or candy. None of that happened last night.
The mall was a great experience for him. He knows he gets to do these things because he’s with me. I don’t need to remind him of that, and sometimes I go back and forth wondering if I’m spoiling the kids – do they associate foreigner with gifts and cool experiences? They don’t ask for things from us. In fact, when we gave them capoeira shirts, they were reluctant to take them – they only took them after they saw that I was giving everyone shirts. And, part of it is true. Foreigners come here and do things like me, work in NGOs, foreigners in general have more money to spend. What’s wrong with them seeing reality as long as they don’t abuse it? They don’t include their friends, they never ask for anything, they know how to behave. It’s a moral conflict I think about often.
Last night at the mall, as I was saying, was awesome. We went on the escalator. Have you ever seen anyone use technology for the first time? To see his face was beyond priceless. He really wanted to go on the escalators. His steps on the escalator were very intentionally placed, he let his feet slide off the first time going up, and calculated his steps off. He held my hand in the glass elevator when we went down because he couldn’t find his balance. He actually just held my hand the whole time. Ritesh took him in to use the bathroom, which was as he said, pretty amazing. Ritesh made him use everything –whatever that means. We walked around and in some of the fun smelly stores we went in. He liked a certain kind of soap I made him smell. We tried to put some body spray on him but the bottle was empty. I would think that we were a funny sight to see. In a fancy mall you have a foreigner girl, an Indian guy and an Indian kid who is definitely of no relation to either of them. No one really looked twice at us. It was nice, I bet it was nice for Ishwar as well. We went to the huge supermarket in the basement as well. He had fun there and when we came to the pressure cookers he spoke about the different ones they have. The meat and fish department was pretty entertaining as well. He eats Chicken on Fridays sometimes. I think we went on the escalator and elevator several times, just for fun. It was a lot of fun.
As we went up and out of the mall we stopped and looked at the fancy Mercedes they had displayed. He touched it and we looked inside and ooed and aaahed. There was a promotional video and during small clips they showed New York. I got excited for him to see it, if only for a millisecond. He calls New York my village. Your village is where your from even though you don’t live there. Many village people here, like most other countries, move into cities, to the slums, and they go back to their villages during vacations. On the way back we passed by the other kids again and he switched into Kanada to tell them what we did. As we left him back at his house, he gave a rundown of today’s activities. We told we’d meet them at 6 because the circus starts at 7. He said that I have to get there at 5:30, we’d sit, and everyone would get there at 6, it would take 5 minutes to get everyone in the car and then we’d go and see the circus and then at 9 we would come back, maybe 10. It was adorable. He reminds me of me when I get excited and speak really fast about everything that’s going to happen. Ritesh and I walked to get some ice cream and discuss what had just happened. Both of us were fascinated with him.
I’ll stop here for now. There are other things going on this weekend. Tomorrow is a 5k – I’m thinking of doing it barefoot (there’s a category for that). After that we’re giving a mini capoeira demo to the running group, at 4 I’m doing a mini samba demo for International Dance Day with one dance group and then at 6 a capoeira demo for another dance group. It’ll be fun and exhausting. Again, there’s usually only one day off. Although…Tuesday, I just found out is Labour Day, which means, another day off. We’ll see what I can fill my time with then.

Weekend Update

A Sunday! Wow. It’s been over a month since I had a “Sunday.” I reinstated the running on Sunday morning at the University. It’s still beautiful, not matter how dry Pune seems to be, the University space is green and seems a world away from the traffic, sounds, heat (especially at 6am), and noise of Pune. I even tried to copy the guy who does stretching by the statue and then culminates with a long set of meditation. I can’t put my feet in real meditation style, nor does my concentration last half as long as his, but I guess I can try.
Last week was busy, really, really busy. We’re having our end of school year events – school ends in April here because summer is mostly in April/May and the rains start somewhere in June. Every center had a mini event. I traveled so much; I was so tired. Even yesterday we worked. It’s been a lot. We’re getting ready for appraisals, which start on Tuesday. On Monday is our Annual event; dance, song, speech, and chatter of children has been ringing throughout the office for the past couple of weeks. It’s been a lot!
My watchman is leaving. He said it’s been too rough for him; I don’t think the building manager’s wife is too nice to him. Manoj and I didn’t like him too much at first (the guard). He asked Manoj for an advance on the car washing – this isn’t really done. We were a little worried. A couple times he would show us his doodling, which were actually really good. He would try to chat with us a bit; generally he’s pretty friendly. Recently, he got a new cell phone, his sister gave it to him as a present. I think maybe 3 times he’s asked me if I think his cell phone is nice. He’s really excited about it. I had a slight debacle with a delivery last week and he seemed generally concerned. When I walk up to Boscar (the beautiful golden lab with the vicious bark but sweetest disposition once you know him) he says, “bahut piyari.” The dog loves me so much. He assumes the position of petting as soon as I come close. I’ll be sad to see the watchman go. He’s a sweet older man who walks with a straight left leg who paints and eats on newspaper on the floor.
My house has been a bit of a hotel lately. After my parents left, the Brazilian girl Sophia was here, Jessica moved in almost 2 weeks ago, and while she’s off for the weekend, Susie and her husband are staying before they take off back to the US. It’s been kind of awesome but kind of overwhelming. Between home and work I have no home or self time. This week should be nice, still busy at work, but a little more relaxed on the home front. Jessica brough Clorox wipes. I’m not usually a fan of things that come in special fancy packaging that are basically the same as things that you can do yourself. I must say, they’re pretty awesome.
Another exciting thing is that I’ve finally gone back to making my own dahi – (yogurt). It turned out fantastic. It’s a small accomplishment, but it’s a good one. I’ll take the rest of my alone time on Sunday to read the paper, relax, and go to the park with my friends before a Sunday salsa gathering.