Monday, July 31, 2006
Finally figured out how to connect my camera to the computer, so here you go. First off, the famous uniform. Sorry it's such a bad picture, but the power was out at the time...Speaking of school, I am currently taking Hindi lessons twice a week, dance classes three times a week (on a random note, everybody here says "thrice" instead of "three times", I feel like I'm in Victorian England or something), art classes with 6th-8th graders twice a week (should be fun), and history lessons twice a week as well. Also I can go down to the library whenever the other classes get too boring. They basically let me do anything I want. School is finally looking up! Ok, next we have the lovely toilet that I thought was worth a picture, just so you all get a feel for what I'm talking about. To the right is the "personal shower". Now for the family. I couldn't get a picture of all of them - they're quite camera-shy - but I did manage to get one of Seema (my host mom), Ba (which means grandmother), and Rutvik, who is my Peter substitute for the year. He's doing a good job of it, too. There's also a picture of my favorite room in the house - the little movie theater where we go at least three times a week to lounge in air-conditioned comfort and watch Bollywood movies. The last picture is the view from outside the house. There. Now you all can stop bugging me.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Hm, not too much to report here...can it be that I'm already getting used to life in India? School is improving. I've started dance classes, Hindi lessons, and Indian history lessons. (I never thought I'd willingly submit to a history class ever again, but these past few weeks have been full of surprises.) I learned a Rajasthani folk dance today! It's all about this woman whose husband has just returned from war and she's primping herself for his arrival. We mime putting on earrings and the dot on the forehead. However, whenever I'm tired or something, my host dad is surprisingly willing to let me skip a day. He agrees with me that school is the worst part of the exchange, bless his heart.
Oh! I forgot to mention that Surat is hosting the 3rd annual Asian Gymnastics Championship, starting tomorrow! It's quite a big deal for this (relatively) small Indian city, and our teachers have been encouraging us to skip (or "bunk" as they call it) school to watch. I'm looking forward to it.
For those of you with Netflix - I highly recommend a movie called Sarkar. It's like the Bollywood version of the Godfather, starring The Indian Actor. His name is Amitabh Bachchan, or something like that, but people around here call him "Big B". I find this much easier to say.
Friday, July 21, 2006
1) The squatter (some of you travelers may know of these, for those of you who don't, it's basically a little trough in the ground). I am still profoundly terrified of these, and haven't attempted to use one yet.
2) The normal toilet, with a "personal shower" hose thing in lieu of toilet paper. This is what can be found in my house, and I didn't realize how lucky I was until I was faced with:
3) The toilet with no shower, no toilet paper, but instead a little water tap low down on the wall with a grubby cup underneath it. You work it out.
I have not seen a square of toilet paper since the Mumbai airport bathroom.
Enough of that. I had another bizarre encounter with the club president a couple of days ago. It went something like this:
Him: So how are you liking India?
Me: I like it a lot! I'm having a lot of fun.
Him (sagely): Yes, it always gets better after the first week.
Me (uncertainly): Well, yes, but I've been doing well since I got here.
Him (persistently): The first week is always the hardest. Things will be better for you from now on.
Am I breaking some unwritten law that says exchange students are not allowed to have fun until the second week of their exchange?
School boring as usual. I have not heard a word about the alleged Hindi, dance and music classes that I'm supposed to start soon. I had to introduce myself to the class and was immediately requested to sing a song in English. I obliged them with a terribly off-key, octave-jumping version of the Star-Spangled Banner. Indian girls sure are giggly.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Anyway. Started school....sooooo boring. For those of you who don't know, Indian students have to make a choice in 11th grade whether they want to go into Science or Commerce. Science is Chemistry, Physics, Bio, the works. It's the harder of the 2. Commerce on the other hand is Economics, Accounting, Business Studies, Statistics, Computer Programming. That's it. I got put in commerce. Elective classes are few and far between - all they get is "Games", which is 40 minutes which we spend playing an Indian version of duck duck goose. Being approximately a foot taller than all the girls (and most of the boys), I did well at this game. Unlike most Indian schools, my school (Essar) gets out at 2:35 - normally it's noon for other schools. And I have each class 2 times a day. I've mostly been sleeping, except for the afternoon, when it's so hot and humid that sitting upright seems preferable to laying my head down on my sticky arm. But they said that tomorrow or the next day I can start some interesting classes, like Hindi lessons, India music and dance...yay.
I have to wear a uniform as well. The best way I can describe it is to say that I look like a milkmaid. A very unattractive milkmaid, wearing a tie.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Oh yeah...I changed my settings so that (I think) anybody can comment, not just other bloggers. Somebody give it a try and let me know if it works.