I haven't been as good about posting lately. I have been incredibly busy and school here has been kind of hectic. It seems as though my stay in Jaipur has gone by too fast. Next week at this time I will be on my way to Udiapur getting ready for my internship with Sadhna.
I feel like I have been busy all the time, but yet there is so much still that I want to get done in Jaipur, and want to learn about. I feel like life lately is going going, gone by.
Between traveling every weekend, book reports, lectures, trying to be with the host family, hang out with friends, updating blogs, uploading pictures, trying to keep in touch with everyone at home and so much more I have lost track of time.
It's amazing how much has changed since I left. There are things I see in myself that are changing that are beginning to freak me out.
1. My English is beginning to deteriorate. My spelling is terrible and so is my grammar. Since I have arrived here I am always talking in simple words so that the Indians can understand what I am saying, therefore I am no longer using bigger words and my vocabulary is beginning to become smaller and smaller. My spelling is beginning to become worse and worse as well. I am thinking in terms of Hindi-English spelling or something.
2. The more I learn, the less I feel like I know. The longer I stay here the more confused I feel. Each lecture is teaching me something, yet I walk away from the lecture having so many more questions, or feeling stupid because I don't understand something. My eyes have been opened to a whole new world and I can't hardly the world I am in right now.
3. It's amazing the things that you miss, or realize are such a big part of your life. I can honestly say I never fully appreciated being able to go outside after dark, having consistent friends, intellectual discussions with professors and other students, being able to eat whatever I want whenever I wanted, internet access, down comforters, tea without milk, dark chocolate, autumn leaves, grocery stores, being able to touch people without it being seen as promiscuous, safety, and so so sosososososo much more.
It's so many little things that make up your life, and here you realize what those things are.
4. I look at my relationships with people very differently. Especially my family. Here family is EVERYTHING! I would really like to restate that family is your school, your friends, your money, your job, your safety net, your provider, your stability... EVERYTHING. I think about my relationship with family and I feel as though I am very lucky. My family is very close, but I think about some of my other family that has so much tension and I worry about them.
Here you don't fight with your brothers or sisters, your mother or father, your cousins. You start businesses with them or you have a previous family business together, you make friends with them because you aren't allowed to talk to people of the opposite sex unless they are family. You take care of each other, because nursing homes don't hardly exist here. You live with your family. My host family for example lives all together. It is a joint family who has their apartments. The apartment building I live in has the mother, her 3 sons and her only daughter, and their families. They are together constantly, they are always cooking together, playing together, tutoring each other, working together, and taking care of each other.
My relationship with family is very much like this too, however it seems as though there is another barrier, distance. I have family in Chicago, New Mexico, California, Boston, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Iowa and all over!!! It seems crazy to me that this family sticks together so much.
I went to Choki Dani this past Friday, which was an amusement park with a twist of theater and dinner. I got to ride an elephant, watch dancing, explore caves, see camels, eat traditional Rajhastani food, go on rides and so much more. We had a lot of fun...
The next morning at 5:45am I got up to get on a bus to head to Jodhpur: The Blue City. We took a 6 hour air-conditioned bus so the ride was nice and relaxing. I met a man on the bus who was really interested in the US, and asked several questions and made judgements:
1. America does not have poverty.
2. America is bigger then India?
3. India has a better educational system.
4. We are all filthy rich.
5. India has more engineers and therefore America doesn't know how to engineer anything.
6. America does not produce anything. We in fact import everything, including food.
7. America doesn't incorporate religion into class and therefore the educational system needs to reformed.
This whole conversation was really interesting, but kind of frustrating. Sometimes I think to myself, "how do you not know this?" other times I think "hahahaha, woooow, you are clueless." or "That's a good point" or "Why on earth would you think that?"
In the end of the conversation he asked for my email, and number saying he wanted to keep in touch. I told him he could just email me.
It's also funny talking to people, because things that we think are cheesy they think are just nice. For example:
"You are one of a kind."
"I hope this is the beginning of a log term friendship, and not the end of our short friendship."
"You are the most beautiful girl."
Once we arrived in Jodhpur we checked into our guest house ate lunch on the roof top restaurant that was perfect for getting pictures of the blue city and fort, before heading out for some shopping and to see the clock tower.
We had a wonderful day of shopping, and the clock tower was wonderful, it felt good to be in Jodhpur, there wasn't much harassment and the people were incredibly nice.
We stopped several times for a pick me up drink called a lassi, I highly recommend trying one. Here is a website of recipes!
At the end of the day we ate at a wonderful place called Preya where we got to try this wonderful food called Uttapam which was soo tasty!! I am going to miss it like crazy when I go home!
The next day we got up and saw the beautiful fort of Jodhpur. It was very touristy with lots of gift shops and cafes. But we had an amazing audio tour and a great time. We had another amazing view of the city, and got to learn a lot about Rajputs, caste, opium, and maharaja of India.
After the for we ate lunch where I ordered a chili cheese bread... thinking it would be cheesy bread with chili on it, some kind of beans and chili powder sauce.. WRONG... it was cheesy bread but by chili they meant chili peppers!! WOWOWHOA it was sooo spicy.
After lunch we went to explore another palace which was the last palace in India to ever be built-in the 1950s. It was so beautiful but we could only see 1/3 of the palace because the maharaja still lives in 1/3 and the other 1/3 is now a fancy hotel. It was really interesting learning about the fort, where the current maharaja was only 4 when first taking rule.
After everything we headed back to the bus station where we missed our AC bus so we had to take the public bus... WOW haha it was an experience. It sure was cheap, for good reason. There were people who stood the entire time, which on this bus ended up being over 8 hours. We stopped for the bathroom a couple of times but that was terrible. There was human waste all over an open squat toilet with flies occupying the entire area. YUCK!
By the time we reached Jaipur it was 2:15am or so and we had to wait for a ride, which took two hours to arrive. We finally got home around 4ish and went to bed.
The next day was just as fun. I went to a Dandia dance. Which is hard to explain further than saying: it's a dance where you each hold two sticks and you hit them to other people's sticks while wearing EXTRAVAGANT clothes.
The dance was a lot of fun, and I got to wear my sari out of the house. I wore a tilak, bangles, gaudy jewelry and felt very Indian.
This week is our last week of classes so everything is really busy, however it is a long weekend this weekend, so 10 of us are headed to Jaisalmer for a camel safari!!! SO EXCITED