Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Home Sweet Home..or something like it

Hey everyone-

So as usual, I don't really know who's following this blog but if you are, leave feedback!
I wish I had time to write on this thing more regularly. So much has happened in the last six days, it's difficult to sporadically remember stories to share about my life here. I've been exploring as much as I can, both alone, as well as with the new friends I've made almost daily since being here. To be honest, I felt the majority of people were a bit cold when I arrived. I went out of my way flash big, toothy grins in others' directions and received nothing in return. Such a response caught me off guard; I'm used to being in Bali where (almost) everyone will return a smile and hello. Somehow, though, things are beginning to change. Maybe people can read my growing comfort within the city, or can pick up on my increasing familiarity with Chennai, but what I first interpreted as hostility has given way to friendliness.
I've been riding around on the buses- something that had previously been forecasted to me as a downright bad idea. Although depictions of hot, smelly crowds didn't come across as an appealing means of commute, I've given it a shot. I've come to accept the fact that one has to sacrifice comfort, privacy, and space for a cheap price. At only 4 rupees per ride, the public bus system is hard to beat!
One of my favorite things about the city is that everyone minds their own business. I can't say I much mind small-town New England's everybody knows everything about everyone vibe. Sure, Chennanites probably have their own gossip circles, but no one seems to mind me walking down the street or purchasing fruit from the street vendor. Not to say that I don't get weird looks, (I get plenty, ESPECIALLY when I'm witnessed running down the street to catch the bus) but I'm a coming and going of sights just like anyone else.
I've got to say that things are going really well for me right now. Admittedly, I had a couple "panic attacks" when I first arrived. Being charged twice at the hotel, not knowing where to find a mattress for my dorm room were just a couple such scenarios. But I'm loving the ups and downs of being here. There are power outages, restaurants without bathroom, and plenty of non-English speakers: all of these things can make life for an American difficult here. But with these trivial frustrations come loads of things to appreciate, if not downright envy. Yesterday I drove by a small temple, situated on a busy street corner. The temple was fenced off, and surrounded by an ancient-looking banyan tree. Such an odd sight to see a tree so large, so historic in presence, right smack dab in the middle of an otherwise fully developed part of town. Odd, but beautiful none the less.
The food here is delicious. And I eat every last bit of it with my right hand (no matter the sauce or liquid consistency, the right hand tackles it all!). Tamil is a beautiful language which I hope to conquer even some small part of. So far, I've got my basic greetings down. Hinduism is always present in various forms, be it temples, offerings, or ancient Ramayana art.
So far so good here, and I must say that for now, Chennai is where it's at.


P Murlidhar said...

I do agree about everything apart from the cold people...

The 'coldism' u saying will vary city to city in India...

keep posting... as I said in last post... its interesting to view our place with different perspective which ur blog is definitely coming up with... :)

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

I can't help but be completely jealous of your travels. While I'm stuck here in Northwest Iowa forecasting the weather, your traveling all across the Earth helping people. I've read your entire blog between cut-ins and man oh man am I hooked! Do I sound like a creeper or what!

...and it appears good old New Hampshire is getting hit with another half foot of snow today and tomorrow! No worries, I'll be sure to keep you update on the weather--it's what I do.

Tovah said...

Katelyn! I love hearing about your travels. Keep it up girl. What type of work are you going to be doing? Keep posting pictures too!

Smaps said...

thanks for the feedback everyone!

Murli, I know what you're saying about the "cold" thing. It was a judgement without merit. Glad to see it pushed some butons, tho ;)

Al, I am always curious about the weather! Keep me updated bud

Tov, thanks for following. Send me your email address and I'll tell you all about my work!