Monday, February 9, 2009

What do vitamin C and politics have in common? This blog.

Yo! It's been awhile since I've written. What's the deal? I regretfully inform everyone that my last week has been, well, quite ordinary (ordinary is relative, though, right?) I've been really busy at work, interviewing and meeting with people all over Chennai to discuss the social entrepreneurship course and its implications for their social enterprise. Interesting stuff, and I'm learning quite a bit about what the challenges are for some of these organizations- particularly NGOs. This job is my second internship of the year, and is making me think about what sort of work I want to continue to involve myself with in the future. Right now, I don't feel completely sold on working for an NGO. I think there's plenty of good work being done by these organizations, but a common challenge is the inability of NGOs to leverage power to impact decisions of policy-makers and government officials. There's amazing work being done at the grassroots level, but the guys on top play a pretty crucial role in scaling up programs for social change.
Anyhow, aside from work, I've been keeping it low-key around the Chennai parts. Finding a daily rhythm is something I feel I'm always trying to escape from, but never seem to do so completely. It's no secret that I long for some adventure every now and then- hey, this year away from the United States is partially meant to fuel this mentality! I'm bored in the states, but I'm realizing that my boredom is equally a result of my attitude and actions as much as it's a part of just living in the states. Make sense? For example, while I can't say there's ever a dull moment living here in India, there are moments which are in fact, duller. Those are the moments when I find myself slipping into the pull of the routine. The work, sleep, eat, wait for a bus, drink pomegranate milkshakes, rinse and repeat- routine. In the U.S., my routine is only narrowly varied. For example, instead of waiting for the bus, I wait for my car to warm up. Instead of going to karaoke every Thursday, I sing really loud in the car. Things of this nature...I guess it's the whole "you are what you eat" kind of attitude. Except that you are what you want, what you need, what you consume, what you do. I'm sure there's a profound quote somewhere out there that relates exactly to what I'm talking about.
So yes, all this to say that I've been too boring recently and need to spice things up a bit! Inspiration is everywhere around here- recognizing it and acting on it is the challenge. Wish me luck!
Aside from all this blabber, things have been going well. I've moved into a new flat and am no longer living at IIT's campus. I can't say I miss much about IIT except for the trees. And the monkeys. And maybe the 6 rupee idlis for breakfast. But really, I'm now staying in Alwarpet in a small flat with another girl, Leila. She's Moroccan, but born and raised in Belgium, speaks a million different langauges, is a fabulous cook, and is here getting her masters in international studies. We talk about the history of Berber/Arab politics in Morocco and the American failed health care system- all while sipping on sweet sweet sweet Moroccan mint tea. Good company :)
Hopefully I'll get some pictures up of the flat soon. I find that it's exactly what I need. It's very basic (there's no furniture) and small, but gets the job done as they say. The walls are painted brightly with hot pinks, turquoise, purple, and various shades of yellow. The biggest personal adjustment to the flat has been getting used to the Indian squat toilet in my bathroom! That, and the fact that I had no running water on my side of the apartment for the first couple weeks. Such things teach me patience and resourcefulness above all else. (Getting water involved hulling a bucket a mere 50 meters over to Leila's side of the flat, filling it up under her tap, and carrying it back over).
PS- I've had a bad cold the past few days and am interested in renting a mom/boyfriend for a day. Interested candidates should be able to provide the following:
water refills
bowls of soup
back massages

Thanks :)

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