It’s mid-November and the locals are breaking out their winter coats for the cold weather. Yes, they are breaking out their coats for the chilling 80 degree weather— burr! 😉 Thanksgiving is in just a few weeks and it still feels like summer here. I think my body is confused, haha! Seriously though, it feels nice outside right now. I even saw foliage the other day and I got so excited; it’s not entirely a concrete jungle as some other mega cities are. 70 degree weather at night makes for enjoyable rides on my roommate’s scooter, our current mode of transportation. We got in a small wreck just yesterday but we are okay. An auto driver cut us off and all of sudden everything began to slow down as my brain was preparing me for the fall, haha. Sharon has a few cuts and scrapes and I’m fine, just a bruised hand from catching myself. My first thought was, “What’s going to hit us from behind?” Luckily traffic wasn’t as dense as usual and some considerate bystanders quickly came to our aid the moment we fell. Another man and his son brought an ice pack and some water – what an example for his son to see. 🙂 (I just had a tender moment). He wasn’t so quick to flee the scene as the others who helped pick us up off the road.
So, as many of you know I moved over a month ago and we have settled easily into our new location and flat. Some friends helped us get internet set up (thank you Dennis!) and to move in (Alex and Deva – you’re great friends!) which helped with the transition. The longer I’m here the more I want to embrace unadulterated cultural experiences, but I go back and forth between being south asian and being American. Some days I’m all-in and other days… I’m appalled at the unreliability of everyday things. I wont provide a laundry list of those things because the inconveniences pale in comparison to the gratitude I have to be here, but I’ll just say that I have never struggled with wanting to externalizing negative thoughts until I moved here! Maybe that’s why I love this place so much– It knows just how to push my buttons and then it woos me back with its charm. But really, almost every inconvenience has to do with me not knowing the language and the color of my skin and some days it’s terribly hard for me to be patient with the “dance” I must have to get the price I want for things such as transportation, food, and other everyday necessities.
It’s official: I have the traveling bug and I’m ready to see more of this incredible place. Just a few weeks back I visited Bangalore with some friends and the whole trip was so restorative—such a gift from God. Bangalore is around 3000 feet above sea level so it feels so nice outside! Being there for 3 days made me realize how much I MISS being able to enjoy being outside for a meal, to go for a run, have coffee, or journal. We didn’t have an agenda… most of the weekend was about eating good food and just being together. Randomly we got free tickets to go to an Oktoberfest in a hotel and we went where the wind blew us (You should be proud of the spontaneous spirit that Im trying to cultivate.) The whole evening made me think of House of Blues and heaven. HOB has every religious figure over the stage in Chicago to promote universalism/pluralism I assume, not that I hold to those philosophies (that’s a negative, sir – insert head bobble), but by the end of the night everyone was standing on the tables and people from all over the world were singing german songs and slamming their glasses together in a “happy” sort of way. Okay, I know universalism has almost no connection to what I just said. Everything was fairly low key until the band played Jai Ho, the theme song from Slumdog Millionaire … it was then that everyone in the crowd began to latch onto each other in a heavenly, we’re-all-one-family fashion and sang and danced as if there were no differences among us. Hands down, that moment topped the charts for me personally.
See all the snaps from Bangalore on my FB page.
Today was full of unexpected surprises. I went saree shopping for a wedding coming up in February and I finally found a traditional south Indian saree that I can wear back home for presentations and for formal events here. For whatever reason, Ive wanted a navy blue saree with little to no pattern and viola, here she is! Isn’t she a beaut? Now the tricky part … to learn to tie it on my own.
Afterwards Alex said, “We found a man who does mahendi on feet right up here!” I used to want to get mahendi on my feet when I was in the US and now I can cross that off my bucket list. With my toes rings, mahendi, and nice saree, I’m practically married according to local tradition. Some people (mainly northerners) use mahendi to dye their hair, or in this case, a beard. How’s this Bangalore beard for no-shave November spirit, Dave? Is there any beard love in the house?
For Christmas (and my visa run) I will be going to Thailand, the birthplace of my beloved brother, Shawn. It’s crazy-weird to think that my mother was living in Thailand and gave birth to my brother at the same age that I am when I’ll visit in December. What does all of this mean?! Probably nothing. ha.
There’s so much great news I need to share about the office and what’s been going on lately. Stay tuned for the next post and the launch of a YouTube channel to share my experience with you through video. As always, thank you for all your love and support. This is truly the time of my life – I wouldn’t trade it for anything.