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Life these days

It’s been a bit less than a month since I arrived in Pune. Things have worked out better than I could have ever hoped.

Just a quick little re-cap:

Roommate: Let me formally introduce Aaron! I’ve spoken about her a few times within these posts so allow me to put a name to a face. The A in Aaron clearly stands for Awesome. We met briefly at the New Delhi orientation and did one of those, “You may need a roommate? I actually may need a roommate” things. She’s here doing intensive Marathi language study before heading east to study to suicide epidemic among cotton farmers. She hails from the mid-west but is a New York transplant like myself. Among other strange, strange concurrences in our lives, we have the same birthday, studied journalism in college, have little brothers named Ian/Eaen (respectively), both went abroad with SIT, share a sweet, sweet love for ice-cream and roller derby, can belt along to each other’s music libraries and basically have the same bedtime (I tell you, my life is weird like this). Due to our similar laissez-faire policy when it comes to kitchen creativity, we’re often cooking up crazy things in the kitchen:

Some sort of improvised cauliflower curry concoction we whipped up the first night in our flat

So far we haven’t burned the house down…though I am occasionally guilty of leaving the gas on…oops.

Salted guava with chili powder, a common street food here

Our digs: We’re live in a two-bedroom flat in a newer area of Pune. From our balcony we can usually see cows grazing on the green below (something I love about Pune is the greenery) and a wedding hall. Come wedding season — within the next few months — we’ll be able to watch from above and maybe even be able to score an invite or two.

View of the wedding hall from the balcony leading up to our apartment

We’ve been doing some feng-shuing as well (seriously honing those housewife skills). All of the decor below came from Laxmi Road which is in the old city. I had a great time just digging and digging through huge stacks and piles of printed, dyed, embroidered and bedazzled, fabric —everything!— almost each and every piece different —

Elephants, dancers and paisley, oh my.

and came out with this ketchup-and-mustard theme. But, the pièces de résistance comes in the form of one awesomely awkward family photo of Aga Khan shellaced and mounted on wood, our inherited goldfish named Johnny, and the roughly 54 electrical switches along the walls. We’ve figured out what we can do with about eight of them.

Photo stolen from Aaron's blog — check it out here!

Play time: In our downtime has been utterly filled with antics… night time scooter riding, unwilling balcony climbing, offers to perform past-life regressions (another story, another time)… Getting to know new people and keeping in touch with the few fellow Fulbright friends who are also here.

With Ketaki, Sharwari and Shweta — always down for some live music 🙂

Rugby time: …and the rugby front has been working out magnificently. The national women’s camp is taking place here for the next few weeks and I’ve been able to jump on board. As I finish up this post, I’m laying on the floor of a room at the Balewadi sport compound. The majority of the girls are scoring some afternoon-Zs before they head back to the pitch for their third and final evening session (more on this later!). Before coming to Pune, I only knew that they had a successful team here…I didn’t realize until after I had arrived that I would find it to be the rugby hub of all of India! Talk about ridiculous surprises. I may sometimes look like I know what I’m doing… but sometimes just a little blind faith will take you where you need to go. 😉

And speaking of other happy surprises:  It turns out that one of the best physical therapists in all of India not only works in Pune…but works right behind my house (my life is weird like that). AMAZING. Crissy — the miracle worker that she is — has been intensively working on hip. Apparently I have two completely different legs with all sorts of inversion and rotation and hyper extension (I knew I wasn’t faking!). I am already starting to get back up and run! Stop the presses! At the end of last fall I couldn’t even drag my carcass up and down the stairs. But, it’s almost pain-free for the first time in over a year and I can start to train and play again in about a month… just in time for RFS Pune to begin learning 15s. I’ve got a way to go but I’ve learned my lesson about health and patience and how, believe it or not, that they probably should work simultaneously…so, it’s okay. 🙂

Just a little life update! But, as I was trying to explain the other day:

It’s so, so hard to answer the question, “so how is India?” And the only way that I can really explain it: India can’t be described… it has to be felt. The landscape all just kind of blends together and everyone lives in this weird, disjointed unharmonious-harmony. It’s the idiosyncrasies that begin to make perfect sense: it’s driving down the highway next to the camel that’s out for a walk and casually having tea with India’s only openly gay prince. It’s being bought dinner by perfect strangers who sit at your restaurant table and sitting amongst rats while watching prosthetic limbs be made.

It’s these little things — the finally having a place to throw our keys at the end of the day, becoming regulars at some eateries, inviting friends over to try new recipes, having a school or physical therapy schedule — that gives our lives a somewhat consistent flow when everything outside of the walls (hell, and even inside) has been, and will continue to be, so unpredictable. Every day feels a little bit like a game: what’s gonna come next?

So I’m barely scratching the surface here — but I’m alive, well and happy here in Pune.

One month down, eight to conquer. 🙂




2 thoughts on “Life these days

  1. Love this post.

    Posted by Amy Wheeler | September 19, 2011, 10:33 am
  2. the weddings are soo gorgeous in India! That will be a lovely addition to your photog portfolio. I’m imagining you hiding in bushes like the paparazzi. Miss you, girl! ❤

    Posted by Hungrydyke | September 20, 2011, 9:34 am

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The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State, the Institute of International Education or the Fulbright Program.


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