It is a very warm Wednesday/Buddhavarum morning. We just had Telugu class, and now we're relaxing for a while—we had a long day yesterday, from 9am-9pm (6am-9pm, for 3 of us that made it to yoga). This post may be a little meandering, so I apologize.
On Saturday/Senivarum, we took a trip to Borra Caves and Aropo Valley to visit a tribal village. It was a long drive up windy mountain roads, similar to the Road to Hana in Hawaii, if you've been there. Our driver thought he was Speed Racer. It was insane. He would speed up on straight roads, then slam on his brakes for the switchbacks. And passing trucks and buses on roads that are barely 2 lanes wide with trees on one side and a cliff on the other...good gravy. I was glad I was facing out the back window. Did I mention it was a long drive? 2 ½ hours long.
My favorite part of the day was visiting the tribe. I'm sure most, if not all, of the children and many of the adults had never seen white people before. They didn't really know what to think of us. They live the most simple, beautiful lives—they live and die in a beautiful valley, caring for rice paddies and livestock, knowing nothing of corrupt politicians, celebrity news, or how to hold an iphone the correct way. It really changes how you think of wants vs. needs.
Other random tidbits:
--Everywhere we go, Indians will “slyly” take pictures of us with their cell phones. If we are in a place for more than 10 minutes, people will get more brazen and ask to have their picture taken with us. When that happens...look out. At Borra Caves, we were mobbed.
--We were in four different newspapers before we had been here a week. I think I was on Telugu TV on Monday night, too.
--Our group get's excited when we see other white people...though we don't take pictures of/with them.
--The first couple of times we went to yoga, we had this nice teacher named Nigini, I think, who would say, “Don't stress yourself. Don't strain yourself. If you need to rest, rest. Deeeep inhalation, deeeep exhalation.” But we haven't seen her in a few days, and now we're with a Nazi-Yogi who mostly says, “HUP! NO MOVEMENT! FORCE!” and will snap his fingers at you if you stop. And, he'll push you. Literally. Yesterday, I was like, “No, I don't bend that way—OP, GUESS I DO.” It's a good time.
--India is a prime place for Optimistic Pessimism: “It may be humid, but at least I'm sweating like a pig!” “It may be hot, but at least there's no air conditioning!” “I may have a mosquito bite on my arm, but at least I have 10 more on my foot!” “This soda may be hot, but at least there's no ice in India!”
--Another version of the above is Surpassing Extremely Low Expectations: “Wow, these holes for toilets are great, I was afraid we'd have to use public outhouses!” “This heat is great, I thought we'd have to have heat lamps!” “I'm glad that old man is wearing a cloth as a skirt, I thought all the men would be naked!” Once we get laughing, everything is funny and great. And 100x better than we expected.
--Telugu is hard. The combination of an alphabet that looks like a 6 year-old made it up, different ways of pronouncing and writing each letter (k can be “K” or “KH”, t can be “T” “TH”--not th as in “the,” but like “talk”--or other “T” and “TH”, d can be “D” “DH” or other “D” and “DH”...I don't even know how to explain it. It's something to do with the tongue.), and not being able to understand our teacher when she's speaking English, let alone Telugu (and her not being able to understand us)...I can't say it's going great. I did learn to write my name today. Vowels are another problem—they each have a symbol on their own, but when you are writing a word, you have to write a different symbol that connects to the consonant. And instead of 5 vowels, there are 16.
--Dad, I asked about the crows, and I was told that if you give crows food on the anniversary of your grandparents' deaths, the crows will bring the food to them.
--I'll leave you with a picture of my room, in all it's glory. In the morning, this girl Suria likes to come talk to me through my window (the ones on the left). Usually when I'm just getting out of my shower, or changing. Really good times. She likes to say “Stahn! Stahn!” which I haven't figured out the meaning of. It doesn't mean anything in Telugu (I've asked several people). Some people suggested she wants me to stand up, but I'm usually standing when she says it, so...Then, she'll say, “Super!” and walk away.
Love you all!