Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday in the park

June 29, 2008-(Sunday)- Palumpur, India
Today was our first “official” day off of work. I slept until about 8am, then went to have tea. As people showed up for breakfast, I sat and talked with them. I think that I may just have to make an extra effort to be around everyone since I’m in a room alone. Perhaps I am trying too hard to find a special friend, or I’m imagining that others have done that, or I keep looking for it. I’m taking a different outlook. This is MY trip. I saved for it, and I am going to get the most out of it. I’m not going to worry about who likes me and who doesn’t, or whether I fit in or not. I’m just going to be myself, do what I want and came to do, and enjoy myself.
The function for today was a picnic. We drove out of town a little into the foothills. On the way to the park, we saw monkeys in the road again. This time there was a whole family ! The babies were so cute! I took a ton of pictures, but unfortunately, later on in the day I accidently deleted them from my computer…..I promise, there were monkeys ! What is worse, I don’t have the pictures of us at the park. (not an official park, but a beautiful open area with a little wood, a field, and a stream running through it.) Nothing could have been more beautiful. I will try to get pictures of this from some of the other volunteers. I wanted to kick myself for loosing the pictures! During the picnic, I splashed in the stream, sat with my legs in the water, pet a foal, and climbed some rocks. I even had a video for Rachael in all this. Darn ! Also on the way to the park I noticed that the driver ahead of us, coming our way, flicked his lights on at us. I know what that means in the states—slow down, there’s a cop up ahead, but I was curious to know what it means here. The driver told me that it is the other driver’s way of saying hello, since it is his friend. Where we might tap our horn, that wouldn’t work here as I explained, the horn is a major part of driving here. At the park, I sat and talked with Kavetta for a long time about the caste system, and I learned a lot. Although it is changing slowly, at least it is changing. I also asked her about Domestic Violence. She said that it is against the law, but that it is seldom reported. She said that it is very common. I am going to try to learn more about how the problem is dealt with here. I had a wonderful time at the picnic. I was asking a lot of questions of Kavetta, and was wondering if I was being a bother. I was therefore happily surprised when she remarked spontaneously, “I like your questions”. When I asked if she was sure, she said “that’s why I am always sitting with you”. That made me feel good.
We returned from the picnic about 5, and a few of us decided to go to town to shop around a bit. I was SO happy to get my clothing from the tailor’s. Now I understand how the Indian women can wear these clothes. When they are made for you they fit perfect, and thus feel great on ! It was almost time for dinner by the time we were done shopping, so we took an auto- rickshaw back to the house. It cost all of 50 rupees, a tiny bit more than a dollar.
Dinner was a surprise: Pizza-- Homemade pizza with lots of veggies. I haven’t said much about the food other than it is spicy, but actually I have found several things I really like for instance, Samosa, which I mentioned before, lentil soup, Rotti, chai, and a bunch of other stuff that I haven’t gotten the names for. I also tried a native fruit called leeche. It’s kind of like a grape that has a hard shell on the outside. You peel the shell off and there is fruit which is similar in consistency to a grape. The difference is you eat it like an olive which still has the pit because it too has a large pit in the middle. Leeche is very good! I wonder how they would taste frozen!
After dinner I went to call Joel and Rachael. They weren’t home so I left them a message. I then decided to walk up the street to the other house (there are two houses with volunteers, they are just a few doors down from each other). Walking up the street I saw something I hadn’t seen in over 30 years, fireflies ! I haven’t seen them since I was a little girl. I was just tickled. They looked like little tiny shooting stars. I wish there were some way to video them for Joel and Rachael. Because it is the wet season here, it is frequently overcast. Although I ought to be able to see bright stars, I mostly see only clouds. I am a little dissappointed by this, but perhaps we will have at least one clear night.
Although I’d like to go to Amritsar this coming weekend, I haven’t yet found anyone to go with me. I hope this changes because I really want to see the Golden Temple, and I don’t want to travel alone. This is one frustration being around so many young people. They don't plan. or maybe it has nothing to do with age... who knows. My only frustrations here are with some of the other volunteers, the political system, and the inability of the citizens to use trash cans !!!!

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