So you want to be a super model…
The days are going very fast. Too fast. This is my 3rd week here already and I have no idea where the time went. I only have a week left of teaching and I’m already sad about the thought of leaving.
This month has been full of realizations for me – realizing just how much I have changed in this last year. I think I will look back on this year of travel and say…”August…that was the month that it all came together for me.” However – don’t let that last statement lead you to believe that I have answers on what I will do when I get home…that still is a mystery. I’m talking more about hitting my stride, feeling completely comfortable with my surroundings and life, nirvana in a way. Don’t worry though, I will leave that analysis for another post when I have more time than a simple Spice Diary entry.
This week I have been busy with teaching as usual – and I have continued to love every minute of it. I’ve spent late nights trying to understand grammar rules so that I could teach it correctly – only to figure out that I needn’t try to be that much of a perfectionist. Old habits die hard. I told the kids this week that Sep. 7th was my last day – and they seemed surprised and disappointed – which made my heart drop like a brick.
This Tuesday was a national festival in India called Rakhi Bandhan. This is a celebration for siblings – specifically a festival in which sisters tie a thread around her brother’s wrist as a symbol of protection, loyalty, and affection. Brothers give money or other gifts such as jewelry, shoes, or clothes to their sisters in return. I’m wondering when Halmark will be making this into a holiday worldwide. I’m sure it would sell plenty of cards! This tradition is also carried out between friends representing brotherly and sisterly affection. I now have a number of little red string bracelets from my students – I think my gift to them is teaching them grammar!
A little note for Troy, my brother, I have a lovely piece of red string for you and I will be patiently waiting for my gift! My shoe size is 8 ½…
Photo: Little boy trying to race to get into my shot! They love the camera!
Besides the bracelets – the other perk about this holiday is that you get the day off. India is a land of socializing and festivals – so it seems like one rarely has to work a full work week! I spent my day off getting up at the crack of dawn to work on some photography around Delhi. I went to some of the normal tourist and religious sites and then went to the flower market. There are many things I enjoy about India, but one of the best things is that the people here absolutely LOVE to have their picture taken. I’m really overwhelmed by the number of requests that I receive to take people’s pictures here. This is rather unique as in many countries the people are not too excited about being photographed. In some countries, people even think that it removes the person’s soul when you take a picture. Needless to say – I don’t want to be responsible for a lost soul, so you have to be careful! In other countries you encounter the people that request money for taking their picture as if they were Kate Moss. Trust me – they aren’t even close to Kate Moss, but you still have to have some small change around just in case they think they are a super model. This is all fine until they tell you that it’s not enough money. At that point I tell them to get an agent and come complain to me later. Therefore, when you are in India, take our your camera, and people come running from far and near saying ”Mam, take picture?” It’s a little stunning. The even stranger thing about it is that when you take their picture – they just walk away – they don’t even want to see it – or quite possibly they don’t know that you can see it from a digital point of view. It leaves me a bit bewildered!
On Wednesday of this week, I decided that I needed to see how the other half lived. I am in a posh volunteer assignment – AC, computers, western toilets, a classroom, beautiful facilities, clean kids, and gardens. However, my fellow volunteers work in a very different environment. I decided to accompany Kate to her assignment to see what her surroundings are like. Kate designs, makes, and sells jewelry in the Boston area. Her volunteer placement is to teach poor, local women here how to make jewelry in the hopes that they can utilize this skill to make some money on their own. Her surroundings are certainly different than my placement. She works in one of the many poor communities ( a.k.a. slum). She works in this little school room on the floor with no AC and surrounded by the local women plus their kids and the random stray dog laying around. I was excited to go with her as it was a wonderful chance for me to not only sweat my ass off, but also get take some colorful pictures of the women and their kids. I even took a little walk around the community to see more locals – but I wasn’t expecting the reception I received. Since I had my camera in hand, I was mobbed! Everyone came from near and far to get their picture taken…never really looking at it, just jumping in front of the lens to be in the picture. In fact, it was near impossible to get shot with just one of two people in it as everyone pushed in front of them until they were about 2 inches from my lens. I needed someone walking around me for crowd control! However – in a situation like that, it’s really hard not to take a wonderful picture. The kids were adorable; they were all so happy and full of energy.
The rest of the week so far has been about lesson plans, and fall travel plans. I can hardly believe that I only have one week left of volunteer work. Of course – when I have finally remembered all of my student’s names correctly – then I will be leaving! Ah – but I will always have the photos…