Sunday, 14 March 2010

The craziest weekend of life

This Saturday was the annual SAN Banquet. SAN (the Society of All Nations) is a student group that I've been involved with ever since I came to Mount A. Last year I was the secretary of SAN and so, as part of the executive, I helped organise events through the year and the SAN Banquet in particular. This year there was no one else on campus who was particularly interested in taking on SAN again, and since I was on the exec last year, I agreed to do it.

Mount A students have developed the unfortunate reputation of being apathetic but what is often overlooked is the fact that there is an almost obscene wealth of things for students to do here. So while it's occasionally difficult to find volunteers for some events, it seems that the only reason for it is because they're involved in eight other things already. I think that's the problem that SAN ran into this year. SAN has tagged itself as an organisation that aims to facilitate cross-cultural understanding and interaction ... whatever that means. Ten years ago when SAN started, that might have been something that was needed at Mount A - today, SAN is almost obsolete. And that's not a bad thing. There are so, so many groups on campus that in one way or another meet the needs of students who might otherwise be involved in SAN, and there just isn't any interest.

But, people have grown accustomed to the annual Banquet and come second term, people start asking, "But who's going to do the SAN Banquet this year?" Well ... me, of course. So I rooted out two old SAN members to be on my exec and we started to plan the Banquet. The Banquet is dinner for about 300 people with food from around the world cooked by students and performances by students. It relies entirely on finding enough people who are willing and able to help. By Wednesday last week I was having kittens about how little interest we'd had from people wanting to volunteer, how few tickets we'd sold, and how late our posters had gone up. On Thursday I had a meeting for all the people who'd volunteered and an astounding 20 or 25 people showed up. These people turned out to be my angels.

On Friday I went to Jennings Hall, the university meal hall where we were going to cook all the food and hold the Banquet. I arrived just before my volunteers did at 7:00, and we started on what was to be a very, very long 28-odd hours of work verging occasionally on frenzy. From 7:00 to around 11:15 we chopped, peeled, diced, stirred, mixed, julienned ... and when we left, most of the cooking for a 300 person dinner was done.

On Saturday afternoon I was back at Jennings at 2:00 and I didn't leave till about 10:30 that night. My cooking volunteers showed up on time and while there was a short period when I was really worried things weren't going to come together, it all worked out excellently. I haven't ever seen such efficiency before. I guess I just lucked out and got a great group of people willing to help. They didn't need prodding or anything further than preliminary instructions. They were totally together and organised and if it wasn't for them, this event would have been a spectacular disaster.

Nathan and Noah, my roommates, graciously agreed to be the MCs for the night and they were great. They went with an awkward-is-funny approach to the whole thing that worked really well.

Most people had left by about 9:00, we were done cleaning at about 10:15, and I was out the door at 10:30 ish. I have never been so tired. I got home, waited for my roommates to take their excited, drunken selves out, and I went to sleep ... for 12 solid hours.

It was quite the event, the SAN Banquet. Nathan kindly reminded me last night that while the memory of the stress might fade quickly, this isn't something that I should do again. Trust me. It's not. I think I've done my bit. Next year the Banquet can be someone else's problem. I can already feel the post-stress snivels coming. It's almost like my body's saying, "Oh, the Banquet's over? Right. Here's that cold you've been staving off for the past two weeks."

It was definitely a good experience, though. I now know that I never want to go into logistics as a profession. I got nothing but compliments about how good the food was and how smoothly the event went. Even though we didn't manage to publicise it as well as we usually do, we had lots of people come out. It was actually really, really good.

Oh, and did I mention that I said "douche" during a speech to 200 people? Yep. That happened.

Here's a song that I listened to on my walk home from Jennings last night across a darkened campus and quiet town with all sorts of emotions running through me.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Of road trips, ink, and Indian food ...

It's been so long since I last blogged that it's almost funny. Every time I tell my roommates I'm going to blog they laugh at me because they're sure that I won't. They've been right so far, but not any more. I am turning a new cyber leaf and I will start to blog again regularly. I promise!

Much has happened since the last time I wrote. The first semester of my third year at Mt A ended, I decided to stay on another year at Mt A to do research with a prof in the Biology department, my living situation with my roommates has grown better and better with every passing week, and I am now in the middle of what might be the best of my six semesters at university.

What spurred me to blog today of all days was the fact that I have had one of the most typically "university" weekends of my time at Mt A. One of my roommates is visiting her sister in Montreal so it's just the four of us: Nathan, Noah, Rhiana, and me. Spring break started on Friday and we've been making the most of it so far.

On Friday night we started the night off by having a bunch of friends over at our place, we eventually moved to Ducky's (a bar) downtown, and then a few of us moved from there to the university Pub later in the night. We ended the night back at our apartment playing guitar until 3:00 am.

On Saturday afternoon when we had finally dragged ourselves out of bed, we started an epic Lord of the Rings movie marathon. We were a quarter of the way through the third movie ('The Return of the King') by about 9:00 that night when we went to Ducky's again for a few beers with friends. We ended up being 'that' table. You know, the ones that are loud and are clearly having the most fun of anyone in the bar. We spent our entire time there making fun of each other, telling stories, and for a few very special minutes, listening to Nathan and Noah make gibbon noises at Rhiana. At about midnight we headed home via a pizza place and watched another quarter of 'the Return of the King' until various people fell asleep.

On Sunday morning (well, to be fair it was more like afternoon), we watched the last half of 'The Return of the King' and spent the rest of the day streaming live coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics streaming off the internet. One of my roommates and I went down to a cute little cafe we have in town to read for a couple of hours before we came back to watch what was apparently the single biggest sporting program in Canadian history: a Canada vs. USA Olympic hockey game. We had three Canadians (Nathan, Rhiana, and our buddy Mark), an American (Noah), and an Indian (me) watching and it was an interesting dynamic. I figured I could look at the game as either, "I don't care" or, "I get to win no matter what", and I picked the latter. Canada lost 3 to 5 and I am certain there were many Canadian hearts broken. It was a great game.

This morning (Monday) we decided to rent a car for the day. Because none of us have cars or easy access to cars, a lot of things get put off because they're a pain to do without transportation.
But with the rented car (which we haven't been old enough to get until this year) it was easy and we were able to make a day-trip of it. The first thing on our list was taking all our empty alcohol and pop cans and bottles up to the recycling place they have in town. We've been accumulating these for a few months now and we had a rather impressive stash. There were: 16 dozen beer bottles, a multitude of wine bottles, and a substantial number of cans, and we ended up getting $26.30 back for all of it. The next thing was a trip to Moncton, the biggest city near by. The trip was largely for my roommate Nathan's benefit because he is 6"8' and has a very hard time finding clothes his size at normal stores. Rhiana and I also made an appointment to get tattoos which was pretty exciting. It was Rhiana's first and my second and I think we took it like champs. We ended our trip to Moncton with dinner at an Indian restaurant and then headed home.

Rhiana and I just watched Mulan and, despite the fact that it's only 10:40, it feels more like 2:00. So I think I'm going to head to bed and actually wake up early and start getting some work done tomorrow.

I'll leave you with a song we put on the sweet road trip mix we made for our drive to Moncton.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

This semester is just rolling along and the days and weeks are passing in a blur. The only way to mark time is to keep track of the many due dates and xkcd posts ( - it's awesome, trust me) that are guiding me towards the end of this semester and the brief two weeks we get off for Christmas. Just a few weeks ago I was holed up in Bridge Street Cafe (our quaint, and only, cafe in Sackville) studying from open to close and pumping myself full of that great drink of champions, peppermint tea. I wrote three midterms in two days, had just enough time to catch up on lost sleep, and I was back with my nose to the grindstone churning out the next set of papers and assignments. I feel like things are falling out of my head as fast as I can force them in and I can barely remember the theory I studied for a test a day after I've written it. And I'm not the only one. This seems to be a problem that plagues most students I've spoken to. I know this is what we're here for, but surely there's a better way?

Luckily I have some semblance of a life outside of school. I was on a softball team for the first part of the semester and we ended up winning the intramurals tournament. I'm now on a volleyball team that looks extremely promising and I look forward to the distraction that our games provide.

Every Thursday my roommate Rhiana and I meet and go over to our friends' place to take their puppy Isabella out for a walk. There is no single greater joy than having a puppy shower unconditional love on you after a long and tiring week and Izzy is by far the biggest ray of sunshine in my life right now.

My roommates and I have redecorated our apartment to make it look like much more of a home. There are plants in the living room, the furniture has been rearranged, and we found paintings and photographs for the walls.We also just signed a lease to stay on in this apartment for next year. For the first time in the three years that I've been at Mt A I feel like I finally have a home. My two rooms in Thornton and even this room so far this year have been fine, and I've definitely made them my own space, but there was always an air of impermanence to the whole thing. Now I know that I'm going to be here in this apartment till April 2011, I can really put roots down. It's a good feeling. I think people sometimes underestimate the bizarre situation that university students are in where they are always in limbo, always waiting for the next thing to come along, never really settling down.

Halloween was last weekend and I finally bit the bullet and let my friends dress me up as Princess Jasmine from Aladdin. Halloween isn't something we do in India and so I've always felt like a bit of an idiot having to dress up for it. The last two years I've put absolutely no effort into it, had awful or non-existent costumes, and managed to get by without too much trouble. This year my roommate Cate is all about costumes and I was almost doing her a favour by letting her work on mine. What I feel about it comes down to the fact that I don't care enough to put time into working on a costume when I have so many other more important things to be doing. But hey, if someone wants to make a costume for me, that's great! And that's exactly what happened. Cate made the perfect hair band, worked out a pretty fantastic hair piece, I put on some voluminous 'hippie' pants and matching top (acquired years apart those two pieces of clothing are made of exactly the same material and the serendipity of it all bewilders me), and got all Jas(min)ed up. Cate dressed as Marie Antoinette;Noah was a panda; Nathan glued a cereal box to his chest, stabbed a knife through it and went as a 'Cereal Killer'; and Rhiana dressed up as Cleopatra. Once we were all decked out I ended up feeling really good about it and I have a feeling the whole incident will make me much less negative about Halloween next year. Yay for cultural assimilation!

In other news, it appears that the plague (the dreaded Swine Flu) has hit Mt A. I'm surprised it's taken so long and I'm sure we'll come through it fine. I was talking to someone today about it and we decided it's good that it has a fancy name because it means that professors are being far more considerate about students having to miss class than usual. One just has to say the words and profs are practically begging students not to come to class and are going out of their way to make sure students don't miss anything. So far, I've seen a few friends go down with the flu and my classes are slowly losing people, but it's not looking too bad. In fact, I had a class canceled today and I'm completely fine with that. I did stay up half the night to write a paper for his class, but class being canceled meant that I took a sweet nap this afternoon which made everything better. And the best part of this whole thing is that I haven't been hit by the plague yet. I have a bit of a cough that bothers me most when I'm out in the cold, but that's about it.

I'm in a strange, nostalgic, homesick sort of mood this evening. I visited a friend who's also down with the flu and we ended up talking about music while he messed around on his guitar. At some point James Taylor and his song 'Carolina in My Mind' came up. I love James Taylor. His songs make me think of my parents and I realised after talking about it that I didn't actually have any James Taylor on my computer. So as soon as I got home, I got to work finding the songs that I liked and downloading a couple of classic albums. I've now listened to all of them a couple of times and put together an 'Oldies' playlist on iTunes. Paul Simon, the Eagles, America, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, John Denver ... all good stuff. It's definitely taking the edge of this whole homesickness thing. It's not something that happens to me very often since I rather enjoy my life at university, but if I were at home, I'd be listening to this music all the time and listening to it now made me miss it.

It's now 10:00 and I just might - for the first time this semester - curl up in bed with a book and read till I want to go to sleep. I started off the evening with the full intention of getting some reading done and a paper written, but I was feeling way too mellow and distracted. Plus, after the way-more-than-I-bargained-for excitement of Halloween, I think I'm going to have a quiet weekend that shall be spent at Bridge Street with more peppermint tea as I begin to slowly chip away at the massive papers I have due at the end of this semester.

Stay well, good readers. Remember to wash your hands and don't forget the awesome arm-sneeze/cough (as opposed to the hand-sneeze/cough) that Mt A is rocking so hard.

And because it's my feel-good song of the night, here's an awesome live version of James Taylor singing his song, 'Fire and Rain'.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

India Coming Out?

Hi folks! I'm going to cheat a little bit this week and instead of writing something new, I'm going to share something I wrote for the Argosy (our student newspaper) this week, instead. The Argosy is a fantastic publication that I look forward to every week. Sometimes the writing is poor, sometimes the stories are weak, but we at Mt A love it regardless. And this week I get to be part of it. For all of my Mt A readers, chances are you skipped my section and now you can't avoid it. And for all you non-Mt A folk, you get a sweet article! So here it is:

Last week Canada, the US, and a number of European countries celebrated ‘Coming Out Week’. Catalyst – Mt A’s LGBT alliance on campus – invited the university community to participate in the celebrations and discussions surrounding LGBT issues. Having grown up in India – a strongly heteronormative society – the open expression and discussion of LGBT issues is not something I’ve seen often. As a nation India is still wrestling with these issues and only recently have people begun to speak up and speak out against the archaic laws and policies the Indian Penal Code outlines.

The widespread discomfort surrounding these issues is not exclusive to LGBT issues; talking openly about sex and sexuality in any context is enough to mortify the average Indian. This societal awkwardness is apparent at the level of both general society and the government. All of this seems rather ironic given that India is home to the ancient traditions of the Kama Sutra and Tantra, but things are changing for the better.

In 1996, Indian-born Canadian film director and screenwriter Deepa Mehta, released Fire, the first film in her Elements trilogy (the film was not released in India until 1998). Fire is set in India and was the first Indian film to explicitly depict homosexual relations. Its release in India was met with wide-spread and often violent protests by right-wing Hindu groups, though this isn’t to say that conservative Hindus are the only people in India opposed to open expression of (homo)sexuality. Forcing the issue into the public eye, Deepa Mehta spurred a wider debate around homosexuality and freedom of speech in the country.

Barkha Dutt, an award winning journalist for one of India’s leading news channels, NDTV, furthered the LGBT discourse in India by addressing LGBT issues, sexuality, and intolerance on her weekly audience-driven show We the People. Dutt and her colleagues in Indian journalism are finally bringing these issues out into the open and challenging the nation’s outdated societal norms and taboos.

Drafted by Lord Macaulay in 1861, the Indian Penal Cold (IPC) is a powerful piece of legislation, a code to which all subjects of the British Empire in India (those of both Indian and British origin) would be held accountable. Notable within this code is Section 377 – an archaic clause that criminalises sexual activity deemed to be “against the order of nature,” a crime punishable at the very least by a substantial fine or at worst by life imprisonment. Nearly 150 years after its inception, the law has finally been challenged. The issue was first brought to the High Court in 2001 in a public interest litigation demanding the legalisation of consensual homosexual intercourse, and in a surprisingly short eight years, it has made it through the tangle of Indian bureaucracy. In its historic decision on July 2, 2009, the Delhi High Court amended Section 377 of the IPC so as to decriminalise homosexual activity among consenting adults. A transcript of the 105-page judgement is available online via the District Courts of India Judgement Information System. The judgement reads,

“If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of 'inclusiveness' … Those perceived by the majority as “deviants' or 'different' are not on that score excluded or ostracised.

In our view, Indian Constitutional law does not permit the satutory criminal law to be held captive by populat misconceptions of who the LGBTs are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is the antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster the dignity of every individual."

The battle isn’t over yet. The amendment has been passed in the High Court but it will be appealed to Supreme Court and has already met with huge opposition from a range of political groups, including the Ministry of Home Affairs and a far-right political party, the Shiv Sena. The fact that the amendment passed through the High Court at all is a sign, however, that the Indian psyche is moving into an era of enlightenment and freethinking. People of our generation in India will soon begin to establish groups like Catalyst and the thousands of others like it and they will continue to challenge our government and our society to broaden its mind. Sixty-two years after Independence, the decision made by the Delhi High Court was one of many steps signaling the beginning of a new period in India’s growth and it bodes well for India as an emerging force in the global arena.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Getting Back Into It

It's been close to three months since I last blogged. Things started to happen and I just didn't find the time. I'm using this blog as a segue way into blogging regularly again. But here's a bit of a summary of all that's happened since my last post.

When I last wrote my family was soon to head out on a epic trip all across India. We were first in a city called Ahmednagar for a week running a field trip for a group of American high school students. The work was based in an organisation called Snehalaya which works with people affected with AIDS/HIV. This includes sex workers, children of sex workers, and children orphaned by AIDS. The trip was dedicated to learning about AIDS/HIV in a biological context as well as a social context so we had classroom-based discussions about the disease as well as visits to NGOs, brothels, and social workers. The trip was in parts shocking and heartbreaking, but it was also wonderful to see the kind of work that is going into this area and the immense strength that many of the women and children showed despite the huge odds they're up against.

From Ahmednagar we traveled on to New Delhi to meet a second group of students. This trip took us from Delhi to Dhar
amsala. In 1959 when the Tibetan people were forced to flee Tibet at the time of the Chinese invasion, India gave them refuge and allowed them to settle in Dharamsala and establish their Government in Exile there in 1960. Today that is where the Dalai Lama has his residence and is essentially the home of the Tibetan people in exile. Dharamsala is known as "Little Lhasa", after the name of the capital city in Tibet. We spent some days in Dharamsala exploring Tibetan culture, medicine, language, and Tibetan Buddhism. We headed back to Delhi via another town called Dalhousie and ended the academic portion of the trip. We were in Delhi for a short time and then drove to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. We were in Agra for a day and before returning to Delhi. My family stayed in Delhi a few days after the students flew out and then got the train back to Kodai. That took almost an entire month and by the time we were back, it was August 17th and I was leaving for Sackville in two weeks. On the left is map of where my travels took me.

I spent the my last two weeks meeting all the people I needed to say bye to, doing all the last-minute shopping I needed, and organising my things.

I flew out of Chennai on the 5th of September at 1:00 am. I flew Chennai-Frankfurt-Montreal-Halifax and it took me over 24 hours. I arrived in Halifax at 4:00 pm on the 5th. I got a shuttle bus from the airport to the city and checked in at a hostel on Gottigen St - the sketchiest part of Halifax, as far as I'd been told. I had a sleepless night because I was terrified I wasn't going to wake up to get my cab at 6:30 to the bus terminal and that I would miss my bus. It turns out that everything went fine and I was in Sackville at 10:30 am on the 6th morning and Nathan and Victoria were waiting for me with Vic's car. I was thrilled to be back in Sackville. I missed it very much this summer.

Rhiana, Cate and Noah were waiting for me when I got to our apartment with Nathan and from then on, it was just like being home. That was Sunday and school started on Tuesday. I just about managed to get unpacked by Monday night and being back in classes so soon after arriving was a bit of a shock. This semester definitely started at an insane pace and has hardly let up since it started, but I'm generally enjoying the classes I'm taking and most of my profs are great.

Our apartment situation is also going incredibly well. Nathan, Rhiana, Noah, Cate and I are good friends and living together is very easy. It's been everything and more than I hoped it would be and it turns out that my apprehension was completely unwarranted.

I'm part of a number of student groups this semester and they're all keeping me fairly busy. I'm running SAN - the Society of All Nations, and I'm part of EcoAction and Unicef Mt A. It's a really interesting range of activities because they're all very different and I get to work with completely different groups of students on completely different projects. It's going to be a lot of fun, if a bit hectic.

I was on a field trip on the weekend of the 2nd of October to St Andrews, a town right on the border of New Brunswick and Maine in the US. The trip was for my Marine Biology class and we were studying intertidal zones and the plants and invertebrate animals found there. The trip was a lot of fun and great experience in data collection in the field. We were up at 5:00 am one morning so that we could be down on the beach at 6:00. We were out sampling for about two hours and then we headed straight to the lab to begin keying out and identifying our samples and recording all our data. We were on the beach again for the second low tide that evening and again, once we were done, we went straight to the lab to identify our samples and record our data. We ended the night by taking our aquarium of creatures back down to the beach near our lab and releasing them back into the ocean. It was a great experience and I got to see all kinds of neat stuff like starfish, sea urchins, sponges, sea anemones, crabs, mussels, barnacles, limpets, little shrimp-like creatures, a variety of gross worms, and one group saw a nudibranch but I (heartbreakingly) didn't manage to find one myself. It was a great reminder of why I love biology so much.

This weekend is Thanksgiving and Nathan and I drove to PEI with our friend Stephen to spend the weekend with him and his family. It was one of the most relaxing weekends I've had in a long time and it was absolutely lovely. I've been to PEI before but I didn't really get to see much of the island so it was great having Stephen to show us around since he grew up in PEI and gave us an insider's view of Charlottetown. The first night we wandered around the downtown area and looked a all the great old buildings, bought books at a used book store, had dinner at a great placed followed by drinks at this sweet Scotch lounge. We ended the night with a long walk on the boardwalk on the bay. We spent the next day trying to get work done and had a really nice Thanksgiving dinner. Yesterday we drove out to the beach and wandered around and then went back into town. We walked around Province House with Stephen giving us the grand tour, got ice cream at 'Cows' which is famous in PEI, and then drove around the downtown a bit. We left PEI at around 6:00 and we were back in Sackville by 7:30.

Today is Thanksgiving proper and we're having a massive potluck this evening. Nathan's in the process of basting the turkey, Rhiana made pumpkin cheese cake, Cate's making chicken pot pie, and Noah and I'll be doing veggies and mashed potatoes later. We have about 14 people who we're expecting over and we'll probably get a few other people who show up and it's going to be great.

And that's essentially all that's happened to me since I last wrote. I should be writing more often from now on. Happy Thanksgiving, folks! I'll check in again soon.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Kodaikanal: PT Road, 3:30 pm, 19th July 2009

I thought I'd try something a little different for the next little while. I'm going to be out of Kodai doing new things and going new places, and maybe I should tell my stories in a new way. For as long as I can keep it up, I'll give you little snap-shots of my life. Glimpses of the places I've been and the things I saw that have in some way moved me. It also gives me a chance to write in a way that "Today I did this and this and this ..." doesn't quite do. Bare with me. I've been writing this blog for two years and I need to try new ways of expressing myself.

Anyway. Here goes:

I can't remember the last time I've been in town on a Sunday. It's not for lack of opportunities but that's just how it goes. Life falls into a rhythm, we get into our comfortable grooves, and interesting things stop happening.

I'm waiting and watching the world go by. From my vantage point I can see up and down the street and, except for an occasional pair of eyes that strays up to look back at me, I remain unnoticed. It's about to rain but the people milling around below me seem oblivious.

A man has arranged the school bags he's selling in a circle. In the middle of the circle is a stick of incense burning slowly down to its base. He's sitting next to the bags occasionally getting up to dust one or adjust another - but like me, he mostly watches.

A man and his wife are selling grapes. When the last bunch has been exchanged for payment, he beings to clear away his things. He sits down and counts the money he has earned that day. Soon an old man appears at his side - I presume it's his father. The family continues to pack away their make-shift stall: they fold the tarp, clean up the boxes and packing paper, and carry away the cot they were using to display the fruit on. In a few minutes' time, they have left nothing but bare ground behind them.

People come to his stall in a steady stream. He digs among the piles of jeans and trousers he has and pulls out just the right item to show his customer. He seems to know where everything is and he never hesitates. But no one buys anything. I wonder what he's thinking.

Occasionally a car drives through the surging mass of people. There's a feeling that the cars are unwelcome and the people move reluctatntly aside as the horns urge them out of the way. They part like water before the prow of a ship and then they slip back into place, showing no sign of the disturbance that had moved them seconds before.

A man is sweeping the ground in front of his stall. When he's finished he walks over to the neighbouring stall and tosses the broom onto a pile of others. The woman selling them shows no indication that she is bothered by him using her broom. She ignores him and continues her conversation with a passer-by.

A man and his wife walk past with their three daughters. There doesn't seem to be more than two years separating each child; the youngest is no older than two. Does the father feel sorry that he has no sons? Does the mother feel guilt?

Across the street a vegetable vendor answers her cell phone. Her display of produce is modest, but neatly arranged. I smile at the apparent irony of India: cell phones in the hands of those who didn't go to school and whose children may never go to school either.

The noise dominates. It is the sound of many voices speaking at once: people chatting with friends, old women haggling over a few rupees, fruit sellers calling attention to their yellow mangoes and foam-packed apples. Soon the noise seems to form more of a background to the sights and smells, colours and movements that make up this moment of pure, unadulterated life.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

I have a funny feeling in my chest today. Maybe it's because of all this traveling that's ahead of me. I feel like it isn't. Part 2 of my summer break is over. There's change in the air ...

This summer has been good for me. It has been full of fairly high highs and some very low lows, but I feel like I've been slowly transformed by it. I've learned things about myself that weren't obvious before. It's interesting how different things become clear depending on the context in which they're placed. It's sort of like when you have a favourite book that you read every few years. Every time you read it, certain phrases will pop out at you in a way they didn't before, you'll learn different things and take away new meanings. Coming back to India this summer was like having to confront an image of the person I was when I left, and having to reconcile it when the person that I am now.

Tonight my parents, my brother and I are leaving town for just under a month. My mum is the director of a company (India Educational Tours) that runs fieldtrips for (often IB) students from all over the world. Between now and when we come back in August, there'll be two fieldtrips - one in Ahmednagar (about 200 km west of Bombay) and one in Dharamsala (about 200 km north east of Lahore, Pakistan and the same distance west of Tibet). Between the two trips, we're going to be out of Kodai for almost a month. It's a tiring thought, and my brother and I made a feeble appeal to be allowed to stay behind, but it's too late for that. A friend told me to imagine that it's an episode of Survivor. I hope it won't be too bad. It's just going to be a lot of buses, trains, unfamilar beds, and living out of a bag. And when we come back, I'll only have two weeks left in India before I head back to Sackville.

My brother ended up coming back to India. We weren't planning on having him back this summer but things changed and it turned out that he was going to be saving a lot of money by coming back, rather than saying in Daytona (Florida). He's probably going to be here a month longer than me.

I'm not sure what my internet access will be like when I'm gone, but I'm going to try and blog if I can. I might have more interesting things to write about when we're traipsing around the country, than here in Kodai. As much as I love being in Kodai, it doesn't provide much material for interesting blogs.

I had another post in mind for tonight but I have to pack still, so I'm going to stop. I'll save it for another day.

Till later ...