Daily Archives: January 25, 2013

All the Tears

Coming to India was a terrible terrible idea. I was so excited about meeting new people and staying with families that I completely failed to factor in that I would have to say goodbye at some point. After five wonderful days with an amazing family (and OMFG they own an ICE CREAM FACTORY!!! They forced me to eat several scoops a day. Forced I tell you!!), the end had come. We met as a group with our host families at my family’s lake house.

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Vanessa arrived in style, as usual.

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We had a fantastic breakfast (as all the breakfasts are) and spent time hanging out one last time.

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Eventually they tore us away, and the vanload of crying women moved on to Kottayam. Upon arrival (after several very bumpy swervy hours), we immediately realized that Kottayam was different than Kollum. Kollum seems very much a true beach town culture, Kottayam is fancy like Dallas.

The first home I stayed in was very nice, but the home I moved into was ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. Like nicer than anywhere I’ve ever stayed in my entire life ridiculous. I spent the entire tour gasping with surprise and delight. To start off, the home is four stories. FOUR. Who has four stories????

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Size clearly matters to me. Also, I realize that only looks like two, but there is one on the top that you can’t really see and one below. Insanity I tell you. This is my super fabulous room:

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It has an air conditioner, TWO sheets, and a blanket. I even had to turn the AC off on the first night because I got so cold. Strange things are happening to me. My bathroom is especially amazing as it features both a fantastic shower and a steam shower which is attached to a Jacuzzi tub. No big deal.

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I can’t imagine why anyone in India needs anymore steam, but what do I know? After steaming, I can to hang out on my own private floor. Maybe watch some movies on the projector, hang out in the kitchen or roll around in the other three bedrooms.

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If I get sweaty watching movies, then I can go rinse off in the 20 foot high open-air monsoon shower. Sadly it’s not monsoon season, but thankfully that have water spigots that immolate a rain shower.

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No big deal.

After my rain shower, I can go swing on my personal terrace.

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And relax while enjoying the view.

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If I’m feeling social, I can join my amazing family on the rooftop terrace.

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And enjoy the views.

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I never have to worry about the water shutting off or losing power because their home is completely self-sustaining. They have solar panels, windmills, and a water collection system with fancy filters. They reuse everything and grow their own vegetables. Hi America, let’s take note.

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After enjoying some time with my family, I can spend an evening getting an butt kicking at badminton with my new little brother.

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He was sweet enough to tell me that I wasn’t terrible. I had so much fun that we ended up playing for two hours. Must start a badminton club at home. Oh hi fabulous sunset.

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Sadly, our fun came to an end and I had to actually do work and attend a Rotary meeting.

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I’ve received a couple of comments asking about what we do at the meetings.  The meeting itself usually lasts around 1.5 hours. We give a 30 minute presentation during about who we are, what we do, where we live, and why traveling to India matters to us. It’s been a nice daily reminder that I am a terrible public speaker. It’s also been nice having a terrible cold (day 7 and counting!) because my voice is gone and I cough the entire time. I’m making a great impression.

After the meeting, we spend another 1.5 hours taking pictures, meeting people, watching dance performances (when they have them), talking, eating supper, declining alcohol, taking pictures, being served more food, taking more pictures, and trying to get rid of our plates before they can feed us for a third time.

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Some of the Rotary clubs are really fun and the members are very friendly and talkative. Some clubs are more formal and the conversation is very stiff .  Sometimes we have a club meeting like the last one where it was games and a dance party. Sometimes we spend 5 hours there during their 10 year anniversary celebration in which eight people give excessively long speeches in a language I don’t understand.

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The hardest part of these is staying alert because we are already about 13-15 hours into our day. We also sit on the stage usually which means everyone is watching. This also means no making weird faces, talking, or laughing. That’s never easy for me. After I spent an entire meeting trying  to discreetly yawn, I was informed that yawning is how Keralites express boredom. So now I will be spending my time trying not to break my jaw while stopping my yawns.

I’m off to spend some time in my monsoon. I hope you are insanely jealous and I’m not the least bit sorry about it. Suckerssssss.

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