Daily Archives: January 26, 2013

All the Churches

After visiting the children in the morning, we headed out to visit several churches. I’m so confused between which churches are which. And if we are in a Catholic church or an Orthodox church or a Syrian Orthodox church. I always forget the minute they tell us and I’m so unfamiliar with Catholicism that I can’t tell if the differences are Indian or the denomination (branch?).

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Our national prize-winning religion reporter Jennifer spent about an hour interviewing His Holiness. He was a funny guy and very generous with his time. He kind of had a Dumbledore vibe.

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After that church, we went to another. I also don’t remember the name or type. Sleep deprivation is bad on the brain. At least it was pretty.

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After getting in some holy rolling time, we headed to lunch at a local Rotarian’s house. We found these amazing little cracker things which was a complete miracle because we had just spent hours on the previous day bemoaning the absence of cheese in our lives. We cleaned that man out of those.

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They also had some processed cheese wedges for us. I’m starting to learn that Indian people have terrifyingly good hearing. We were offered cheese about 8 times that day. I don’t know who heard us, but they sure did deliver.

We also met Jessica (on the right) from Madison, Wisconsin. She’s working on a graduate degree in post-Ghandian thought at a local university. She’s sponsored by Rotary and is a survivor of the program we are currently in. We quickly kidnapped her and forced her to spend all her time with us. She’s even staying in my house.

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After lunch, we took our victim to a Hindu temple visit with us. It was so beautiful and peaceful.

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We learned that these scales are used to determine your donation to the temple. You got on one side and the other side was filled with fruit until balanced. I can’t afford that many apples.

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We normally have an hour or so to clean up before our evening Rotary meeting, but that has not been the case this week. We were a bunch of grumpy sweaty ladies about that. Thankfully, we had a fun night at my host parent’s house filled with more Gangam style.

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And we enjoyed my personal swing.

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During dinner, my host sister taught me to make dosa. It’s pretty much a pancake, but made of rice. And without syrup (that’s a bummer). But, they were delicious and I didn’t even ruin them.

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I’m the Paula Deen of India.

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All the Children

I woke up in my new palace to the smell of breakfast. I hopped out of bed, put my clothes on and headed out to breakfast.

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Yeah that’s all for me. One person. This is why I’m getting fat. I also felt like Richie Rich because I was sitting along at a large table all by myself. Quite lonely. I also have a driver who shuttles me about. He doesn’t talk to me, so I talk to myself.

We were told to leave at 8 instead of 9:30, so we spent about an hour with my team leader’s host family. We both lamented the missed sleep. On the bright side, he lives in a 140 year old house that he was more than happy to let me nose around in. Check out this magnificent lock on the rice bins:

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He also has a beautiful courtyard filled with lemon trees. He asked me what kind of fruit trees I kept in my courtyard. Um. The lack of courtyard makes it pretty hard to keep my fruit crop prosperous.

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When 9:30 finally arrived, we picked up the rest of the ladies and headed to a school. We were immediately shuffled onto a stage where a class of twelve year olds were waiting anxiously with their questions.

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They wanted to know all about cowboys, Texans, Americans, and Justin Bieber. I cannot escape the Biebs here. I’ve also been asked if I know him, because I’ve come to learn that all white people know each other. Hahaha. We were going somewhere one day and our Indian host for the day told me “your friends are here.” I asked which friends and he said “All the white people. You know them yes?” I could not stop laughing. It’s weird to be on the other end of that.

After the cowboy Q&A we were escorted around the school. The kids were so fun and so excited to see us. It made me really miss teaching.

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These kids are so happy to see me. Soooooo happy.

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So this kid just moved to India from Chicago, he had been there his entire life. He has been in Kerala for about three months and it was really interesting listening to some of the challenges he has faced with such a massive cultural change.

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One of the neatest things I learned was that the kids get multiple breaks during the day where they can do recreational activities in the courtyards. They are all dancing fools.

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They were also practicing for their annual day festival this weekend, and we got a special performance by their dance teacher. Holy moly. We were staring in amazed silence.

The most special experience of the day was spending a couple of hours speaking with the school principal. She was amazing and hilarious. It was great to get to spend so much time learning about the Indian education system.

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I was beyond jealous when she explained that in India the schools select their curriculum up until age 10. After that point, they follow state-mandated curriculum and testing. Dear Texas, can we do that too?

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Those pants are awful. Good Lord. And I just realized that this is about 900 pictures, so I’ll cover the rest of the day tomorrow. Bye friends.

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