Finding My Groove and the Arrival of Fall
I continue to feel more and more “at home” and settled in my new surroundings every day. On Thursday of last week I woke up with incredible new and fresh energy which has been carrying me for the past many days. Fall has arrived to New Delhi and not a moment too soon. The days are now cool in the morning, rather warm in the afternoons thanks to the ever shining sun, and nice and cool again in the evenings.
When I got back from Goa I was sick for a few days with a horrible sore throat and mild fever. I hydrated as much as possible, consumed large quantities of EmergenC, and found a good multivitamin. A doctor at the health center on campus gave me some sort of anti-allergy medicine which I decided to take. Somehow, with the cocktail of pills and vitamins, and more importantly a diet of fresh veggies and plenty of water, I was better by Friday.
As of Tuesday of last week Lesly and I have a new roommate. Her name is Priti and she completing her PhD from JNU focusing on energy politics in Central Asia. She is from Gujarat, a state on the west coast of India. I met her at my birthday dinner at Gobind-ji’s house. She knows Gobind very well because she was best friends with a Japanese Rotary Scholar he hosted. The world is small and it’s amazing how the universe brings you exactly who and what you need if you are open. Lena came along for my birthday dinner and had been thinking of moving onto campus since it is cheaper, so when Priti mentioned that she’d be returning to New Delhi in October to finish her PhD they struck up a conversation and voila! The four of us: Lesly, Lena, Priti, and I, had dinner together last night, so Lena remains an honorary roommate.
Along with Priti’s arrival we have also finally hired someone to clean our apartment and do laundry. We asked our neighbors who was doing their cleaning and lucky for us their cleaning lady was able to take on a new client, so now she cleans our place every morning from 8:30-9:30. It is very common here for families to hire someone to clean the house/apartment every day. It is a luxury (a cheap luxury in India) and has made such a difference for Lesly and I. We were washing our laundry on our own, which was fine but unless you really know how to hand wash laundry it’s hard to get it really clean, especially jeans and such. The woman we’ve hired also really knows how to properly clean dust-prone Delhi apartments. There’s nothing like a clean house to bring peace of mind and make a person happy!
Last week the International Students Association (ISA) held elections for a new executive committee. I planned to run for a position on the exec committee but decided not to in the end because the term is October – September and I am leaving next May. So instead I have been appointed to the position of casual student representative by the new executive team. In this role I will represent casual student issues and chair the sports committee. I’m looking forward to organizing tournaments of badminton, basketball, tennis, etc. and maybe even a Super Bowl party if we can find a way to stream the game on campus. I also sat my first exam last week, for my Water Resources course. From now until December I’ll be busy preparing final presentations and papers for my classes.
On Saturday I attended a conference and earth festival held by Navdanya, an environmental organization led by environmental activist and eco-feminist Dr. Vandana Shiva. The topic was Bhoomi: Learning from Nature, Remembering Tagore. Emrys came along and we saw the screening of the documentary “Harmony” which some of you may have seen on NBC last year. We also listened to a very interesting cross-cultural dialogue on beauty featuring a renowned Indian artist and a design professional from Japan. Next week I will start an unpaid internship with Navdanya. I will help with the organization of conferences and workshops and also hope to learn more about the business side of their operations – in addition to the NGO office they have a farm in Dheradun in north India which supplies organic grains, cereals, honey, and vegetables to a small shop in New Delhi.
Some of you may have heard me say that I am a “high functioning stress addict”. What that means is that I much prefer a busy schedule to too much free time. Since my return from Goa I have been really busy and my mood and energy levels are up as a result.
October is the month of holidays in India. I don’t have classes the end of this week because of Dashera, a Hindu holiday celebrating the triumph of good over evil. So I am heading north this evening to Dharamshala with Daniel, Blythe, and one of Blythe’s coworkers. Dharamshala is the home in exile of the Dalai Lama. We are looking forward to exploring the tiny town, hiking, and maybe seeing His Holiness himself!
A final note on fruit. When in Goa I discovered the custard apple, a bizarre fruit with a delicate, delicious, indescribable taste. Custard apples have arrived to New Delhi and Lesly, Priti, and I shared a couple yesterday on our patio. They look like something that would grow on a cactus, or perhaps as though they are about to hatch a baby alien. Despite their looks, they are delicious!