I apologize that my blog isn’t full of wacky, outrageous, touching stories. I think this is for a few reasons. I’ve been in India for 7 weeks now and so all of the oddness of Indian culture has become normal to me. And also, life in Dharamsala isn’t particularly Indian, it’s missing a lot of the craziness that my life in Delhi had. I wake up, go to work, come home, go to lunch, usually have a lecture or outing, then dinner, then there’s nothing to do at night besides read or watch TV on my computer.
I have, however, finished all the books I brought with me. I read 2 in succession that were pretty interesting together – Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, by Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa, and Expecting Adam by Martha Beck. The first was an evolutionary psychology attempt to explain how nearly everything we do is guided by our instinctual animal behaviors (basically, there’s little that’s uniquely human). Interesting, but kept me up at night contemplating/stressing sometimes. Then Expecting Adam was the complete opposite, a memoir of a Harvard-educated couple who have a son with Down Syndrome. Quite uniquely human, very inspiring, made me feel all was right with the world. I recommend them both, especially in that order.
I’ve also been catching up on all the later seasons episodes of Friends that I had deemed stupid and only watched once – it’s like they’re brand new to me!
I really do love the kids here, and the teacher we’re working with as well. We’re the first volunteers at this daycare and I think we’re doing nice “cultural exchange”, as CCS would put it. The kids are getting positive first impressions of foreigners, and the teacher has told us how much she enjoys having us working with her children. At the same time, she’s changing my negative impression of the way Indians care for children. The orphanage caregivers were so harsh and vindictive with the kids, and she’s so responsive, she works to truly understand each of them and she doesn’t use any physical punishment. Today we brought colorful string and beads and the kids made necklaces. We taught them colors and helped them count and they also got to practice their fine motor. And they were so excited. A few cute necklace pictures:
Namita beading: (This is a girl. She might be my favorite, if you held me at gunpoint and forced me to pick!)
Babita (girl) and Rahul (one of our 2 boys) beading:
Shinam with her necklace (she’s barely 2 and can bead like a pro):
One of Babita’s older brothers and Shweta (another girl – Shweta would be the other child I would pick as favorite if a gun was held to my head! She’s Shinam’s sister, the two of them are an explosion of cuteness.)
Namita swinging her necklace (she hit poor Sahil in the eye.. typical Namita, but for some reason I love her anyway)
Josie and I went down into town today because she’s leaving and needed to buy gifts, and I needed to go to the post office. This was an ordeal in which I had to walk straight down a hill, got dirty looks from the people who worked there, who then asked me to hand them office supplies to do their work, then bought my stamps finally which I had to affix using a stick covered in honey. Then I was supposed to make sure the guy postmarked them otherwise they wouldn’t be mailed, and he glared at me and asked if it was urgent that they be mailed, and I said yes, so he slammed down the postmark and sighed. Brilliant customer service!
Now a goodbye dinner for those who are leaving (nearly all my friends). Sniffle. But garlic naan!