It’s almost December. Hard to believe. Time is ticking right on by. Six more months to go. It feels like I’ve learned TONS this month.
I’ve learned more about the patience thing. I’m getting better at it! Slow Internet service, waiting for the hours to pass for a Skype call. Not having the right ingredients to make a decent meal. Difficulty making airline reservations, getting hotels and such. Fraud this month with one of my credit cards and all that that entails. Spending half my time trying to communicate to others who don’t speak English. All these things are good (but not fun) practice for becoming more patient.
It can get really rough before it gets better. Sleeping on it is always the best idea.
If you have money, weddings in India are done very big time.
I love, I need, animals. This isn’t really something new, just a continuation of my past feelings. And camels -love them! They are so interesting to me and oh, the way they look! They don’t seem to prefer the decked out look. I haven’t written about them yet, but I will; there’s a whole Pushkar Camel Fair piece still waiting on me to complete. I continue to see how good it feels when I’m able to actually pet one of the strays, the way it truly warms my soul, makes me feel really good inside. And the way I feel with my arms around the neck of a cow; I’m filled with memories of my childhood on our ranch. And the white one, who died that day, over near Assi Ghat on that flat piece of land. The way the sick dogs and the injured or mistreated cattle touch my heart lets me know animals continue to be very important to me, something I will always have and need in my life.
Sometimes you get what you pay for with clothes from India. Easy come, easy go.
I can get used to a lot of things. Some, easier than others.
If you are very careful, you might not get sick in a third world country. You might also not get bitten by a street dog or a monkey. Or it might be you’ve just been lucky.
Some things you never get used to.
I love to write and take photographs. That becomes more clear each day. I’m willing to put in the hours and the effort, to give up reading at night. And this has taught me we do have time for the things we put first. Always.
You can’t always count on people, you should mostly count on yourself, the rest is icing on the cake.
I’m re-evaluating the (if any) benefits of drinking. The beer and wine here suck. That goes for most mixed drinks as well. Twice I’ve thought seriously about just stopping, not that I do it that often. I find thinking about this has given me an opportunity to learn a lot more about myself. And if I do stop, I’ll have to learn another new thing: what do you drink in place of the booze? What do you do with your hands? There are way too many people in my life who drink; it would be impossible to stop being around alcohol A learning topic for another time.
There are godsends and I’ve received one (actually two).
I can flag down a tuk-tuk, a rickshaw. I’m getting better and better at it. And I’ll just walk away if the price is too high, shake my head, “Are you kidding? I’m not paying that.” I was in a wreck in a tuk-tuk, but I got in another one the very next day. I’m also learning how to walk the streets alone, spend the night in the flat by myself. I might be becoming just a little badass. Maybe a better word is brave.
If needed, I can scream loud as hell to tell someone not to touch me. Next time they’ll only touch me once. I know I would whack a monkey now if one jumped on me like before. I see that as a sign my aggressive manly side is coming out. I need a little bit of that to make it in India and I’ve learned that now.
My husband can be my hero, my rock, at times what I need the most. He can also fall short and disappoint. The same goes for me with him. I’m learning nothing will work if you don’t have that commitment. With it, you can move mountains.
I’m getting more used to the Ganga, its dirty water, dead floating dogs, plastic, trash, old vegetables, the remains of loved ones, my white cow. I’ve learned that it will not kill me, my leg won’t fall off if my foot somehow gets splashed. Not all fears are reasonable nor realistic.
Traditions get so ingrained in us. Not partaking in the holidays can be really tough. It’s quite difficult to miss out on things you’ve shared with family. You can make your own kind of celebration, though.
I’m learning how to cover my roots by myself. This month it looked better than the last. Talk about saving a lot of money!!!! I’ve learned that in a pinch, it’s something I could do back home.
Saris are TEN YARDS long. I’d wondered what was hanging down from one of the buildings across the way. I’ve learned I have no interest in washing something like that, nor even wearing one.
I continue to do well as a student. I put in time and take pride in my work for Professor O’Connell. I’ve had lots of time for research, for the exposure to topics I knew nothing about. As time goes on, I realize just how much I value learning; that MFA is looking more and more like something I want.
Retail therapy really does work. I don’t do it nearly enough. I’d probably be 1000% ok if I did.
There do not appear to be many expats living in Varanasi. I’ve contacted three organizations, an American blogger in Goa, maybe someone else, now I don’t remember. The closest expat organization for me appears to be in Calcutta and that’s too far away. I’ve also emailed a group representing a Gates Foundation initiative in Varanasi-looks like the project is already completed. Still, I am being persistent in my quest to find other Americans. I can be proud of myself for not giving up.
It doesn’t hurt me to wash my makeup off with cold water. I could boil some, let it cool, or get warm water from the shower or the kitchen but I have chosen not to do that. I think this is a signal I’m doing something against the comfort grain, but not sure what it is or why. I’ll learn more about what this means as time goes on. Maybe I’m just learning that it’s too much trouble. Maybe it’s just that I’m lazy.
I will never stop traveling as long as I have the ability to go. My thoughts have already turned to my next possible travel adventure. More and more I want to share what I’ve learned with others.
You can get by on less of everything than you think and I can now prove it.
Cabbage goes with lots of things; all you need is a great imagination. My husband doesn’t appear to care for it but I’m having its pale green leaves for lunch a lot, had it one night when I was alone. It’s cheap and quick to cook. The other day I cooked it with onions, threw in cumin and an orange. It’s become my new go-to food. And it’s really good.
I’ve learned to put my foot down. Getting to that point is a slow process and I’ll get even better at it with more practice. I know it is against my nature, but it’s a necessity.
I’d stopped really practicing Christianity, at least the way I used to. No church, no Bible, no prayer chains, no title of lay pastor, no Vacation Bible School, no BSF. Much of that has been gone for quite a while. But here recently, I don’t know. I think I’m heading back that way. I actually saw a Bible at the Harmony Book Store…. Buddhism has some nice principles, some seem similar to parts of Christianity. I really like the Dalai Lama. But I may like Jesus more. There’s more to learn about that.
We head to the state of Kerala in a couple of days. I was treated like royalty at a celebration at a school. Some funky monkey business went on for a couple of days which included LOTS of them sleeping near my door. There’s much more for me to write about and that makes me very happy.