September 2nd: The tent set up in the park for Ganesha’s birthday burned down, Nagamani got a glass eye, I pointed out to our Telugu teacher that the clock was broken as an attempt to get out of answering a question. The attempt was in vain, by the way.
September 3rd: We ate lunch at the Waltair Club with Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and I took the dog on a walk with me while I went to buy groceries at Spencer’s.
September 4th: Woke up at 3 am to watch the BYU vs. Ole Miss game…and apparently decided that was the only thing that was worth writing in my journal that day.
September 5th: The Salmon Room Concert Series began; Kory set up quite the show for family home evening and invited everybody, including the whole program staff and our Telugu teachers, to come and watch. And let’s not forget the fact that we had cookie dough, popcorn, chips and salsa, and banana lassis.
September 6th: Took my first Indian yoga class in the giant bamboo hut in Vuda Park. Born to be a yogi? Probably not. But the classes are sweet. I also took family photos for some of my friends in the village and got to sit in on a rooftop elementary school class.
September 7th: Planned my week long trip to the Andaman Islands, (Side note, if you feel like making yourself jealous, type ‘Andaman Islands’ into Google Images. That’s all.) three words…Elephant Jungle Trek. Also, we had macaroni for dinner and apple pie for dessert. Which is always something to write home about.
September 8th: Interviewed a woman who took care of her brother in a coma for 15 years instead of going to school, discovered that the little girls I say ‘hi’ to when walking back from the village actually know my name (the fact that they can’t say it correctly is irrelevant) and I was told by the cooks that my husband is a lucky man because I’ve learned the art of making chapattis.
September 9th: Made our first visit to the outdoor market to learn the names of the vegetables… in English (who knew a Gherkin was vegetable?) and in Telugu. Our Telugu teachers each bought me a couple bags of cotton candy after seeing my face as the cotton candy man walked by. Booked my flight to Andaman. Had my first encounter with the witch-like lady who sits at the bus stop with her dread locked hair and exposed shoulders and glares at each passerby.
September 10th: Went to Araku Valley, danced with Indian men, drove home in monsoon rains.
September 11th: Had dinner in “The Lotus Room” after our set up of “The Lotus Garden” on the roof got monsoon-rained-out during church.
September 12th: Went to a “Culture Exchange Meet” (not meeting, meet. Like a track meet. But not) at Gayatri College and listened to real Indians sing songs from the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire…priceless. And I went to the beach.
September 13th: Painted the piece of boat wood that Emily and I stole from the beach sometime in August, made cookie dough, watched Modern Family and tried on several sets of 22 karat gold bangles.
September 14th: Discovered the Eastern Art Museum aka Indian souvenir jackpot and met some English-speaking friends from Australia.
September 15th: Got grabbed by a woman in the village who wouldn’t release her grip on my wrists or stop begging for money.
September 16th: Observed an Indian dance class, met two little girls named Pradeepa and Lassya. Had a rickshaw driver ask for 10 extra rupees to support his drinking habits. I said no.
September 17th: Went on a four hour train ride to Rajahmundry.
September 18th: Spent 8 hours on the Godavari River, drove past an elephant, went to a temple tucked away in a forest, and loved watching Kory dance in front of a hundred Indian boat passengers.
September 19th: Went to Rajahmundry’s cloth district, got stuck in traffic near the train tracks on the way to the shops because a 22 year old student had just committed suicide before we arrived.
September 20th: Visited a beautiful nursery just outside Rajahmundry…the nursery was filled with coconut trees, bonsai trees, cacti, mango trees, lemon trees, bamboo shoots, lotus flowers, orchids, aloe, and anything else you could imagine. 95 acres worth.
September 21st: Woke up to a man ringing our doorbell at 7:15 at the hotel with the newspaper. Stayed upset about it until seeing our picture (huge and in color) on the second page of the Deccan Chronicle (South India’s largest English-Printed paper…nbd). The caption said something about foreigners from Brigham Young University. What was even better? Getting stopped on the train…”Are you from Brigham Young University?” “Yeah we are…” “I saw your picture in the paper this morning!” Score.
Alright, so I know this doesn't do anything that has happened in the past 3 weeks justice but it's a start and it's better than nothing...right? I was talking to Katheryn a couple days ago and we were saying that it is hard for us to know what to blog about. Things that we would have blogged about a month ago are completely commonplace now (camels walking down the street, cows walking through the front gates of expensive homes, going to temples, worshiping random deities, going to do yoga in a giant bamboo hut, interviewing a new person every day, haggling with rickshaw drivers, learning to cook Indian food, etc. etc.) neither of us know what to think is interesting because it’s all just become expected. And while my blog may be taking a hit because of all this business I can’t deny that I’m loving every minute of it.