Back to work!
Trip Start Apr 28, 2006
31Trip End Oct 21, 2006
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Here I am, in Dehradun... Alooone... Have been quite busy the last couple of weeks though - I'm even starting to enjoy being on my own and having my space etc! Its still a bit lonely sometimes though :o(
Recent developments at Raphael are:
- I seem to have become Snow White and am attracting a small zoo of animals in my little flat - as well as the mosquitoes, spiders, evil crickets, huge lizards (which I quite like!) and frogs nesting in the cupboards; I now have a mouse to keep me company! Spent a good part of one evening cowering on top of the table trying to figure out where the squeaking was coming from and catch a glimpse of black tail darting about
- I've chosen a class to spend the next few weeks with - they're absolutely lovely; well, on and off - they all have their moments of turning into little shits and trying to kill/shag each other! But there are some proper little cuties :o)
- I've started jogging in the mornings - ok I've only been once as yet but after three months of no proper exercise, it half-killed me, I need time to recover! Have also started yoga - on the verandah of Urvashi's (finally worked out her name!) huge house with a private instructor! Dont think I'm the best student - felt rather silly making loud grunting and puffing noises when there were only two of us in front of this guy! Another woman's going to join us though which should help!
Some general observations:
- Have realised I'm working in probably the most culturally traditional setting I could have found - just suited to me then ARGH! :oS One of the teachers was looking at my (long ankle-length and extremely conservative for me!) skirt and informed me that all the other volunteers before have worn trousers or salwar kameez - I politely replied 'oh' - what am I supposed to say to that? I'm not going to start dressing like either a hippy traveller or a traditional Indian woman - I'd love to see their faces if they saw any of the tarty little numbers in my wardrobe at home though haha
- Some of the teaching methods used are a litle unorthodox - well actually maybe they're very orthodox I dont know! But the punishments in particular... In class one boy pushed over another so he smacked his head hard on the floor, and the teacher - rather than discouraging him from retaliating with physical violence - actively instructed him to give the other boy a good walloping to punish him!! In some ways they're extremely relaxed about things as well - from previous volunteering in England I know how anal they are about you needing strict qualifications to move/handle any disabled child in a special school - here I can do what I like! They even expect me to lift and carry the kids between classes with absolutely no training etc! I dont mind of course, but its quite funny noting the differences!
- Have found myself starting to do all the head-wobbling and random hand signals they do over here - I dont really know what they mean though so am probably telling everyone to 'f' off all the time!!
Anyway enough of that... I had a nice trip to Mussoorie one day. It was 'Rakhi' - a festival in which sisters tie a bracelet around their brother's wrist and the brother promises to always protect her (how sweet) so I had a day off and went to Mussoorie, a nearby hill station, with Urvashi
A couple of days later I had more holiday - a whole five days to be precise! A few different festivals - eg Independence Day, Lord Krishna's birthday etc - fell in the same week, which meant I could properly escape from Raphael for a while! I decided to go to Rishikesh, a hill town about an hour or so away, which is famous for its temples and general religiousness! Puru (our guide from the trek all those months ago!) came over from Nepal to meet me, so we had a relaxing time strolling leisurely about Rishikesh and basking in the glorious sunshine :o) I think it definitely did me good to have a little break - hanging out solely with complete nutters is possibly not too good for my own mental health - one evening in Ava Vihar a little girl called Gomal was very upset because her parents were supposed to be taking her home for a while but they cancelled. So I was just giving her a cuddle trying to comfort her, when everyone else sitting around decided to join in! I was surrounded by a group of kids and old people sobbing their hearts out, pulling at my sleeves and wiping their noses on me! Eventually I couldnt take the depression any longer and ran away and left them to it! :oS
Stop rambling woman..
Rishikesh... Well its really cool - one of my favourite places in India actually - really relaxed and peaceful and green. We saw loooads of temples - one of them had 17 floors - actually it reminded me of a multi-storey carpark... crossed with a prison... with random elaborate shrines dotted about! Very bizarre! There are two massive suspension bridges, which are quite impressive - they're supposedly pedestrianised but what with hundreds of monkeys swinging about stealing everything in sight, huge oxen plodding along at snailpace, and sneaky motorbikes weaving in and out of everyone - its completely impossible to move anyway! The weather was gloriously hot and sunny, which was luuurrvely; although I think I got sunstroke the first day as I was up most of the night with a raging fever! Oops. At least I could get my shoulders out for some tanning - shoulder exposure is strictly forbidden at Raphael! There were loads and loads of Nepalis working in the (very very backpackery) area we stayed in, so Puru was everyone's best friend! We bumped into a couple we met when we did our trek - a Norwegian guy and a French-Canadian girl - think they were quite confused to see Puru and I in the same place together! We watched a Hindi film - I'd forgotten how long and angst-ridden they are - I was so drained from all the heartache and emotion by the end of it! Good songs though :o)
After two days back at work it was the weekend again
We went for tea with two other ladies at an old colonel's house - I say house, I think mansion is more the word
In the morning I had a yummy breakfast then chilled out reading books and newspapers on Nita's beautiful verandah; trying to ignore her shouting at her servants :oS Had a lovely relaxing day - then back to my bleak, depressing flat at Raphael! Only five weeks to go! I hope I can still go to Sri Lanka; there's been a worrying number of bombings near Colombo :oS hmm...
Anyway til next time! Am missing you all tons by the way, dont forget me!
Han/Mo xxxx :oP