Sunday, September 21, 2008

my situation has been dismissed

So here is my situation. I’m eating another delicious south Indian meal. It includes cucumbers, chutneys, this naan-ish thing filled with cheese, and a soup. As I’m scarfing down this tasty treat in front of my face I feel a grumble and/or a tumble in my belly. And maybe I should back up a bit. The group I’m with consists of 11 other girls who aren’t aware of the fact that I am a proud burper and farter. Therefore, me being the fragile and delicate lady that I am I have to hold them in. (for now at least) I rush to the bathroom knowing what my punishment for holding secrets in will be.

I guess that story was really irrelevant being that all I wanted to do was explain the toilet situation to you guys but I thought it would be nice.

Now here’s the important part. The bathroom is four brick walls with no ceiling. You turn a corner and there lies an Indian toilet. Flush with the floor and pretty much a porcelain hole. It’s not like a HOLE, hole. Well it is but it has room for error. Next to the porcelain hole is two porcelain rectangles. They are the perfect size for your feet to be placed. You carefully place your feet on the nicely put rectangles, pull down your pants to your knees and squat a nice comfortable squat. You have to make sure to aim correctly or several things can go wrong.
1. You pee all over the floor in front of you
2. You pee on your pants
3. You pee in the toilet but with a perfect angle to splash back on your usually bare feet.
I will admit that the splash back is my specialty but I am getting quite good at aiming. Peeing is the easy part. Pooing is a craft. You must make sure to not aim right at the hole because if your poop lands right in the water, splash back is inevitable since you are so close to the ground. You MUST and I repeat MUST land your droppings in front of the hole to avoid it. Then after wiping, whether it’s with your left hand or by luck there is toilet paper, you get a bucket of water and wash your droppings away. Ah... dismissed.

The end.

I will post pictures. I can't right now because our internet is complicated. It will start back up in October.

Monday, September 15, 2008


So It's real. I wasn't just saying words or making it up in my head. I'm really in India. Honestly, I keep having to blink my eyes over and over again to realize that I am half way around the world from everything that is comfortable. And when I say everything, I pretty much mean everything. 

I'm surrounded by people I don't know, a language that I don't speak and in a place that is SO foreign.... But I know that will all change in a matter of days. =] I've already made a local Aurovillian (I live in the village called Auroville) sit down and I had him teach me some simple phrases in Tamil. Tamil is known to be one of the oldest languages that is out there. The language is beautiful-except not when I speak it. It sounds like a really twisted up Spanish. 

I can't wait to video chat with you guys so I could show you my room. The mattress is thin and the roof is made out of palm leaves. It's quickly becoming home for me though and I actually really love it... though at first glance it was a different story. 

I'm going to keep this short because I slept like 4 hours last night and I am pooped but I will be sure to keep you guys posted every step of the way. 

I'm really excited to be here. I already know that this is going to be a unique and life changing journey.. India! 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"this is indeed India...

...the land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra a
nd the jungle, the country of a thousand nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition, whose yesterdays bear date with the mouldering antiquities of the rest of the nations-" -Mark Twain

So this is it, I'm finally off to India for the semester. I admit that I am a bit nervous but I think it's because I just want to be there already. Get it started, ya know? 
A lot of people have been asking about my program so I'm going to give a little overview of what I'm going to be doing there. 

My classes:
  1. Group Dynamics: This class is on learning to recognize and analyze the physical, social, economic, political, ethical, and spiritual elements that make up sustainable communities. 
  2. Global and Local Sustainable Living: We're going to study the role of human history, language, education, physical landscape, society, and world view on shaping human-place relations. We're going to find connections through use of ecological footprint analysis and other things. 
  3. Applications and Practices of Sustainable Living: This class is field based and I get to do an internship project in sustainable development throughout my stay in Auroville
  4. Body, Mind, and Spirit: Cultivating Personal Sustainability: Here I'll be studying the importance of world views and how they affect human behavior and the earth, and gain an understanding for the historical roleof religions and spirituality in creating culture. 
Some highlights of the semester are:
  • Visiting cultural and ecological sites like Periyar Ecological Sanctuary
  • Engage in a 40 hour wilderness solo
  • Travel to Karnataka and spend 3 weeks at the Ecodaya Santuary, and island in the Tungabhadra River-jungle ruins of ancient Hindu empires and some of the rarest ecology and geology on the planet
  • Overnight at the Sri Ramanamarashi's ashram and climb Arunchala Mountain, locally believed to be the body of the Hindu god Shiva

Auroville is an ecovillage in the state of Tamil Nadu. The largest city that is nearby is Chenna
Here is a visual reference to where I will be:

This is a model picture of what Auroville looks like from a birds eye view.  

Contact Information:
Love from the states will be much appreciated and will be returned graciously from India... please send by Global Priority Mail NOT economy (surface) post. The latter has been known to take four months to get to us. 
College Guest House
Crystal Lim
Auroville 605 101
Tamil Nadu India

If you need to contact me ASAP and I mean ASAP call...
413-259-0025 This is the number to the U of Amherst Living Routes Office.

I will have opportunities to do webcam/skype/ichat from time to time so get ready to set some phone dates with me.. 
I will update this blog as often as possible so stay tuned.