Monthly Archives: July 2010

Week 3.

7/29
I am officially halfway through my time in India. 15 days til home. And right now, in an act of rebellion, I’m wearing jeans. Take that, Goodwill skirts.

There is plenty to write about, so this will be a bit disorganized. Continue reading

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Retail Therapy.

7/25

India has turned me into a crier. I cried when I got Internet access on my phone, when I ate garlic bread on Thursday, when I saw the American flag at the Consulate, when I noticed the replica of the grotto at the church we attend, and when I heard a Backstreet Boys song at Kolkata’s South City Mall. My visit to the upscale shopping center on Sunday afternoon gave me a great perspective on how wealthy Kolkatans live.

The mall is a good ride from downtown. We passed a cricket stadium and training center on our cab ride and drove by a few quiet-looking high rise buildings. Traffic thinned drastically once we left the city center. We agreed that there were some neighborhoods in Kolkata that would be ok to live in, provided the buildings were thoroughly power-washed. Lots of the buildings here are painted pretty, beachy colors, and many of the older facades have ornate decorative work, but all of this is hidden beneath an accumulation of dust and grime. Continue reading

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Sundays.

7/25

Today has been a big blogging day. I set a goal of at least 4 entries per week, and I’ll already be down 3 after today!

A few miscellaneous thoughts. Continue reading

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14 Creek Lane

7/25

Before I came to India, I knew that the guesthouse where I would be staying was a place where Mother Teresa had stayed when she was founding the Missionaries of Charity. In the past few days, I’ve discovered more about Mother Teresa and about the importance of the house where I am currently staying. The home was built in 1904 by Cecilia Gomes’ great-grandfather. Cecilia and her husband Richard own the home today and are our innkeepers/landlords. When Mother Teresa left the Loreto order (she was originally a Loreto nun–just like Sr. Cyril who runs the school), she had nowhere to live. She came to the Gomes family and asked if she could stay on the top floor of their home on 14 Creek Lane while she gathered support for her new order, the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa actually started up her order, trained and taught new nuns, and lived on the third floor of the building where I’m staying now. After a good year on Creek Lane, Mother Teresa and a dozen other MC sisters moved out and bought the property that became the Motherhouse for the order. Continue reading

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And Then There Were Three.

7/25

Colleen went home to the US on Saturday. She had been sick for a few days and she wasn’t on track to get better here, so she headed back to the US to see her doctor and her parents. Her illness was nothing contagious and nothing travel-related, but it was making her feel sick enough that she wasn’t going to be able to stay in India for another 3 weeks.

On Wednesday, when her illness started to really bother her, the Gomeses called a doctor to the house. We ended up going to the hospital nearby later that night. Here are some excerpts from an email I sent to my parents after we arrived back from the hospital: Continue reading

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Dinner.

7/22 (later)

After our collectively crappy day at school, we decided that we needed to get out and go somewhere nice for dinner. Lately, most of our non-granola bar meals have been buttered rice. Boring. Colleen picked a spot from the guidebook, and we set out for dinner in one of the ubiquitous yellow taxis.

Traffic here is something else. The roads aren’t divided into specific lanes (because nobody would keep in the lines), so the vehicles go every which way. The traffic is a mix of yellow cabs (old, old British-looking cars), nicer personal cars, motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, rickshaws, blue city buses, and trams (kind of like subway cars) that run on tracks in the pavement. Horns are not a reprimand here. Rather, a beep is more of a warning to pedestrians, who definitely do NOT have the right of way. Horns also serve as turn signals and “I’m coming up behind you!” notifications because most vehicles don’t have side-view mirrors. I find myself tensing up, gasping, and uttering brief prayers and profanities while sitting in the back of these taxis. Continue reading

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Week Two.

7/22

We’ve started our second week here. This will be the hardest week, I think. The first week was all about adjustment to India–the time change, the food (that we’ve barely eaten), the Gomes house, the school. Week 2 is the “well, we’ve got 3 more weeks of this” week. Week 3 will be busy with research (and we’ll be more than halfway!), and Week 4 will be the time when we finally get to do tourist things. This week is tough. Continue reading

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