Dear friends, family, and strangers,
Here is an update of the things I did for the past few weeks, I’ll leave this as my update and try to keep up for the next couple weeks.
3rd week I was here I went to a region called Coorg. This is a rainforest region that is covered in coffee plantations. I stayed at a really cool place called the Rainforest Retreat, which is an all-organic and environmentally friendly plantation. Unfortunately my first day there was spent recovering from the long, extremely bumpy bus ride and a stomach issue from the previous night’s dinner. It did turn out to be a very nice place to recover though. The second day I was there I was really able to enjoy the scenery and go on a couple of hikes as well as explore the plantation itself (including having to quickly pull two leeches off my ankles, eeekkk!). It was all beautiful and I will post pictures soon 🙂
4th week here I had a meeting at school on Monday with administrators at the school and two school psychologists to set up the special ed. program… and was somewhat disappointed to find out that they wouldn’t be able to work on it that week, therefore I had another 4 days of free time. SO I went to Goa.. which is essentially the Indian style of stereotypical spring break (the kind you might see in a cross between Panama City Beach and St. Pete). It was nice and I was able to do some shopping and hang out on the beach, but during the day it was HOT HOT HOT. So hot that the mid part of the day is spent indoors unless you are insane.
5th week: the official school year has finally started!!! (my first two weeks were spent in the summer remedial program) The start of a new school year is always exciting and seeing 800 kids from grades KG-12 (aka 2nd PUC in India) was really fun. Also my new name has now been solidified: “SARAHMA’AM!” I have had a really great experience working with the school psychologist who will head up the sp.ed. dept. and though I had two weeks off, I definitely feel like I am making up for it now. It’s really fun to be setting up a program from scratch in my specialty, especially in a place that doesn’t have quite so many legal hoops to jump through when establishing paperwork for students.
Like I said, I’m really enjoying what I’m doing and feel really comfortable where I am!
A few notes about all things Indian: pubs in Bangalore are required to close BY 11:30pm… and are not supposed to have a dance floor!!!
“showering” from a bucket is not quite as primitive as it sounds, and is quite environmentally friendly.
Yes, arranged marriages are quite common, and yes, people over the age of 30 get hassled by middle-aged women if they have not yet tied the knot… or started having children.
*eating with your hands is both fun and essential if chicken or fish are on the menu because I’m nearly certain that the butcher blindfolds himself and chops the meat (and bone) into as many pieces as possible. If you don’t want to choke, use your hands!
That’s all for now. Hopefully I can get some more ideas and observations down ASAP. Time is absolutely flying by! I’m going to Kerala (state just to the south) this weekend to hang out with a friend’s family and see a naming ceremony.