I am here!
When I first began writing this entry I was going to basically write all the things that have happened and most of the things I've thought and felt, but I soon realized that this would go on for quite a long time and that you may not want to read that much. Hence, I am going to address some key things in list format.
In the Gold Palace & Resorts about forty minutes outside of Jaipur.
Healthy and happy, except for a slight sore throat and intense jet lag weariness. I have been sleeping at appropriate times, but find it difficult to sleep through the night.
Major buildings I have seen:
the Red Fort
Rashtrapati Bhavan (the president's house)
the National Museum
Bharatiya Janata headquarters
Animals I have seen:
camels (most smaller than I expected, and I didn't realize they are used to pull carts)
chipmunks (bigger than ones I've seen before)
dogs (the largest, healthiest and most pure bred strays I have ever seen)
monkeys (many chilling near a little grove of trees; two big ones riding in two peoples' bike baskets)
pigeons (there were literally at least a thousand by the red fort. It was quite a sight when they all got up and started flying around at the same time...made a neat sound too)
various large-ish birds I can't name
Places I have eaten:
American Airlines flight 292 (opted for the vegetarian meal for both dinner and breakfast; very delicious Indian food. except for this one tomato/cucucumber/chickpea/onion salad I found to be much too peppery)
Delhi YWCA (meals came out on segmented tin platters, generally delicious. I was usually the only one in the group to clear my plate.)
Roadside McDonald's (MSID wanted us to have this as a cultural experience, haha. I had a Chicken McGrill happy meal, which was unlike anything I'd had before. the fries tasted as they usually do though. Received a Surf's Up toy.)
Gold Palace & Resorts (buffet dinner, good but daunting to have so much choice after getting used to the rice/daal/potato dish/reita/curry/roti all pre-portioned out YWCA regimen)
getting hassled for money-- I caved in and gave a dollar to this man who insisted on helping me with my luggage. I only let him because it seemed like he could be with MSID, and then I figured he did help me in some way. But then he demanded five dollars, and I kind of snapped at him. I didn't ask for your help!
being photographed with random people-- when we got out of the car near India Gate to take photos I suddenly noticed a tall man walking straight toward me. Then he smiled a little and suddenly there was a woman next to me, and a photo was being taken of us together! I intended to smile for the photo, but I assumed they weren't going to use flash so I had relaxed my expression by the time it went off, and I probably look very glum in the end product. oops.
being stared at-- despite having been nervous about this, I find myself not minding most of the time. I am doing just as much staring myself. Also when some of the other girls on the program and I went out for a walk our first morning in Delhi, it seemed like we were probably getting looked at just as much for being women as for being foreigners. There were very few women out and about on the street.
I love reading the newspaper here. On Tuesday the Times of India appeared under our door in the morning, and today the Hindustan Times. My roommate Rachel and I each take a section and share interesting things with one another.
There are so many music video channels on tv here! Eeeexcellent.
It feels similar to the Philippines in a much more real way than I expected. I knew that theoretically it was good that I was coming in used to bucket baths, needing to drink boiled or bottled water, living in a tropical climate, etc. But the air feels and smells the same to me; I smiled when I first felt it stepping out of the airplane. The wardrobe in the YWCA smelled exactly like the cabinets in my Auntie Pat's guest bathroom. People tap on your car windows the same way. I am so glad to have had these prior experiences; I can tell the culture shock is more jarring for most of the other students.
I am obsessed with reading Hindi. I try to read every sign, every vehicle, etc. that passes. At this point I don't often understand what I read, but at least I am getting quicker at recognizing things.
"You have a Delhi 6 heart. Tart and spicy like a Delhi snack." - one woman to another in Delhi 6, Bollywood movie I watched on the plane
"THE PRICE OF GREATNESS IS RESPONSIBILITY." - on the sign for the Delhi YWCA
"Work In Progress" - a sign a big black dog was urinating on as we drove past
"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom." - written in cursive on a white board in a branch of Punjab National Bank in Delhi
"LOVE IS GOD" - painted on the back of a truck
"Drive home a relationship!" - printed on the back of a Santro (I analyzed one of Santro's commercials in one of my papers for Popular Visual Cultures of India)
NOTE: I wrote this entry on WordPad on my laptop and am uploading it via the computer in the hotel lobby. The connection is very spotty, making it difficult to upload/make any edits. It disconnects about every 30 seconds and I keep having to reenter the password. (MSID paid for 24 hours for us to use; we're supposed to just send "2 short emails, because if everyone wrote a lot not everyone would get to use it at all" but pretty much no one else is awake at this time, so I don't feel bad using it. Well, my index finger and thumb hurt...I got a little electrocuted when plugging my flash drive into the computer, for some reason.)