Sunday, August 28, 2011

Long Time, No Blog...

Dear All,

It is safe to say that I have not been blogging for quite a while. This is obvious... however, I want to make amends! I will start by describing some of the details of my life in general and then, if I have time, I will go into some of the trips that I have made lately.

These days there are only 4 interns around. When I first arrived there were around 9 or 10. Next week there will only be three while one of us goes on a trip to Thailand. This is an odd window of time. It's even more odd because some of the staff members that I am close to are temporarily gone as well. For example, my dear friend Neenu is on a trip to the U.S.  
Here is a picture of Neenu looking sad (I don't know why she looks so sad, but apparently Kristen finds it funny). She and Kristen are baking an apple pie for Neenu’s going away party. This pie was DELICIOUS and the first American style pastry I have had in months. It was a nice departure from many Indian pastries which can be a little too sweet for me sometimes. One of my favorite Indian sweets is gulab jamun, which is balls of dough soaked in sugar syrup. Delicious? Yes. Very very sweet? Double yes.
Anyways, we are getting a new batch of interns in the fall. For the time being I am just trotting along and trying to enjoy my last few months. I am already feeling excited, sad, and nervous about going home in late-November or early December. It is just bizarre how quickly time can pass. 

Lately I have been playing quite a bit of badminton. I am lucky because I get to play nearly every day during my lunch hour. Right now I am the only guy from a country that doesn't really play commonwealth sports like cricket, rugby, badminton, and field hockey (my roommate and boss are from New Zealand, our legal fellow is British, and the rest are Indian)... this means that I have been forced to learn new sports. So, badminton has been my current project.  It is odd when I first started because I didn't care for it much. I thought it was too... "aristocratic." However, it has become something that I use to keep me sane and I would even go as far to say that I am addicted to playing it. If I am ever feeling frustrated or annoyed I get a really strong urge to go play badminton and it really straightens me out. I'm still the worst out of the people who play, but I've been improving. The courts are in a hangar-like building (pictured below) that works like a greenhouse in trapping heat, so I always come back to work soaked in sweat and voraciously hungry. 

Here are some pictures of things I experience fairly routinely:
This is me and Tender Coconut Man and we have had a complicated relationship... one week he gives me a free coconut and the next he tries to cheat me. Oh, why's it gotta be like that Tender Coconut Man?!?
Heck Yes! I went home in May for my brother's wedding and came back with Settlers of Catan… and heck yes I would have won this game if I didn’t hoard my bountiful resources like a dragon.
I grew a beard! It was gloriously manly. It made me feel so manly I thought of challenging entire packs of (probably rabid)stray dogs to death-matches. Luckily I never did. When I shaved it off and got a haircut I got a famous Indian-style head massage from my local barber. Well, I don’t actually know if it is particularly Indian, but I’ve never heard of paying for someone to literally beat your head with their palms and fists for 10 minutes. Last time I got a headache… but it hurts so good... Additionally, communicating what I want my haircut to look like is difficult so I mostly just say "short sides, long top" and hope that my haircut turns out alright. It’s like Russian roulette, but instead of a bullet I get a bad haircut.
This picture represents an average sidewalk here. Uneven, covered with garbage, and sometimes inhabited by cows. I saw this on my way to the office this afternoon.  The little buddy in the photo was being shy and looked away when I took the photo.
There are buildings springing up everywhere here. India is definitely changing quickly. It’s hard to see from here, but notice how a combination of stick and metal bars are used  to prop up the top story... Also, notice the small Christian church near the auto-rickshaw. There are many of these small churches around the area. 

This is a photo of me at my desk with my “mouche.” At least three of my female co-workers said that it was “manly” with complete seriousness and several male co-workers gave me legitimate compliments on how much they liked it. Fashion is definitely different here. It's funny to me when I think of how people back home would say certain unsavory things about my mustache... rude.
Here's a picture of Casey and I dancing. So fun. For his going away party 4 drummers showed up with a flute player... It was LOUD. About 10 minutes after this photo was taken I was outside being thoroughly yelled at by my landlord's son. I don't think I'd ever been yelled at like that before. I was so embarrassed. Apparently I was bright red for about an hour after. The next day I brought my landlord cake to apologize and he told me that it wasn't really a problem... it's just that the band was playing funeral music. Oopsies!
 Since being in India I have become rather... fruit obsessed... Here is the fruit I currently find in my kitchen (from left to right): Pomegranate, sweet lime, custard apple, and papaya. Due to my fixation, I am quite displeased to announce that mango season has been official over for several weeks now.
 I am tired now. So I will stop. Unfortunately I didn't get to post any of the photos from my recent trips to Hampi, Chennai, or Mysore... Please don't cry! To help ease the pain I'll post this last video that shows what a street near my house is like. The tall white building is a mosque and I captured it during the call to prayer.

Thanks for reading.


  1. This reminds me of an episode of Outsourced. Instead of cows rubbing their butts on trees, here its bums rubbing their butts on buildings! Don't you miss that?!

  2. Oh, why's it gotta be like that Tender Coconut Man?!?

  3. Why am I unknown! I'm known... :-( Why Coconut man... WHY!?!?