"I believe that if one man gains spiritually the whole world gains with him." -Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Uh-Mer-Ca" in India

Nanage tea ista means I like tea in Kannada.  I haven’t brought up one of my favorite parts of India and that is the daily tea breaks.  Tea (always chai) is served in pixie cup sizes and I drink it 1 to 4 times a day.  It is milky and sugary, which are two of my favorite attributes hence my love for tea!

            Christ College experienced its first 4th of July celebration ever and it was done better than I ever could have expected.  Jacob, our resident director, has been making sure that we feel comfortable and cared for as much as possible during our stay in Bangalore.  Part of this was planning an event for us to celebrate America’s independence.  He asked the hospitality program to make an American feast for us, menu upon our request.  We had burgers (veg and non-veg), hot dogs (which ended up being awesome homemade sausages), watermelon, potato salad, corn on the cob, lemonade, and brownies.  I think we were all getting to the point where we needed a small break from the delicious and flavorful Indian food and wanted some good old neutral American food.  The food was amazing and they made the some of the best brownies I have ever had.  But the festivities didn’t stop there.           

            Before Jacob would even let us eat, he made sure we had a little cultural emersion with the students who cooked for us.  Americans are relatively boring when it comes to parties and the like.  We feel pretty awkward about dancing in general and are usually focused on the food and drinks.  Luckily we have a singer in our group who we forced to sing the National Anthem as we all joined in for the Indian students.  We then asked them to sing for us.  We expected a traditional Indian song, something similar to our National Anthem, or maybe even a little Ji Ho (Slumdog Millionaire anyone).  Clearly we were surprised when they finally got one of their students to sing and we asked to join in to singing “Beauty Queen” by Maroon 5.  I’ll blame it on the language barrier.  THEN Jacob wanted us to perform and teach a traditional American dance.  What the heck is a traditional American dance?  Square dancing?  We went with “The Macarena”……they didn’t join in.  We finally got to eat after being videotaped dancing and making fools of ourselves. It's the American way!

            Luckily the monsoon (aka light rain here in Bangalore) stopped after dinner so we could light off the fireworks that Jacob bought for us.  We were all expecting sparklers since the college said we couldn’t get anything that would make really loud noises.  Surprised again!  Jacob’s trunk was full of fireworks that would be far from legal in the US.  I think all of almost pooped our pants when one of the big ones went off way too close and directly over our heads.  Some of us thought that this was Pakistan’s joke on us.  We all walked away from the event unscathed though and it was overall an amazing 4th of July.

            Besides the 4th of July, I am getting in the school mode, spending way more time of the college campus here than I do at my own.  We have a spectacular (I really think it warrants that word) dance class where we are learning a Bollywood dance.  We are surprising the student body by performing next Tuesday to kick off the month long dance festival on campus and are learning new dances and performing again two more times later in the month.  I am also taking a yoga class, which is so great and taught by a woman who has a PHD in yoga.  I didn’t even know that was possible!  I’m taking Kannada (local language of the state of Karnataka) and Hindi and a business class, which is the only class that I am actually getting credit for.  Life is good here in India and tonight is ladies night so it is even better!


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