Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Not gone

So things here have been a little quiet. Not for lack of action however. Although originally a bit depressed by my MCAT scores and subsequent 2 secondaries I received, Last week I received 8 more in 6 days. Thus bringing the number of additional essays I had to do up to 23. Hence my silence.

For anyone who hasn't seen me in a while here are the photos I'm sending to the med schools. I look like a future doctor right?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Weekend Update

Andy didn't end up leaving this weekend. His friend who was taking him got dysentery. I ended up resting and reading all Saturday and on Sunday I went to the Kolkata Film Festival I saw "The Other Half" from Iran and "No Trains No Buses" from Holland. They were both excellent.

I also met the other black woman living in Kolkata. She's a media researcher from Cameroon, and was there translating for a Senegalese director. (Yes I got to use my bad french) Her friend convinced her to go because there would be at least one other black person there. That's me. I was actually invited to the director's dinner, but opted to meet up with friends I hadn't seen in weeks. A good weekend all in all.

Who's That Girl?

Okay I get stared at. I first noticed it in Namibia, where people spent most of their time trying to figure out what country I was from. (Angola? No, South Africa? No, Cuba? No, I know Egyptian!) Then as I traveled through different parts of Africa I noticed that my staring ranged from almost none at all (Ghana, South Africa, Senegal) to medium ( Zambia) to nearly igniting flames (Namibia, Mali).
Even after I returned to the states I realized that I get a fair share of looks. These often varied with how big my hair was that day.

But India has taken this to a whole new level. Delhi was the worst where I virtually felt like I was in my own personal spotlight. Which was made worse because most of the people out in Delhi are men. Kolkata has at least men and women, but it is still pretty intense.

I was walking with a visiting friend of Andy's from Bangalore, Chris, and he decided to count how many people stared at me as we took a walk. He gave up when he had reached 25 within the first 5 minutes.

Today a small man sped up to walk abreast of Andy and I on our walk to work this morning. Not only was he walking shoulder to shoulder with me but he was staring intently for about a block. When I finally looked over he sped up to walk ahead of me, but still turning around to stare at me. I mentioned this fact to Andy who pointed out the fact that he was still staring at me. Finally after about 4 minutes of this I stared back at him until he crossed the street and went into a store, still staring at me until the last moment.
All this on a day when my hair was back in a bun, imagine what happens when I rock my Afro Puff!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Cat's Away

So Andy (the other fellow and my flat-mate) is leaving for the weekend. Which leave me to run amok at will this weekend. Here are the current options. (Keep in mind that I should be productive and I have a quickly diminishing{read diminished} budget)

1) Stay home and work on the UMich School of Public Health Application (Most productive, Best on the budget, Most boring as well)

2) Throw a wild party (I'd have to find friends in Kolkata first, Cleaning would be taken care of by our cleaning lady, Only good for the budget if I charged-which brings me back to the first point)

3) Naked Time (Can be multi-tasked, No affect on budget, May invite watching-we did spend a good 15 mins or more watching a rather unattractive guy in the flat across from ours walk around in relatively saggy red briefs for no particular reason during our dinner party)

4) Spend both days at the International Kolkata Film Festival (I've always wanted to go to one of these, I love films, Questionable on the budget)

5) Lay around reading eating Andy's ice-cream and using his spices to cook (Also can be multi-tasked, virtually no affect on my budget, Guilt)

Any more suggestions?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"Go take rest"

I am constantly amazed a how people here react to someone not feeling well, namely me. When I was ill in Namibia, people treated me about the same as people in the states do: only as a second thought. An offer of a Tylenol, or casual suggestion to go home was the greater extent of the concern. The whole affair was mainly low key.

Here, everything seems much more crucial. Everyone will suggest seeing a doctor, medication to take, foods that will promote healing, or check to see if I have a fever. At the least they will tell me to "Go take rest," and not over extend myself.

I always say what cities have the most of shows something about the people who live there. US cities have places to buy food every few feet. Kolkata has pharmacies, go figure.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Green and Water

As I discovered by living in a desert for two years and three months, two of the simplest things make me happy: the color green and water. Hence my current desktop is the entry way to the stilt village in Ghana.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Happy Hallow-Puja

So it happens that Kali Puja and Halloween ended up on the same day. Kali Puja (like Durga Puja) is the celebration of the return of Kali after destroying a bunch of demons and is more is apart of the Diwali celebrations. Diwali is the celebration of lights held in fall and is the celebration of good over evil.

So Halloween was the day before Kali Puja and of to my surprise the local group of expats (there is always at least one in a major city) had a Halloween party. Of course the only people to truly dress up were the two Americans, Andy and I. Andy (the other fellow) went as a random Punjabi guy who was a victim of a drive by shooting. I putting good use to all my dupattas (shawls that women wear with most every outfit) went as a gypsy.

The Good: The food was great, and so was the rum-punch. I got to meet a bunch more people who are here working for sometime. When the DJ played music Andy, Karen, Avo (friends we've met here) and I had a great time breaking it down on the dance floor.

The Frightening: Andy and the guy who went as Hannibal Lecter could be quite shocking when you weren't expecting them.

The Ugly: The DJ when he wasn't playing music decided to make it his own personal karaoke bar. We were all held hostage listening to his version of "Love Me Tender" et al.

After the party some of us went out to Shik Sha, one of the ritzier nightclubs. I ended up dancing with a guy who was a self proclaimed choreographer, who more or less challenged me to a dance off. And As I am never one to back down from a challenge (one of my better and worse traits) stepped up to it. We danced to Magalena, this fabulous Latin song with really strong African beats. Needless to say I Zulu Kicked circles around him. . . Literally.

And another glass bangle bit the dust.

-> Andy already has pictures from this up. . . Check them out!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

*Back Blogs

There are some things that were definitely blog worthy, but it was before I started this. They usually ended up being little emails to a few people, or things i just wrote for me. But now everyone gets to read them.

Back Blog* Oct 24

So I've been wearing glass bangles for almost a month now. The Bangles are *almost* too small for my hands and the only reason I'm wearing them now is because this auntie in the village grabbed my hand and folded it in ways I'd never seen before in order to get them on. And I haven't taken the time coat my hands in oil to try and manipulate them off. So I was wearing 30 Bangles. 13 left and 12 right. These bangles have stood up to all of my flailing and one classical Indian dance class.
Then we went dancing Saturday night at this really cute club called Tantra. And after all that this glass jewelry has stood up to at some point I looked at the dance floor and noticed that one of my bangles had broken. By the end of the night a lot had broken or cracked so I had to break them off. Now I only have 6 left and 8 right.
So after all that all I had to do is go dancing. . . . . who knew