Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Top Ten Reasons to Go #3

After only having minor illnesses and no Delhi/Kolkata- belly (D) issues. I get just about everything at once (fever, chills, D, nausea etc) . Leaving me extremely weak through the ending conference for AIF.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Top 10 reasons I know it's time to go #4

Calcutta/Kolkata becomes more surreal . . . .
  • Neela comes out dancing with Nil, Dev, Sohini, & I until 2am in the middle of the week (looking really cute too).
  • I actually see blue sky (admis all the smog) and it starts raining daily and getting cooler.
  • I get served salmon (my favorite that I haven't eaten since I made it last summer) at Yvonick's goodbye dinner
  • Anirudh has become scruffy (though a studied scruffiness he says)
  • Ako :-)
  • I become insistant enough to demand that others get things done, and they actually do it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Harry Potter & The English

Tis a Silly place

Top Ten Reasons I know it's Time to Go #5

The cute little land lady and landlord. Who have been reasonably good about everything, declare that you owe them 3000 extra Rs for rent that you already paid (granted I forgot until Andy reminded me), 3900 extra for water and electric that has allegedly not been read in the last 3 months. And wait until Andy leaves (he was here this weekend) and ambush me as I come home from a late night at work 8:30pm. Call me a lair, declare I'm a terrible person and I should know better working for an NGO for trying pay my cleaning woman who has not come or not cleaned the floors (which is 1/2 of her job the other 1/2 is the dishes) 300Rs instead of 400Rs. Yell at me in English and in Bangla until I'm perfectly in hysterics and tears (it had been a long and frustrating day). Until I literally have to scream.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Things I see everyday Part 2

Here's more stuff I see walking down Gariahat. This is the main way I go to get to the ATM, my tailors, buy books off the street etc. I told you it wasn't that interesting.

More kids at the end of my block. They are cute.
Buy your clothes, bedsheets, towels, and shoes, right on the street.

One of the four views of Gariahat proper. I took shots from all 4 corners, but this has the most character I think.

Happy Book sellers. You can buy just about any book for 45-150 Rs (1-3 USD), but you will have to haggle a lot.

Yes they do walk the streets. Though I don't usually see them everyday.

Gol Park Roundabout.

The Ramkrishna Mission it's just opposite the side street that leads to CINI-ARC Office

Top Ten Reasons I know It's time to leave #6

I own a sari for every day of the work week and I don't even wear saris to work (most days anyway)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Top Ten Reasons I know It's time to Leave #7

When random people speak to me in fast Bengali (usually to get me out of their way, not do something, or being otherwise bad tempered), instead of listening (and figuring out what they are saying) and responding in my Bad Bengali or polite English. I start behaving in the manner of "the Bad American tourist" (a stereotype generally fight against) and respond in fast English.

I've also started cursing under my breath (and not so under my breath) those taxi drivers and auto-wallas who don't want to take me on my short rides or try to charge me overprice. (Like the taxi driver today who refused to drive me to the office with the parcel I was sending [a 20 Rs ride] and the other one who wanted 50 Rs because of my parcel)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Back Blog Lauren, Liz & Jen Visit

So Lauren, Liz and Jen came for a whirl-wind Kolkata visit. Unfortunately we were all together for only about 12 hours, but it was still fun. Liz and Lauren got to Kolkata Thursday evening, but as I had to work I couldn't join until Friday night. We met up at Forum had a great traditional Bengali Dinner at Kewpies. Then headed out to ShiSha for a cherry hookah and dancing. Saturday we shopped until Jen joined us at New Market then headed to Nil & Dev's studio where we spent all afternoon dressing in d's finest. Jen found more than she could carry home (easily) Lauren got sleeked out in some corsets, I found my new opera Dress, and even Liz bought a really nice jacket.

We then headed back to Lily's flat for showers, dressing to go out, and wine before we all went out to Roxy to dance the night away. Liz & Lauren's flight left at 5am, so we danced until 3:30, went to a Azad Hidin dhaba (The best place for late night food -essentially a diner) and set them off to get their flight at 4:00. The rest of us went home for a few hours sleep before Jen and I were up at 6am to meet the Sunday Hashers at 7 for a Vic Memorial walk, breakfast at Flurries, and a look at the marble palace.

Jen & I then went to the Kali Temple (my third attempt) and actually were able to get in and see her. I bought my shell bracelets and we went home for well deserved naps. There was a d barbecue with some of the best grilled veggies and the first chicken I actually enjoyed in months. Just about everyone was there and there was music dancing and the trying on of clothes & shoes. A great ending to a fabulous weekend. Jen managed to get all of her purchases in a bag and caught a taxi out as I went to work 9am Monday.

Victoria Reflections

Yvonick & Jen contomplating at Victoria's feet

The Marble Palace (mansion more like it, 2 floors, a garden and a mini zoo of greek and roman(esque) statues, paintings from several different schools and eras, and antiques. (no pictures are alowed inside)

d. Barbeque (and Nil is an amazing cook) I ment to get one in his d. appron but couldn't.
Seema saried out and my new opera dress.

Top Ten Reasons I know it's Time to Leave India #8

Not only do I generally not enjoy eating chicken (turning veggie against my will). My body is now also refusing to process Chicken normally. Therefore sealing the fact that I might as well just give in and be a pescitarian(I can still eat fish :)/virtual veggie.

Things I See Everyday 1

So I've heard complaints that you all want to see what I do every day, so here it is.

These are shots from my balcony that over looks my lane and the train station at the end. It is a great view isn't it?

These are the kids at the end of my block Who have now gone from just seeing what I've bought that day or what music I'm listening too, to really trying to figure out what's going on in my life. They are still pretty cool though.

This is the carving/sculpture outside of a temple I pass on my way to my Katak Classes. I think it's totally brilliant.

Auto-Rickshaw, more simply know as Autos. You find them in every city though they work differently in every city as well. In Kolkata it's the primary way I get out to the field before jumping on a bus.

Me & Upali (the annoying translator if you heard about her) at a Focus Group Discussion with some Peer Educators. . . i.e. me working. (somehow).

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Top 10 reasons I know its time to Leave India #9

I've been here long enough for my NGO to forget about me and my projects. Remember and decide to utilize me before I leave. Therefore getting excited about my projects and giving me the support I need. And forget about me again, so that 1-I'm probably going to have a pretty hard time getting everyone together for the meeting where I actually share my findings (next Monday), 2-1/2 of the people who might benefit will be out of town my last week, 3-My work is more in danger now of just being put on a shelf until the next proposal is due than ever before.

Happy Birthday Nate

Okay none of these pictures are Nate. But they are related to Nate-isms. Namibia where we were PCV's together. Kate's house/backyard where we spent many a Friday night/Saturday Morning before going to Dance Class at Sisi's place. And a random guy we saw in Ghana wearing a Texas Shirt that reminded us of Nate.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Top 10 Ways I know It's time to Leave #10

I feel like smacking people who stare at me (especially without greeting) and kneeing the guys in the groin who "Brush" by me.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Typical Conversation These Days

Them: How's it going?
Me: Not bad.
Them: Hey you're leaving pretty soon aren't you?
Me: I leave Kol/Cal. on the 24th and India July 2nd.
Them: Wow, Option 1-Are you excited?
Option 2-How did you enjoy Kolkata?
Option 3- Ready to go?

Me: Answer 1- Yes and No, It will be nice to be back around family and friends. And be able to call people without waking them up in the middle of the night or costing a fortune. It'll also be nice to have more than 5 months to try to see everyone, and some people, like my Sister Mychelle, I haven't seen since before I left for Peace Corps (2002). But It's hard to imagine living in the states full time. The American Accent is perfectly terrible, and I'm definitely not used to everyone speaking in English. Plus after all of the fun and exciting places I've lived all the different cultures living in Ohio seems to pale in comparison. Though I am excited to finally start my LONG road to MD/MPH-dom. And if I have to live in OH I would want to be in Columbus. You know my friend Julia has already found a couple of flats for me to look at.

Answer 2-Kolkata is a great city. I think I'm also just used to it now, but I'll really miss my sabji-wallas (veggie sellers), Peanut-Wallas, and my convenience store guys.

Them: Kolkata is a very warm city

Me: Not to mention all my friends here. What will I do when I can't call up Anirudh, Lily or Patrick to go out for pints. Or have Nil and Dev to dance with at Roxy. I'll miss wandering out to Park St. and having random things happen from there. Or having Neela Call up with some exciting new plan I'd never thought of.

Answer 3-Not at all. I'm posting a box of stuff home (I've bought way too many clothes. .. well not really considering I don't have many after being a Peace Corps Volunteer). Let's not even talk about all the work I'm trying to finish for CINI. Meanwhile, I'm running around town like mad getting all of my "So I went to India and brought back _______ for you" presents. It's so hard to buy things people will actually like and use. I think I'm buying something crazy like 3 more saris for people at home. Do you know a good place to find a white sari?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Appropriate isn't it

The Strangest Thing I've Ever Seen - To date

As I was walking across Dhakuria bridge this morning on my way to work. I saw a young woman running down the street in middle traffic (which happened to be in the same direction she was running). She was only wearing a sari blouse and a string around her waist and was running about medium pace. More remarkable than what she wasn't wearing was the fact that her hair was in a normal bun and her expression was one of calm and maybe a bit of determination.

She proceeded to run switching to run down the median then into the oncoming traffic side. Needless to say in conservative Kolkata I was shocked. to see a young woman running mostly naked down the street. There seems to be no custom that this behavior would correlate to, and no one was attempting to stop her or informing the police (there were traffic control men on either side of the bridge)

Kolkata is Surreal.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Copy Cat

I admit it, I'm a copycat. But nonetheless it's intresting. I'll give them the bit about cute naked people, anything else. . .

Your dating personality profile:

Liberal - Politics matters to you, and you aren't afraid to share your left-leaning views. You would never be caught voting for a conservative candidate.
Big-Hearted - You are a kind and caring person. Your warmth is inviting, and your heart is a wellspring of love.
Funny - You laugh often. People never accuse you of lacking a sense of humor. You don't take yourself too seriously.
Your date match profile:

Big-Hearted - You want someone compassionate, someone gentle and kind. A loving, nurturing person will fill that hole in your life.
Funny - You consider a good sense of humor a major necessity in a date. If his jokes make you laugh, he has won your heart.
Adventurous - You are looking for someone who is willing to try new things and experience life to its fullest. You need a companion who encourages you to take risks and do exciting things.
Your Top Ten Traits

1. Liberal
2. Big-Hearted
3. Funny
4. Intellectual
5. Practical
6. Sensual
7. Adventurous
8. Athletic
9. Wealthy/Ambitious
10. Romantic
Your Top Ten Match Traits

1. Big-Hearted
2. Funny
3. Adventurous
4. Practical
5. Sensual
6. Outgoing
7. Intellectual
8. Conservative
9. Athletic
10. Romantic

Take the Online Dating Profile Quiz at Dating Diversions

Michael. You're most like the ArchAngel of Defense. You like to hit things, and you like naked people, preferably cute naked people. A real down-to-earth angel who likes frogs and is easily distracted by bright, shiny things.
Take this quiz!

Question of the Month June

What is the best piece of advice you received, who gave it to you, and why was it so great? (situation)

(Thanks Julia)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Count Down Begins

I've now come to the point in my stay where I can count down the days even if I don't want to. I'm leaving Cal on the 25, and Flying home a month from tomorrow. (July 2nd).

I hope I can get in all the chai drinking, pint getting, sari shopping, clothes tailoring, Roxy dancing, and gift buying I have planned.