You ever have those days, sometimes weeks, when you just can't see the positive side? It's not that you think there isn't one, it's just that there's no point in looking at it because it's simply less suitable than any other side you could see.
When I get in moods like this, it just makes me want to punch someone when they try to point out the optimistic side of things. I just want to shove my face in front of theirs and say, WELL THAT's NOT HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT, glass-face. The world isn't always peaches and cream ya half-full fucker.
And then I know I'd probably feel slightly worse about myself and the world, but that would suit my mood just fine, because everything isn't wonderful, and now they know it too.
After yesterday's stressed out and discouraged atmosphere today the air feels much clearer. I did a tiny bit of research on getting my little puppy into the united states. Granted, I only did enough to make myself happy and not to really wake me up to how difficult it will be, but all the CDC website said was that I have to have proof of rabies vaccination within thirty days of my arrival to the united states. Hopefully that's easy to do. I will have more experience dealing with Indian officials by then, that much I know for sure. I am going to find the vet after lunch, so that's a real start.
It also said that they only have to be quarantined for 30 days after receiving the rabies vaccine if they haven't had it before hand - of course, I still have to find out what airline regulations are and how much it'll cost to ship a dog etc. I also have to find out what New York and Maine have for regulations.
Another great thing that I accomplished finally was ordering books for my project!! Yaay. Amazon.com says they should get here by September 26th - we'll see about that. I don't even know if I got the address right, it's so confusing with a million lines... bah. But yes, I am officially studying something water related. wooot. So narrow... but I'm supposed to meet with an environmentalist, an economist, some NGOs, and the city corporation officials. I've already been warned about Indian Bureaucracy, and had a taste of it, so I'm a little unenthusiastic about those parts. Catie just had to re-do her foreign resident forms because they were written in green ink and only upper-caste people are allowed to use something other than blue or black. It took them a week to tell her she had to redo them. Anyway, I've got to go to lunch now... wish me luck with Borus!!! (the dog)
There's a picture of him on facebook, tagged as me :)
He's adorable! We were on our way to sniff out some icecream last night when Geoff and Joey spotted a puppy. It was tiny and skinny so we got it some cookies and water and then I couldn't leave him... so I took him back to my apartment! I had to ask my host mom if I could keep him ... she said they already have a dog and it wouldn't be good... I expected that, but I was still really sad. Then I asked how much shots would cost and she saw that I was serious, so she told me I could keep him for a week. If he's not loud and it works out for a week... then maybe I'll be able to keep him! I still have to find someone who will want him after I leave though. I also have to figure out how to potty train a dog. Yay!! That's my news. Will write again soon...
So for various reasons, which I'll leave you some time to imagine, I haven't been able to update recently. Now I am.
Yaay everything is wonderful! I'm sitting in the program house in Madurai, Tamil Nadu - India.
When we first got here everyone was pretty jet lagged. The flight time itself was somewhere around 14 or 17 hours, and I spent a lot of time in airports. More than most, I dare say. The travel all went smoothly except that no one could really figure out which day it was since we kinda skipped Friday what with the ten hour jump forward... therefore malaria pills were a little confusing and most of us just ended up taking one in the airport in Chennai. I think we're all fine.
Anyway, Saturday morning we somehow managed to get three breakfasts before 10:00 and I discovered that my cell phone still works here! I can send and receive text messages to the United States for just 25 cents apiece. I don't think I'll do that often. I seem to have lost my rechargeable batteries and charger, though I don't know how or when, so I might still find them.
Vidya met us at the airport in Madurai and we brought our luggage to our hotel where we dropped it off and proceeded into the city to eat lunch and buy clothes that would be suitable for Indian standards. I don't really know how we got through that day but we all stayed up until 7:00 or beyond before crashing. We were up bright and early the next day which we finally realized was Sunday, and on that day, or the one after, we headed to the hills in a van. The drive was three hours long and the roads were crazy. They drive on the left in India, and the highways look like small country roads but they have the most diverse combination of traffic. Everything ranging from livestock to buses navigates these two lane highways, and the rules of the road are more survival-based than anything else. At times there was on-coming traffic in both lanes, and we saw entire families stacked onto a single motorcycle. They also never stop honking their horns. It's the only way to drive, they honk every time they come up behind a vehicle, person, or animal, and every time they want to pass and someone else is trying to cross the street or perhaps come towards them in their own lane. Everyone else was terrified, but I just thought it meant everybody has to be more alert, and they are, and traffic moves slower so accidents are less serious (apparently two accidents were sighted, one man got bumped in the leg and walked away, another was a car that got jostled, I didn't see either).
I thought the people here work harder than anyone I've seen in the states... considering the heat. They pedal cart-loads of bananas attached to bicycles through mid-day traffic and in the mountains the labor was even more intensive, often involving loads of rocks.
The hill station, Kodaikanal, was absolutely gorgeous. On the way up the views were amazing and we saw monkeys!!! They were just chillin' by the roadside. We walked in the jungle too, and it was actually cold enough to wear sweat shirts, there was dew on the ground in the morning, there was squishy green grass, it was amazing! AND I got to go riding!!! I got a little chestnut horse and as soon as I got on the guide saw that I knew what I was doing so he followed me on a bike instead of leading me, and then when we got back he asked me if I wanted to go all the way around the lake - 6km. I couldn't resist and he shortened my stirrups and I started off again. This time he gave me more space and I got the horse round and it turned out to be pretty fun. Every time the guide got out of the horse's sight he started to act up, and it didn't help that people really enjoyed testing my skills. A few minutes in one of my stirrups broke so the guy tied it on for me, but soon the knot started sliding out so I just ditched the stirrups. I was not in shape for the ride I got.
People kept driving up behind me reeally quietly and then swinging their arms, revving their engines, honking their horns, and yelling - obviously on purpose. One car almost backed into me and sent me too close to a bunch of people stopped talking by their bikes. I felt bad for them but I was really angry at the driver of the car, who then revved his engine and drove obnoxiously until he turned up a road on my right. Some people were really nice and friendly and complimented me for being able to ride, and that felt great. Every time I tried to canter the horse would drop his head like he was about to buck and I'd have to deal with that, and without stirrups or a helmet I decided that I better stick to a smooth trot. By the time I got around the lake I was absolutely exhausted from fighting and reassuring the horse that all sorts of people were trying to annoy... and I could barely walk, but it felt great.
Then I got a cold and we walked in the jungle and I saw crazy-cool things.
We got back to Madurai and bought more clothes, I have one sari and one salwar kameese and I'm going to have three more made by a tailor. I still need to get more clothes though because basically nothing western is acceptable, and really I don't want to leave any other reasons for people to stare at me.
When we were on our way back from Kodaikanal we stopped to look at a waterfall and some monkeys, and random people stood next to us while their friends took pictures - because we're white. It was really funny... at first, but Catie told me that some guy was just taking pictures of me while I watched the monkeys, and some other dude came up and put his arm around Laura while his friend took their picture, so it stopped being fun.
The beggars are also not very fun. Some woman came up to me and started putting flowers in my hair. I was a little confused and didn't really know what to do, and then she started putting them in Laura and Catie's hair too, but of course she wanted us to pay for them. Others will follow us around and touch their lips, it's really sad. I don't like to give them money because it just reinforces the situation - there's a whole begging network here, there is a master beggar who will give them places to beg but he takes part of their "earnings", so it's best if you can buy them food. On the last day in the hills an old woman followed me asking for money and I walked away, but I felt awful so I turned around and asked her if she wanted food and she said yes, so I asked her what food, and she said rice. Geoff was with me and he wanted to contribute so we bought her a bag of rice for 20 rupees.
The little kids are adorable. Today when I was walking in the street a little boy grabbed my arm, and when I looked to see why, he was waving! We also ran into a bunch of school girls when we were in the mountains and they would all giggle and whisper as they walked toward us, and then a couple of them said "hi!" and then ran away. Later I walked by them again and said "varnakam" and they said it back and then laughed and talked about it. It's really a novelty for them to see white folks.
I have decided where to live and will move in tomorrow. More another time.
I have more pictures up on facebook. Or, I will soon, I guess I shouldn't lie.
I hiked Mt. Washington with my Dad, Joanna, and Eben. We were supposed to meet Mom at the top, but it took us six hours to get there, and by the time we did, she had already left. We only had 4 hours of daylight to complete the 5 hour descent when we arrived at the top, and we spent an hour eating and searching for Mom.
It was a beautiful hike, the day was clear and warm - luckily! And the sun didn't set until after we made it below the tree line. Couldn't have been better unless we'd actually woken up at 5 to go. Still, 7 isn't all that bad for us. It ended up being a 12 hour hike exactly. The darkness slowed us down immensely. We had a few miles more to go when the dusk became darkness, and only Dad and Ben had head lamps. Ben's was the brightest so he had to take the back, then Jo and Dad, and I took the lead, picking out the trail. I preferred that position so my eyes wouldn't adjust to the light behind us since it was inconstant and shadowy. We made it to the parking lot by 10:20, 2 hours after the light, and were glad to see the headlights of the previa shining from the parking lot.
My knees are still a little sore... but nothing some swimming can't fix.
India!! Just FIVE DAYS AWAY!!
I'm back in Maine and boy do I miss Madison! The first day was cool. I had to unpack and Mal came over, I got my car's tires fixed and I played basketball with Ben at night... But today I spent the whole damn day working on my dreads. Oh well I went running and wrote some letters and read, but the whole fucking day just dragged. I had nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no one to hang out with. I shouldn't complain. There are a million things I could've done... but I wish I had more friends here that aren't working!!! It doesn't help that I'm completely broke so I can't even afford another ice-cream. RAH.
Gotta get bug spray, sun screen, and malaria pills. Dad said he might get me a digital camera!!! That would be absolutely thrilling! Mine is so awful.. it makes me sad to know that it's the best I have for taking pictures in India, just 'cuz I know I'll miss so much. But that's what I'll have if Dad doesn't get me one. It'll be alright either way of course - I'm going to India! I've been thinking about what to pack... tomorrow I'll probably actually read the info on that. Maybe I'll go to a library and start reading about water... I dunno. I'm reading about nuclear power plants right now. It mentions water a little...
I had a semi-interesting dream last night, it made me happy. It was still a little too realistic for true rejoicing, but it was better than I've been having. It involved a nuclear power plant disaster. Awesome!! If those malaria pills give me nightmares, it's gonna be really rough. Adam Cox warned me about them... he said they gave him horrible nightmares. I was hoping that it was rare, but now I'm slightly more worried. Annywho... This is as dull as the rest of my day was so I'm gonna go... read or something.
Ah, I met my distant relative that lives in Wisconsin today. It was kinda cool, kinda awkward...
I could see the resemblance she has to my Dad's side. Same teeth, similar eyes. She's so fucking rich it's unbelievable. Her house is practically a mansion, her lawn is incredible, they have a pool that looks like a natural pond, it's small but six feet deep. The house was all designed by her husband who is now making a movie called Dasha and ...playing... She went to law school and now they're in business. Their kids are 13, 14, and 15, and they have everything. They all have the most amazing bedrooms ever. One of them has a little loft with a skylight, the other has a little mouse-hole with a cushion and a hookah, and the other has a sound proof music room with a swinging book-case door. They have an indoor tread-pool and a steam bath, a whole exercize room with full length mirrors, and I think they each have their own bathrooms and giant walk-in closets. It's insane. They also drive two SUVs. Gross.
I didn't really know what to talk about with them. I talked to the kids about school, and with Nancy I guess we covered pretty much everything to some extent. Women's rights is her big thing... and we talked about religion and sorta politics... not that I know enough to carry on a decent conversation. Mostly I realized how badly I need to read again. I was there from 2:30 to 5:00, and they had two cats and a poodle. The poodle was pretty cool, it doesn't have the froofy haircut and it's actually gray. They named it Inky 'cuz it used to be black... They have a house in Cape Cod, they used to live in Bethesda. I dunno why I'm writing all this here. I guess so I remember it. I really wish I'd gotten a picture of their house. It was incredible.
So I guess we have 1/8th the same genes. Apparently her son figured that out. She gave me a helmet before I left and scolded me for wearing flip-flops on my bike. I don't know what she thought of the dreads.
They didn't seem very adventurous. The girls wanted to be movie stars and singers... the boy, seemed to want to be a rock star. I dunno, I didn't really talk to him so much. The 14 year old Becca was the most talkative. Yeah. Wow. SUVs... that was disappointing. Anna, Becca, Dan.
Then I was late to my tutorial with Hari, so I went straight there without stopping to get my books and I was still 20 minutes late for a 30 minute slot... So we went back to the co-op, supposedly to eat and study... but with Hari things never work out as planned. It was 8:30 by the time I was able to get away and then I met with Geoff to study, but since I didn't have my books I decided just to go home. And then I felt like I had so much to think about that I didn't really want to study. So, here I am, not studying.
I guess I should read or something instead.
- Music:Dismemberment Plan
"This is really an eye opener...Water or Coke?
We all know that water is important but, I've never seen it written down
like this before.
1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often
mistaken for hunger.
3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%.
4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pains for almost 100%
of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
5. Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could
significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble
with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a
8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by
45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less
likely to develop bladder cancer.
And now for the properties of COKE .....
1. In many states (in the USA) the highway patrol carries two gallons of
coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.
2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of coke and it will be gone in two
3. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and let
the "real thing" sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke
removes stains from vitreous China.
4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a
rumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap
aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.
5. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola
over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
6. To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the
rusted bolt for several minutes.
7. To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap
the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is
finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a
sumptuous brown gravy.
8. To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of coke into a load of greasy
clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will
help loosen grease stains.
9. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.
For Your Info .....
1. The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will
dissolve a nail in about 4 days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from
bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
2. To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use
the Hazardous material place cards reserved for Highly corrosive materials.
3. The distributors of coke have been using it to clean the engines of their
trucks for about 20 years!
Now the question is, would you like a coke or a glass of water?
Have A Great Day and Share It With Others
Too bad there are no citations... Most of it is quite plausible. If you have the chance to research any of these let me know.
Also, the Honda Insight is the hottest hybrid on the road. If you're thinking of buying a brand new car, you should get it. 65-90 miles to the gallon. Not too shabby.
What a weekend!
It started out wonderfully. We found Yellowstone Lake Park and set up our tent, cooked a little meal over the fire and managed to consume what wasn't charred. We spent the evening around the fire, drinking and having a good time.
Saturday morning we got up and began our adventure. We spent the day hiking and stopped in a number of beautiful little spots. I didn't bring sneakers but my flip-flops turned out to be just the thing since I could kick them off and go running through the woods, up hills, and in trees more easily bare-foot.
Kanjana, Joey, and Geoff were a great group to go with. We all took turns deciding when to leave the various places that we stopped, and everyone was in good spirits the whole time. We watched a spider catch a bee and eat it, we found an odd aquatic-looking plant up in the hills, we ran through prairie grass that came up to our chests, we laid in the grass under a big pine tree, we romped in a playground and swung on monkey bars, we tried to climb a tree that was just one single limb, I showed them which berries and clovers they could eat, we saw some amazing birds, we went swimming, and then we went back to the camp-site where we built a fire, had dinner and relaxed to Geoff's guitar.
About ten minutes after the neighbor's baby shut up and the dog stopped barking a park ranger showed up shining a flashlight in our faces. He immediately noticed the beer and asked us how old we were. We're all 20, except for Kanjana who is 19. They asked for our IDs and told us we were being evicted. As we had to scatter to find our IDs we were able to get rid of all traces of other unnoticed illegal activity, and then we spent the next two or three hours waiting for the bastards to bring our credit cards back. The fine was $249.00 each. Quiet hours started at 10:00, and the rangers showed up some time around 10:30. We had no idea we were being too loud since we could here noise coming from at least 3 camp-sites in our vicinity. The remainder of the night was spent fuming about the horrible United States policies and unjust punishment we were receiving. Because we had been drinking they let us stay the night, but we had to be out of there by 10am. Of course it had to pour that night. We got rather drenched and were happy to leave this morning.
Wow man, wow. It's almost over.
This is my last weekend here!! I'm sad it's over, even though it means I'm going to India soon, and I want to go back home and see everybody there :) I can't believe what a great summer this has been. I will have so many memories from here: hacky sack, climbing trees, swimming in my clothes, going for ridiculously long walks, learning Tamil, eating with my hands, Foogan, Geoff, Uzma, Kanjana, Nate, Catie, wearing a sari, the Lothlorien co-op, Awkward Party, Anna and Pitchfork, Chicago, knavish ned, etc. I really wish I had brought the sketchbook KellyAnne made me. I want to draw people!
And soon to be added to the list will be yellowstone lake state park where I'm going camping tomorrow!! We bought a whole buncha food today and still need to rent a tent. I'm very excited! It looks like five of us will be going. Jake, Kanjana, Joey, Geoff and I.
I have a practice test tomorrow which I'm less than ready for, and I just spent the evening having wonderful discussions with my housemate Uzma. She's fun to talk to about religion and perspectives on life. Geoff and I talk about stuff like that but he's so adamant about his opinions that sometimes I feel like we argue more than we discuss. Whatever, it's cool.
I got a bunch of compliments on my dreads today :D Yaay, they're not coming undone. I used to have nightmares about that happening. I don't know why my dreams have been so lame lately. I definitely need to sleep more.
Right now I'm still up trying to exchange music with Uzma, but her files are .m4a and I can't play those! If someone knows how I can solve that problem - please enlighten me. I will probably write again on Sunday after camping :). Goodnight all.
- Music:Apparat Organ Quartet