An Email to my Parents, An Update

Lara Solis - India


September 15, 2019



Dear Family,


Being a teenager is exhausting. God the texting is idiotic. And so the lack of social media is quite refreshing. It feels like I’ve transcended the things I thought were essential, not in a huge way. But in a, “instagram is useless” way.

My bed is too big, which is good but also lonely. I am a little lonely here. I miss toilet paper the most. You guys are a close second. 

A brief description of my house and where I live:

Pune is a complicated city, like most of India there is no order, no explanation, no planning, it’s just sort of there and sort of works. I live in what others might consider the suburbs. It sprawls, full of people on people on people, and I live in between places. Tiny roads that I never see coming and houses nearly next to each other, just within screaming distance, my house stands tall and lilac. Two stories and techniqually 3 bedrooms, one for my mumma, one for my papa and one for me. Mine is upstairs, next to a living room area of sorts, to the right is my room with its own little bathroom and across from it is a terrace overlooking the rest of Katraj. 200 meters from my house, winding down a road with vegetation on both sides you’re suddenly on the highway. If you’re able to cross it, feat that is near impossible, you will reach more trees and past that a lake, one of the only signs of calm in the city. Past the lake you enter more buildings past houses past buildings. I’m excited to see more of it.

A few first impressions about my family:

  • My Mumma is loved by pretty much everyone I’ve met, she’s known for her food, her temper, her short size and how loving she is

  • Indian families love to spoonfeed you

  • Everything is very gendered, it’s expected that I will bond with the women of the family more than the men, which means I hardly ever speak to my father in a casual and comfortable manner. When visiting one of Mumma’s daughters, all the women ushered me into a room with a baby and it instatly became loud and playful and light. The men remain outside. It’s like I stepped back in time. I don’t find it as uncomfortable (at a political level) as I thought I would

  • They really like TV, it is our perfect buffer

  • Yesterday they told me that I wasn’t that fat lol

It has never been my job to be quiet and suddenly it is. I feel both stuck and free in my role of conservative daughter. 

I really miss music and specially music in Spanish, I hope you’re feeding my plants (water and their daily dose of reggeaton). Please try not to kill any of them. 

Hindi is hard as hell, I feel like I am learning nothing and I have to constantly remind myself that out of seven months, I’ve been with my family a week. I think i’ll start a countdown, it will motivate progress. Or stunt it, I don’t know. I find it difficult to see the line between self preservation and self sabotage. I’m also having trouble with not being as condescending.

I’ve finished the books you’ve sent me, turns out that without wifi you get a lot of reading done.

I loved the one by Jonathan Ames, I didn’t expect to, but I thought it was amazing. I felt like the one by Eve Babitz, although well written, was a product for a very specific audience (maybe even just herself. Send me more, I will try to go to a cafe and download them. I’m getting Spotify premium! India has a deal of 16 dollars for an entire year. I’m pouncing because, as I’ve said, I miss music.

Tomorrow, Monday, I begin to learn about my job. I’m both excited and terrified.

I’ve started to get on buses by myself to get used to it because they’re by far the cheapest option (10-15 rupees, keep in mind that one dollar is 71 rupees). But they’re scary and I try to avoid using them during rush hour, I can’t read the language so I never know which to get on, which means that I have to ask people to help me out all the time; although this was exhilarating and empowering the first time, it’s quickly getting old.

I miss you guys all the time, I think my adjustment period will be a little different than the rest of the fellows because my family doesn’t speak english. Besides that, and all the obvious differences, we get along well. They care for me so much, and I can see that in 7 months it will be hard to leave them. It’s only been a week, Lara, stop overthinking everything. 

Anyway, your next email should include a family update, lots of books and even more music.

I love you all and miss you so much,

Lara 

PS:( I got invited to a wedding. Get jealous)


Lara Solis