There are two ridiculously large dogs that live at the end of my street. They seem to be the “watchers” of this side of town, with both eyes closed fast asleep. When I go to Hindi class three days a week, there’s always the sweetest man who greets me with the most genuine smile. When the sky gets (rarely) exceptionally clear, I can almost see the stars. Their light streaks through the smoke and clouds, making a faint beat across my eyes. Chapatis are difficult to roll in a perfectly round shape, mine always come out as splotches or splatters. Every morning on my walk to school I pass by a woman who is exercising. We now have started greeting each other daily. The best place I had pani puri was a tiny little street vendor beside this massive market. A little paradise in a sea of chaos. The traffic has its own language. A certain amount of beeps for “coming on your left side!” and another amount for “MOVE I'M COMING”. Camels aren’t as hard to ride as I expected them to be. The humidity is something I’m almost getting used to. The bed sheets here are so gorgeous, nothing is ever plain, it's full to the brim of colors and designs. If my chai is too hot, all I need to do is get a saucer and pour a little into the plate and gently sip. I’m terrified of my neighbors two dogs, they bark and snarl like no other creatures. We always leave our shoes outside. I teach a group of seven students every morning on the second floor of my school. There’s a truck nearby my house that has the tune “It’s a Small World” built into its system, so whenever the car backs up the song blares out. Everyone from four blocks away can hear it. The most popular channel in my house is “Zee Marathi”. I can now eat spicy foods and not need to gulp down water in between bites. Every morning I take my shower and hang my towel up over the bed. I made a new friend yesterday in a cafe, and now we’re having dinner soon. I’ve met foreigners from Brazil, Texas, New York, and England, just to name a few. Another new friend I met is currently creating a art piece made from wood to (hopefully) give to President Obama in January. I helped him change his logo from “They believed in you” to “We still believe”. I ripped a hole in my leggings one morning at school. Playing too hard. My host sister Sneha is the captain of her volleyball team. It’s starting to get cold enough for me to wear my jacket the ENTIRE walk to school, instead of taking it off halfway through in a sweaty mess. I teach art on Saturdays to one of the 4th grade classes. The last time I was homesick was two days ago. If you look on the inside of my cupboard, you’ll see art pieces drawn by my host brother Sujal. He’s gifted me with four so far. There’s a small green park in the city where I feel open and limitless. The other day a dog followed my friend and I for fifteen minutes. We named him Copernicus. I have two scarves and use them all the time, every single day. Walking to school in the morning, there are little pockets of fires beside the road, giving warmth to others. I saw the ocean two months ago. I also saw camels on the beach that same day. The last time I wore clothing in public that was above my knees was in the USA. I come home from school at 12:25. I now unconsciously say “kai” and “ha” when I’m conversing. I live twenty-five minutes away from the best view in Pune. The best place to get wifi is the Global Citizen Year office. I can also print things there so that’s a huge plus. The most absurd ripoff I’ve heard from a rickshaw driver was a 50 rupee ride for 300. Please. The farthest I’ve been from Pune was another state, Rajasthan. The hairstyle puka buns are completely laughed at here. I don’t need any more kurtas but it’s all I want. My host family doesn’t eat meat on Thursday, Gods day. I pray every morning. I share a room with my host sister and I’m loving it. I met a seventy-six year old man walking from school one day and we had a long chat about his life. The food I’ve craved the most is salads. My throat pains sometimes after a day at school from shouting so much. The last rickshaw driver I was with had a jean jacket with a Colorado patch on the back. There are beggars all over the streets, some have walking sticks. The number of dogs here are impossible to estimate. For a birthday, the cake typically gets smeared on the faces of the guests. I know the last verse of the Indian National Anthem. My turn to pick the channel for the TV is after my lunch. I usually sweep the floors and Sneha mops. We always have the fan turned on during the night, usually on level three. I learned how to do a roundhouse kick in karate from my host dad. I love the breakfast food shifa, especially with almonds. I have felt a million moments of awe, the kind that sweep my breath under the rug. I always smile when I see those two “watcher” dogs at the end of my street.
These were a few details from the past four months I’ve been here in Pune. My time here is already halfway through (yikes!) and I hope to have pages and pages more of details when my journey is at an end. Thank you for reading and I apologize sincerely for the lack of posts! I can’t promise more will come in the near future, but I certainly hope so (: