11. goodbye kolkata, hello mumbai.

August 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

in mumbai now. weeklong yoga institute session started saturday. already missing: bengali hospitality // masala cha // the bagbazar kids // rooftops // feeling like i deserved to rest at the end of each day // debu+debus fam+chandan+the cousins

entry from the day i left kolkata: im used to airports. im used to saying goodbye to places people and things and ive never felt sadness when it comes time to move on to the next phase. i figure theres always time to come back and revisit and id always get so confused when my mom or my friends teared up when saying goodbye.  these farewells arent final so why cry?  today i think i got a little taste.  the kolkata airport is separated into passenger sections and guest sections.  we had ~2.5 hours until my flight and i figured id check my bags in and receive my boarding pass before spending some time with chandan debu and rita (friends ive created close bonds with in kolkata).  little did i know that passengers aren’t allowed to leave their designated section once they have their boarding passes. my heart skipped a beat when the guard told me that and we had to say our goodbyes with a steel barrier between us.  i just got really sad and that hour that we couldve spent together seemed like such a loss.  this was all very new to me bc im always the one to get moving and devaluing time when it comes to people.  regretting lost time was a bittersweet experience because im starting to value it more but it just made me so wistful.  watching the backs of chadan debu and rita as they headed towards the exit created a tug inside me that ive never felt before. it was uncomfortable but it was nice to know that ive allowed people and places to enter my life enough to stir such feelings.

rando theme: pimp my bengali ride. not a big fan of these photos but they get the job done. enjoy!

note the incense:+dog of the day

the mumbai yoga is interesting. ill write about it when i have time im not supposed to be online right now


10. what up

August 22, 2010 § 2 Comments

only 1 week left to go. finally bought my ticket to mumbai where ill be staying at a yoga center for a week. still need to book a flight back to korea. i kinda dont want to leave kolkata but im also kinda ready for some familiarity (though korea isnt the first thing that comes to mind when i think ‘home.’ but then again, nothing really does).

waiting in line for a clinic at the squatter settlement in rajabagan

lots been happening. medical clinics going strong, provided several surgical procedures and we’re all forging relationships with our doctors.  edu camps are also going great, though i got really sad when turja and i were talking about handing over teaching responsibilities when we leave. all i could think was ‘what?! someone else is going to teach my kids!??!?!’   its really weird bc i remember the first couple of times when i was preparing lesson plans id feel super overwhelmed bc i felt like i didnt know what i was doing but now i actually look forward to spending time with the kids and i get so excited when they retain knowledge and are eager to learn. im really glad this transformation happened and i hope i can apply this to other areas in my life in which i feel frozen by fear/insecurities.

finishing up an outdoor clinic via headlights

thereve been days where there was so much water that the whole city just floods. pictured below is debu, our driver and good friend who admittedly looks a bit creepy in the image but he is a giant teddy bear. he has bulging eyes and a slight lisp and blasts ‘boom boom pow’ on repeat 24/7 and sucks at reading body language but tries real hard to learn english and loves chandan:

ive also experienced a fair share of tension/yelling/etc.  1. during a meeting with a headmaster of a school…all was going well until he read my letter in which i used the words “children of the streets of Baghbazar (a neighborhood)” because the children’s squatter homes are literally built on the streets and the headmaster but he flipped a shit (raised voice, bulging eyes, pointing fingers) about how i was deceiving him bc his students are not street children and he is not affiliated with street children and how street children are ‘born as street children, raised as street children, and die as street children’ (oh so poetic) and went on a rampage about how NGOs are deceitful and wouldn’t let me explain what I meant by the wording and then he insulted the translator i was with (though unknown to me at the time bc he was yelling in Bengali at him) etc etc etc and although i was taken aback at first i think ive seen enough macho-power-flaunting enough here to realize that this wasnt even about the issue at hand its more about letting him show whos boss and i found it all kind of funny.  nevertheless, it ended well.  2. at a club when the doorman wouldn’t let two of our friends in. dont feel like explaining details. all i can say is i kinda ended up yelling at people which doesnt happen quite often (or at all..esp to strangers) so it was a first. and then we went to the popo to file a complaint of discrimination  3. and another incident that i again do not feel like explaining. when it comes down to it: cultural differences + miscommunication + misreading of intentions + friends + family = giant mess. but all is peaceful once again and it was an eye opening example of cross-cultural tension.

here are some pictures of pretty girls:

went to a championship soccer game to support turja’s cousin who plays on the state team for west bengal (they won). in pure american fashion, we wrote his name on our bellies which is a bit riskay but we’re ‘foreigners’ so we get away with a lot.  also there were no other females in the stadium.

our late U. like my artistry? gadai: “five stupid americans and one stupid indian”

im also understanding my Korean heritage a lot better during my 2 months in India than I ever have during my multiple visits to Korea.

hokay thats it for now.

[updated]…dog of the day!

09. happy birthday gen!

August 8, 2010 § 1 Comment

midnight deliciousness: indian birthday tradition: american birthday tradition: ghettofab ‘poma’ sandals: dinner @ vedic village: delicious fruit/chip concoction: pratit international, saving the world, one stretch (?) at a time: raita+chicken biriyani: my ‘dinner:’ bday toast:

you know whats nice about living here?  the fact that your dependency on material goods decreases significantly and you realize that you can thrive as long as your mind is in a good place and you have loving people around you.  you start building this sense of confidence that relies not on the car you drive or the brands you wear or even what school you went to but on the fact that youre a human being capable of giving and receiving sympathy, care, and momentum for change.  thats not to say nice things arent nice and that possessions arent necessary. of course they are. but at the end of the day, stuff is just stuff and while it can complement a sense of self, it doesnt define the self.

people stare here. a lot. i like to have staring contests with strangers but i usually lose.

i have the parachute song stuck in my head.

my wardrobe is becoming insane.  i never used to wear bright colors but its starting to look like a rainbow threw up on me.

great moment: after a medical clinic, the slumdwellers blasted hindi music and we had a dance-off with the community.  nighttime with green lighting, hundreds of indians, a handful of foreigners, clapping jumping hair thrashing. so many kids. so excited.

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