Monday, September 28, 2009

School, Ganapati, Goa, Navatri... phew

People aren't joking when they say that Mumbai is a fast city. And still despite that, it can take you an hour to get to the other side (sometimes 2). Living in the suburbs, of course is a bit more relaxed and where I am, you'll find quite a few foreigners. But the further into town you get, the more packed everything is and the taller the buildings get. But anyways, this isn't the subject of my post. Instead let's talk about school.
Being at school is fun. It's an IB school and is a lot like American schools except they go way faster here. I enjoy all of my classes and the teachers are all very nice. Like most schools in India, I have to wear a uniform to school of a striped blue button up shirt and navy blue skirt. As bad as wearing a uniform sounds, it is a nicer uniform compared to some others which make you wear a pinafore (dress) plus shirt and maybe a tie with your hair braided with ribbons. Get my point? But as much as I like school, I hate the homework that comes out of it. And yes, I do have to do homework since my school is taught in english (and I need credits). I would prefer not to since in most cases, homework is usually given when there is some Indian holiday. Like today is Daseera, in which Ravana is destroyed by Ram. And I have two essays to write and a case study plus trying to figure out physics and memorize the hindi alphabet. I don't know how I'm going to survive. Also I've been having saturday school because of swine flu vacation (we had a scare here a few weeks back) which basically also sucks.
As I mentioned previously, Ganapati occured a while back. Ganapati is a hindu festival celebrating the god Ganesh, remover of obstacles and one of Mumbai's most favored gods. I got to celebrate with my family and their friends in the building, going down for a pooja (prayer session) and going down to the lake near where I live for visarjan (after a few days of having the Ganesh idol, they submerge it into the lake by ceremony). The whole 10 days I could hear the beat of drums from the balcony and the streets were well populated with people covered in fuschia powder pulling wagons of ganapatis. I was also able to see some of the much larger idols being submerged in the lake on one of the last nights. It can be amazing to see, these huge plaster statues cover in flowers and color. And maybe a few hours after the sun rose on the last day, there were no drums at all.
As per stereotype, the traffic here can be very bad Indians always find someway to get through. Maybe it runs in the genes but if there is space between the cars, someone will find a way to fit between. Also because the speed on the roads isn't as high as in America, seat belts are not required in the back seat, only in the front. I cannot count the times I have reached for a seatbelt only to be looked at weird. I've gotten used to not wearing one now but every so often I'll end up reaching. By now I've been in a rickshaw plenty of times but have just now started to be able to get my self home in one. I usually take the bus to school (which sucks. Imagine going over a pothole every 5 mins at 15 mph. not fun) but sometimes I have to stay back or am late to school so I take the rick. It's actually convenient and cheap despite the anxiety that the driver might not know where to go or even finding an empty one.
A couple weekends ago I did go to Goa for a nice vacation. We stayed at a resort with 40 other family friends and I had a good time although I didn't end up going to any of the touristy spots. We swam in the pool though and I got a small tan. And the festival Navatri or Durga was this past week too. Basically it's a dancing festival and you dance dandiya (couple dance by hitting sticks together... it's hard to explain). I got to go once with a group of AFS people and as well at school on Friday, when we had Indian-dress-as-you-like. By now, my teachers and classmates have figured out how much I like dancing and as my english teacher says," Annah, you're Indian." yeah.... What can I say? I'm here for a culture experience so why no participate? :]
I've also been to quite a few parties lately (another thing Mumbai is notorious for). On saturday I went to two birthday parties and was suitably tired on Sunday (which was yesterday). I stayed awake though because that night I finally got to go see a movie in the theater (I've been seeing ones only at home :[). Despite all of the good reviews, I didn't like it that much but it was nice to go anyways. A friend from school and I are planning to go see a movie that already opened soon and it looks good.
So it seems I've been very busy and I admit, it is a change of pace. Hopefully, I'll get into the vibe of it.

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