Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Parivar aur Doston

So I promised another blog post and tada! Here it is. This one's theme is family and friends. I guess you can guess I'm gonna talk about the differences and similarities, which is true! But gosh, there seems to be so much to discuss! Let's get started...

Okay so this is my current host sister (we're practically the same age but she'll be 18 in 2 weeks). I unfortunately don't have a picture with my host mom or dada or else I would also put that up. Well as I think I mentioned, she's Head Girl at our school and has tons of work since she's doing Math, Physics, and Chem HL plus DAIMUN, Paigaam, Student council, etc. so we don't hang out often. But we do have a class together so that's nice. She's actually a US citizen since she was born there but is studying here with the family while her dad works in the US. There's actually a lot of kids at my school who are born in other countries but then their families move back. Anyway, back to family. So basically, everyday after school is spent in our rooms because she eats dinner between 5 and 6. I got used to eating after 8 (the Indian standard actually) so we eat separately. My host mom eats around these times, I actually don't know specifically when...

I guess an interesting thing about this host family is that despite living in US for so many years, the family is very religious. Well not very but they do prayers everyday, lighting the candles, and sitting in front of the temple. Throughout the day my host mom will carry a clicker around with her and from what I can tell, this is for her to do chants and such in her head. I'm not sure why the counter needs to be there but it is. My host sister is also very involved with this; she herself does much of the prayers and such in the morning and at night. While I was with my host family in Lonavla, it was the second Navratri, which is more of a prayer holiday and doesn't contain the dancing like the first one. They let me sit in while they did pooja and aarti, singing devotional songs for about 30 minutes. It was very interesting to see since my first host family hadn't done that much but I'll get to that in a bit. My family in US is not that religious and I was always interested in this aspect of Indian culture so it's nice to see it.

I have actually been sleeping in my host mom's room with her since I got here except for a few times when my host dada has been out of town. Sharing a room here isn't that un-common due to the lack of space and price of property. Of course, the upper classes usually do have separate rooms for everyone but I know one of my friends does share with her younger brother so it's not that different. In the US I rarely slept with others unless it was at a sleepover. Now, it's like if I'm on a trip or at home, I always slept with others. Now because my dada is in Spain until I leave, I have to sleep alone and it's kind of weird. I mean, I can stay up for how long I want to and use the computer for homework (except the internet is shut off). It's... weird. I mean going from sleeping alone most of the time to usually with others around you makes you kind of lonely. I never thought I would feel this way but it has happened. So a warning! You might be sleeping in a room with someone else! :p ahahahah

So this was my second host family although this picture is missing two people, the older sister and their grandfather. I actually went over to their house the other night for a final goodbye, and we all had dinner together (the 6 of us!). Although I had some problems coming in and especially during those first five months, we all had a great time together and I had a long chat with the mother. Our conversation was mainly about my experience and the culture and religion in India and other places. She wanted to know how it was at my current host family and what I did everyday. She was surprised that I didn't go out with Ambika often but she knew that that family is more education based. I told her how they pray everyday and how it was different since at their house, I never saw them do any prayers except at Diwali. She then explained to me how it was for a variety of reasons, that the dada in this family did not want prayers always taking place, he was not very religious and would prefer for her to feed him first and then do prayers (she's a housewife). This really surprised me because I hadn't thought before that maybe the dada hadn't been religious. She also told me that it was the opposite from her whose family is very religious and who often go on pilgrimage to a temple during the year (she is only able to go once). It actually explained quite a bit and I'm happy to have learned these things about this family before I left.

The older sister Jheal was also there when I visited so I got to eat dinner with all 5 of them, which rarely ever occured since we were all busy usually. When I had just arrived they practically fed me to death since they made they gigantic sandwiches and then decided to make waffles and put ice cream on top as well as they had just gotten a waffle maker. Jheal and the mom made dinner since the cook had gone on holiday or something and they made baked bean soup and toast with cream of mushroom, cheese, and olives on top. It actually tastes better then it sounds. After dinner, I gave them a card and a framed photo of Juhi and I. But of course, that isn't the end to the presents. My parents back home will be sending things after I leave, which is nice because I have no idea what I would get them from here! I slept in Juhi's room for the last time and went with her to school in the morning. It was sad to say goodbye but I hope to visit them in the future and they want to see me too.

This was from my birthday. From left: Akanksha (Sasha, my "mom"), me, Srushti (my "sister"), and Sanjana (my... really really good selective sadistic friend :p). They're so pretty! Sandra, the German girl, and I have both decided that Indians are some of the most beautiful women in the world. The guys... are okay (ahahahahhaha).

So this was at the 12ths Farewell. They don't really have a Prom here but this is practically the same thing. The 11th graders are given a budget and have to plan the whole thing, from the theme to catering to the entertainment. This is a good thing in some cases since you get student input but it must suck when they don't plan anything...
Our school uniform! It's Austin, Juhi, and I.

Our pool party farewell party at Austin's apartment. We had so much fun just swimming and eating pizza with each other. It's actually not common for Indians to go swimming this way, in fact many of out friends needed swim suits since they hadn't brought one. They mostly wear one pieces and I was the only one wearing a bikini (there was no way I was going to wear my Indian swimsuit).

This is Austin and I with our Hindi teacher, Miss Singhal. She invited us for dinner for one night and we had a good time talking about India and such.

Today was my last day of school (05/21/10) but I'll post about that later when I get the photos.

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