Thursday, August 2, 2012

Making the news

Some of you may want me to shed some light on the recent power outage in northern India. 

Get it?
Shed some light?
Well, I can’t really, because I didn’t actually experience the turmoil.  But here’s some information, all the same:

Luckily, Woodstock has generators (in the school as well as my apartment) that keep the power supply relatively stable.  While lights still flicker on and off quite frequently, I’ve never experienced an outage that lasted for more than a minute or so.  Other staff members are not fortunate enough to be on the generator and have lost power for hours, but I still feel like I’m part of history; I can truthfully say that I survived “the world’s biggest-ever power outage.”  Even if the power were lost everywhere in Mussoorie, though, it wouldn’t be as devastating as in New Delhi.  The weather is very comfortable up in the mountains so air conditioning isn't necessary, and there aren’t any trains or other electronically-dependent transportation networks (that I’m aware of, at least).
Speaking of weather, I feel like I need to describe the monsoon season.  Apparently, this year’s monsoon is unseasonably mild.  While I certainly don’t mind it now, apparently the farmers will suffer come next year… and I mean seriously suffer:
Monsoon season will end sometime in September, and I am very excited for the change.  Not only will I have freer hands (you have to carry an umbrella everywhere, just in case), I will be able to see!  Occasionally, the air clears up and the views are spectacular, but oftentimes the mountain is just literally encased in cloud.  One night I had a beautiful view out my bedroom window, but I saw a cloud rolling in… two minutes later, I could barely see two feet in front of me.
Perhaps the worst part of the monsoon is the bugs that it brings.  I’ve already posted this molting spider on Facebook, but now that I’ve got my blog rolling I’ll share the joy on here as well.

If I’m going to have monstrous spiders living in my house, they might as well perform tricks for me before they die, I guess.
Other creatures to watch out for include leeches (I should be carrying a canister of salt) and scorpions.  I always shake out my clothes and shoes before I put them on, and you’d better believe that I check behind my pillow at night.  The creepy crawly creature situation here is similar to what I experienced in Ghana.  I knew that the multi-legged beasts were always there, lurking, and taking over the house at night… but actual encounters were relatively infrequent.  Once the monsoon goes away, most of the bugs will too, I take it.
The list of further comparisons between Ghana and India is quite extensive.  Just to name a few:  the shopping areas and “grocery stores,” the poverty, the public urination (so many penises), the massive amounts of rice, the tailors and their beautiful clothing, the ridiculously skilled taxi drivers, the requisite haggling, the billboards and Vodafone logo plastered everywhere, the blatant staring (although definitely not as bad here as in Ghana), and even the general smell.  If I were in Ghana, blindfolded and spun around ten times, and the wild lizards were quickly switched out for mountain-dwelling maniacal monkeys, you might be able to convince me I was in India.  I feel like my current situation is a sort of middle ground between my experiences in Ghana and Ecuador.  The school and students are definitely more similar to Colegio Americano, but my general lifestyle, my home, and my access to Western luxuries mirrors my time spent in Ghana.
I think I made the right choice coming here.
I’m going to try to get some planning done here in the staff lounge before heading over to the principal’s house for dinner… see what I mean about the sense of community?  Another family is having a buffet for new staff tomorrow night.  No cooking two nights in a row… whoo!! 
I can’t believe I’m actually excited about not having to cook. 
I love cooking. 
Identity crisis. 
Culinary Jeckyll and Hyde. 
It’s just so difficult to cook here, what with buying food in bags without labels and having only the two-burner countertop gas stove to work with.  It’s a tricky instrument.  I did splurge on a food processor this past weekend.  It took precedence over a television and a microwave and an oven.  I attempted to use it to make coconut butter a few days ago…

Why is coconut meat so antisocial?  It took about an hour to get this puppy open, and I almost lost a thumb in the process.  I didn’t get a buttery consistency because I probably wasn’t patient enough, and I didn’t want to burn out the food processor.  I must slowly begin to test its limits.

Final thought of the day:  India is funny.
Want proof?

Disregarding the redundancy of the colon and the dash, fairly normal, right?

Wait for it…

India is funny.


  1. Love the red bin! You are giving me some wonderful vicarious adventures! I so admire your spirit, Julia. Be well, and keep soaking it in!

  2. Thanks, Linda! I'll keep you updated :)