From the head bobbling that means “I understand you” or “okay” to the driving that makes a person fear for their life when they are in a cab or trying to cross a street – India is so different from Arizona. It’s Saturday and I arrived early this morning, around 2am from my last flight from Frankfurt to Chennai. With there being a 12.5 hour difference, in Arizona it was about 1:30pm on Friday, so I was the opposite of ready for bed, even after flying. So, naturally, I did what normal people do when they don’t yet want to sleep, I cleaned and organized my new room!
As I was getting ready to shower, I found four bees that have made a home in my bathroom near the glowing, warm light. We need bees in the world, for honey and seed dispersal, etc. but otherwise, bees are not my favorite of friends! Seeing how they were attracted to the light, I turned it off for 10min and then would make quick, sneak attacks in the bathroom to shower and brush my teeth. Luckily by the morning, with the light off for several hours, the bees went away and they are not around anymore.
I woke up much earlier than I thought I would this morning after sleeping about 3-4 hours, so I decided to go explore the hostel we call our home for the next two months. The hostel is run by the Church of South India so there are many priests walking around and displays of religious things. The hostel building structure is set up in a box with a hole in the middle, kind of like a glazed donut, if the donut was square. In the hole of the hostel building, there is a beautiful courtyard full of lush greenery. It is much greener here than I thought, actually. We are staying on the second floor, all in the same long hallway, two people to a room.
Today, Hayley and Hunter (our coordinators) took us out of the hostel complex into the streets of Chennai. We went to breakfast at a small restaurant right outside the gate doors of the hostel. We had yummy coffee served, uh, rather unusually than I was used to. It was served in a small cup, about the volume of 2-3 shot glasses, which we then poured into a wider cup in order to cool it down for drinking.
We also had Parotta, which tasted very fresh. It tasted flaky, as though it had just been made for us right when we ordered it. The sauce it came with was super spicy.
Another meal we got was Masala Dosa, with four sipping sauces – Sambar (orange), and three Chutney sauces (mint was green, coconut was white, and tomato was blood orange). The Masala Dosa was jam packed with potatoes, onions, and spices. So many spices that Maddie (a fellow volunteer) had a small spice attack. So much so that she started sweating profusely, eyes watering, and scared out of her mind. I tried pretty unsuccessfully not to laugh at the situation, and tried to console her fears of impending doom from the intensity of the spice she described as “three times hotter than anything I have ever eaten.”
Overall, we loved our first day in India – yay! Only 7 of the volunteers are here, with 11 more coming later tonight and tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what adventures tomorrow has to hold but for now, it is time to catch up on much needed sleep!
Good Night from India!