Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What I Learned in India: Week 5

The past few weeks here been pretty great for the most part. We celebrated my aunt's birthday over the course of a few days—the only way a birthday should be celebrated—and I started my classes. After the chaotic mess that is registering for classes as a SIP student here—a mess that makes the Hunger Games of registering for classes at GW look like an episode of Teletubbies—I've finally got a schedule I'm happy with. I'm taking Globalization and Communication, Communication and Social Change, Hindi, an independent study called Modern Indian Thought (which explores everything from Vivekananda to the contemporary Indian diaspora and is basically the greatest class concept I could've ever imagined), Yoga, and Kathak. And I have Fridays off!

And as the time has gone by, I've also gotten comfortable with commuting alone. I take rickshaws by myself nearly every day and although I'm admittedly horrible at bargaining, I know how much to pay for my ride to campus and back. And after having a little too much fun at the mall with some friends, I have plenty of kurtas and outfits for class.

I'm also loving many of the people I've met here. My program is run by amazing individuals who are more like wise friends than authoritative administrators. I'm loving being around my family and spending hours talking to my aunt or vegging out with my uncle. And I've met some amazing people from my CIEE group and have made local friends from my classes, too.

{the inside of a Dunkin' Donuts in the mall}
Beyond this though, the aftermath of Rohith Vemula's death has been very hard on our community. I can't imagine the loss that several students and professors feel, and for many of us in the Study in India Program, things are confusing and frustrating. Classes have been cancelled for a week and half and we don't know when they will resume. We can't travel, so we've just been trying to pass the time by exploring the city but there's only so much to do. I'm trying to remind myself that only the boring are ever bored, that I can find ways to have fun if I put in a little more effort, but it's hard to do so when this isn't a vacation—it's a time of loss and political unrest and chaos.

I'm still happy to be here, even though it seems like I'm already in a slump. It's just weird feeling this way, because it reminds me of the slump I felt halfway through my time in Spain and I really hated that feeling. What's different this time is that I'm not alone, that many of my friends feel the same way, and talking about it with them makes me feel less isolated and bored. Also, because I recognize the symptoms, I'm making more of an effort to be proactive and counteract what I've been feeling. I've been focusing on applying to internships, planning travel, working out, and writing. Hopefully this feeling will pass, and I'm hoping that returning to a routine will help that happen. Until then, here are a few more photos of my time so far:
~ V

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