Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Sunburn and a Saree

Okay, so I didn't really get a sunburn, but Thursday was 108 degrees (118 with humidity) and sunny, so my face was pretty red, anyway!

SO much has been happening over the past few days that updates have been tough.  Thursday was a big highlight because Angelique, one of the teachers at Yuvajyothi who is around mine and Emily's age, took us out shopping for our first pieces of authentic Indian clothing.  I have to say, as an American who grew up watching her parents obey the rules of the road and becoming a very cautious driver herself, riding around in an Indian city an be downright terrifying at first.  There virtually are no rules of the road whatsoever!  People just drive or ride bikes or scooters wherever they need to go and are constantly passing or veering around each other.  The horn-honking is nonstop.  People honk their horns when they want to pass someone else.  People honk their horns when they are making a turn and a pedestrian is in the way.  People will even honk their horns at another driver when they are the only two vehicles on the road and they are passing each other on opposite sides of the road!  The only road rule that I found Indian drivers share with American ones is: red means stop, green means go.  Everything else is anyone's game.

The three of us went to the main bazaar in Nagpur, which is enormous and a little overwhelming at times.  I wasn't able to take any photos while there because everything was so fast-paced, but here is a photograph from the web with the bazaar at its busiest:

Pretty crazy, huh?
While there, we bought a few outfits and some jewlery. Indian people are very conscious about what they wear; they keep up with age-old traditions when it comes to clothing, and have a very strict respect for the body (women, I've found, are not even allowed to show their ankles in public, and always have their shoulders covered). 

Also, they are CRAZY about matching here!  First, you pick a shirt (make sure it has sleeves), then, you buy a pair of pants that match a secondary color of that shirt, and then you buy a scarf that matches those pants exactly (this is for women's clothing, mind you).  Also, you are expected to barter about prices in Hindi, which Angelique insisted I do (I struggled). 

At the enormous indoor Apna Bazar, Emily and I bought our very own authentic Indian sarees (yes, that's how they spell it. I've been spelling it wrong for years).  We found out that there is a lot more to choosing a saree than we originally thought.  There are old fashions, new fashions, different materials and patterns, sarees for every day, sarees for special occasions, sarees for specific occasions, and everything in-between!  Emily and I cheated a bit; we bought some heavier silk sarees that are really meant only for Diwali vacations or wedding parties.  But we thought, "Hey, when am I gonna be in India again? Let's get the fancy stuff!" They are absolutely stunning, but we don't have the first clue how to put them on on our own...that will be a lesson for later...(pictures to come soon, I promise). 

On Friday, I was lucky enough to leave the center again to go on an excursion to buy guitar strings at a local music shop.  I was teaching a music lessons that day with the boys, and the guitar at the center desperately needed some new strings.  A first for the day was that I got to ride on the back of Angelique's scooter into a smaller market in town.  

Just so there's no confusion, when I say, "scooter", I mean this...

...not this.

Brother James, one of the seminarians and our guitar string expert, came with us as well.  

As it turns out, scooters are a very popular mode of transportation in India, as cars can be too expensive.  They're everywhere on the road; basically, scooters are to India as cars are to America. Plus, they come in handy for sneaking around large cars and getting into smaller spaces. 

While at the music store, I was lucky enough to check one item off of my list and buy some traditional Indian musical instruments! I bought a wooden flute and a tabla, which is an Indian drum. 

Guess which one's the flute.
Later that afternoon, after Brother James had strung and I had tuned the guitar, I taught my first music lesson, with different groups of students rotating to different lessons in various rooms.  Teaching English language songs has been a struggle, especially since the boys are more proficient in Hindi, but I managed to teach them one "Hello" song to start the lesson and integrated some other English songs and hymns with which they are familiar.  I think they had a lot of fun!  They especially loved the movement with "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" (and they didn't even know they were learning English vocab!)

There's much more to tell, but it's getting late and Emily and I will need some sleep...we're attending a Mass in Hindi at 7:30 am tomorrow!  That will certainly be an experience...

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