Friday, September 29, 2006

1! We are soldiers! 2! In our City Year shirts! 3! Don't we look good! 4! When we go to work!

Congratulations to this year's 2006-2007 City Year Corps all over the country!!! Hey, hey, it's Opening Day!!! Especially those new corps members (Yeah CHEEM!!!) and returning corps members at CYDC. Now comes the fun/challenging part: service! Dont forget: this is hard, be strong. Bing! (ok, i know that was the cheesiest thing i've said on here to date, but i couldnt help it. you can only deprogramm brain washing so much)I can't believe two years ago, on this same day (ok, so it was oct 1 my year, you know what i mean)i was wearing my new clean timberland provided uniform, still proud of it, representing my team to the crowd of well wishers and DC photo op hogs, being formally inducted to Americorps, City Year and my year of service. Who woulda ever thought i would go on to serve another year (cept me, since i went in with that intention) and then be in India on the following opening day. crazy. life is so great! The last 2 1/2 years have been really fabulous, and it just gets better with time. :) i'm pretty happy. i got an email from my friend who i forced to do CY (you're thanking me now... let's hope it stays that way:) today, and he is loving it. i had hardly thought about it since i've been here, but getting his email showed me that i actualy do care at least a little with what is going on there. the other night alex and i talked about it, she was asking me questions about my experience and i suddenly remembered cheem literally filling my boots, standing on my shodlers, making sure the DC community is served. getting the email about what has been going on was like a portal next to me opened, full of a red-jacketed, Timberland army, threatening to suck me back into the high ceilings, wooden floors and hamster cage type cubicles of the MLK space and surrounding City Year office. I asked him to fill me in on all the details. he doesnt read my blog (apparently he is "just too lazy for your journal thing") but maybe other people who know him can guilt him into reading about my experiences.

So it looks like the Mother Theresa hospice is just not gonna happen for me, at least not while i'm intent on trying to work with a hindi tutor. It is festival season here in Varanasi, and apparently no one wants to work. We know have to pay double for one hour of hindi study with this teacher guy. i'll try it out tomorrow, but i'd honestly rather have the experience of serving here sometime during my last 5 days in Benaras. I had yoga tody with a tiny little man who looks to be about 58, although b/c he does so much yoga, he might very well be pushing 80. he is slim, incredibly flexible, strong, disciplined and is missing the bulk of two toes on his right foot. i kept getting distracted by them. he is so wonderful! he speaks enough english to explain postiions to us, and since today was my first class (yesterday i only ended up doing the breath work before i got pulled into my kathak class and today i had to miss the first 15 minutes b/c of a mixup with the male kathak teacher i didnt want to continue with; he apparently arrived at 3:45 expecting to teach me again today, since my leader was sick and didnt communicate the cancellation to him, i had the incredibly awkward task of expaining that i in fact no longer wanted to study kathak with him any longer. great)i didnt know any of the poses. he very gently and patiently explained them to me while he worked with everyone else. i can't wait for tomorrow's yoga. i'm sad we are leaving so soon, there is so much in varanasi that i want to see and do still (like raid silk paradise, the silk shop i spent 2 horus in yesterday) and visit the temples. On tuesday or wednesday everyone will be drunk and dancing in the streets, as they carry the statues of the gods to the river to return them to the ganges. that i can't wait to see. i'll be sure to find a rooftop to watch from though. no mixing with the locals for me. it is a bit perplexing, there are so many foreigners here. swedish people come, isrealis come and so do some japanese folks as well. but i consistently see women completely ignoring the norms of dress here and walking around in small things. i can't even imagine! i get (and we get) harrassed so much as it is, and we walk around in indian clothes, fully dressed and covered.

Alex and i got completely lost this morning, but i finally made it out of Assi ghat and saw some other parts of Varanasi. We couldnt find the place so we ended up buying a fresh pomegranate from a vendor, splitting it under a fern tree in a park and eating pom jewels in the shade as we talked about life. sweet:) i have to get to the friekin post office (find it first) and exchange money. it is almost dire. i have to pay my kathak teacher tomorrow and there are many other things i want to do as well, like go to the new air conditioned swanky bollywood movie theater to get out of the heat and away from the streets to watch a spectacular spectacular. It's late here, its dark and the internet shop is about to close.

more tomorrow inshallah
love
bilbo

1 comment:

Shreen said...

hey love!
at the city year opening day i was thinking of you the whole time :) about how you find a quirky and great organization to work with and how lucky they were to have you. Ramadan is hard to do without the mujer arana and her cohorts (you!)Miss you lots, inshallah u'll get the last look of varanasi that you hope for before you move on to the next part of your journey. Muah! <3