I have found my third culture shock (numbers one and two being the use (or lack thereof) of the left hand and the scarcity of male teachers, respectively). In India, you eat with your hands. Now, you would think that it would be fun to regress back to our toddler days where we got to move food around our plates with our fingers. However, I can tell you that it is extremely strange to mix rice with sauce on my plate with my right hand. It is weird because as soon as we reach a certain age in America, we are instructed not to eat with our hands and scolded if we do. I don’t know if I am more uncomfortable because of that or because were I to eat with my hands at home, I would use my left hand. Now, not only are my fellows making kind fun at me for having difficulty with the concept of eating with my hands, but I am having to do so without my dominant hand! We were joking around at the table saying that after a month I will be a master at eating with my hands. Then, when I return to America, I will reach for my food with my hands and earn strange looks from my wonderful parents. I eagerly await that moment!
Father Simon has promised to show me how to cook some southern Indian food and I am going to teach him how to make Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. Yes, I know. American tradition, right? I do have the instructions and ingredients memorized without looking at the box….mostly. My family and friends at home are being kind enough to send me a care package and I have the exclusive information that it will contain not three, not five, but TEN boxes of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese! You have no idea how excited I am.
While I am here, I am learning more and more about India each and every day. First of all, I learned that if your door is open, bugs will accompany you into your room. If the door is closed, don’t scream when you see the tiny lizard on the inside of the window in the morning. They like to sneak through the cracks under the door. Let’s just say that was an interesting morning that may or may not have been split by a screech in the wee hours of the day.
A few days back, about ten monkeys showed up at the church! They were on their way through to some other trees but we had food to offer them. What monkey could turn down perfectly delicious japati? It seems the monkeys really enjoyed the food because they stayed around long enough to eat everything we had prepared. I got some great shots of them and a spectacular video. There were even several babies with them that looked so adorable clinging to the bellies of their mothers!
I’ve been thinking of new things to teach my students every day. The tongue twisters lecture has been a great success and if I get to visit the classes I haven’t been to yet, I can continue to use it. Although, there are a few classes that I have used all of my backup lectures on so I need to keep thinking of more! I am having an absolute blast here and had an amazing trip to Mount Abu on Sunday.
As far as my rhythm goes, I feel more at home here now and am comfortable enough to start stepping outside of my box and to start doing more exciting things. Yay for India!