Well, the honeymoon phase is definitely over, but that’s not to say that I’m not enjoying India still. Let’s just say that the constant lack of sleep, work work work, and auto bargaining is starting to wear me down a little bit.
The past month has been busy though, with my first Diwali in India ever, Eid, Guru Nanak’s birthday, and a trip to the lovely Hyderabad. Most all of these events included what has now become but a mere background sound in my life: explosions. Even as I sit here writing this, there are a few small firecrackers being set off outside. I’ve become so desensitized to the sound that, well, let’s just hope that nobody were to attach Delhi right now, because I might not even realize it was happening (though I was attacked by a small firecracker on Diwali and I definitely realized that was happening – even got a little battle scar from it).
Work has really never been busier, and it looks like it will only continue on that trend in the next few months until midpoint really. I am enjoying my work tremendously: including everything from getting manuals printed to session design for my music workshop (happening in December!) to trying to call participants to collect data, but ultimately failing due to my lack of fluency in Hindi. The only problem I run into is the work culture here. Although this is my first full time job anywhere, I am fairly familiar with the American work culture, and my idea of work and the Indian idea of work just doesn’t really match up well, and I’ve found that out the hard way recently. Long hours (10-13 hours some days), working every day for almost 2 week stretches, and lots and lots of meetings are the norms here. I understand that is the way the work culture goes here, but I’ve really been struggling to find my balance between work, play, travel, future preparation (graduate school and job applications), and sleep. I guess the saving grace to the whole situation is that I really love what I’m doing and the people I’m working with. However, I am striving to find my balance here, while working to make small changes to hopefully help others find their balance as well. But being an outsider, it is hard to feel like your suggestions are valid and wanted sometimes. So, baby steps for now.
But enough about work, play is far more fun to hear about. Hyderabad was my first trip to the south! I’ve traveled around the north a bit, and always think when I get to a new city or town, wow, every place in India is so different, and with my trip those thoughts continue. Hyderabad is an interesting north meets south place in my opinion, with English, Hindi, and Telugu all being spoken. Unfortunately for me, I only have about 1 1/10 of those languages, so when my English failed, I would sometimes try my small arsenal of Hindi, and that too even drew blank stares somewhat. But hey, at least I can say I tried my best. Seeing some of the other fellows and friends from my last India trip (and of course relaxing) was my focus, so not much site-seeing happened in Hyderabad… though I did see an interesting Buddha statue that was in the middle of the lake. Why in the middle of the lake? I’m not too sure about that one myself, but it is there.
I may not have much down time in Delhi, but I am enjoying it to the best of my ability and trying to come up with the magical ratio that fits everything into my life. For now, I will keep trying, and keep putting things above sleep because let’s face it, I can sleep later, for now, I’m busy living in India.