The Latest From Laurie

10 February 2008

Well, the bubble in which I lived two weeks ago has popped, and life continues to go as it did before. However, I have officially made it past the half waypoint and in less than two months I will be going home for a week. This is exciting for several reasons. Of course, it will be great to see my family including my new niece Cara. Second, I will get to bring home all my winter clothes and tons of other stuff, which will make it easier for me to travel home when I leave India at the end of June. Third, I will get to take a real showers and baths! Fourth, I will get to bring back to India a slew of food with me, such as several boxes of Luna and Balance Bars, juice box sized rice milk, perhaps some American sweets, all natural peanut butter, and these things should sustain me until I return home for good in July. I will also be able to bring back gifts from America for my students here.

Other big news? Well, Gia (another AIF fellow) and I traveled together to Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. In Jaisalmer we went on a camel trek for two days. We met another women on our camel trek named Fran. She lives in Toronto with her husband and has three grown children. She was great – really open and really friendly. One thing that amazes me about traveling here is how quickly you meet, confide and befriend other travelers. The camel trek was cold and we got rained on both days. This is a huge deal because Jaisalmer is part of the Great Thar Desert and rain is scarce even during the summer monsoon season. Because of the clouds and rain, no sunset or sunrise over the dunes for us, but it was so nice to be in nature and out of the city. Part of the reason it rained is because it has been unseasonably cold here and cold air does not hold moisture as well as warm air. I have been told this is the coldest winter India has seen in 40 years. In parts further north, they have been canceling school, because children are literally freezing to death in class. (People at work always ask me isn’t at least this cold or colder in America. I respond that it is, but we have these things called insulation and central heating in America, which are unheard of here.) So it continues to be cold here, but my landlord has given me more blankets and a real water bottle warmer, which means I am at least warm when I sleep.

Anyway, despite the cold, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer were both nice. They both have big forts, which are always fun to see and explore. Jodhpur is also known for being a blue city. In the old cit almost all the houses and businesses are painted indigo. Something about the paint they use is supposed to keep the buildings cooler in the hot months.

This message is turning out to be pretty drab, as my brain is currently not operating at full force. I got pretty sick in December when going to Mumbai for AIF midpoint, and my digestive system has not really been functioning properly since. This last week has been especially bad, so my calorie intake has been slim. Hopefully the probiotics Mom and Dan sent me will help me. I will try to write more later when I feel more coherent.

By Laurie Mason

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