Still here, in India. Still in Ranchi.
I’ve been successful for most of today in resolutely not thinking about Thanksgiving. It’s one of my very favorite holidays because of the way that I celebrate with family and friends.I’ve felt very alone in Ranchi lately, so it’s doubly hard. I went to my adviser’s house for a mini-Thanksgiving. He told me that if I was ever feeling homesick, I could have dinner with him and his wife – so I took him up on it in honor of this holiday.
This was our feast:
That’s honey chicken, a beef stew thing, and rice. We even had beer! When he heard I haven’t had Indian rice beer yet, he said that we have to go out and do that before I leave Ranchi. He joked that it’s what made a Swiss friend of his stay for an extra year!
Apparently November/December is also harvest time in India, and people have small celebrations giving thanks for the food and the previous year. So we combined traditions and had a blast. Good conversation, relaxed atmosphere, a very good thing.
Being here gives me a lot to think about, and to be thankful for. Yup, it’s list-time:
*Friends and family. Seriously, y’all are amazing.
*Food. An abundance of food, at that. It’s even the sort of food I want to eat, not what I have to.
*Electricity. And that I can charge my laptop whenever I want to when I’m at home.
*The existence of switches for plugs. I will definitely miss being able to turn a whole outlet off when I go back home!
*The fact that when I’m in America, I speak the dominant language.
*My bicycle. And that I don’t face imminent death by riding it in the Twin Cities. So … bike lanes?
*Coffeeshops that don’t play Akon when I walk in ‘cause I’m American and clearly we all love Akon.
*My iPod. So I can block out the Akon.
*The way the leaves change in Autumn.
*The fact that I am privileged and lucky enough to get all the way to India.
*Books! Particularly “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel and “Haroun and the Sea of Stories" by Salman Rushdie. Just finished “Life of Pi,” which was amazing, and have just started “Haroun and the Sea of Stories,” which is even more amazing.
*Rickshaws that are public, and thus only charge me 6 rupees a ride.
*The Twin Cities metrotransit system.
*Pets. Especially the ones that don’t have rabies and are ok to cuddle with.
*Did I mention my friends and family? Because I’m pretty sure my life wouldn’t be anywhere near as amazing and breathtaking without you.
In other news …
As a way to stave off the homesickness, I’ve begun knitting again! I finally caved and went to buy knitting needles and yarn. It feels SO GOOD! I’m making Stephen West’s Boneyard Shawl for a John-thing. As of right now, it looks like this:
I am determined to finish it by the time I get back to the states. This shouldn’t be too hard, considering how easy the pattern is.
I’ve also decided to get another tattoo. I’ve been thinking of this one since I got my last one, which was in November 2008. I’ll still wait until the spring to get it – it’s a text tattoo, and so I have to think about the placement, line breaks, and font. And also tattoos heal better when it’s not the middle of the dry MN winter.
Tomorrow I’m headed off to the Piparwar coal mine. Piparwar is one of the case studies for my research, so it’s a very important site visit. But I have been informed by multiple people that I have to be very careful, so I won’t really get to ask too many questions. But it will still be good to see the mine itself, to get a grip on the scope of the issue. I’m sure there will be another post after that, with some pictures of the mine/resettlement area.
Till then, I’m jealous of all of you and your turkey (and wild rice and sweet potato and cranberry) feasts.