No turkeys in India

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:

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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.
*Tap water.
*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?
*Coffee.
*Coffeeshops.
*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.
*Chutzpah.
*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:

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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.

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Dreaming of Free Time

All of my running around this week has left me feeling rather ill. I’ve been pumping tea, water, and coffee this whole week (tea and water for health, coffee for energy), but nothing seems to be working all that well. I think that I’m rather destined to be sick at the moment. MLIA.

Also, sick + costume shop sale + death homework + Powershift this weekend = 1 very frazzled Abbie.

… Let’s think about positive things. Yes? Positive. Okay.

**

Today, I’ve spent a lot of time procrastinating/getting better/biding my time by planning my next tattoo. It’s coming on one year since my first tattoo, and I’m refining ideas for my next one. I’ve decided that I don’t want to be a suuuuper tattoo-ed lady (no huge backpieces or shoulder pieces are in my future), but that I would like all of my tattoos to be unique and thought-provoking. If I can manage that with some sort of larger piece … well, that’s going to be YEARS from now.

Also, it’s a good idea to have tattoos in places that I can hide them, if need be. And easily.

I’ve thought of getting “Seven Generations” tattooed on my ribs, but the more I think about it, the more I don’t want to do that.

Here’s the forerunner at the moment:

Because the books “The Little Prince” and “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” have brought so much hope to my soul in the past year, and I feel like they’ve really been guiding figures for me, I’m thinking of doing a tattoo in tribute. I would get an old-school tattoo seagull flying, carrying a banner with a quote from “The Little Prince.” This would probably be on my ribs, but would also make a very cool upper-arm-piece.

But now, after leafing through “The Little Prince,” I’m not sure anymore about this. Will have to reread both books.

I’ve been listening to my favorite Regina Spektor songs a lot these days. She truly expresses so much of how I feel, that it would be amazing to have a quote of hers on my body. It’s just … what quote? They’re all so good!

Here are my top quotes:

Ghost of Corporate Future

Love is the Answer/To a question I’ve forgotten/But I know I’ve been Asked/And the answer has got to be Love

This is how it works:/You peer inside Yourself/and Take the things you Like/And try to Love the things you Took

I love that last quote the best. I think that really is the epitome of the best lesson I’ve ever learned. It’s just a really long quote for a tattoo. But I love it so much. Decisions, decisions …

**

I’m not taking a J-Term, as stated in my Thursday Next post. So I’m going to have all of this time to do cool things with myself … how ever shall I occupy my time?

First off, I know that I’ll be reading a lot. I haven’t had much of a chance to read anything “for fun” in a really long time, so I think I’ll try to plough through some books. Here’s what’s at the top of my list:

1. The Eyre Affair b. Jasper Fforde

2. Breakfast of Champions b. Kurt Vonnegut

3. The Monsters of Templeton b. Lauren Groff

4. The Ecology of Wisdom: Writings by Arne Naess

5. The World We Used to Live In b. Vine Deloria Jr.

6. Brave New World b. Aldous Huxley

I think SPROUT will also be having some sort of reading group/circle, which is all kinds of exciting. I love that group so much. Love, love love.

Oh man. Time for sleeping.

**

uuuuuuuugh. Long weekend ahead. If you can’t tell, I’m really burned out on work right now. Hopefully I can get up tomorrow and get right down to it. This post brought to you by several days worth of random thoughts that I’ve been writing up here. All edited and ready for viewing.

PS – Hate Philip Roth. Needlessly dry, and I have no motivation to read this book I thought would be one of my favorites from the 21st Century Novel class. Uuuuuugh.

Tattoo Plans?

(question marks are apparently a theme in my subject lines)

Tattoos quite fascinate me. When I was in my teens, I used to say that I would never, ever, get a tattoo. I was scared by how permanent they are, and had seen too many horrible examples of tattoos.

Then an image lodged itself in my brain.

And two years later, I got the tattoo.

First Tattoo

I absolutely love it, I’m really glad I got it, and I’m glad I waited so long on getting it. I’m also incredibly thankful that it is my own design, so I really put a lot of myself into it.

One thing I’ve noticed? Tattoos are addictive. I already want another one. It’s just deciding what tattoo to get this time. Continue reading