A Passion for Peace

Responsibility, respect and a loving connection with all beings and for this Earth we share.

The importance of internet

Three days without internet or friendly faces and a night vomiting into the toilet has cracked me. I tried to call my mom long distance at a roadside stall, and got no answer. Just as well. I did this to myself. I always thought I was a cautious person, wading into water instead of jumping, braking downhill on my bike, buying insurance…and then I up and move to India. I have never felt so alone in a city of so many (15 million). I’ve decided daily internet access is important for my mental health and am looking into that this weekend.
Do people in the US realize how easy life is? I mean, really, really easy? I find myself skipping the occasional meal because I didn’t find somewhere to buy food, and I’m growing weary of eating at restaurants alone. It's like in old movies where people use letters of introduction, and I'm tapping everyone I can do try and meet people, including attending some expensive Halloween parties this weekend. On another note, my favorite Indian food so far is palaak paneer dosa, which is a spinach-and-cheese rice-flour crepe served with daal and coconut chutney for dipping. Part of eating is enjoying the texture of food, so you eat with your hands and a spoon. Here’s a picture.

My favorite fruit discovery is the sitafel, or custard apple, which looks a bit like an artichoke on the outside:

Since I haven’t had internet, here’s a brief catch-up on the week. On Tuesday I felt like I won the job lottery. I got a position working for Childline India, which is like the National Center for Missing Children, writing a draft of what we hope will be India’s first child abuse law. To celebrate I spent a sweaty day wandering the city and visiting the famous Hindu temple (Mahalaxhmi) and mosque (Haji Ali). The Elvis-loving broker ran into me at night, and dropped me at the fancy Vie Lounge in Juhu, the movie stat neighborhood, which had very sparse salsa dancing. He called the next day to ask if I was there to hang out with Jessica Simpson, as apparently she’d had a party there. Alas, Jessica and I run in different circles.
Wednesday I had a taste of rural India, visiting a home for girl street children north of Bombay run by an NGO called VOICE. It’s really quite idyllic, and they even grow their own food and are using solar panels to collect electricity. Still, being rural they have trouble finding staff. A husband and wife run it and live there with about 50 very sweet girls who insisted I show them the very few dance moves I know. Interesting the way culture plays into how they deal with the girls’ behavior problems from the trauma in their lives. They don’t talk about it. When the girls are upset, the goal is to put them into a meditative state to calm them down and let it all go. I find that’s a recipe for keeping it all deep within, and that’s probably also my own cultural bias. A view from the girls' home:

Thursday motor-biking with yet another broker I found and moved in as a Paid Guest in what I thought was a family home. Famlies rent out extra bedrooms to make extra money, I bought a hot plate for light cooking, and I can use the fridge and the bathroom, but I'm supposed to be in by 11:30 except on weekends if I call, because I don’t have a key. It’s about $150 a month, in a decent part of town and walkable to work. They assured me they don't go into my room, yet I woke up at 7 am to the maid going freely in and out. They also assured me no one else used my bathroom, but I had to wait 30 min for it this morning. And now they need to paint my room and want me to sleep in the living room for a week. No good. Now to look for somewhere else and see if I can get some money back. Sigh.
Plus, that rent is probably more than I’ll get paid. The non-drinking, non-smoking bar tender I chatted with at the Lounge the other night makes three times that easily. Now I get why people say ‘Oh, wow’ when I say I work for an NGO, and why this is short term til South Africa (where I’m making a couple thousand total, but at least it's something), and why my parents are awesome for helping me. A friend here says to look at it like continued education and not feel bad about parental monetary help. I can only do that for so long... At least living here is considerably cheaper than the US. Still hoping these “experiences” besides obviously rocking my inner self will be well-viewed back in the States and ultimately earn me a better position there.
I'm not gonna lie, this is hard. I keep reminding myself that I chose this. I want to do this. I am attempting to create a career that doesn't really exist... To all of you living outside your home country, I am so impressed. You are so strong. Someone told me years ago that I don’t know how to be alone. I think this proves otherwise.

Posted byValerie at 2:13 PM  


Annette said... October 31, 2009 at 10:51 AM  
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Recycled Art Girl said... November 2, 2009 at 12:50 AM  
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Malina said... November 17, 2009 at 7:49 AM  
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Valerie said... November 30, 2009 at 12:25 AM  
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Anonymous said... April 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM  
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