Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My first holiday (apparently that is what we are to call days off)

I am sorry about my lack of photos.  I keep forgetting to use my camera.  I will try to do better the next few days.  Maybe tonight I can snap a picture of the movie theater where we are going to see Raanjhanaa.

7/4 – 7:15 am – waiting for my Insanity partners outside the crowded (boo) hotel gym

Caitlin, Sarah S., and I decided yesterday morning to wake up early and do Insanity.  It was a good choice.  It ensured that I didn’t start the day with tears, and those endorphins lasted all day.  Today neither Caitlin or I have school, so we are working out later (except that I have been awake since about 4 because I took a nap yesterday).  Oops.  I am sucking at getting over jet lag.  Yesterday morning we had the gym to ourselves and it was wonderful, but there are already a handful of people working out now and I am early.  I guess today our inability to do push ups and our massive amounts of sweat will not go unnoticed. 

Our plan for later today is to go to the house of Niladri, an English professor at a local college (a friend of Caitlin’s from last year), and make signs for Sunday’s pride parade.  Apparently, Kolkata was the first city in India to have a pride parade, and it continues to grow every year.  We are all going to go march in the parade with Niladri on Sunday.  It should be an experience.  Niladri said it is amazing to be on the streets of Kolkata without worrying about traffic.  After days of being terrified of the roads, I can’t even imagine.  I am also excited to venture to a new neighborhood where his house is located, and we are taking the metro (another first for me). 

It feels strange to not be headed to school even though everyone else is.  My school has a weird schedule, and rather than having off Saturday and Sunday, they take holiday on Thursday and Sunday.  Nobody can really seem to explain why.   One teacher told me that it is nice to have off on a day that everything is open, so presumably, our schedule is due to banking convenience?   Odd.  Unfortunately, this weird schedule means that I will miss out on some activities that my group is doing.  This Saturday they are going on a field trip with Drew’s school to villages a few hours outside the city to do some teaching and house construction.  I can’t wait to hear all about their experiences. 

Yesterday at work, I mostly sat in the staff room all day.  The students were still taking exams, so I couldn’t teach any classes.  I guess that will change next week.  It was interesting to spend a day meeting and talking to the teachers.  They were full of questions about American schools, my life, etc.  Some of the Bengali teachers taught me a few words of Bengali.  I learned that Namaskar is the Bengali word for Namaste, and I learned to say “I am fine” (Ami bhalo acchi).  I also learned the word love bhalobasa.  They were endlessly entertained with my pronunciations of their names and all the Bengali and Hindi words they had me repeat.  Hopefully I get better at both remembering and pronouncing their names.  Right now it is all a blur.

I will also spend some time working on lesson plans today.  The first things that I am teaching are The Pied Piper of Hamelin and verb tenses.  There is a lot of pressure to make these lessons amazing since I have been introduced to the students as the “best teacher in America.”  For some reason, the principal has really taken to me, and he told me yesterday that if I want to stay, he will buy me a house and a car.  I didn’t mention that I would definitely meet with a fiery death if I tried to drive on these roads.  For now, I am letting him treat me like the daughter he has always wanted since it comes with a personal driver (albeit a scary one) and lots of praise.

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