Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pack Back. BackPack.

The pack on my back is now ready to transition yet again. This could be a long story, but I’ll make it short because right now its too painful to spell it all out/impossible, AND because I have only 14 more minutes in this internet café and I’m rupee BROKE.

I’m no longer frolicking about Europe. I’m exhausted—physically, mentally, emotionally beat and I can’t even begin to explain one bit of it here and right now. I can just give you those few adverbs and hope that that suffices for the time being. I mean, I’m coming home, so you shouldn’t be worried!

This last few week has been so draining and it seems like all the CIEE kids are well ready to come home. Some thoughts on this point of leaving thing:

And the trees are underneath my clothes

Somewhere it doesn’t hurt not to be a rose

This escape in dance

I can’t touch my toes

I don’t wait for you to hold me, so

I grab a hold of the world

Banisters that are crumbling

Landslides and catacombs

A waterfall that is skin

A forehead decay

I’m leaving India

You’ve gotten into my soul in so many a profound way.

Leaving I’m not really leaving

Part of my hates you when I’m walking down the streets, Part of me falls to my knees.

Their toes were dangling 50 miles above the earth

And then they trudged through mud

And then they waited till they wouldn’t have to wait anymore.

It’s not that we hate India, but its just that India is so demanding. India beats me up; we have black eyes and broken teeth; we’re sweating blood and tearing through our skin

Blahblahblahe.e.r…………………. didn’t get anyfurther.

I though Sophie (the most) might appreciate these thoughts. Perhaps other CIEE kids can understand.

SophieBess left me this morning at 5am. I woke up and was totally shocked. I didn’t know what to do without her. I didn’t know what to do with an Indian world all by myself.

Walking through the streets of the city solo today was ridiculously more difficult than walking through the street with one other tall white girl, which is saying a lot. I got harassed and looked at maybe much more than without her, which is completely strange to me. Why is it that Indian people constantly stare at me? Is it because I intriguingly look somewhat Indian and somewhat not. I still don’t get it, and I don’t think that last explanation explains it all away. Is it just cultural that people stare at other people? Is it because I don’t look like “a lady”? Is it because I don’t dress completely Indian (no, that can’t be, because there are some Indian women who dress western)? The other day Sophie and I noticed a new discovery: there are very few women our age out on the streets/out in public. Maybe this contributes to why we’re such museum displays (?). Maybe that’s why I’M such a speciman: cause I’m independent and strong and I’m not a little cooped up lady and no I don’t wear pink and I’m not already married and I will not break if you touch me and yes I can stand this heat and YES I can walk the 4 miles instead of falling into your rickshawrip off trap because you know that since I don’t speak Hindi, I’m an NRI (Non Residential Indian) and therefore you can overcharge me up the wazoo!.

Sorry, but I have to go—time’s up. I’ll get back to this soon…probably not until I arrive back in the STL.

I fly from delhi to kolkata, kolkata to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Chicago, raph and em pick me up, I hang w/ them for a few days, and then I take a train from Bloomington back to STL. I know, TELL me about it. And KILL me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thay it don't thpray it

It seems important to write a bit more in Phase Two. It's quite amazing how suddenly and drastically I change. It's a little unearthly at times.

Anyhow, you know how last post gave the impression that I was "settling down into myself" or something. Such a joke. I can't do that. I don't do that. Trying to be sane only make me more crazy. That's that. Jake and I talked about that tonight and I'm presently at peace with my insani-T.

Since that last post, Susan Popko from Oxy came to visit. It was wierd having someone from home here. It was also funny to see a 40yr old (or something) American woman in Hyderabad. She was totally shocked and out of her element. We were probably like that. It was also strange having to explain what my experience has been evaluate it.

I had a lovely weekend of time alone to myself. Everyone went away traveling. I couldn't because I had an exam on Saturday. I spent the time watching fabulous films, reading, writing, painting, doing CouchSurfing research, teaching myself the guitar, and I cleaned my room. And I felt good. It was so nice to have some time alone and away. I really haven't gotten that in 4 months. I also spent a night up on the roof of the international men's hostel, playing/listening to guitar, and singing songs. Alex and I went into the city to a bookstore, bought apples, and had coffees over a game of scrabble.
This past week I've also had a lot of work and test. It's the end of the semester and all the teachers are piling on at one. The Indian education system is so silly and factory-like. Originality is not really valued. I'm fucked.

I had a disturbing conversation with a graphic designer/computer programmer/business owner last night who told me that only quantum mechanics and string theory were reality and that if you can't prove it scientifically, it's not reality. All you humanities losers and living in a pointless realm of unreality. All of your lives are in vain. I was not at all in the mood. It was about the last thing I could deal with at that point. Later that night, I cried. Maybe because of him, but maybe not and maybe because of a million other things. I also was attacked by the relentless gremlins in my stomache. They've decided to return. I'm not happy about it.

Couchsurfing is coming into focus! I've got someone to keep my stuff in Frankfurt. I have an offer in Berlin and one in Paris. I'm waiting to hear back from other people, but Hell Yeah! Also, I don't know if this was mentioned earlier, but I'm meeting my friend Andrea Lane in Praha. Oh, and also, Sophie is now considering jumping back into the Europe game. I'd be thrilled. I think it might happen. We'll both be crazy broke when we come home but it will be beautiful. Whatever.

Ee! I had an interview tonight for 826Chi and I was wierdly nervous. It's been a long time since I had a real interview. My critique of my interviewing self is that I try to be too honest and too down to earth and casual. I think I need to be a bit more professional and actively try to sell myself. I feel like I'm just hangin out with some ppl on the phone. Either that or I just need to be working with ppl who are cool, like me :)

School's over in around 1.5 weeks. wtf, right?

I want to eat your artichoke heart

Answering Grace's call into the wild, wild night. I wrote this blog a few days ago, but didn't have access in that location, so only now am I posting it.

Some thoughts on some topics:
1. I regret having traveled so much during the program here in Hyderabad. Initially, I hadn't intended on traveling during the program. It really hadn't crossed my mind. I just thought I was going to live in a medium-sized city in the middle of India for four months. When I got here, everyone (the other SIP students) had all these ideas about these wild Indian fantasy places that they wanted to visit: Kerala, Rajastan, Goa, Mumbai blahblahblahblah. I felt like I had to jump on the bandwagon. I didn't want to miss out on these opportunities to see the whole country. Maybe these kids knew something I didn't. Maybe their scope was bigger than mine.
Now, I realize that this constantly carting myself around the country made me feel more and more like a tourist, and less and less like a local, like I was/am living here. I didn't really have the time in one place to establish any really meaningful relationships with natives, or sort of with the city itself (although I do think that I feel Hyderabad is a sort of Home. Emotionally it does, but I feel I've just begun to comprehend it. You know, to know it like you know a city).
I think for me, ultimately, it would've been more satisfying to not zoom around the country so much (although it was REALLY amazing to cover so much ground in India), but to stay put and really try to become a part of a place. I guess I realize now that that's what I wanted from study abroad. Sure, it's a little late to realize that (that's why they have you 'figure this stuff out when you're writing your application'), but I don't care. It's still important to me to have that insight.

2. I've been living more Act Now, Think Later. Jump on the opportunity. // Newness: Some thought about the matter is actually really amazing. Although it may be arbitrary what decision you make, it's nice to realize that you can be in some sort of control of your life. It's nice, I guess, to take control.

3. Uhh, control. I guess I'm back into that now. ? Midway through freshman year I'd decided to give that up, that it was some sort of weakness, that it was my crutch. Yeah I was pretty controlling of myself--disciplined. I got things done, and I did a lot; and I was successful. I was happy, but conflicted in a way that couldn't be addressed if I was to maintain that control. Once the can of worms was opened up, I had to release myself. I let myself go, and run, and now I'm reevaluating. What do I want for myself? Where is the balance? Oh, I'm thinking about Balance, now? How do I stay Crazy, but stay Sane? [last sentence makes me <3> Dear Johnny tears & commemoration, star-stuffed nights on the back dock, sleeping bag piles of bodies. Hookah w/ the boys and big bottles of cheap wine. Alex & Ikaika's serenading at all hours of the night (and day). Song concocting with mah Alex. Improvisational musical scenes and SERIOUS soap opera moments ("but, Winefred, where hast thou gone with the alien pod-man?!"). Photography days in parks. Drives to the Y in the rain, in the snow. Drives to Anywhere. Thom Yorke/Cake Bake/Kweller car rides. Late night mindeatingitselfinside out CoffeeCartel kindastuff. Indian dancing. Good movies. Bad movies. Home movies. Incidental Late night talks on the green couch. Piano, guitar, Indigo Girls, RHCP, Beatles, Bob Marely throughout the house. Mom's cleaning days. Waking up to a house full of sounds and smells (there's no other place that's as full of those 2 things when you first come to consciousness. NO OTHER PLACE.). Meowmeows in the middle of the night. And etc. etc. Wow. This was LOOOOOOOONG.

Now, what have I been doing lately?


Well, CIEE went on a trip to Mysore/Bangalore/Bailakupi. This was fun. We visited the largest Tibetan resettlement camp/community in the world. Lots of temples like usual. The most fun thing we did was celebrate Holi, the festival of colors. Pictures that explain this event can be found either on Facebook (stuff other ppl tagged me in), or Jordo n' Sophie's pics (again:, and Just think lots of colored paint-water type stuff, live drumming group, old clothing (preferrably white), chaotic happiness and bliss. no joke. everyone was laughing and dancing and running and dancing and laughing and laughing and laughing.

I spoke with both Raph and Ben on the phone yesterday. Phenomenal. It was too good to talk to both of them. And both of them in one night!, AyAyAy! Raph is such a delicious human, and Ben makes me happy and content. Both of them helped me think a lot about everything I needed to think about. And in a very good way. After speaking with them, I feel more at peace. I don't know why--let's not get into it. But I do, and it's good, and it's great. Yay.

The issue of the summer is still up in the air.

Europe plans are underway. Since the price of traveling from city to city is so expayn$ive, and since I'm just a joke of an empty wallet, I'm cutting my trip to 3 cities (as of now...!): drum roll please!---> Berlin, Praha, Paris. Berlin b/c aparrantly it's the current place to be for ppl my age. Everyone that's gone there in the past few yrs has been raving. I'm looking forward to blow-your-mind architecture, happening art scene, and the electricity of a post-wall collapse community. Prague is just a place I've been wanting to visit all my life. Once of those I don't know why but I've always wanted to go there Places. Venice is also one of those, but I think I was starry-eyed in 3rd grade when I fell for Venice. I read that it's super-touristy, a dying city, and that you can't really do much for more than 2 days or so. So I cut it out. Hey, Prague is also cheap! [espec. the beer----even though I'm not a beer gal, I'm up for cheapness in Prague.]. Here, I'll meet up with Andrea Lane, a friend from Oxy, and we'll spend a few days together. Lastly, Paris, je'taime. Oh, mon amour. I do have to say I'm quite sad that Jake won't be there with me. His absence will be felt daily, I assure you. In this land of berets and crossiants and other things that sound real perty and taste good, I'll prob meet up an India friend, Jaime, and her boyfriend, my brother Josh during one of my very last days, and visit some of Raph's ppl outside of Paris (hopefully Adrian!). In the city I'll probably be staying with my mom's friend's daughter.

-Before Europe I'm buying an mp3 player or something. I've simply got to or it's stupid. Musicmusicmusic, come to me!

-The title of this Blog (as in the name on the front page) will have to be slightly altered when I venture into more and more lands. I'm nutty, man!

Immediately after school's out (like a few hrs after my last final immediately) Sophie and I head up north for Calcutta (visit the fam), then Varanasi, Agra (Taj!!!!!!), Delhi, mountains north of Delhi. Then Soph leaves, I go back to Delhi for a day or so and meet up with Sarah and Alison, then I return to Calcutta to chill w/ my fam some more. Then Europe. This is crazy! This is nuts! This is amazing!

Hey! Another bit of news: I won 2nd place in Oxy's Non-Fiction Literary contest. I wrote this creative non-fiction piece on JD Salinger. I get $100.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Say no More, Mon Amore. Lips are for Kissin Baby, Je t'adore

Another day has passed and I realize that I have too many goddamn memories to fit in this jar they call life. I guess we could just center on a few relevant for this blog right now. Let's do that.

I had an Amazing trip to Kerala. It was quite marvel-licious! We began our adventures with a 26-hour train ride. It was, of course, overnight, and we did what needed to be done to occupy ourselves and maintain sanity during a course of ridiculous ridiculousness. My ass hurt after a while and never ceased aching after I'd say 4 hours into the trip. I tried to read this tedious political philosophy for class, we were of course bombarded by like 5 indian males our age who were awkward, needed emotional babysitting, and basically a nuisance. (Let me explain: India guys will come up to you and say "you are from?" will say "the united states"..if you're me they will say "but you are looking indian" will reply "yes, i am 1/2 father was born in bihar and grew up in mother is american"..they will say "Oh! I thought so! I was thinking she is looking so Indian, with her hair and her eyes, and her nosering like that!" They will proceed to basically stand there and look at you and try to look like they are not looking at you, while you go about your business. They will ask you menial questions like "what are you studying" and you will explain that you are a liberal arts student so you study this and that, that your education system is different from theirs, that you're religious studies and spanish major (which becomes a long convo in itself), then they will say things like "do you like india?" you will say "yes". they will sit there some more, then ask to look at the book you're reading and then stare at it for a good minute, while you stare at the wall, and then they'll say "why do you read? it is so boring. is this for fun? you are crazy. i don't get it". you will say "yes, i read for fun. me and my friends, we all read for fun. we enjoy it. people enjoy different things. ? i mean....?" then he will sit there and watch you read. you read because you don't want to have the EXACT same unsatisfying conversation with him (verbatum!) that you've had with nearly every other male you've met on this trip. I'm thinking that this awkardness and formality with women comes with the infrequent interaction between men and women of my age.) Anyhow, I'm a bit frustrated and exhausted from having to entertain Indian men who sit there like puppy dogs expecting you to do tricks or something. I'm also just tired of me and my group of friends just CONSTANTLY being stared at. I don't yet know how to deal with it. Is it best to communicate that it is not okay? That it makes you feel uncomfortable and objectified? Or is it best to ignore it and not let it get to you? I am usually never a proponent of simply ignoring the only let's it perpetuate. But it seems like that is what my peers want to do. I'm not into that. I think it'd be effective to let people know that it makes us uncomfortable, to find out why people stare, maybe I can answer the inarticulate questions that their eyes are asking. It separates us further if we just ignore the reality of this cultural curiousity. I think we should each let each other know what's going on. It just seems like it'd be a nuisance for the people I'm traveling with if I constantly bring attention to the fact that we're being stared at. They seem to want to either curl into their little shell or get aggrevated. They don't seem to want to take the time to understand. I think I'd be approaching this on my own and differently if I was traveling alone..(which I will be doing in Europe, but I'll get to that later)

Also, on the train I performed the essential hang-out-of-the-crack-between-the-cars-and-watch-the-beautiful-South-Indian-blood-red-sunset.

A day later we arrived in Ernaukalam/Fort Kochin area, got through the stressful stuff of being in a new place, found a homestay, plannedplannedplanned, other people got ayurvedic massages. Jordan and I watech a pro badminton match under a huge tarp and bought mangos and pineapples and ate them in a park. Then we chatted with locals and had a contest to see who could swing higher. I won because I'm lighter. Fort Kochin is cute and comforting and homey, welcoming and friendly.

The next day we explored the beautiful backwaters that make Kerala a tourist spot. I was drugged up because of Dramamine so I was unbearablt groggy all day. I still enjoyed what I could, though. That night we saw a local musicaldancetheater performance. The next day we split up to do our own things because we felt comfortable in this quaint town..felt like we could venture out on our own and we also needed to get away from the group. Sophie and I found ourselves in the studio of an artist we'd met a few nights prior. Desmond invited us to paint with him, so we did. The two of us poked Desmond for answers to our many questions about Life and the Future and Destinies. And here is what Desmond said (which I have so taken to heart these days following): "You've just gotta choose something great...something that really gets you, that makes you crazyhappy, and you've just got to go for it. You gotta go for it 110% and put your all into it. You can't ever give up." "What if I don't know what the right decision is? What if I chose the wrong thing and I end up not liking it?" "

...Sophie and I are having a conversation about living in Europe right now, so hang on...

Now I'm back and I've, since I last wrote, gotten really ill. tummy trubs. Now back to Desmond, because I can pretty much do nothing in this state but sit still and read or write! (Desmond responds.)

"Then you chose something new. You evaluate and access your life now and decide what you think will make you happy, what you're interested in, and you go for THAT 110%"

Thanks Desmond. No, Really. I'll remember your words for awhile.

Trying to live this new philosophy has been an interesting roller coaster. I returned from Kerala in one peice, in a REALLY great mood because our 10 days away from life away from life, but then the second-almost-that I got on the computer to check my email and my facebook stuff, I got sickly depressed. Waz that all about? It made me think that I really need to make some changes (I think) with/in my life. I think the thing that made me upset was was the past and the future. All the things in my email inbox were about this or that thing I have to do with my future--either far off like post graduation, or even in the coming month or week. It's like I was coasting euphorically for a good 10 days and then I came back to reality. But why does there have to be this "tough reality"? Why do we have to come back to the things that make us unhappy? What's the point to life, then? To battle? To always feel like your losing and to fake yourself into thinking you just might win? And then the ugly tidbits of rotten things of my past were there to greet me eagerly when I returned...wierd things with wierd people that are not okay. I mean, how is my situation that different from every other college student who ventures far away from home?: I make these really intense, really strong relationships with people in random places all over the world, and then we scatter even more all over the globe, and then I have to leave, something goes wrong, someone thinks something wrong but there's no time to do anything but run, and you run across oceans and moutains and they run across pilgramage sights and through waterfalls, or they stay put and act oblivious, and you realize only way later what's happened. I have millions of really close people scattered all over this world now, and I'm only adding to it by traveling more and more and doing what I do, by getting really close to people and pulling them in and letting them pull me in and pulling the world in and into ourselves. It's great, it's amazing, it's just intense. I guess, though, that I'm an intense person who steps back every once in awhile and realizes it's so. In those moments I am surprised.

Back to Kerala:

So Sophie and I oil pasteled with Dessy while he smoked a j and reggae boiled in the room. We had a really phenomenal time and at the end gave Desmond our painting to remember us by. We took a picture, however. Sophie should probably have it up on her Picasa album somewhat soon. We hit up a coffee shop and wrote a joint poem, and then ventured out towards the shore, where we watched Chinese fishing nets doing their massive wild mechanical yet barbarric feeling things, and strolled alongside the rocks and the water. We had a long and intense conversation, yet again, and realized that it was high time we reported back to our group. We were to meet them around 6 or so in front of the giraffe slide in the park. [This reminds me that Sophie and I got kicked out of the park earlier that day because it was "only for children". I was so hurt and so sad and angry. That kind of stuff bothers me the most. What's the point, then, in LIFE?! Fucka's].

We met up with the lovely crew and I beleive we also picked up a friend Jordan had met (another Canadian!) during the day. The other kids spent their day--we were told--exploring Jewtown, various old palaces & outrageous art galleries. Jordan hung out with a rickshaw driver all day who gave him a day-long free lift. The reunited and expanded group skipped (it was a beautiful time of day and we were goddamn happy) to a local eatery where we stocked up on goods..but not TOO much, because we'd wanted to grab some dessert (chocolate cake, we proposed?..) @ the Teapot down the way. At this cute little coffee shop (super-touristy and to all the euro-tourists of the area) we got cakes and coffees and they were delish and warm. Afterwards, we'd been planning on attending a sitar performance at this other coffee shop/art gallery; however, we were sadly informed that boohoo we had to pay a fatty price to get in. The signs never told us anything of this, so we just assumed it was free! We were sad, but where was nothing to do, so we headed home after wandering the streets I think (we did a lot of late night wandering and misbehaving in that lil town), Sophie and I were deep in conversation while the others explored little Tibetan and fabric stores. We then departed with the new friend and headed back home where Sophie, Jordo & I, after washing clothes in buckets and our bodies in odd showers, ventured up to the roof for debauchiness, drawing time, and moremasmas JOINT poetry. Then bed happened. [I must impress upon you that we attempted to sqeeze FIVE of us into a tiny bedroom in a homestay. There was ONE double bed, and that's all. We bythegraceofgod acquired 2 small mattresses to put on the floor (these barely fit). So what ended up happening is that, the 1st night, Olga slept on one of the mattresses because she was feeling oily and icky from the massage, jordo slept on the other mattress, and davi, soph and i tried to squeeze onto the bed. in the mid of the night soph got up cuz she couldn't was too squished..and slept on a couch out in the lobby area. Next night Jordo did the couch, and the 3rd night I did. Traveling.]

Aight.....The next morning what happened?.....................We left? Yeah, I think we left Fort Kochin for Munnar. We'd rented a coche and a driver because of convenience issues and such. We were driven, stopping along the way at worthwhile sights, to this lovely mountain happiness place that was essentially the sound of music IN INDIA, plus tea. Munnar is kinda where all the tea in the whole wide world is grown. We saw water falls, toured a spice garden, chased sunsets over mountains, played with light, explored the tea museum, and landed ourselves in a sweet, but pricey, but CAPTUVATING little mountain bungalow house. We got supremely hooked up and paid a really low rate for a room and even, later on in the day, were given a second room basically for free! My god, George was so great (the owner). To get to our bungalow you had to hop in George's crazymad fourwheeler and off road it down this steep steep hill (haha--steep...tea!). We were in the side of a mountain, over-looking endless rolling hills of tea. We had a balcony and an accessible rooftop. [God, that makes me miss Jake. I guess the romanticness of it all. And yes, of course, that beautiful place REALLY made me want him there]. At the day's end we bought fruit and tea in the town market, grabbed dinner, and made it back to our place. We all hung out on the roof; I saw two shooting stars, Davita and I both spotting the same one at the same time :) We traded flavors of home-made chocolate that we'd purchased in the town, and sipped on a couple Kingfisher Strongs under blankets, socks, and fleece...all the measly little warm-keeping devices we'd luckily lugged with us across the sea. We said goodnight to the stars and to the mountains and the tea workers that were surely out there somewhere, and went to sleep.

The following morning we had breakfast with George and his group, then we climbed a mountain. Joseph, our guide for the day, was already waiting for us when we came up for breakfast, and George was all like..."what do you want to do today?"..and we were all uhhh trekking or something through the tea...and he was all "oh good yes you still want to trek! yes here is your tour guide; joseph will take you up the mountain it will only take you 4 hours...then you can walk the 7 or 8 kilometers to the lake in the evening and return back here to watch the sunset". Right. Nobody told us that we'd be climbing the FACE OF A MOUNTAIN in Tevas/Chacos with NO WATER, NO FOREWARNING, and NO MENTAL PREPARATION! We started up some stone stairs, made our way onto a dirt path, passed tree houses, and then were bushwacking through tall lemon grass, perfectly vertically, in crumbling dry dirt, utterly pathless. It was fun, though and we survived! It was just NUTS! It got my first sunburn and peeling back of my life from that Hike. Also, at one point we had been out of water for a while and we said just fuck it and filled out water bottles up in a nearby stream! And now here I am feeling ill wishing that I hadn't but knowing that if I'd done it again I would've repeated the same. I mean I was ON MY PERIOD, face climbing a mountain, closer to the equator than I've ever been..I HAD to drink. I think I would've passed out if I hadn't. Climbing down the mountain was more like sliding/dying down the mountain. Jordan and I lagged behind and enjoyed flowers and photo opportunities after the first wave of fatigue had passed and we'd transitioned into energy-surge! We ended up not venturing to the lake because we were crazyexhausted after the hike/climb. I think we spent the evening eating dinner nearby, and once again enjoyed the sunset from the rooftop. Sleep came sooner than it had on other days, but it was necessary. Next morning we'd rented a rickshaw for the day and journeyed to a "nearby" wildlife reserve. Here, we saw an Indian Bison, wild elephants, and a DEER! There were also many mischevious monkeys all around the starting point and they were tricky, trying to steal things. Our rickshaw ride back into town was utterly freezing and of course we were not prepared clothing-wise, but we braced it. That evening we went back into town to buy more tea...we all realized that you couldn't have enough. We ate dinner at a Lonely Planet reccomended spot and then went back to our new hotel place, which was down the road from George's but infinately cheaper. The room was, however, super creepy and haunted. I slept by the ghost and there was a present left for us in the toilet when we arrived.

Next manana we headed out on the crazycrazy bus weaving through the mountains and recordbreaking speeds back towards the Fort Kochin area, but more specifically Ernaukulam (sp?). I took motion sickness pills and tried to sleep on the train so that I didn't die. Davita shared some Ipod time with me which was nice, because I always like listening to mystery music. There was this one Broken Social Scene song that I've found caught in my head occassionally since then. In Ernauk we settled in a hostel and then headed for the beach. Not exactly the coolest thing for a girl on her period to do, but I went. We found a good part of the beach and begin beach things. The group read their ever-popular chakra book out loud, which has become a tradition. They alligned their chakras on the beach while I spun around in circles where the surf meets the sand, while the sun set. It was delicious and trippy. Davita's eye was having some trouble at that was sort of mysterious but it began watering and hurt her a lot and we couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. We eventually left the beach, rickshawed back to the hostel, found some dinner (discovered that Veg Jaipur is AMAZING!), dropped Davita off, grabbed dessert at a nearby cafe, and hit the hay.

We braced the city again the next morning, filled our bellies with bfast and a complicated coffee mess, then headed for the train back to Hyderabad. The train ride was not as enjoyable as the way there because we didn't have seats together. There was a pair and another pair and then a single. Therefore, we all couldn't hang and have fun, but we made the time pass. I got a lot of school reading done, which I HAD to, Sophie and chattedchattedchatted, bought grapes, wrote MORE joint poetry (some w/ Jordo....who drank his beer out of the sleeve of a shirt in the wee hours of the night b/c we weren't sure if alcohol was okay on the train. it's india). Sleep barely happened and I had some stupid nightmares that seemed real.

In the morning we were still on the train. Eventually, Hyderabad came around and we all had mixed feelings about being back, happy to have life slow down and become more manageable for a while, but not to keen on being stuck in this unfriendly, difficult, and uninviting city once again. hyderabad just has no heart. it's not inviting. it says do you really dare to try to make this place home? okay, go on.

It's Friday night, now, and, like I said, I'm dicking around in my room because I'm having tummy troubles so I let everyone go out and have fun while I bummed here. It's aight, though. I think I'll read the rest of this essay thing and then maybe watch a movie or something. Or maybe I'll read the book that I'm into right now: Dave Eggers' What is the What. I really like it. This week as been somewhat stressful, as I've tried to "get my life back/more under control". I applied to internships, did iship/job/sf research, planned some of europe, bought some plane tickets, went to classes and yogas every day, and couldn't sleep. Why? Honestly because ever since I got back from Kerala all I can do in my bed is miss Jake. I know its very funny and it what you like, but it's true. I've been quite smitten after having not spoken to him in 10 days. I forgot to tell you...I fucked up and forgot to bring the phone charger for THE WHOLE GROUP, so we had to keep our phones off for the trip and only turn them on when we needed to use them. This prevented me from being able to talk to J or my mom for the duration of the trip. This did, however, make coming "home" and returning to Jakeland really really spectacular. I realized that I'd missed him in a really healthy way. I wasn't sitting around at night crying or feeling lonely on a mountain top and letting it interfere with my traveling. Rather, from time to time, while I was experiencing something really amazing I would say, God I wish Jake could be here to share this with me. And that was that. Then I got home and it burned when I talked to him because I was reminded of how amazing he is and how much fun it is to have him in my life. I also took Desmond's advice to heart in the Jacob realm and I laid down the law for myself. I want to be in San Francisco this summer. No more teeter-tottering. I'm going to go forth with it, do what I've gotta do to make it happen. Jake, in the meantime, need to talk to his work and think about meeting me in Europe. I'm crossing my fingers and told him that Paris is the most romantic city in the world little man. I hopeihope. Also, Sophie had to drop out of the Europe mix but she just might be back in. Updates to come.

Well I was quite bored because I've been able to do nothing but be in my room all day, so this blod has bee wierdly epic, but I'll let you go as of now, leave you like this: the first joint poem that miss Soph and I wrote in the coffee shop in Fort Kochin (the poem was written alternating lines. after you write a line you fold the paper down so that the next writer can't see what you wrote. you tell them the last word of your line so that they have a starting point. sometimes, if you feel the need to, you can write more than one line. if you're crazy)

There was nothing left

light shadows filtering between dark faces and limbs

her fingers curled up into my skin

a patchwork of fabric making up a being

"Can't we stay one second longer?"

Vertical thoughts pull suns from gallexies.

I remember his funky shoes with the silver laces.

Back down to, full circle, inside of me.

I forget that I'm not supposed to forget,

patterning a purple memory of sunset.

The bell sounded and the birds dispersed.

If the birds dispersed would the bell sound?

Yes! Those cobwebs filter through my nose.

The view from the window is beautiful,

and so we sit, breathing; and we are.

Another, frantically written on the train:

Rise and shine to the sounds of life stirring, whizzed by.

In the other window, someone was having thoughts about dying.

Count the freckles on my body to find a meaning in the stars

so that the spaces in between begin to pop out

and a cough, blown into the face of a stranger

is the silence spoken in its frequency of atomic yawns.

But, wrinkling her toes, she

took to the window like a light to the sky, because of

the times the wind dirtied her hair.

If she could change her name, she would leave tomorrow.

Toenails grow at rapid speeds when

the beginning begins at the very end.

Stretching, she says "I can't remember what skies were like before

there was plaster on these walls".

Enclosed by time-trackers and reflective lightsm we

screamed at the man overhead, and he snarled back like

yellow lines, blinked betwen two iron bars

swinging back and forth, they waited for the time to catch up.

The fisherman hauls in 25 tons of plastic only to

the end of this town, where I know you'll come back.

Some things I missed while writing this blog: Trader Joe's and the Metrolink and Coffee Cartel and Jake's kisses and air conditioning and rain and driving in my car with the window's down and independence and coffee shops and responsibilities and committments (?) and blankets and my lil kitties and sunny days in parks and

Thursday, February 28, 2008

This :)

NO NO NO. I AM happy, people. Happy, just heavy. My blogs have been rather sopping and weighty. Dark? Maybe just dim. Anyway, I just wanted to assure you that, yes, I am happy. Grace made me realize that I just might want to clarify.
Well, I leave for the lovely Kerala tomorrow and I just can't wait. It's a 10 day trip involving very little sleeping, the southern tip of India, psychedelic tripping, elephants, tree houses, endless sleeps on trains, washing clothes in rivers, tea spice fields. Tigers?!

Details? When I return.

Until then, take care of yourselves. Have a cup of tea, on me. Go for a run in the middle of the day, it'll clear your head. Also, count to 10 backwards, and then forwards, and then backwards again skipping every third number and adding Spanish words for colors in between.


ALSO, Sophie just posted a load of photos. Refer to her for fun. There are some great ones of Boy Band Magical Magicness. :))))))))))))))) [septuple chin]

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I'm 21 years old, yet I feel like I'm being born every day.

I just picked up this book by a Hugh Prather called Notes to Myself: How I Became A Person. Let us again return to Kurt, and something I found interesting in my last blog:
"'I can't tell if you're serious of not," said the driver.
'I won't know myself until I find out whether life is serious or not," said Trout. "It's dangerous, I know, and it can hurt a lot. That doesn't necessarily mean it's serious, too.'"

Can I answer these questions unless I answer this one first? Do I take it all too seriously, life? Is that possible? Is it not possible? Sometimes I feel like my tragic flaw is that I do take it seriously, all too seriously. But then again sometimes it is my strength--I guess it sets me apart?

Anyhow, lots of wondering lately. I think I'd sort of tried to shut that part off from me because when I do open it up it floodgates...I mean is really heavy and crazy and gooey like tar...It's a lot to carry on your back...It makes every day of living very...difficult?, intense?, serious?, too meaningful?, monumental? I wish I could reach the unbearable lightness of being, because in my mind it is unbearably light....the idea of it all...I mean its wonderful and easy and so simple....but I make it complicated. Immediately and naturally(?) I make it complicated. Is it or isn't it? Am I wasting my time, wringing myself dry on this stuff? Oh, bananas.

Yes I do want to know about my father's family, how they grew up and what their time in India was like. There's got to be more to my understandingexperienceconnection to India than this tourism. Perhaps I'll email him. (For those of you that don't know about my relationship to my father, it is not easy for me to A.Contact him and B.know anything about his life and/or history // mylife and/or my history.

So these thoughts about Indian family and my Indian identity, my connection to this land, really hit me when we were on the bus driving back from Goa this weekend. The drive back was breathtaking, curving through the forests of Carnataka, the mountains and boisterous hills, trees growing on trees, workers every where living lives of farming, getting by on what you get by on . I had this moment--well it wasn't a moment, it lasted for a good while--during that heartstopping time of know...when the sun's wanting to set and everything is taking a breath and breathing more slowly. Time felt slower. I connected with something. I don't know what. But something hit, something clicked or something swung, maybe something unhinged..Whatever it was I was moved. I had my head out of the window gawk-eyed for about an hour and a half and I became quietly teary-eyed. Something was so beautiful, all of it was, the people, the pace, time and where I was in it--moments of time and the greaterness of TIMETIMETIME--the universe connecting, understanding something about PEOPLE, not just Americans but People, seeing friendly oblivious faces, smelling things and things and things in different places, letting myself just take it all in. It was overwhelming, really. I mean that time of day can make you cry in any circumstance, Indian bus ride or not.

Today my Modern Indian Though professor said "a poet is a lover of Beauty" and I felt good, like maybe I could understand a part of myself. I guess I also thought back to that bus ride and now I can look at myself now and how I am still teary-eyed from remembering and re-experiencing through writing.

Today I tried to do something which was sit down and look @ internships once again and think also about careers. eek! I'm pretty damn lost and if I was @ school I'd go to the career and development center and tell them that, but I'm Here, so I can't. So I need help. Any adults or even peers willing to throw me some of their advice. Seriously, email me if you want to share your wisdom: -->I'm Thirsty.

Oo(!) I bought a sweet new journal in Goa this weekend. Right, I'm supposed to tell you about Goa. Well we took a really unpleasant bus ride (you thought Megabus was bad) straight west to the coast. We hung out in North Goa at a beach area called Arambol. North Goa is a lot calmer than South Goa, which is where you go for your Party scene. Originally, my intention was to base ourselves in the north, relax for a while, and at some point spend a crazy night up all night being loco in the south. Olga, however, got sick with something, which prevented us from being able to move around a lot. That was alright, though, meaning we just ended up vegging in beachness up in the North. Days consisted of browsing the "hippie" markets in the area, swimming, reading on the beach (out loud and individually), sampling various eateries in the area, doing Yoga, exploring. I actually ended up buying a lot of stuff. I never do that, but I needed a lot of things that I happened to find there and also had the time to find, since we stayed at one beach the whole time.

The funny thing about Goa (@ least Arambol) is that it's like a hippie tourist spot...which is really wierd because usually you don't associate hippies with tourism, like they should be all "fuck the man", but, well...maybe they're not. Lots of Europeans, Russians, Canadians, Israelites come and came to Goa for a tropical escape, but also to do it cheaply, and to do it in a culture in which they'll feel good. Partially, who can blame them? All of those things sound pretty good, yeah? What people usually look for in vacations. What sort of irked me, I guess was that Goa straight up markets hippiness. I mean it straight up touristizes it. You know, tye-died shirt with a huge pot leaf and the hindi word "om" on the front. Here I was sort of thinking that this culture of people escapes this type of unattractive behaviour, but it seems as if they don't. I had a moment when I understood Jake, that he grew up in Berkley and sort of reacted against the hippie culture there. If you're engulfed in it like that...if you see it in that light, it becomes disgusting and annoying.

On the other hand, people were REALLY laid back and friendly and made me feel really welcome and comfortable and such and I appreciated that and felt good. It was nice to have an emotional break from having to always be on gaurd as a tourist. I could easily converse with people (tourists and locals) and completely be myself, let my alert tourtist's gaurd down. Part of this probably had to do with the good English spoken all over Arambol. You don't find that in most other places.

I'm not going to write too much more just now, because I have a lot to do before we leave for our 10 day Kerala trip on Friday (it's Tues night now). Peace out, babies. I'll be MIA for awhile, probably, but don't fret. The globe will still turn. Actually, I can't promise that.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Oh, I don't know.

It's true. It's all true.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


What's up?
Here, when I tell people who I am they start calling me "Nezam". Why?, you ask. Oh, just because I am FAMOUS here. The royal Nizams of Hyderabad. We ruled for eons. We have palaces all over. We da shit. Anyway, most foreigners can't say "Mallory" anyway, so they are also just excited to call me something they can pronounce.
As always, it's been a while since we last met. Let me pour you a glass of wine. Sorry, I only keep red at my place, is Merlot okay? How about some cheese, would you like some cheese? Don't mind the dog...he just gets excited when we have guests. (I wouldn't have a dog).

Chennai! and Pondicherry! I just had to check my old blog to make sure I hadn't written about this trip yet. Here goes a quick but not cheap summary of the past, what?, two weeks?
The CIEE trip was FUN, despite my low expectations. We flew, which cut down time and was way less stressful to the usual bus or train traveling. We arrived in the Chennai airport and immediately boarded a bus which took us far away to Auroville where we at--get this--organic, vegan food! What?! Yes. We were thrilled to be able to eat fresh, tasty vegetables for maybe the first time in all of India. Unfortunately, myself and my partner in crime were having stomach issues due to bacteria (her), and motion sickness (both). Auroville is a sort of "utopian community" founded by a spiritual man/philosopher/poet/writer named Sri Aurobindo. It think it was also founded upon some of the ideas of "The Mother"...? Some European lady. I don't know about her, but she played some part in the set up of the town. The town is also very proud of its dynamised water, which is treated with Bach and Mozart music. In this town there's no money; they try to be as self-sufficient a community as they can be. People plant stuff, everyone takes part in working in different areas to help out the town. We met up with this potter who talked to us about her experience of living in the community. I took some pretty sweet pictures in her studio. The light was heartstopping that afternoon. It was the perfect time of day.

Afterwards we ventured into Pondicherry where we set ourselves up in the hotel room. Alison and I suspicously landed ourselves in 420. After disentangling ourselves from the crazy vines of the happy plants in our room, we scurried to the BEEEEAAAAAAAAAACH! Sophie and I basked in the wind and the rocks and the waves for at least a good hour. The rest of the group had, at this point, ventured off in search of sustinence. For us, the ocean was enough. Eventually, we realized that A.) it was probably unsafe for us to be chllin by ourselves on these huge rocks on the beach, and that B.) we'd have to head back sometime relatively soon.
Pondicherry was a French colony at some point, so the town is cute and European and charming, so we walked around and observed this cuteness, eventually meeting up with friends at a restaurant, where the two of us, being the sickies of the trip, drank water (bottled). Back at the hotel, Sophie and I watched some of Walk the Line, and then went to bed.
The next day we were carted off to like 5 Hindu temples, a Hindu monastery, and a "vernacular home" that was also a museum. I also tried on a sari and was blessed at various points throughout the day. And most of the day was spent with my shoes Off. The evening consisted of a theatrical performance in a rural part of the state. The children at this performing arts school put on a play and sang and danced. It was a really cool. We had dinner there and I chatted with some of the school's volunteers.
We returned to out hotel in Pondicherry that night. I had a CRAZY dream that's really hard to explain but basically I was feeling all of these abstract manifestations of intensity (like in lights, and sounds, and whips, and colors, and vibrations, and stomache urches, and winds, etc...) and it was fucking terrible and overwhelming and I kept hoping to myself that it was a dream and then...eventually...It was just a dream. But then, things would intensify and I would be stuck in the overwhelming intensity once again, and then I would hope it was a dream, and it would be a dream. And then it would start again, and then it continued like that for a really long time. And then at some point I had a dream where all us CIEE kids were in the hotel and were showing eachother our hotel rooms. I had kind of gone literally lost my mind and couldn't help doing strange, random shit, and people were getting mad at me because they thought I was just being stupid and goofing around. But I wasn't. I couldn't help it. And they were getting mad at me. And no one liked me.


(You make me feeeeeeeeeeeeeel emotionaaaaaaaaaaaaal. kissin' youuuuuuuuuuu......)

Yeah so next day we chill at the Sri Aurobindo ashram, I impulse buy some crazy books in the two seconds that we are actually allowed to explored the place, I get motion sick, the bus driver goes crazy and starts drivin' like a maniac, we land ourselves at an "arts and crafts villiage" out in the middle of nowhere. I explore. Sophie and Olga get their palms read. I buy gifts. They buy icecream. We crawl through houses, watching painting and glass blowers. That evening we head into the heart of the city of Chennai (i think?). We get dropped off at this wacko big bang catholic church, complete with 12 life-size Christ diaramas made out of plastic, monstruous crosses, lots of Christmas lights and shiny stuff. THIS is why I nam a religious studies majir...Major "lightshow" (Note: this is an inside joke between Sophie and I, but is important to comprehend if one is to fully appreciate and understand my India experience. You should watch it. All things in India which resemble the Golconda light show in mystique, majesty, and delight [and there are many of these things] are dubbed "light show"). Frollicking in the Indian Ocean/Bay of Bengal(?oops), Dinner on the boardwalk, tasty icecream treats afterwards. Bus ride to airport, flight home.
School week happened, blew. Really, no highlights from that.

Mallory found a cool internship, and applied for it. It's with the Academy for Alternative Chicago.

Well it's 13th Feb now (I beleive I started writing this like 3 days ago). I had a rough day. For some reason this evening left me feeling emotional torn I'd been attacked by wild dogs and I was just a ripped open carcass (sorry for the imagery..just honesty). Why? What's been intense here that gets me to this point? Is it the lack of intensity? Is it the fact that I'm not feeling anything too intense? Do I need that to exist, to function? Is it the lack of the deep emotional connections I have with people back home?--I don't think so, because I have some really good friends here and I find those relationships fulfilling. When I was talking to my mom today on the phone, I started crying. And when we hung up, I cried some more. Mom, for some reason, when I talk to you nowadays I just feel so comforted and I spill things out, and it makes me think about things and be honest with myself. You open up the flood gates (don't's not bad). And so tonight I thought about things. I've been missing people of my life, lately. And not missing in the I'minIndiaandwe'reseparatedIcan'tseeyoueverdaylikeIcanbackhome kind of missing, but instead the Idon'thaveyouinmylifeanymoreinalargerwaythatIndiabeyondIndia kind of way. Like my Facebook about me reads right now, I am tired of cutting people out of my life. Scratch that: I just miss the people that were important to me, that are no longer in my life, but who I would like to have in my life. You know who you are if you are one of these people. Or maybe you don't. But maybe I will be contacting you soon. I also miss my aunt Susie's presence in my life, oddly. Her and I were really close when I was a child and it was amazing. I wish someone that had that presence and that energy and inspiration in my life right now. I'm sure they're hiding somewhere and I just have to find them. Like behind that rock over there. I also miss my family. They're all actually really cool people. I wish it wasn't so few and far between that I saw them.

My friend Sophie is really great here. I'm really glad to have her in my life.

Valentine's Day is tomorrow. I will be missing Jake, of course, and hoping that all of you are having days of love. And don't feel sad or shitty if you don't have a lover to spend it with because if you ask me, it's more about spending a day with amazing friends and feeling that sort of love that's got a kick to it. I always have amazing Valentine's days with friends. One time Lauren, Court & I went to Chevy's. Do you guys remember that? This year I will be going to a romantic restaurant with a group of about 5 of my friends here. I made them all Valentine's Day cards, because I like to do that.

I wonder what Catherine's up to in SA and how she's doing. Catherine, email me when you get some time. Also, let's Skype or something, just let me know when your head touches the ground.

Last weekend the girls and I had some fun, including Banjara Hills adventures, cafes, parties galore, and new friends. We had a really great time with some new European friends and I think we'll be seeing a lot more of them in the future. So much fun.

Sophie and I have been into interpretive dance lately, so that's been a fulfilling addition to the day.

I've felt kind of overwhelmed lately. Something intense. Some intensity...I can't pinpoint it. Maybe it really is this meditative space that's making my spirit uncanny. Some taste is different, but I don't know what taste changed. I'm evolving. while life evolves. the world revolves.
I had an interesting tattoo idea today...I just accidentally ended up writing something really cool on my arm and afterwards realized that having it there permanantly could potentially be sweet. And interesting. If you wanna know about it, ask me.

Yesterday I decided that Joanna Newsom is the only hero I've ever had. She's a phenomenom. I'm totally head over heals.

Hey if you guys wanna send me emails and stuff about YOUR lives, I wouldn't object. Even if you're a crazy person I talked to once, or if you're a totally sane person that I've spent my whole life with, let's get to know eachother better.even better than that.
Anyhow, how are you? I don't care about me, YOU care about me. I care about YOU. SHOE. SPEW. GLUE. SHREW. NEW. BLUE. TOO. KANGAROO. KALAMAZOO. FLEW. TRUE. PHEW! (I just really like words)

The Persistence of Distance

What is maintained in the distance
renders each
ineffably lost.

Or the simplistic vectors that sob
to communicate
across the chasm
that is
our existence

The infinity of
the present
catches me by
surprise; I ease into The lake,
feel slow vibrations of the molecules
the energy of the silence,
the patience of the universe.
But I know nothing.

They are trying
so hard
to mold this into
to make the present less abysmal,
throw a lassoe to the chasm.

I am not unique:
I want to understand
what it is
to be
the dots to connect,
the signs to mean something.

Instead, I am lost
in the language
of absence,
the voice of the mute,
I’m swallowed into irrelevance
if we cannot reach each other,
if what divides us is this thing they call
God: what pulls it all together.

Joanna Newsom sings the things that I think because her articulationinwritten/musical form reminds me of the things that I can do:
Svetlana sucks lemons across from me, and I am progressing abominably. And I do not know my own way to the sea but the saltiest sea knows its own way to me. The city that turns, turns protracted and slow and I find myself toeing th'embarcadero and I find myself knowing the things that I knew which is all that you can know on this side of the blue And Jaime has eyes black and shiny as boots and they march at you, two-by-two (re - loo - re - loo); when she looks at you, you know she's nowhere near through: it's the hardest heart beating this side of the blue. And the signifieds butt heads with the signifiers, and we all fall down slack-jawed to marvel at words! While across the sky sheet the impossible birds, in a steady, illiterate movement homewards. And Gabriel stands beneath forest and moon. See them rattle & boo, see them shake, see them loom. See him fashion a cap from a page of Camus; see him navigate deftly this side of the blue. And the rest of our lives will the moments accrue when the shape of their goneness will flare up anew. hen we do what we have to do (re - loo - re -loo), which is all you can do on this side of the blue.

Peace. and Grease. So much grease.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hey John Lennon, show me your kickflip

Damn I ate books up when I was sick. Usually I can't sit down and read in extensive installments but I read nearly two books while I was sick.
Wanna know what my mind's like right now?
Okay, eat this, a few things that I underlined, circled, demarcated (?) for whatever reason:
"She was liberating. She taught us to be impolite in conversation not only about sexual matters, but about American history and famous heroes, about the distribution of wealth, about school, about everything."
"The things other people have put into my head, at any rate, do not fit together nicely, are often useless and ugly, are out of proportion with one another, are out of proportion with life as it really is outside my head.
I have no culture, no humane harmony in my brains. I can't live without a culture anymore."
"..Armistice Day I will keep. I don't want to throw away any sacred things.
What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.
And all music is."
"He saw eleven moons in the sky over the new Mildred Barry Memorial Center for the Arts one night. The next morning he saw a huge duck directing traffic at the intersection of Arsenal Avenue and Old County Road"
"..He wished to arrive in Midland City the dirtiest of all old men...'I don't know who McLuhan is, but I know what it's like to spend the night with a lot of other dirty old men in a movie theater in New York City. Could we talk about that?'"
"'I can't tell if you're serious of not," said the driver.
'I won't know myself until I find out whether life is serious or not," said Trout. "It's dangerous, I know, and it can hurt a lot. That doesn't necessarily mean it's serious, too.'"
Yes; it's Kurt.
Now to the facts, people.
Last time I wrote was after I'd returned from my first trip. Well since then various ocurrences have ocurred, and if you were to have drilled a hole straight under your feet you could've come and joined the fun! No traveling since then (funny now how 'traveling' means going outside of Hyderabad, whereas prior it was just going outside of say LA, or STL), but some highlights of Hyderabadi life include my roommate, Olga, and other kids getting sitars, which I can look at and play and live vicariously through. I'm not playing because of the money issue. It's a $300 investment that I think I would rather spend on traveling. I've saved money my whole life to travel...not necessarily play the sitar. Don't give me too much crap when I get back. In other news, we spent a day at a Children's Camp run by an organization that "crash-educates" ex-child laborers in a short amount of time so that they can eventually and quickly enroll in classes with kids their own age. It basically helps them catch up. One girl sang a song, we heard some girls speak about their experiences, which were really personal stories. These girls were phenomenally brave. I can't beleive what they've gone through, like something out of a movie, and the thing is, that's what it felt like. The way that the day went, it was like the kids were putting on a presentation for us. It was really uncomfortable and odd for me. I think Catherine will immediately get what I'm talking about. One girl was crying while telling her story. Later, Sophie and I talked about this and we learned from other people that the girls that told the stories actually volunteered to share with us, which made us feel better about the whole situation. We taught the kids some games that we knew; they taught us theirs. Then we left and a large group of us spent the evening partying with Tollywood stars and bangin' around at a fancy night club in a ritzy hotel, where we were escorted in for free, had a reserved table ON THE DANCE FLOOR, and had free drinks all night. We danced a lot. Some people drank too much. I drank a lot but not too much. Taxis took us home. Pre and Post parties happened at various "party pads" (studio-like spaces owned for partying only), but I opted to duck out on the latter and head home. I passed out after drunkenly confessing my love for Jake. on the cellular.
Talk about black and white.
Talk about India.
Talk about the way CIEE runs their programs and thinks they can "show us India".
Talk about Life.
Other highlights include Freaks & Geeks marathons (holla), the purchase of a Cat Stevens collection, the savoring of miraculous sorbet, an art gallery, adorableness, THE FREAKIN PLANETARIUM (which 4 out of 5 of us fell asleep in, by the way), our first Indian movie theater experience (we saw Tar Zameen Par, which was great. And only in Hindi with no subtitles, but great), a lovely sunset atop a white marble temple overlooking the city, laughs, music, painting outside during another sunset, planning a good chunk of my young life: the rest of the trips during the school year, which include Goa, Kerala, and Mumbai (not including CIEE trips to Pondicherry and Chennai [which are this weekend] and Mysore) for Northern India and oozy European excursions. Davita and I also spent last night at Sophie's house (she's staying in a homestay) where her Amma made us dinner. Sophie's house is beautiful and they have this swing in the middle of their common room. Dream come true.
Also, the other night a few of us hung out with some Indian friends at his factory. Whateva'; we're sketchy. We know. It was really fun and there were exotic birds involved, and lambs, and peacocks, moonlit walks, rum, Indian techno-pop (aka year old US dance club remixes), danceparty car rides.
So now it's 2 days later. I have some time to kill before I meet with some people to chat about a trip to Goa, so here we are. I had a really frustrating class today which I would rather not talk about, but just so as not to keep you guessing, I will just say that I have a professor with an ENORMOUS stick UPP HIS ASS, who is intelligent, but can not TEACH, basically bullies the class by indimidation and shooting us down whenever we speak at all; And then he calls us all imbeciles when we don't respond to his questions (questions which are really confusing and really vague, but for which he expects a very pointed know...the one that HE thinks is correct which is usually a total shot in left field) but no one wants to speak in class because he will ALWAYS shoot you down in a really direct obvious respect-less way. It's total shit. Also, his lectures are unorganized; he jumps around; he uses terms in odd ways (language barrier? i dont think's not just the non-indians that are's the whole world). Any way, so class hits 4--actually 4:03 to be precise--, he brings his lecture to a close, stops talking and I get up to go head out to my other class which starts at 4 and he says "excuse me; sit down!"...but I have trouble understanding him because he is middle eastern with british-accented english, so i was like.."sorry?" And then he gets all mad and repeats it, and i say "i just have to go to class". i sat down. Then he proceeded to interrogate the SIP (american foreign exchange) students about where we were on Friday (an extra class that he just added for last week---class is actually wed/thur 2-4...NOT FRIDAY). Then he went through his SIP attendance sheet and asked us each what classes we've attended. He did not do this for the other students. He doesn't even take attendance for the other students. Isn't that great? Oh, and also he went around the class today and had each student sum up the philosopher we're currently studying in one sentence. Awesome.
Anyway, then my class afterwards never happened b/c the prof never showed up. SO I had an academically frustrating day. And also my Indian Philos class earlier was like eating mushed up baby peaches. it's the driest way philos has ever been presented to me. just straight up terms and definitions. and this guy is also crazy. an empiricist and such...says religion is bogus and hocus pocus and it's straight superstition, has no value, and is unsophisticated, etc etc etc.
little mallory is frustrated.
Positives are we're going out of town this weekend. Yay for paid trips!, even though I hear CIEE trips are stupid--like traveling with your 2nd grade class or something. Anyway, I'm stoked about possibly going to Goa soon, we have a 7-day plan for Kerala which I think will be utopic, and then Mumbai lays in the distance. Mr. Das (SIP Guest House Manager) says that it might be too hot to travel to agra and kolkata after the program's over (our original plan), but that the himilayas will be alright cuz their elevated. We're considering this situation. The Taj Mahal must be seen; the Himilayas must be conquered; I must reconnect with the Indian roots (Kolkata). So somehow, it will happen.
Pockets empty.
Hey, I finished the Hyd Times today..turned it in! That's pretty exciting. It should be out by friday, so I hope it is a hit.
You're a star.
I'll probably be in SF this summer.
I'm going to look @ internships now.
Holla at yo girl.
X, Mal
John Lennon's been in my head all day. Like literally, I think he's been trying to learn to skateboard....on my cerebral cortex.

Oh, and also a secret is this:
theivery. Jordan and Sophie's photo albums.....
I tend to roll with them and they have been documenting digitally, which I have not been doing. Curious? Click.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lost and Found

Hello again to all my friends. I’m glad you came to play. Our fun and learning never ends, here’s what we learned today!
Sup, yo? I’m in this place called India, still. I’ve recently returned from an extended weekend trip. Some friends and I took off Saturday morning and journeyed by bus and train to a little town called Warangal, and later Vijayawada. This weekend was a holiday and so all of the tickets to the really cool places in India were sold out by the time we decided we wanted to travel, so we ended up opting for semi-interesting places near by. The holiday was Sankrati, Festival of Color and the Kite Flying Holiday...this is where they have the kite flying competitions with the glass string that you try to cut. Kite Runner, anyone? Anyway, in Warangal we saw the Thousand Pillar temple, were ramasacked by a group of about 40-50 Indian children who all wanted to shake our hands, take our pictures, take pictures with us, gawk at us, etc. This wasn’t just children, mind you, EVERYONE, but most often it was the younger children that actually came up to us. Other people just gawk. (I think they are gawking at Difference. Also, in these little towns there aren’t many tourists and foreigners, so seeing white or different people is rare and fantastical for them, I think.) We enjoyed a nice sunset on a cool evening, we laughed, we went out to dinner at a "fancy" (fancy for India, but cheap when converted to the US dolla’ [holla]. ie $2 a person?!), hoteled it, etc. The elevator in the hotel liked to constantly ding the song "Mary Had a Little Lamb". We were not so happy about that little song situation. Because it went off about every 2 minutes. Exhausted from the strange energy that traveling seems to suck out of you, even if you don’t physically "do" a lot, we hit the hay/hit the bed bugs/didn’t sleep because we heard sounds of dry heaving, gagging, puking, either dying starving cats or rabid babies, loud conversations that sounded like they were taking place right outside of our door, and, of course, Mary and her Little Lamb whose fleece was white as snow. To add to that, one half of us were sleeping in a room with bloodstained walls (I noticed this earlier in the day, but didn’t mention it because I didn’t wanna freak them out if I didn’t have to). We had stories to share when we woke up, and the waking up ocurred at the wee hour of like 5:30 or something. We caught an early train...well, we accidently peeked into a train to see if it was ours and then it started moving, so yeah...we ended up taking a very very early train to Vijayawada. Sophie had a good time hanging out with a squishy bananna, and Jordan had an akward time sitting across from the boy who sat on his friends lap so that Jordan could have a seat (akward most likely because the boy gave up his seat to The American [Jordan is Canadian]). Yeah in Vijaya we did the hotel thing, had a bite to eat, ventured out to the cave temple (Arundavalli?..something like that). Haha our rickshaw ride was hilarious, because our drivers had NO CLUE where we were going (this is not infrequent) so they kept stopping and asking people along the way. They took us across the Krishna river and into the rural areas, through cotton, onion, flower fields, through palm trees, birdies, and prettiness. We were really happy to be getting an accidental tour of the rural area surrounding the city, but really concerned when our driver stopped in the middle of the road, conversed with some farmer in Hindi, proceeded to push our car (engine off), yes PUSH, not drive, BACKWARDS, and then scooted us on down a crazy dirt road. We did, however, end up at the cave temples...Miraculously. And they were phenomenal. The view from the top was gorgeous and far reaching. It was the perfect time of day (like 3 or so, when it had started to cool down, but there was still lots of sunlight) and a wave of peace seemed to have settled itself inside each and every one of us. We probably sat there for hours. We were also, attacked by natives in the same way as before. (Oh, and also, at this point I began to get into the touristy places by paying the Indian price as opposed to the foreigner price. Which was exciting and scandalous) We made a friend who really took to Jordan and they exchanged phone numbers. This dude, Sandeep, proceeded to basically write Jordan love notes for the next 2 days. Also, here a group of school children on a field trip did the usual shake hands take pics thing, but then invited us to ride on their bus with them, which we of course accepted, driving further into rural India, singing songs, laughing, and communicating with kids in a language beyond words. That we REALLY fun. The bus dropped us of at a public bus stop where we caught a bus back into the city (a cleaner air bus! Go India?!<–the question mark is for Jake) where we somehow, by the grace of Krishna, made our way back to our hotel, where we watched funny Indian shows, Animal Planet, some Spartacus thing (we had tv), went on a wild grocery store raid, to avoid the pattern of eating out and eating Indian food for every meal, stuffed, I showered, then went to bed. (Oh, exciting side note: This hotel had WESTERN TOILETS!! No squatters! I literally jumped for J-O-Y). We got up early (again, of course) the next day, hopped on a bus, (at the bus station we almost got killed by crazy close-flying birds), drove 2 hours to some middle-of-nowhere town expecting to find some ancient Buddhist temple, but all we found was no temple, and a museum. And Kai lost his wallet:(. We went to the museum, it was alright (the coolest things were the exbihitions that showed the branching off of the different sects of Buddhism and another showing the development of written Sanskrit?or was it Telugu?). We had lunch on the lawn (we were watched and harrassed, of course). Then we had nothing else to do in that little town and it was pretty hot, so we headed back to the city. When we got back to the bus station we decided to explore the ghats (these huge steps that go into the river where people hang out). Turns out the river was really really dry, so we walked out onto the sand where the river usually is. There was all this red clothing draped all over the stairs which was really wierd. Kai, Caitlin, Jordan, Hilary and I stayed and hung out in the ghats with some Indians fishermen and some kids; the other girls went back to the hotel room. Two little girls seemed to have adopted me as their big sis and held my hands as we walked back out of the ghats, said goodbye, and headed back to the hotel. In the hotel Sophie and I watched some of the New Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, then we all went out to eat, went for icecream (but not me, THE LACKY!!), came back, shower powered, and then Sophie, Isabele, Davita and I wierdly got into A Few Good Men (with T. Cruise and D. Moore) and watched it in bed. We fell asleep thinking of Tom’s little flip in the front of his hair, boyfriends, the wierd bug bites I had gotten in bed the night before, and whatever beginning threads of dreams we happened to fallen into. I dreamt that I wanted to make Jake a present for something and I made him a tea cup and I personalized it and wrote his name on it. When I told Jake about this later, we decided this was the cutest thing I have ever dreamed. The next morning we woke up smokin’ early, hopped on an early train, ate only biscuits all day, made friends, read, were hot, listened to music, talked, some played cards, Kai almost got left behind while hopping off the train to get chai at a stop, listened to someone’s Telugu-pop, reflected silently, slept. A nice doctor woman helped us navigate the train hopping situation (since she was going to the same place), and spoke to us about alternative medicine, and cow maneur and urine, and the cosmos, and metaphysics, and the life force and such. It was an interesting ride. We made it back to campus, fitting all 8 of us in a teeny rickshaw (you have no idea how small this is...think a 3 person bench seat somehow fitting 8 people. It’s like smaller than a clown mobile. We were happy to be back and to see familiar, non-gawking faces. Kai’s wallet was returned, somehow. Phenomenal. That night we went to the auditorium and watched the epic Lagaan, which was, seriously, EPIC. It was maybe the most thrilling experience I’ve ever had watching a film. All of the students were SO into it. They were cheering and hooting and yelling. It was amazing.
The next day we went to the craft villiage, because it was the holiday. I bought my first indian clothing: 3 shirts or salwar camisas. I also picked up a sweet bracelet. We watched some cool dancing. At "home" we tried to fly kites up on the roof, but we were windless, ergo unsuccessful. It was cute to try, though. I tried to write some of my novel later in the evening and had a bit of trouble. I can’t write when I’m not inspired, but I feel like with a novel I have to churn every day or I’ll be at it for years. Literally, YEARS. Like 10. Or 15! Or forever!!!!! This morn I finally had yoga class again, which was nice. I’m pretty into it. And, yes, I’m getting up at 5:40am every morning and I’m still alive. Whatchu gonna do about it? Watch out certified yoga trainer typing!!! Ahh! My ass is asleep from sitting here for so long. So I think I’m gonna head out. I’m getting sick. Throat hurts. Today Sophie and I decided to be each others’ Valentines since someone brought up V-Day and we both said "I can’t talk about it!". We boy have boy toys back home, so instead of being sad on F14, we’re just going to have a really romantic night together. I think we’re going out for Italian. We’re also planning on asking Davita out too, but we’re kind of nervous about it.
So iz gotta go. I’m going to try to set up Skype soon. I tried tonight, but the signal wasn’t strong enough to DL. This is for YOU, Catherine, and anyone else who is interested in chatting with me for free. It sounds like fun.

I miss you
and oddly I miss California and lately, specifically northern California? Must have to do with Jake.

Still don’t know what I’m doing this summer. There’s talk of WOOLFing in Europe after India. It’s an organic farming working opportunity. I don’t know too much about it yet, but look it up if you’re interested. Also, there’s this apartment deal in Granada that is a possibility and Sophie is also really interested in that. Ademas, there’s Jake and his commitment to the bay with Palantir and all. That’s a consideration and an option. Oh yeah, and the whole rest of the world. I need a paid internship. I unfortunately must make money this summer. Whatchu gon’ do? I’m a prisioner!, I’m a slave!, I’m a whiner! Money sucks, guys. I feel like I’ll always be catching up financially. And I’ll never have a job that gets me anywhere near financially comfortable. Maybe I should care about that. Maybe not.

I’ll leave you with two excerpts of a story I’m working on, just so you’ll be hungry for more:

"It’s strange what has become foreign, contemplated Evelyn out loud on the telephone. She scrunched up her toes, picked the bumps on her socks. She could feel Jonh smoking long and hard on the other end. She could feel the elegant long sticks that he’d worked so diligently to procure. A cigarette conessiour; a collector. Like a professional, despite all of his carcinogenic habits, Jonh never coughed the way smokers do: not often, not heavy, not hazardously. His bad habits, like the rest of his demeanor, were graceful,......."


"...The way the hazy light of the day filtered in between the half-open curtains lit up only Evelyns’ shins and an isoceles triangle on the bed spread. The rest of the room was relatively dim and the air inside felt damp. Evelyn sat leaning on her hands, her legs hanging off the side of the bed, wearing a fitted pink tank top, the boxers of some long lost love, striped socks. Outside, Berlin was snowing. Germans were trudging through slush, birds kept their distance. The world was awake and moving and Evelyn kept her distance. She heard car horns down below. She saw lives being lived across the street in other buildings. She watched smoke rise into the sky..."
Enjoy your lives. My dreams have been so vivid lately and all of you are in them.

Kumbiya (no, it’s not’s just from that camp song)

Oh, and P.S. I’m sorry if I haven’t talked to you in awhile. I’ve been wierd emotionally this past year (in regards to friends), living very much in the present and the immediate and trying not to worry about this past, and now being away I realize now more than ever that you carry everything in that sack on your back. Love.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Like a Woman Like a Man

नमस्ते, all.
I've just recently returned from my 6am yoga certification course. Yes, I am waking up at 6am 6 days a week this whole semester. Can you believe it? The good thing, though, is that a lot of other people are doing it too, so we'll all be getting up and walking to class together. That's an encourager. Thus, not a lot of super late nights for me, but it's really kinda hard to stay out late here--we've gotta rely on publish transpo and it isn't safe to take to late at night. In fact, much in India isn't "safe" to do pretty much EVER. Speaking of, that leads me to a discussion about GENDER in Indian society. So yes, we all knew that gender culture in India is really uniquely different from what we're used to in the States, but I had no idea that I would feel the weight of this issue as heavily, as much as I'm feeling now. My gender restricts and determines EVERYTHING I DO in India. It determines how I interact and relate to each and every person, regardless of their sex, the freedoms I have and don't have, and ultimately, how I feel about myself (which is..dangerous?). I am not supposed to make eye contact with people, as it is understood as a suggestion of 'something more that just a friendly interaction'. I absolutely can not travel alone, and preferably not in a group without a male. I can't really go out late at night. I must dress very conservatively and cover my body. I really can not interact with males at all, because 'you never know what their intentions are' and 'friendliness may be construed as something more'. So basically I can make no male friends, and the females are SO reserved that in public spaces they are really turtle-like (in their shell), and don't freely interact with people in an open and friendly way. This is frustrating. Yes, I understand that these gender roles are not necessarily better or worse (that is not my argument; that's another issue) that in the States, but that you have no idea how much if effects a person...Scratch that: a WOMAN. The guys in our group have friends. They can talk to males freely and whenever they want, and I just "watch on" (because i can't really watch, because that's too much eye contact and displayed interest) and be sad that I can't make Indian friends). It's frustrating because males are allowed to be more social and open than women, so males seem to be easier to make friends with, but we are told that it is not a good idea for girls to get really friendly with males. I think the program is making us more paranoid than is necessary. But I could of course be wrong. Anyhow, and regardless, it is important that I am EXTREMELY effected by the gender culture here. I am frustrated socially, and most dramatically, I feel shitty. Shitty, almost, about myself. Being in my own skin. My skin, my feminineness feels poisonous. I've never felt that before. I've really never felt "discrimination". It's a totally different way of understanding that concept, because now I understand it. I am reading a book right now that has an element about blackness, and last night i read a part about the book that this black writer in the book is writing (meta-texto [shout out to span 363], a discussion of a text within a text), about his painful life as a discriminated minority. My experience of those 3 pages was surely different than it would have been 2 weeks ago. Wow.
Having nearly all of your freedoms taken away from you because you are a woman is astounding. We are used to SO MUCH freedom in the States. I didn't realize. and I guess I didn't realize how important and essential to me it was. I almost don't know who I am without it. Do I lose my identity?
How will I adjust to this, deal with this, is the challenge? I understand that what frustrates me is the cultural shock of a radically different gender culture, but I do not want to feel so frustrated and icky (about myself) the whole time I am here. I don't want to follow the restrictive social rules, but inside constantly be cursing patriarchy, be fucking pissed and fiery. It's not healthy and it's not a good way to feel. Conversely, I do not want to assimilate and internalize this patriarchal culture to the point where I accept it and am thus comfortable functioning as a pawn in this game. How do I fit in between? How do I respect a foreign culture, stay safe, but maintain my beliefs, self-worth, dignity, my spark?

Also, there are issues of my feeling like I'll never feel like I'm out of the role of 'tourist'. And I mean tourist not in the sense of how other people perceive me, but how I perceive myself.

Ademas, I'm different from most of the kids on the program. I play the Indian-American role. So people think I'm Indian, but I'm surrounded by these white kids. Or I'm walking around campus by myself and people think I'm and Indian student and so pass me by without a second glance. I don't stand out. But I'm not really Indian. I'm in between groups and worlds more than anyone else here is. Maybe this unique position will give me a really cool, unique experience. Or maybe it will prove really difficult. Didn't think about this beforehand.

Issues about 'intellectualisim', western ideas of 'academics' and how india is under its spell, stuffy , annoying intellectuals telling us what to do who value only western ideas of 'academia', statistics, awards, things taht don't really matter and the things that do they don't seem to be able to appreciate or understand anymore. There is still (i sense) a huge detachment from subject and student in the Indian education system. I guess I was hoping for a change in this area. How the fuck and I supposed to learn about Buddhism by reading books? This disregarded and sometimes invisible space between subject and knower/student/intellectual/etc has always frustrated be about academics. Maybe it is intellectualism's defense mechanism...distancing yourself so that you can KNOW. So that you can objectify, evalutate, 'other' (as a verb) anything for detached scrutiny and knowing. We'll see if any of my teachers overcome this; I haven't really started classes yet so there's still hope.
Looking forward to lots of historical sites. This kind of experience you can't get in the US. Our history is young.

Oh, you want to know what I've been doing? Well I've taken many a ride in an auto rickshaw, which is somewhere between riding in a taxi and a rollercoaster. The experience of nevigating through the CRAZY, no-law traffic, racingracingracing to the finish line is much like a sperm racing, through the woman's reproductive system, towards the egg. Sometimes the egg is Banjara Hills, sometimes it is Koti. Other times Shilparamam or Hi-Tech City.
We're still doing pretty boring orientation stuff. Yesterday at the Police Station for police registration we saw a prisoner with a black cloth bag over his head. I haven't felt so disturbed in years. eons.
Went to a hookah bar the other night. The hookah tasted different here. Less,...ummm.....thick...the smoke. The flavours are pointed but light. Smoke ring blowing is harder, cuz the smoke flows differently.
We played our homemade version of Pictionary last night and it was really fun. The highlight was when I drew "Foucault" and Matt guessed it! Or maybe when the other group's drawer picked the phrase "bump and grind" and had to draw it. The best part was the things people were shouting out. Yeah. Also, important to note, everyone had really smelly feet.

Well, breakfast is ready, so we'll chat soon. Feel free to send me emails or Fbook messages if wanna. I'm pretty free as of now, classes not having started and all, and I'll be able to get back to you. That is, at least for now.

Love you all.
Keep warm.
Use Mouthwash.
Dance Dandy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


I am disappointed in the way that my blog has been going so far. It's not how I want what/how I want to communicate India to you. The next blog will be different. I will take my computer to a quiet place and write Mallory-reflections, now what I think a blog should be. I feel better.