I have been living in India for the past eight months, living the life of a Trainer in Training at Navadisha Montessori Foundation in Chennai, India. Dan, the one I love, my husband, came to visit in December and it was a rollicking adventure, full of lush and lovely landscapes, death defying auto rides, interactions with elephants and bats, and more!
One aspect of living in Incredible India is that there is so much magnificent beauty. We traveled to the jungles in the mountains of Kerala, felt the gloriously cool wet breezes, watched in splendid awe as a cloud of large fruit bats silently streamed above our heads at dusk, petted elephants and laughed at the nimble gymnastics of the monkeys. We met interesting and unusual people, watched an exciting Kathakali dance performance, had tea at a tiny tea stall overlooking a very steep cliff and feared for our lives as the wind rushed around us, shaking and shuttering the tin walls, and watched and cheered as a group of people pushed a tour bus that was stuck in the mud, helping it to get up and over the hill to freedom.
All of this marvelous, exquisite beauty exists side by side with incredibly abject poverty. As we walked along the beach, vendors and beggars constantly buttonholed us, each human trying mightily to gather enough resources for survival. It is mind blowing how populous the country is, teeming with people, cows, dogs, temples, houses, huts, cars, bikes, carts, all of it jostling for its share of sacred space. Oh India, incredible India.
The best part for me was getting to be with Dan again, after 6 months apart. It was great to see him, not just because I love him, but also because so many Indians wanted to have their picture taken with him. We were constantly approached, mostly by groups of shy young men, dressed in hip, Western style clothing, wanting to shake Dan’s hand and tell him how cool he looked, how they approved of his style. “One selfie please, sir?” And they would all gather around Dan like groupies around a rock star. I found out from an Indian friend that Dan’s style of wearing a bandana as a head wrap, combined with his sunglasses and hoop earrings, is reminiscent of a popular drummer in an Indian pop band, and also is imitative of a current celebrity Indian film hero. But I think the hordes of adoring masses are due to the fact that Dan simply reeks of style and culture and "je ne sais quoi." He can’t help it, he is just that cool!
The work I am doing at Navadisha Montessori Foundation is going very well. It is uplifting to be surrounded on a daily basis by people who care about the education of children, who believe that an educated populace, able to critically think and independently form their own thoughts, is the only way to ensure a citizenship that will make positive and life affirming choices for each other, and for the world. I love my work so much! I am continuing to do research and writing for my final papers, and am looking forward to eventually(soon-soon) completing this step and realizing my goal of becoming a Montessori Trainer.
I miss my beloved Portland, and the friends and family there and in other parts of the states. Sending love to all of you, wishing you well, and eagerly anticipating the time when I can see your beautiful faces once again!
Much love and many blessings,