Tuesday, January 29, 2013



i miss india already. earlier i was thinking that if i could hop on a plane and return today i would. then i really got to thinking.

it's not necessarily india that i miss (don't get me wrong i miss my friends and the kids...bad) but i think that it's the way i felt in india that i miss. i stopped thinking about computers and social events and how my hair looked (mostly) and what clothes i was wearing and who's dating who and all the other crap for just a little spurt of time. i thought about others, and not in a superficial way, but a truly deep and constructed manner.

so i'm going to bring back that feeling. i'm volunteering to tutor every monday. i'm volunteering at the homeless shelter every saturday. and i'm going to find more to do within my community.

i don't have to be in a third world country to make a difference and to feel happy. 

i can do that right here, and i hope you know that you can do the same.



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

a little more india

today has been my favorite day in India so far. i guess i keep saying that about every day, but each day i keep finding it to be true. today started with a bull race for the festival, Pongol! a bunch of men gathered together with bulls that had decorated horns (with chalk and flowers and other such things) and at 11:15, they let the bulls…well…run. it was all so hectic and on some psychological level maybe a little scary… one bull ran right behind me and Lauren was freaking out! also for some reason people were throwing bananas everywhere. i got hit a few times but Lauren was covered in banana, so much so that her white shirt was yellow!

after the bull race, we each went to a Mohanam villagers home for lunch. Kimiko, Kay, and i went to Madhu’s house. (: he climbed a coconut tree and got coconuts for us! it was kind of amazing! we met his sister who is beautiful, and an absolutely amazing artist. she has a degree in philosophy and is getting a PHD in physical education. we ate our meal on banana leaves, and with our hands (only the right one of course). yes mom, i AM playing with my food and it’s even socially accepted! the food was absolutely amazing. i could definitely live this way (though i do miss meat and i keep finding myself craving beef jerky).

after Madhu’s, we went to the cultural center with the kids. they taught us a sport called caperty(?), which is an odd mix between football, wrestling, tag, and sharks&minnows. i taught them the boot scootin’ boogie, they taught us some stick dances and Indian dance moves. while we were dancing, a little girl came up to me. she asked me to sing here a song, so i did. then  i taught her some handshakes and patty cake and down by the banks and after that we were inseparable. her name is Lagita, and she introduced me to a bunch of other little girls (though she hardly spoke English so it was a challenge!). the other girls were older and spoke English very well, and kept teaching me Tomil words.  they took me to the kolam contest, the stone lifting contest(150 KILO rocks!), and the greased pole climbing events in the village for Pongol. we danced and played games and the little girls took about 100 pictures on my camera! (: it was a beautiful day. i never want to leave this place. i know that I have to come back, and soon. there is a whole world out here that i never could have imagined, and i just want to be a part of it.

i love India. i love the people, the culture, the land, the food, and especially the children.
we ended the night with another campfire with Balu (our organizer) and Pascal (the Swiss man who lives in Germany). it was a beautiful night with wonderful company and food. i hate to think my time here is running short.

wait for me India, i’m coming back soon. (: 
Me and Logita (: 

People watching the bull race.

Me and some of the kids!

Logita's mad picture skills!

Kolam contest

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


namaste from India!

inea Pongal nal vartikal! happy pongol festival!

being in India has been this very surreal expirience for me guys. being here has made me feel like i am a part of something, like i have a purpose. there is something that i am supposed to do in my life and i know what it is now: help people.

i can't wait to return to the states and share the knowledge i have gained here. i am learning so much about myself, and the world around me every day. one of the founders of the Mohanam center (this village's cultural center for youth) said something that really struck me today. he said, "India is not a poor country; it is a rich country with lot's of poor people." i know now from my travels that one person can really make a difference. i'm in Auroville right now; a community founded by "the mother" (a french lady) and Sri Aurobindo, and Hindi leader. Auroville is all about helping people help themselves. i love staying here at the youth camp, but next time i come i think i would like to live at the bamboo center! they do amazing things with bamboo and aid in community development.

there are many things that i miss about the states...warm showers, soft beds, and the food, oh gosh the food. but i wouldn't trade my expiriences here for any of those things. yesterday, me and lauren went for a run and some village children here joined us. they were really smart. i couldn't pronounce one of the girl's names, and she sounded it out by syllable for me. :/ they all speak english very well, on top of Tomil.

the first day that we were here we studied village action. i hope to raise money for this group in the states at some point and to some degree because they need funding! they empower women mostly through giving them microloans and teaching them to save money. they are changing the way india see's women, culture, and caste systems. i'll write more about them tomorrow when i'm not so sleeeepppy. 

yesterday we visited the cultural center, Mohanam, learned Tomil dances and songs, and had a huge bonfire! i met people from Israel, all over India, France, Holland, England, Germany, and Spain! the guy from Holland was really cool, he's a writer named Tim. everyone teased me and called him my "boyfriend." i hope to exchange information before we leave though, for my next vacation to Holland, ya? (; it's amazing how many people are here in Auroville trying to improve the conditions, learn about the culture, and experience life. each day here is like learning to live in the moment, and that's just how it works here. everyone just lives to experience the moments, and not to some huge end goal. tomorrow to see a bull race at the festival, and the next day we are going to a village marriage!  everything is shut down here for the festival, so really we have just been chilling, learning Tomil, and talking to some very interesting people. a few days ago i helped build a roof out of bamboo for a government prototype, some jewelry, and some drums... and at the bamboo center the women taught us Tomil and we taught them English. the older boys (the 20-something teachers) at the cultural center here like to tease us about the way we try to speak Tomil. they are really nice though, and amazing teachers and musicians. India is so full of culture, and i'm learning too much to even express!

today is one of the smaller days of festival, leading to the biggest day tomorrow! (: today we visited a forest called Sadhana Forest in Auroville. the people there are kind of weird hippies, but very interesting. they believe in no competition, unschooling (a process where children only learn if they want to?? confusing), and only eating vegan. on the other hand their reforestation efforts are amazing. i think i might try to go to Haiti with the organization to plant trees at some point. it's so cool what people can do when they put their mind to it. they are really helping the water conservation efforts, pollution levels, and self sustenance of the Indian community. i KNOW one day i will live here in India for some period of time. this picture is me with my Indian friend Madhu. he teaches me and meg Tomil and called me "chili Ali" once because apparently i'm "spicy." he is 22 and works at the cultural center. the other picture is me with the little girls at the cultural center. they taught me Tomil dances! (: Madhu is going to teach us some more dances on Sunday if we go back (he pinky promised so he better). Namaste my "nanban" (friend). the last pictures are the "Kolam"s made out of ground stone. the women do them by hand every morning and NEVER mess up. they have to be perfectly symmetrical with no gaps so that the evil spirits don't get in!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013



it's not just the place that you live.

and it's not just the people that live there. 

home is the place where the memories are.

the place that no matter how long you stay away, you will always be familiar with. 

the old train tracks where you used to play.

the rope swing by the river. 

the streets you got lost on.

the place you had your first car accident. 

the old running trails. 

the park you played games at.

the denny's you always ate at. 

the hart's where you sat and talked for hours with hot chocolate in hand.

the canyon where the waterfalls run, and where you ran. 

the bed where you slept in. 

the nook where you read. 

the room you told your secrets too. 

the people that may be distant now, but were once your whole world. 


not a place, but a memory.