travel

First Six Months in Pune

I left for India at the end of August and started working pretty soon after reaching. To say it’s been a whirlwind would be an understatement. Sunday, September 2nd got me to Bombay and already on Monday I was headed to Pune. I met with my boss Mrs. Rakhi Singh that day itself and I knew I’d be right at home. She speaks really fast like me and is managing a million things at once all the time. I described her after my first phone call as a cool mom and I was going to be just fine in this new city. Off I went to the Kalyani Nagar location and just entering the school put me at instant ease, I found a school I truly believed in and it almost validated my choice to move half way across the world to a new city I had never been to before. The next day I was headed back to Bombay to meet with the CEO and chairman. I got hired for one job, got kinda trained for another, and within a short few months got a promotion to working in the regional and head office. Currently I don’t know what my exact title is, but I am setting up the environments for the new schools and quality assurance. 

So, India definitely does not make it easy for someone who was not born on their land to enter or settle down. I honestly don’t know how I figured it all out on my own. 

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Finding an apartment was another challenge. No one would rent to me as a single female from America. My aunt forced me to come visit and we got an airbnb. She ended up finding something within one day and I am absolutely in love with my flat. The warm sunshine wakes me up every morning and that morning glow every single day is gorgeous. It’s a two and a half bedroom flat with two terraces on the eighth floor. The half bedroom I use as my studio and I have one guest bedroom as well. It was really hard for me to accept help at first, but honestly if you don’t want to adapt then you shouldn’t even live in India. I feel as though I am still adjusting to life in India, but I have come a long way. The journey has been one that I think I needed to prove to myself. 

One of the harder aspects of life in India was all the unwanted attention I was receiving and still do. At first it really did bother me, but I guess I did get used to it or just stopped letting it bother me. That intense male gaze is something no one should have to endure every single time one steps foot outside of their house. But you know what? Even females stare. 

Making friends has been another obstacle to overcome. The way I would make friends elsewhere is really really different. I also came to the realization a few months ago that I put up a wall and don’t let people in which is why people may not approach me. Still the friends I have made are quality ones. The kind of friends who will bring you vada pav at work first thing in the morning after needing to soak up the alcohol from the night before. India is one of the warmest most welcoming places you will ever visit. Now, Pune is a little less welcoming to outsiders - that is true. The only people’s houses I have been to here are Gujarati’s, but I guess India as a whole is the kind of place where people will go out of their way to help. 

Work is a combination is spontaneity, stress, crazy, and a whole lot of fun! My job recently has been building and creating things for the environment anyway I want! How cool is that!? I go shopping in old Pune every now and then and come back pretty inspired. India has always been my biggest inspiration. It has evolved into retelling a story through a moment or experience through my travels. But, something about being in India has always been a huge source of inspiration for me. Something about the energy and colors leaves me with endless ideas to create. Now, my job in in India is actually making things and that to WITH help is like a dream come true. I am often counting my blessings and eternally grateful. I have said this in the past, but when you put that good energy out in the universe I believe the universe has got your back. It has been true for me time and time again. 

Flaquites, Vegan Tacos, and Homemade Bread

My relationship with Texas has been very specific. I have visited a few times over the years since my uncle and aunt lived there, but never really explored any of the cities as an adult. So, with given a February break from teaching a road trip was waiting for me in the shape of a triangle. The stops included Houston, Austin, and Dallas. 

Houston is indebted with a rich museum scene. I loved every second of it. The Menil collection is a really beautiful long space with an interesting collection. Right around the corner from there is the Rothko Chapel. Upon entering this non denominational chapel, you instantly feel at peace. Something about the floor to ceiling black and violet paintings giving way to a little light which enthralls you in quiet introspection. Rothko paintings always leave me with lingering thoughts, but the chapel itself I still have not been able to shake the feeling from the space. 

All the museums are concentrated in a little museum district area. It has a completely different feel from the suburbs of Houston. I could spend hours admiring the varying architecture going from street to street. The contemporary art museum had an exhibit I didn’t want to miss. It looks like this sliver of a aluminum corrugated slice. Downstairs was a series of photographs documenting the lgbtq scene in Dehli. When we got down there Nihar joked this exactly my Netflix account right now. But, I mean who isn’t watching Queer Eye!? No, I think he meant more the documentary How Gay is Pakistan? It’s a must watch and very eye opening. 

Somehow we seem to always end up at a sculpture garden and Houston was no exception. It was set in the middle of a downtown area so very industrial opposed to being set in grass or amongst the trees. 

The road trip continued onto Austin! 

We got stuck with rather cold and dreary weather in Austin, but that has always meant more time for indoor art. The Blanton Museum had this extensive Ellsworth Kelly exhibit going on inside as well as a new structure that had just opened outside called “Austin”. It was one of those odd shapes with a few color spectrums. I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about it, but it was interesting even with gray rainy light pouring through. 

Last couple days ended in Dallas.

We visited this amazing sculpture garden called The Nasher. Everything about it was just what you need from sculpture garden. I used some of the images for a lesson back at school. The kids were especially inspired by some of the Picasso's and Richard Sera's.