It’s been a while. Days are mixing together. We’re getting better at most things here in India. For example the many Indian names, some easy phrases and songs in Tamil, calling our Tuktuk driver, navigating around in Pondy and dealing with the heat.
I’m able to blurt out about 58 ‘almost-impossible-to-pronounce-Tamil-names.’ Do not underestimate this, these names aren’t as easy as ‘Jan’, ‘Piet’ and ‘Klaasje.’ Nope these names are like ‘Jawahar’ (pronounce like: Djavagher) , ‘Naveen Kumar’, ‘Afremreshem’, ‘Pushpaneda’ and ‘Abbishek’. However, luckily for us, there were also some parents who wanted to give their kids a ‘more meaningful name’, I guess, lol (?). Names like a former American president, a South African revolutionary and a French bitchy royal are a lot easier for us to remember. Yep, there really is a kid called Benjamin Franklin, one called Nelson Mandela and one called Marie Antoinette (he’s a boy!!?)… And whenever we are doubting about the other 30 names that we don’t really know by heart yet, we just call them ‘Raj’, because for some reason that’s the Dutch ‘Janssen’ and you hear this name EVERYWHERE. Naveen Raj, Silvan raj and Antoin Raj are one of the few ‘Rajes’ that live here.
We’re still improving on our Tamil phrases, but the easy ones like ‘vannakam, nandry and nalamaa’ are stuck in our heads by now. We’re slowly starting to appreciate the Tamil songs as well, which before sounded like screeching cats. I had my first Tamil debut performance in one of the class rooms where Naveen Raj and I were singing ‘Why this kolaveri kolaveri kolaveri diiiiii.’ while dancing around and on top of all the school tables. Calling our Tuktuk driver was a struggle before, but we created a new form of communication. No more full sentences in English and Tamil, just words. ‘Hi, MASCHA HERE, 9.30 YOU HERE, 9.30 YOU HERE, BOYS HOME’. He’ll answer with ‘am’ which means ‘yes’ and then our conversation is over. Hoping we both understood each other, until now this technique works just fine.
Navigating around Pondy is becoming easier and easier. By now it’s not surprising at all to see a holy cow passing by a crossroad which can stop hundreds of people, while a red light can’t. And about the heat. Well I’m just getting used to feeling sweaty 24/7, fyi for example right now, I’m not even sure if my hair is still wet from the shower or it’s already sweating again…
However, there are also some things that we’re not getting better in at alllll. Our western food cravings are getting worse and worse. There are quite some boring hours in our days and the Tamil dances are horrific.
Sometimes, we literally talk for hours about pizza, stroopwafels, Doritos, chocolate, sushi, cheese cake, pepernoten and curly fries. At one point, we just HAD TO GET SOME WESTERN FOOD. So we decided to Google to nearest ‘bigger’ supermarket and bought all Doritos they had in store. (only 2 mini kid bags lol, so sad.) We googled the nearest pizza place, so if we really can’t contain our cravings anymore, we’ll sneak out of the project and secretly get some pizza. Don’t get me wrong, the Indian food is amazing, but I guess our taste buds sometimes need something a little more familiar.
The boring hours are pretty bad as well. We’re waiting until we can teach classes, but until then we have to entertain each other in the mornings. We came up with a cards and basketball September competition. Right now, Karlijn is winning the card competition, while I’m winning the basketball competition. Our mornings are filled with playing cards, talking about life, reading all Harry Potter books, writing blog posts, singing karaoke, painting our nails, playing basketball and having dance battles. Sometimes it can be fun, sometimes it feels useless… I’m ( or was?) the kind of person that’s always busy at home. Combining the many hours of school and work together with social activities with friends was a challenge. I was never bored, so this is all very new to me.
Lastly, the Tamil dances. Oh mannn, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to rock this particular dance style. Whenever we watch Tamil dance videos it all just looks like a big joke. You see the most unflattering movements, that I’m not even sure you can call ‘dance moves’. However here, people love it. It’s apparently very cool to be able to move around like a snake on the ground and to put your legs up like you are delivering a baby. I don’t know, I think I’m too ‘westernized’ to ever be able to understand this ‘Indian trend’ lol.
Anyway, this is all part of the process of moving to the other side of the world. Experiencing these differences and trying to get used to them is all part of the adventure. And until now this adventure has been a ton, a ton of fun.