Week 1 - St. Xavier's & Bandra Life

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June 20th 2012
Published: June 20th 2012
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St. Xavier's CollegeSt. Xavier's CollegeSt. Xavier's College

This is the college courtyard/basketball court... Now imagine this place full of people!
Hey all!

It's only been 13 days since I've arrived, and only 9 since I started college here, but I already have a million stories to tell! I'm sure I'll forget half while writing this, but hopefully the ones I remember, and the thoughts I've had so far will do.

As some of you might know, I've left my Nunni Uncle and Lovleen aunty's place, and finally found a place! Jonny and I stayed in hotels for 2 nights while looking, so as to be closer to the school and to make it easier to travel to different apartments. On the first night we stayed at the West End Hotel, (where the toilet somehow got plugged **cough**Jonny**cough**. On top of that, there was a few hours where Jonny went missing and I thought I was going to have to file a police report and completely restart the househunt (the first obviously being more important...*more coughing* did I mention I'm a little sick?) Anyways, to top it all off we left the West End asking the cab to take us to this cheaper hotel that Jonny had booked... turns out it was in Kerela, about a 20 hour drive away. What craziness! Thankfully we found a cheaper but still nice hotel just down the road that had some availabilites, where I made friends with the staff and the toilet remained unplugged, hallelujah.

Anyways, we found a great 2BHK place in Bandra, thanks to Savio, one of the many brokers we met, where Natasha, our landlady, was kind enough to let us move in on Tuesday night so we didn't have to pay for another night in a hotel. She has 3 kids and is such a mom!! It's kind of great though, she showed us where to shop and is always there to answer any questions we might have. Savio introduced us to his hired help, Savita, who is super nice (but doesn't speak English, so there's a lot of sign language involved), and who we made a deal with to come cook dinner and clean for us 6 days a week (for cheap too!) So far she's been great, and has even seemed to make friends with my Nanny over Skype. I'm not sure if I should feel bad about how cheap it is, but I guess that's just the way it is here, and she doesn't seem unhappy so...

Additionally, I got a phone sorted, which is nice, but was also a bit of an experience... The guy at Vodaphone who helped me get set up actually asked what caste I am! I awkwardly responded, "Uhhh I have no idea...", do people even use that anymore?! Especially in big cities... I was surprised.

So now that we finally have a base, figuring out school was a little less stressful (but infinitely moreso than the processes for registering for schools in Canada). After a week of going to school I finally have my schedule sorted, but I still haven't been able to get my student ID, train concession, academic calendar, or beginners Hindi course sorted (I inquire about all these things every day, and there's always something in the way, even if it's simply that they're too busy). Anyways classes so far seem good, the professors all seem genuinely interested and involved, which is always motivating and makes the class 100x better than it would be if they were just there for the hell of it (like how some profs in Canada are really only there for their research). The only thing is that I feel like I've stepped back into high school or worse even. At school there's no computers or wifi, you have class at 8-9 in the morning, you're not allowed to chew gum, wear skirts, shorts or dresses above the knee, or sleevless tops. What?! No sleeveless shirts or shorts in 45 degree weather?! I was thinking that maybe it's like how there's yoga, and then there's hot yoga just to challenge you (and see how long it takes for you to pass out)...

Anyways, I've also made some friends in the college and outside too... some Indians, one American, and 4 French guys! So far things are looking pretty good on the social front, I even went to a nightclub this weekend! Some friends of Jonny's from school took us out and it was "mindblasting" as Russel Peters/actual Indians might say. It had a great atmosphere, similar to clubs in North America or Europe, with people dressed up and drinking, strobe lights and fog machines (haha, but not in the 'high school dance' sort of way) but with a mix of Indian songs (and people) thrown in! How fun, and there were a ton of white people there too actually. I'm not sure how expensive it would have been if our friend didn't know the manager, so I'm hoping there are some cheaper places (I've heard some really fancy ones charge up to $30 for cover!)

Ok so moving on, some other experiences I'm pretty proud of is taking the rickshaw and train alone to school and back! Ok well maybe I'm taking first class and go in the ladies compartment on the train (s/o to my french homies who take the men's second class), but still! At least I have a place to sit, I feel safer, and it doesn't stink in this compartment, and it's still cheaper than taking public transport in Canada. Actually today someone asked me about a stop on the line, and I could actually answer her question! Go me. On the trains I have seen some eunichs and a lot of little boys sneaking on to the ladies compartment, though no one really seems to care about them unless they're making a ruckus or are past a certain age. As for visiting around, things have been really busy, but we've seen places like Marine Drive and Carter Rd. in Bandra, which are both beautiful and busy places by the water.

Anyways if you've reached this point of the blog, congrats 'cause I've written a lot! I just have so much to share since it's only been 1 week... Until next time!


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