Ms. Fitz, have fun on your vacation?

Sorry for no updates recently, it’s been challenging to find the time to sit down and write.  It’s funny, one of the last things many people said to me before I embarked on the Fulbright was,” Have a great vacation!”.  Let me be clear, this is not a vacation. I’m definitely on a trip, I’m experiencing new things, trying to understand a culture that is not my own, and getting to do some things I wouldn’t normally do.  BUT, it is definitely not a vacation.  Just ask the immigration office (story to come).

There are many things that make it seem like on a vacation. One of the things is that I kind of live in a hotel.  It’s actually called a service apartment.  I have my own room and bathroom, but I share the main living space which has a dining room, living room and kitchenette all in one.  At times it is quite possible I will share that space with many other people, other times I may be the only one in the space.  It’s an interesting concept, and I’m trying to get used to it.  Just the other evening I was watching a movie at the dining room table by myself and in walked two people.  They had reservations to stay there that night.  They were lovely people, and I spent the rest of the night talking to them about Chennai, Kerala, college, working, movies, tv, and Chipotle (the guy’s dream was to go to America and eat Chipotle, I told him that wasn’t such a good idea right now).

I’m glad I get to try it out for a little while.  One of the best things about living in a place like this  are the “services”.  It took a while for me to get those services, but now it’s all finally happening.  It does kind of seem like I’m on vacation. I don’t have to clean a lot.  The managers of the property are in charge of cleaning the spaces, changing the towels and linens, and basically maintaining the living areas.  Get this, they also will do my laundry!  They will even bring me breakfast and delivery if I want. So yes, kind of vacation-like.

One of other reasons it may seem like I’m on vacation is because I’m taking a lot of photographs and videos of things that are new to me.  Yep, you’ve seen some already.  Most of the pictures are of things I see daily n my commute to work (yep work) and walking around my current neighborhood.  These objects, people, and places aren’t really common where I live back at home and I’m documenting them.  So I guess it may seem like they’re “vacation” pictures.

Oh, another thing that makes it seem like I’m on vacation– I’m totally in another country.  Yep, I’m in India.  People often go to other countries  when they go on vacation.

That’s kind of where it ends.  I am working.  I have an office space, I commute 2 hours a day (way longer than what I’m used to), and I’m expected to — work.  Over the past week I’ve been getting to know the organization.  I spent a  week learning about the different arts programs they offer and even had a chance to visit some schools and observe their programs in action.  It was amazing!  It actually made me miss my day job – teaching.

One of the other expectations is that we exchange information.  They aren’t only teaching me about their jobs and arts programming, they’re also teaching me about themselves.  We’re getting to know each other, we eat lunch together, have tea breaks, share work stuff, and even talk POLITICS.  That’s why I’m doing this!  I want to know more about the world we live in, I want to understand more about the lives of people so we can find similarities and discuss the differences.  One of the best ways to learn something about people and how they live  is to just be around people!

It’s been busy.  A good busy, and I’m so happy to be here. There are so many things to write about, and I hope I can be better about sharing them here on this platform.  Keep checking in, because even though I’m working, I will be making time for blogging.

But let’s be real, you’re only in it for the pictures:

World’s smallest cup of coffee.
First kurta bought in India, many many more to come.
Breakfast time- Must be a dosa.
Totally tricked out tuktuk, or auto (I’m learning the lingo)
Me in that tricked out auto.
Observing a children’s choir. Awesome kids!
The ladies, studying their lyrics.
Through the courtyard, in front of our office, our very own Ganesh.
Gate to the office.
Nicole, a fellow Fulbrighter, we meet up for the Literature Festival in Chennai!
Which book would you choose?
Visiting Gandhi on Marina Beach.
Stumbled on this beauty on my big long walkabout this past Sunday.
Just a little color.
Magic…just magic.


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