Thursday, 14 November 2013

Reasons to be cheerful...

...part, not Ian Dury but a fitting title for today's post.

I've noticed that since moving here, I am more aware of all these tiny moments of joy or peace that make up the day.

It can be something small like the feeling shortly before K's bedtime when we're all fed, washed, the house is tidied and the calm of evening descends or when receiving our daily half litre of milk fresh from the local village and delivered by a smiling old guy on a moped, (churn of milk strapped to the back) who pours it straight into a saucepan for boiling. The bamboo lined, sun dappled cycle ride to K's kindergarten, smiling often and being smiled at by strangers and waking up at dawn to the sound of unfamiliar, tropical birds.

Today, K, the sisters from our community and another boy (a friend of the girls and in K's class) played in the community. They'd spend time at the girls house, race about on the cycles, spend some time at our house and then back out. The community was filled with the sound of noisy, laughing, joyful children and it made me so happy. If ever there was justification for our move, then this was it and when you add on all the other moments of total awareness and thankfulness, it's really something. Don't get me wrong, it's not all perfect but the good, far, far outweighs the bad. When we arrived K really struggled with the change and I honestly never thought it would get better. He still has his difficult moments but it is getting better all the time.

This feeling is summed up for me in the track 'You Set The Scene' by Love (track here if you're interested - Love (I was at this gig <3)):

"You go through changes, it may seem strange
Is this what you're put here for?
You think you're happy and you are happy
That's what you're happy for."


"This is the time and life that I am living
And I'll face each day with a smile
For the time that I've been given's such a little while
And the things that I must do consist of more than style
There are places that I am going."

Just perfect (and no apologies for indulgently quoting lyrics at you - this track sums things up better than I can - haha!)

So, just a little post this evening, just a reminder for me really to take pleasure from all the little things in life because they add up to so much.


Monday, 11 November 2013

Hi there!

Hi, time for a bit of an update. I have to wait for the perfect moment to write as our lives here are filled with busy-ness.

Things have been going really well, K is settling into kindergarten after a difficult first few weeks. It was quite a big change for him after only going to nursery twice a week in the UK but he seems so happy and settled now and he is getting on well with the other children in the community too, they often spend the afternoons cycling up and down the main path and exploring/playing games.

Since the beginning of Oct when K started kindergarten, C and I have been working as volunteers. C is working in the Pour Tous kitchen - which is linked to the food co-op of the same name - so people can get ready made lunches at the same time as getting their groceries. He's enjoying it as in the UK he worked in a number of kitchens but never had the freedom to make what he wanted and I know he's also learning lots which is useful for cooking at home!

I'm working in the same area at the clothing co-op called Nandini. It works on the same basis as Pour Tous, to become a member you contribute a certain amount of mony each month and the idea is that you take what you need and if you go over your allocated funds then it's not a problem as it should balance out over the year if you take less at other times. It's a nice place to work and I get to meet many people which is invaluable as a newcomer to AV. It also look as though I will be taken on with a full maintenence once I am officially a Newcomer which is a great start. All the service based jobs within AV are paid on a maintenence, full or half depending on the hours worked. As well as getting money into our account (money isn't used within AV, rather everyone has an account with a four digit number and you give the number when 'paying' for things in shops/restaurants etc), a maintenence covers money towards the health fund, the AV contribution (everyone pays a monthly contribution of around £30 to Auroville in general), a little towards our Pour Tous account and towards meals at the Solar Kitchen. Also once I receive this, K will receive some money for clothing/meals etc which is a great help.

So we're pretty busy, but happy at the same time. We all have our afternoons free together at the moment as we're both just volunteering part time for now. We're spending quite some time on our garden which is doing really well. Our tomato plants are flowering, the basil and lemongrass is flourishing and we have planted a pineapple, ginger, garlic, coriander, spring onions and lettuce in pots and troughs on the balcony. I want to get some more herbs planted and I really want to try growing cucumbers at some point. Hopefully today I'll be getting a potted lemon tree for the balcony which I'm excited about. We're also getting the front of the house looking nice, slowly it's looking less like a building site although it's hard work as the soil needs totally digging up and reworking with compost and a little sand. It's worth it though. :)

The beginning of Nov marked Diwali here so there was much celebration and fireworks. We went to a fireworks 'display' on Friday the 1st which was very different to a British display. Instead of a display of carefully choreographed fireworks watched from a distance, the children all lined up and received a big handful of sparklers and assorted fireworks and then gathered in a relatively small space and just lit them. It was chaotic and I just know that something like that would never happen in the UK (health and safety nightmare!) but nobody got hurt and everyone had a great time. Here's a few pictures:

The following day we were awoken to the sound of fireworks going off all around. It continued all day and well into the night. In the evening C and I climbed onto the roof and watched the fireworks going off. The sky above Pondy just 8km away glowed so I can only imagine how they celebrated their festival of lights - maybe next year we'll brave the chaos and go.

Art outside the old Pour Tous shop for Diwali made from coloured powder.
and a kolam outside the new Pour Tous being made - just beautiful.

  We finally got a little rain a few days later, here's K enjoying the novely. It didn't last but for one day I enjoyed wearing a cardigan and socks for the first time in two months. It also softened up the ground so the gardening has been a little easier.

Here's the birds sheltering on our window sill.

A few days ago we went to my first Indian wedding, a colleague working in the same area as me and C got marrried and as is customary, everyone gets invited. We went along for the evening celebrations. Here we are dressed up and ready to go (K's photo taking skills are very good)
 and the hall before it filled up
K was given some candy floss which kept him entertained
and it got a bit loud
The bride and groom arriving
The musicians leading the procession
We didn't stay for the whole evening but it was fun to go along and offer our congratulations to the happy couple.
That's about it for now, it's lunch time and K needs picking up from kindergarten in half an hour. More soon and as always, thanks for reading.