Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Another month gone by!

Hi there, finding a spare moment here and there is indeed are rare thing. And so, I blink, and another month passes by. I guess I'll fill you in on the past month to start...
So at the end of Feb we took a trip to Banyan beach, which is 5-10 mins down the main road towards Pondicherry. It's not as badly eroded as the Repos beach which is opposite the Auroville turn off and as the weather hots up, it's nice to remember that we are living very close to the sea.

I'm also undergoing a transition between jobs. My time at Nandini has been a great way to meet people within the community but I don't feel I can provide them with the full time hours that they need and the hectic, hustle and bustle of the place is exhausing for my somewhat introverted soul. It's more than I can take on with a small child to look after and a house to manage as well as persuing my own interests and integrating into life here.
I am in a surprising situation, well, surprising compared to the UK, in the sense that I am potentially valuable as an employee here. Being a native English speaker with admin/computer skills is something much sought after and without even looking I have been offered 2 jobs. I've settled on a job working as an administrator in the Town Hall. I feel it will suit my need for quiet and organisation. The hours are the same as K's kindergarten hours and can be flexible during school holidays. Plus I have a nice view of the Matrimandir!
I've also started up yoga classes again. A twice weekly class has started in the community next to ours. It's free to volunteers which is a big help since our papers are still in the ether and it's only a minute's walk from my front door. It's been great to have a couple of hours to myself, for me each week.
The garden is looking good although how things will cope with the coming summer is anyone's guess. We already recycle some water for them to minimise water usage as well as timing the watering at dusk when it's coolest.
The papaya tree started flowering a few weeks back...
...and now has a few baby papayas sprouting!

We're having a go at growing cucumbers vertically, useful for the balcony. The plant seems really happy and has been growing so quickly. We're trying to concentrate on growing things that always get used in our house. It's easy to get carried away with the amount of different things you can grow!

A neighbour recently moved out and passed on some plants and baby trees, this is a kumquat tree which we'll leave to grow in a pot on the balcony. We were also given some passionfruit plants which we have planted along the hedge behind our back doors, an avocado tree - planted in the front garden and a lemon tree - planted out back.

We're also growing beans, similar to kidney beans which seem to be doing well although the bottom leaves have all fallen off. Might be a little while until we have enough for a stew though!

Here is one of the few troughs just for decorative purposes, it doesn't get any sun so these plants seem very happy here. I love ferns especially so want a few potted ferns up here eventually too.

On the other balcony we're growing three different varieties of chilli.

We're really loving how the garden is coming along and it is immensely satifying to eat food grown at home. It is a gradual process though, I tend to get impatient and want it all to look exactly how I imagine it at once!
We've also been meeting some local residents, this is a common house spider here. They're totally harmless but a bit massive so I do try to get them out as I am not great with bugs. They're fast though!

This is our local lizard, he's beautiful.

These are called 'Lovebugs', they mate at this time of year and can be seen crawling about in pairs.

This is some kind of mantis, I spent a good 20 mins watching this fella, he was amazing. He moved just like a leaf in the wind...

...and looked like one too.

We met this Very Hungry Caterpillar a few weeks back. He is a hawk moth caterpillar. He was huge and spent hours and hours eating. All the kids in the community enjoyed meeting him and having a stroke. he has big spots on the back of his head which when he's agitated will puff out to give the look of a snake.

Other than work, gardening and meeting creatures over the past few weeks we have been trying to spent more time in the water. We have a friend with a private pool and have finally made it to the public pool, La Piscine.

We also made it up the ECR (East Coast Road) to the furthest Auroville community, Eternity. We're friends with the kids that grew up there, now all adults. The land opens up onto the nicest beach I've seen on this side of India. It's well worth the half hour drive.

 On Mon (24th) K's class came to visit in the morning. The class visits a different child's house each Monday in an effort to get to know each other and gain an insight into how the children live.

Here they are settling down for a snack, I made some chocolate and banana cakes for the occasion. It went really well although I admit that me and C were a little nervous of having 13 children running about the place. It was a nice way for the children to get to know K who is still the new kid in many ways.
So, all in all it's been the usual mix of work and play. Tourist season is coming to a close and life here is settling down for a long hot summer.
Many residents leave for at least a few weeks if not months to their countries of origin at this time of year, leaving just a few behind. As we've not long been here and have minimal funds we'll be staying this summer.  
I'm looking forward to the inevitable slowing down of the pace of life that only extreme weather can cause but I do get irritable in hot weather so am planning to spent a large portion of the coming months submerged in water.
That's all for now. Sending love from India.