Wednesday, 30 April 2014


Hi there. It's the middle of the first week of the summer holidays. We got a beautiful photo from K's Kindergarten on the last day (last Fri) of his class and teachers.

It made me realise how far we've come and how much better K is doing since we moved. He still has his moments but together we are all learning and seem much happier as a family.
On last Friday me and C were officially given our status here, him as a returning Aurovilian (which lasts 6 months before getting full Aurovilian status) and me as a Newcomer (which lasts a year). It's nice to have that part of things done, nearly 8 months later we are still waiting for our residential permits and visa extensions. Once they are in our possession, C can apply of OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) status and me and K will be eligible for PIO (Person of Indian Origin) status as his wife and son. That will enable us to live here and travel to and from India without visas which will be a huge help.
Getting to the reason behind todays post title, on Monday morning I had my first bike accident. I was going a little too fast around a corner and my front wheel slipped on the gravel as I was oversteering and down we went. K was totally unharmed (phew!) and I grazed my right arm and leg as well as taking off a layer of skin on my big toe. It was a small accident, but enough to shake me up. I am driving much more consciously now! My arm and leg are fine, a little sore but healing well. My toe, however, is going to take a little more time. Here in the tropics, things just don't heal so quickly and out here with all the dust things can easily become infected, especially on the feet where the exposure to dirt is higher (no shoes or socks for us!). I'm just not used to having to be so stringent about these things but luckily C, having grown up here, knows the drill. It's still swollen and sore, hopefully it'll heal soon.
To top it off, K came down with a bad stomach on Monday night, I'm not sure yet what the cause is but it's still happening now although he's much better. Yesterday was full of trips to the loo and me hobbling after him trying to keep my foot clean and dry whilst keeping him clean and dry as well as washing all the dirty bedding in between power cuts.
Me and K are coming down with colds too, which is silly considering how warm it is but with all the cold showers and sleeping with the fan on, it's apparently quite a common reaction.
So all in all a bit of a rubbish start to the holidays. Tomorrow is another holiday so it gives me another day to heal before work on Fri and Sat. I'm hoping that it's a case of getting all the injuries and illnesses out the way for a while so we can enjoy the next 7 weeks.
That's all for now.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Here comes the summer!

Hi there, so today is election day here in India. It's a national holiday so nearly everywhere here in AV is closed for the day. Always nice to have an extra day off!
Tomorrow is K's last day at school before the summer holidays, they are off until the 1st July. I have mixed feelings about the holidays as me and C are still expected to work so it will take a bit of juggling things around to make it work, as well as most of his friends being away in Europe for the duration. There will be a summer school starting for 3 days a week soon so perhaps he'll go there for some of the time as well as C's mum hopefully helping out.
A photo on display at K's Kindergarten from the Pongal celebrations in Jan:

C is currently working 3 jobs (with the mind to pick the 2 he likes best) so my time is limited in what I can do and when. It is important that I work during my newcomer period and I have so many options that it is a bit overwhelming. I'm currently helping out 2 mornings a week at one job, have another on the sidelines, and I had another offer a few days ago to help out for 6 weeks over the summer whilst someone goes back to Europe. I'm not good at making decisions at the best of times so am struggling to decide where I would be happiest/most useful as well as not wanting to let anybody down.
Just another day at the office - view of the Matrimandir from town hall where I've been working:
Other than that, the sun continues to beat down on us. We've been hearing murmers of water shortages due to the last couple of poor monsoons and already some communities have water restrictions in place. We're doing our best to minimise our water usage and to reuse as much as possible. We now shower with a bucket positioned under the stream to collect surplus water (baring in mind we all have 2-3 showers each a day in this heat). We save a couple of buckets a day like this and it really helps with things like washing the floors and watering the garden. I now rinse all the washing up in a bucket rather than have the tap running too which seems to help. It's nice to be conscious of these things.
We've also been making food from our own garden including sweet chilli sauce and pesto. We have such little access to processed foods that we've gone back to basics (processed food is actually more expensive here which seems to me to be the right way to do it). It's certainly more satisfying than getting stuff from the supermarket. Our local shop is a co-operative which sources most of it's product from local farms and the next town. It just takes a while to master each new recipe. Next on my list is lemon curd, kombucha and I'm having a go at making my own sprouts from green lentils. I also need to find a way of making a good veggie alternative to meat - no more Quorn products for us here. I do miss the convenience of having a freezer full of chips, fish, and veggie products but I'm certain we're healthier because of it too.
We got our first couple of cucumbers from our plant which were delicious. The plant is interesting in that it produces both male and female flowers, the female flowers having a swelling below it that will become a cucumber provided it's fertilised. As our plant is on the balcony, we're doing this by hand. It seems to produce more of one flower than the other at alternating times. We only have male flowers at the moment!


The papaya tree has several good sized green papayas on it. Will be very happy when we get to try one. Mango season has also started here. I got a couple the other day, small, yellow and fragrant. Nothing like the large green ones I've seen before in UK supermarkets. C says there's around 3 varieties grown locally. I can't wait to try them all and already have plans for mango based treats including this I found on Pinterest:
I'm also gathering things to start crafting again. I left all my crafty bits in the UK so have to start from scratch and now I am trying to focus on recycling waste to create things. Yet again, Pinterest is super for getting ideas. I have a nice idea for creating lotus flowers from pistachio shells and want to reuse drinks cans and bottles somehow, probably to create garden decorations, will be sure to show you as and when I get some things done.
Anyway, I think that's it for now. More soon,
Yours sweatily,


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A little update...

Hi there, well after just over 7 months, the Entry Service have been kind enough to go ahead with our applications. Our papers still haven't arrived from Chennai but they have been guaranteed that our residential permits have been approved and that it's not fair on us to delay the process any longer.
I will become a 'Newcomer' for a year before becoming an Aurovilian and C will be a 'Returning Aurovilian' for six months before regaining his status. K will become a 'Child of Auroville' until his 18th birthday, when he can then choose to be added to the master list and become an Aurovilian in his own right.
I had my interview with them last Thurs and have since spent this week filling out forms and getting documents in support of my application. Hopefully in about 10 days time I will be announced in the weekly News and Notes and my year as a Newcomer will begin.
It's an exciting time as it marks our commitment to AV and opens up a few more opportunities that just aren't available to a volunteering guest.
Other than that, things are much the same. It is getting very hot. It's said that April is a difficult month as you really notice the change from warm to hot, after this month you kind of get used to being perpetually sweaty. It's fine as long as you have regular access to pools, showers, fans etc. But then, the middle of April is the latest in the year I've been here so we'll see how it is in a month or so!
Anyway, just wanted to share our good news.
More soon.