Thursday, 31 July 2014

One month to go...

...before we've been here for a whole year! It's just flown by, seems only a few weeks ago I was writing about our new house and life. Anyway, I'll have a proper time for reflection next month.
As always, the time has gone quickly, especially since we're settling back into the school routine and the hustle and bustle that goes with it.
I've started a side project to make a few extra rupees each month by baking cakes and desserts for C's cafe. At the moment I'm making 2 a week (a crumble and a batch of muffins or a fruit loaf or flapjacks for example). It's good as I'm only working in the mornings at Eco Femme and can bake from home in the afternoons. I love baking too so it's a win-win situation.
I've also just started an online course with Coursera, my third to date but first in a year as we had all the moving to do. I signed up for Social Psychology this time (previously did 'Intro to Psychology' and 'The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness'), a 7 week course of which I'm nearly at the end of week 3. The last time I did one of these courses I was a stay at home mum living in a flat in the UK and now it's been a little hard to keep up with it all as well as working, housework, childcare etc etc etc. I'm sticking it out though and really learning lots too. I think it's an amazing platform that allows people to continue learning, I thoroughly recommend having a look at their site...
My yoga classes have started up again too (my teacher took a break for a month) so as you can imagine, I'm pretty fully booked. Phew!
So this month, I met a few more beasties, firstly this rather huge cockroach. I moved here with a pretty bad fear of most bugs but have got so much braver. I still can't get over my fear of these though...
(on my first trip to India, I saw my first ever cockroach whilst waiting for a train. From a distance I was mildly interested but looked away to see if our train was coming. I looked back to see where the roach was to find it sitting on my shoulder waving its long antennae at me. I gave an unearthly shriek much to the amusement of the locals and flung it off me. Since then they have become an issue to me.)
...luckily we don't have too many...*shudder*.

Then I lifted the rock up which we use to keep the back door open one bright Sunday morning to find that a battle had been waged between two vicious beasties. In this instance, the scorpion appeared to have won. I left them be as both have a nasty sting. They were gone an hour later.
I also saw this beautiful specimen catching some afternoon rays. He let me get quite close before running up a tree.
Last week I took a trip the the botanical gardens and returned with this most beautiful pink hibiscus. It's just a baby and I think I'll keep it potted on the balcony. It's just lovely.
We've also just planted a new crop of tomatoes and cucumbers, we think that by monsoon season they should be big enough to deal with the rains. C bought a net which we've attached to the roof above our balcony and running down to the trough below so the cucumbers have a sturdy thing to climb up. It's a better spot for them as it gets the afternoon sun rather than the midday sun which killed off our first attempt after producing just two cucumbers.
This is the tree in the centre of the campus where I work, it provides much needed shade and has a huge perfectly tuned windchime (see in the branches to the left) made just a short distance away at Svaram. It adds a peaceful atmosphere to an already happy environment (and I really want to climb the tree!).
Artwork on the wall by my office.
K and the Ganesh shrine by the Solar Kitchen, where the staff make morning puja

 Me on the balcony in the afternoon sun.

Last sat I was invited to a ladies afternoon with some friends and new faces. We drank some wine (such a rare treat), had a swim in the pool, put on a mud mask and then made a puja on the beach at sundown before being joined by our respective partners and kids and having a pot luck dinner. Shortly before we left it started to rain and we got to drive back home with the lightning flashing overhead and a cool, gentle rain refreshing us. One thing I've observed since we moved is how alive I feel, especially during moments like this.

I'm rather an introvert so don't have a constant need for company but when I do share a nice day with good people it nourishes my soul and eases my homesickness, my few friends back in the UK are greatly missed. 

Anyway, that's all for now. C will be back from his evening of work soon and I have to do some more work on my studies before bed. It's C's birthday tomorrow and I won't have much time for studies until Sun. C's mum will have K tomorrow night so we can go to Pondy for a nice meal and then Sat morning we're off to the fancy resort nearby for a swim and lunch with the family.
More soon,


Friday, 4 July 2014

One week in... my new job and I am feeling very positive indeed. I feel very lucky to have arrived at this point and to be working with such strong inspirational women for such an important cause. Even the drive there is joyful, butterflies and greenery all around as I trundle along on my moped.
I'll try not to go on too much about the evils of disposable sanitary products on here but well...they are pretty evil! If anyone reading wants to discuss further or to ask questions please feel free to drop me a line at :)

Anyway, summer is slowly drawing to a close here, people are returning from their nice cool holidays and K is back to kindergarten on Mon. It's been tough coping with the heat, I feel that maybe in hindsight it was harder that I realised. Tempers are frayed and the permenant sweating leads to itchy heat rash. K has been pretty hard work as a result too. Still, it should be getting progressively cooler from now on.
At the beginning of June I met another new kind of praying mantis, they are just fascinating to watch. I'm getting much better with bugs since moving here (although not the cockroaches - urgh!)
K having a play outside with his 'sunbrella'

Our community in bloom - the tree (Delonix Regiais or Royal Poinciana) known as a Realization tree here, fitting as it's the name of our community. The pink flowers are Oleanders and have the most amazing scent.

Me and C had a welcome day/night away in Mahabalipuram to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary. After the stress of weeks of hot, sweaty, grumpy, bored 4 year old, it really was nice!
This is the shore temple from a distance.

Here is me sitting on a stone lion :)

This amused me, needless to say, we didn't go in!

The next day before we left for home, we visited the Tiger cave, just a little distance away. I'd not been before and it was a nice way to finish off our visit.

K's been spending lots of time on our balcony as it's shaded and he has a big bucket to splash in. He's also been doing chalk drawings on the floor...

He's all into superheroes at the moment so every pose looks like this!

Another beach trip...


A few nights ago we had a wonderful but brief downpour with the most ear splitting cracks of thunder and flashes of forked lightning.

I really love the tropical storms, they're so dramatic, especially as the house only had mesh on the upstairs doors and the windows are covered by small slats of single pane glass. You feel so connected to it. It's exhilarating!

I got these shots on our small side balcony once the rain had stopped.
Anyway, that's it for now. It's getting late *yawn*.