I have few complaints about being here in India on the University of Chicago Pune Civ-Abroad program. Here's one of them:
My day consists of waking up in my hotel, eating breakfast with my American classmates, going to class with my American classmates, having a free afternoon, then eating dinner with my American classmates, and going to sleep in my hotel. Usually on the weekends and sometimes during the week I will go out on trips organized by the program... with my American classmates.
Don't get me wrong. I like my American classmates. They're a really fun and interesting group. We've got all types in and they've all been interesting and fun to talk to and hang out with so far. Not only that, but some of the organized activities we've done have been nothing short of incredible.
...but it's still me in a little University of Chicago bubble with my American classmates.
I've been working a busting the bubble as much as possible; getting out when I can and meeting other people. I got to meet some of the students at Ferguson College and hang out with them some, (mostly watching hindi movies and playing video games). I've struck out and gotten a few extra opportunities to explore things like the “theives' bazaar” and even got a peek at a bhakti drumming ceremony with the local grandmaster pakawaj drummer (You'll see it in Episode 3 coming on Oct. 17).
But I still feel like I'm in the bubble.
Remember the break I told you about with the “Special Request” entry a few weeks back? It starts tomorrow. The votes are in, and I am headed to Kerala. I hope. After a three-hour bureaucratic marathon in the pouring rain at the Pune train station, (I'll try to give a recap in episode 5, which will be all about this trip) I have the the stationmaster's promise of 99% chance of me getting on the train if I present myself to him again around 1:00 pm tomorrow. After that...
Well, I won't spoil the surprise of everything I have in store for this trip but if it all turns out as planned, you can kiss the bubble goodbye.
Wish me luck,