We're better and back at it. Silly to think we'd last six months without some illness. At home we rarely go so long without something. All fine now. And it's raining!
I've been impossibly busy lately, though much time is spent in less-than-satisfying endeavors. No complaints tonight, though. Here's a list (PowerPoint style - and you know I hate that) because it's late and the electricity is likely to shut down any moment.
[At another time, I will try to upload some photos to illustrate all this.]
- I inaugurated a rural library and was treated like a rock star (no kidding).
- We saw the most beautiful temple (though I'm told there is a twin) in Kalna,
- Worked in several more villages,
- Took photos,
- Lost photos,
- Spent the night at the Buddhist Center in Kolkata, and
- Missed another train.
- I worked on my chapati and egg-roll techniques (improving, but far from ideal).
- Our flat was transformed for a day into a film stage.
- C had her debut as a film actor in our friend, Shamayal's, video.
- [Shamayal also showed us how to cut glass with kerosene. Do not try this at home.]
- We met more people
- Including some who are both encouraging and really helpful.
- I finally discovered how to get the newspaper delivered (by meeting the delivery man early one morning when my interpreter didn't show) and
- Built a holder to protect the paper when neither Rono (the caretaker) nor I are there on rainy mornings. (Unlike at home where my paper completely dissolves some days, here he won't deliver if it'll get wet.)
- Twice we used our amazing first-aid kit from Aunt Linda to dress wounds (other peoples', not ours).
- We counted cows,
- Bought souvenirs,
- Drank lots of tea,
- Ate many of mangos,
- Picked limes from a tree outside our rooms,
- Cooked (and ate) many kilos of okra, and
- More grilled cheese sandwiches than I should admit.
- My fingernails are always dirty moments after I bathe and I still haven't a clue how it happens.
- I'm getting better at eating rice with my hand. (C is a natural.)
- My Bengali is terrible, though I know many food words.
- I made people laugh, and
- Made others look like "Movie Stars" (in their portraits).
- I practiced wearing a sari,
- Saw more of my equipment break or fail,
- Made peace with rickshaw drivers (beginning a small photography project with some of them), and
- Grew more comfortable with lizards (though snakes are out of the question).
- I photographed in my first Muslim village and, after an uncertain start, was unexpectedly well receive
- My hair is perpetually damp. (And though I know it won't help its health, some of those garden limes are used to address resulting problems).
- I miss home. I miss all of you. I also want to make the most of the time I have left. I lost so much time with all the problems early on (and, no, I haven't written here of all of them). Now, things are moving... or they were... While we are all happy that monsoon is here, it means that my work will be further frustrated. No free lunch, eh? (Or is it, 'no free monsoon'?)
Psssst. On that running nose thing a while back: We did use hankies, but only in secret. I fear everyone we know here would be thoroughly disgusted.