This time I dont really have much of a good reason to have been as MIA as I have lately.
But some sort of record is better than nothing?
The UBC students have been here for just over a week, and I would say we’ve all settled into an easy friendship. It’s great having more people to chat with, and bounce ideas off of as well. We all went to Varkala this last weekend, and it was a lot of fun. I never ever ever ever wanted to leave (if our supervisor hadnt semi-joked we would fail if we didnt come back from the beach I would still be there right now).
Last week I saw my village kiddos and did my last coaching session. The Wednesday village visits went well; two of the UBC students came with to observe and get a feel for how the sessions go. It was really great to have them, and help as I was working along side Sarah, our resident PT student. Thursday they also came along, and there were a LOT of us. One of the French volunteers came as well; she is a social worked and created a foundation to raise money to purchase needed equipment for Amar Seva Sangam. Its quite remarkable how many people are involved in the operation of ASSA, and the efforts that go on behind the scenes.
Friday was the 25th anniversary Handi-Care International being involved at ASSA, and the school was renamed for the late president of the foundation (check out their Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/HandiCareIntl/posts/1275078655907494)
In honour of the celebration, there was an ELEPHANT. Holy moly. It was so cool to see an animal of this size so close. It was so calm (in my opinion) and kind of reminded me of a horse; if you’re calm, they stay calm. From the bit I could tell, the handlers were very kind and invested in the elephant. They even gave it a bath before the afternoon celebrations!
We missed most of the other celebrations in the afternoon, because we left for Varkala. All of us were beyond ready, especially the three of us who have been here for 5 weeks. I can only speak for myself, but as much as I love the atmosphere on campus, it feels a bit like we’re living in The Truman Show; in a bubble removed from the outside world. So it was SO nice to get out and see other areas. Everyone is so lovely and wants to ensure we are safe and well cared for, which makes me feel two ways all at once. Its so sweet and kind and thoughtful of them, but Im very independent, and am used to doing my own thing without having to check in.. so it’s mildly irritating (especially when I havent slept or missed my coffee) to have to check in with reception, get a gate pass, provide the exact location of where we’re going, who we’re going with, when we’ll be back, etc etc. I realize I can hold these two opposing views in tandem, and that they are able to both exist at once, so just trying to honour that about myself.
Anyways, back to the beach. We’ve been trying to go somewhere every weekend but our plans are seemingly foiled. Fingers crossed we get our act together for this weekend!
We arrived around 6, dropped our bags and basically ran to the beach. The sun was going down, but none the less, it was beautiful. A few of us hit the ocean, and the water was so warm and salty.
After the beach, we headed back to the resort and had dinner. We all treated ourselves to a much deserved beer. I definitely havent missed alcohol since being here, but it was nice to kick back and toast our adventures.
The next morning was beach time!! We had breakfast at the resort, and I had REAL COFFEE. Between real coffee and the hot water showers I was almost crying with happiness. I’ve said before that hot water is happiness, and honestly, in my life, there’s little hot water can’t solve.
This was the best cup of coffee I’ve had. Not because it was that good, but because I’ve missed it that much. #caffeineaddict
We walked through the shops lining the road and made our way down the cliff to the ocean. It was instant bliss. I wanted to move everyone I know and their dog to this beach. We took a brief hiatus for lunch, and reclaimed our beach umbrellas (rented that morning for 400 rupees total, for 2!). It was a bit hazy, but still SO hot.We took advantage of the shade, and so did some of the resident beach dogs. I tried to give one a little water, since he was panting up a storm and instead was rewarded with him burying me in the sand. So much for acts of kindness in the animal world.. Im definitely kidding, but he had an attitude! None of the beach dogs bothered people really, and most had collars. I assume they live with the store vendors and get to enjoy the beach during the day.
Cliffs of Varkala
We stayed at the bach until sun set, and then went roaming for some dinner. We settled on the Juice Shack, and met a lovely girl from London. She was on a solo trek through India, working her way through to China. It was great to make more friends and enjoy each other’s company. Soon after, we were all feeling the effects of a couple beers and lots of food and headed for bed.
It was SO nice to wear Western clothes, although not being super covered up was very weird. I finally got to wear a new skirt I bought before leaving for India; I cant wear it around ASSA because it doesnt cover my ankles… So obviously I made Eudia be my personal photographer and had a little mini photo shoot outside our room…. How could I not?! It has pockets.
The next morning a few of the girls went for yoga in the morning; I tried but not sleeping well (still) is killing my vibe. After they all got back, we had breakfast with our London friend (she went to yoga too) and bid farewell. Then it was a quick run to the beach, what an amazing blue bird day. Dragging myself out of the ocean was so tough. I could have stayed in the water all day.
checked out of the hotel and did some shopping. I picked up a silk dress on Saturday, and got to wear it around before changing into “real” clothes for the drive back to ASSA (baggy long pants, a long top etc).
Being back on ASSA was a tough change. Monday went pretty easily; I only had one kiddo at the EI centre for a short session so I caught up on most of my paper work.
Sensory Room.. note the lack of windows. Part of the reason for that is so that it can be dark, but it definitely makes it one of the hottest buildings on campus.
Today I had no kiddos, and spent the morning waiting for them… Every day is a surprise so I often wait for half an hour for one of them to show up, or they dont come at all like today. I spent the day running so many errands around campus and trying to create a presentation Im going to give the village workers on the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure. We’ll see how that shapes up!
There are visitors coming from McGill tonight (some of my profs) and more tomorrow, so we were temporarily relocated from our room… A bit of a gong show but it all worked out. Or at least it seems to have.
Anyways. Off to relax a bit before we have dinner with our profs and figure out planning for the village tomorrow.