Imagine you had all the time you wanted to do whatever you want. Nowhere you have to be, and nothing you have to do. Well, I was given this gift, and it's very strange.
My life in Jaipur so far has allowed me time to pursue essentially anything I want. I have time to sit outside on my patio and drink my coffee and read almost every morning. How many people can say they have time for that? My schedule back in Minnesota certainly did not allow for that. I am late for everything (a Purcell trait, but I'm not pointing the finger). I can't ever imagine myself having "extra" time back home. I am lucky if I have time to pour coffee into a travel mug on my way out the door, 20 minutes late.
But now my life is opposite of that. I don't have anything to be late for (and if I am it makes no difference because there is no such thing as being on-time here). Besides volunteering twice a week, my days are filled with small tasks that that I simply haven't had time to enjoy previously.
This is what occupies my time:
1. Pinterest insanity! Anyone that follows me on Pinterest must think I am insane. I am pinning meaningless crap constantly! Some of the things I pin are to remind me of comforts of home...Christmas cookie recipes I want to try with my mom and sisters, or paint colors I consider for my house which I miss greatly. About 99% of the things I pin I will likely never do/use/cook while I am here. However, as I am writing right now, my feet are covered in shaving cream, wrapped in a towel soaked in Listerine. According to Pinterest I will have soft feet in 30 minutes...I'll update you on the success of this. If nothing else, at least my toes smell winter fresh.
2. Photography. I have the time to learn more about my camera. I practice taking pictures at sunset from the top floor of our apartment. I am learning the patience to play with aperture, shutter speed, IOS. Ask me what those mean and I can't really tell you, but I do know it takes just the right settings to create the perfect effect.
3. Reading. I have read more these past 7 weeks that I have in the past 2 years! So far I have read:
Reconstructing Amelia, Gone Girl, Ender's Game, The Great Gatsby, After Visiting Friends, Behind the Beautiful Forevers.. The last one is a book I highly recommend. It was written by a journalist for the NY Times, Katherine Boo, and she lived in a slum in Mumbai, India for an extended period of time. The book recounts true stories of life in the slums. Although I doubted her ability to tell me what people were thinking sometimes, her ability to portray the story of challenges and successes of a life unfamiliar to us was very interesting.
4. Gardening. This has kept me very busy the past few weeks. A tuk-tuk can only deliver so many plants and pots at a time, so I did everything in small steps. I enjoy watching my plants sprout new flowers, and seeing my fruit grow. But something is taking my limes and guavas! Any suggestions to keep pests out without chemicals? The only thing I have seen on my patio are birds. I also got some "organic manure" to fertilize the plants. I cant read the package, so who knows what's really in it,
5. Shopping. Don't think that just because I am in India I abandoned my urges to spend. I like going into new stores and malls. There are malls everywhere here. Yesterday I went to visit a shop called Concept Jewelry. It is owned by a young French girl, and I found the shop through her post on a Jaipur Expats facebook page. I bought a beautiful gold bracelet there. Lucky for me $1 is equal to 65 rupees right now. It was 56 when we got here, so I feel like I am getting a deal. I also enjoy exploring new fruit and veg markets. Every one has something different. I've had great melon, mangos and papayas. I squeeze lime on the papaya which is something my uncle's sister taught me when I went to Hawaii with my family many years ago. She sent us a gift basket to our hotel, which was a saving grace with four kids who just got off an 11 hour flight and are starving! There was a note to squeeze the limes onto the papayas and it was SO good! Try it.
6. Exercising. I exercised my fair share back in the states. I was good about going in 12 times a month so that my insurance would cover it. However, the whole time thing did not always allow for me to get a long enough workout in. I was either late getting up to workout before school, or went after school and could only think about getting home and making dinner. Here I have joined a gym, and I can go every day for as long as I want. I am even planning to attend my first yoga class soon. I also like to go for walks around Central Park. It is the one place where I can be outside and enjoy fresh air and feel safe.
This is Central Park. They have a 4 kilometer walking path, and this is also where the golf course is that Matt goes to.
This is our apartment from the park.
A view of the park from the top of our apartment building. The greenest place in Jaipur! This picture only shows about 1/4 of how big it really is.
7. Meeting new people. It is a challenge to make friends here, as I am noticing that many young twenty-somethings are only here for very short periods of time. But I do enjoy talking to locals and learning about the Indian culture, as well as talking with other expats and learning more about what brings people here. Matt and I like to go to a restaurant/bar called 100% Rock on Tuesday nights. It is 2 for 1 drinks, half priced food, and karaoke. This isn't the good karaoke, it is Indians singing the worst music America has ever produced. Think Evanescence, Linkin Park, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys. But on Tuesdays, many expats come streaming in. This week we met a whole group of young college kids who are here to volunteer at a pre-school, as well as help women become more independent. Matt met a guy named Raphael from Bordeoux, France. They ended up golfing together the next day, and I think Matt enjoyed the company. It was a good reminder to me that when I do meet these people, I need to be better at reaching out to them and meeting up.
Now the downfall that comes along with this gift of time is guilt. Guilt for not going off to a job everyday where I bring home money to contribute to our family of two. Guilt for my occasional afternoon nap. No one, particularly not Matt, has made me feel this guilt. It is simply something I am just having a hard time adjusting too. One thing I believe will help is volunteering more. I intend to go at least three days starting next week. I realize that still may not seem like a lot, but truly I am still adjusting to teaching outside in the heat, with no lights or fans in the classrooms, and creepy crawly critters everywhere.
But I also plan to take full advantage of this. Never in my life will I again have time on my side. So, for all of you who never have time to enjoy the things that make you happiest, I encourage you to make some time. Stop and do one thing every day that makes you happy - even if you can't do it for long. Remember, "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted." - John Lennon
I removed the Listerine covered towel from my feet and my cracked heels are still cracked! Thanks a lot Pinterest!