Matt and I have experienced a lot of "firsts" lately. We have wanted to venture out on the weekends without having to rely on our driver. Ajay has a family, and also has a farm where he grows vegetables, so we are trying to make sure we are not taking up all his time, as well as learning the area for ourselves. There are many places within a 15-20 minute walk, but sometimes it's just too hot. It also gets dark here insanely early, usually by 7:20, so we try to avoid walking in the dark. Our solution to this is the tuk-tuk. Tuk-tuks are everywhere. Basically, if we just walk outside the front gate of our apartment complex, there will be several looking for someone to give a ride to. We have used tuk-tuks several times now, the first time being the night of those blisters that almost caused a meltdown. We've taken them to our new favorite restaurant 100% Rock, or to check out other new places nearby. The best part is we usually only pay 50 rupees, which is about 85 cents.
*Note the three wheels. Matt has advised me that in the event we are in a tuk-tuk and it rolls over, to keep my arms inside and not attempt to catch us.
We have enjoyed many other new things lately. Matt has golfed twice in Central Park at Rambagh golf course. It is a members course, so he is looking into joining. He seems to really like it. The course is used for several professional golf tournaments, and many of the caddies are professional which he likes because they offer good advice. I think his goal is to come back and not hit parked cars anymore.
I have volunteered several times now, and I really enjoy it. I teach five different classes, and each class has a distinct personality. My favorite class is the one that's a little mischievous. The boys are testing me by doing all sorts of things they shouldn't be doing, like shredding up paper under their desk, or eating these berries they pick. But they are all adorable, and are so excited to be learning English. My big task is to write five different tests for them to take in a few weeks to see what they know so far.
Last post I mentioned planting flowers at our apartment, and I'm almost done. Our driver has been getting some dirt for us a little at a time from Matt's work. It is a construction site since they are adding onto the plant he works at, so there are mounds of dirt we can take for free. I must have at least 80 plants. It has been fun to pick out what I want, and make our apartment look much nicer. I think the other residents here think I am crazy for planting myself. Everyone else here has a gardener. The modo seems to be why do for yourself what others will do for free or a minimal charge. But, I enjoy doing this myself. I also forgot to mention that apparently plants are required. Everyone has them lining their entire apartment. So, it's not like I really had a choice, I just made the choice to plant them myself.
I still have a few more to plant. In the bottom right I am growing guavas, limes, peppers, and chiku. I am not sure what chiku really is, but I wanted to try something new.
So, needless to say, things are getting much calmer. It is great that Matt and I are enjoying our time together, but are also starting to find hobbies of our own. We've both been able to read a lot more, and be outside. I just finished reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Ender's Game by Orson Scott. I am just starting Reconstructing Amelia. In fact, I am headed outside right now to read and chase pigeons off the patio. If you have any great book suggestions, please let me know!
The door on the right is where our laundry machine is. First time I have had to go outside to do laundry, and then let it hang to dry. I hang it inside to avoid pigeon poop on our clothes. It is better than going into a basement, however it takes so long to dry in this humidity, and it is a small machine, so I feel like I am constantly doing laundry.
Table for two. Outdoor furniture has been extremely hard to find. I settled on this little table for now, which looks a little silly on this huge patio. But I feel like I bargained a good price for it.
My quote I leave you with today: "Your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn." It's never been more true.