Happy belated Diwali everyone! So sorry to not have written sooner, but things have been slightly busy. All of our assignments are due this week, and like always, I've left alot until the end. I'm really close to being done though, and with no all-nighters!!
Last Friday, November 9th, was Diwali. Diwali is the biggest celebration of the year in India, kind of like Chrsitmas in Canada (but less commercial!!). Anu and Naveen offered to take us (Amber, Nate, and myself)to their villages for Diwali. We spent most of the time at Naveen's mom and dad's in their village close to the city of Abohar, which is closer to Rajistan and Pakistan. In Indian culture, your village is really tied in with your identity. Usually there are about two or three families that live in a village and work on the farms that are there. Everyone in the village is considered family. Naveen’s family owns a huge cotton, wheat and mandarin orange farm. The house was huge and beautiful! The village itself was unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to a ghost town in an old western movie. Although it is packed with people, it is deserted during the day because a: people are working in the fields and b: it is too hot to mill about. We got to the village on thursday night, and on Friday, we went on a shoping trip in Abohar. Nate and Naveen went off to buy fireworks, while Amber, Anu and myself went bangle and jutti (indian leather shoes) shopping. The prices were unbelievable – 8$ Canadian per pair of shoes - and they're both hand embroidered! One our way back to the village we hopped on the back of cart being pulled by a camel. Our days were spent doing homework, playing sports with Prateek and his adorable cousin Arushi and being toured around the village and the farm by the expert tour guides Prateek and his Papa Ji (grandfather). We got to go on a tractor ride into the farms, and got to try and ate some oranges straight from the tree. They weren't quite ripe, but they were so good! We celebrated Diwali Friday night by setting off a million fire crackers, doing a Pooja (a Hindu prayer service) and eating great food. For fun, Amber and I took turns trying on our home stay mom’s wedding sari. The skirt and head covering weighed a ton as it was hand beaded and embroidered orange and gold. I feel so fortunate to have had time in the village. I have to say that last weekend was one of the loveliest and unique times I’ve had in India so far. I had such a great time. We also had lunch at Anu's parents' house, which is in a village 30 killometers away from Naveen's.
Well, I can't beleive I'm typing this, but my time in Chandigarh is coming to an end. It really has gone by so fast. Like I said earlier, this week is our last week in Chandigarh, so I've got lots of projects to finish. We had our last SFU session today, and the next 2 days are free, so we can finish projects, spenad time with our families, and run little errands. Anu is really making sure we are eating alot, since we probaby won't have home cooked food until we get back to Vancouver, which is December 19th for me, and January 4th for Amber. Sunday, we leave Chandigarh, and go for our week "vacation" to Agra (where the Taj Mahal is), Jaipur and Burapur. After that, I'm on my own (well, not really on my own, I'll still travel with others, but I won't be on the field school anymore) I'm quite excited for it. It's funny, it's starting to be "winder" here, and you can really tell that we've acclimatized to Indian weather. It's 25 degrees out, and we don't leave the house without a sweater or shawl, and if we're going somewhere where I'll need to take my shoes off, I bring socks with me.
Well, I think that's all I've got for now. I'm not sure how often I'll be on the internet for the next month, but I promise I will find a way to write here every so-often and let you guys know where I am/what I'm doing.
See you all in just over a month (ACK!!)
p.s. can you guys try adn send me emails when I'm traveling. I have a feeling I'll be missing being around 14 people, and might be a bit lonely. Some "hello!!" emails just might do the trick!