How's the serenity...

This mornings Surya Namaskara class was the final class for those doing the 250+hr TTC, meaning the time afterward was ours to do what we choose with it. What an odd feeling that was. Having the freedom to do, go, be anywhere without worrying about missing class. I was thrilled. Not because class is finished, but because I can have a moment to stop and breathe. To regain some energy, as I am certainly a little worn out at the moment. For those of us who will be completing the 500+hr TTC, we will return to class on the 10th of March, with a light dinner on the 9th with Bharath. There are only six of us continuing on for the 500 hours, which is nice in a way as we will have more intimate time with Bharath.

I returned to the Shala briefly this morning to pay my 4800 Ind Rupees to train in the Mysore Style classes next week. I feel its important to keep up my practice during our holidays. Yes, I will be training twice daily still but the rest of the time in between is mine, so I am still taking a holiday. Its the study which makes it so much more intensive. Not having to worry about exams of thesis’ (for now) makes a huge difference.

Afterward I wandered down to see Ganesh to chat about my tour post training. It turns out part of my tour will include the boat ride on the Ganges in Varanasi. Here I can watch the morning cremation ceremonies. After the shock I got yesterday seeing a perfectly intact dead body being carried down the street, God knows how I will feel after seeing the cremation sites! But, it’s a must do while I’m here. Considering Varanasi is the most spiritual place in all of India, I must get myself there.

I then wandered casually to Anu’s home (Ganesh’s wife) for lunch. I ended up sitting here for about two and a half hours. It was so nice being able to just ‘stop’. To enjoy my over sized buffet meal (I really didn’t need to eat as much as I did), followed by an unnecessary vegan chocolate, banana and coconut smoothie. Why not! I met three nice people from Washington DC whilst there. Two girls and a hilariously camp guy, Michael. This man had me in stitches after telling his story of how he just drank a glass of tap water! With headphones in and dancing around his kitchen whilst making breakfast, he said he didn’t think about the fact that he couldn’t drink the water and, whilst on autopilot, drank it! We were all squirming at the thought. He described his panicked thoughts which followed after he realised the fatal error. “I wasn’t sure if I should make myself vomit, take laxatives or try and wash it down… What do I do?!” The way he was describing the problem was very funny, however in reality this poor man is in for a rough few days. Considering he just flew in yesterday, it’s going to be a very unpleasant welcome from India.

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My afternoon has been very relaxed. Chatting with my Owen is always my highlight of the day. That and getting pictures from Trish of the pooch. What I can’t believe is that I have been here for over a month already. Time really has flown. And the missing of my little family is growing.

Drinking lots of tea with soy, listening to James Blunt and responding to emails has been such a luxury. I certainly have a whole new appreciation for free time since being here.

Tomorrow, Meet and I are going to the Green Hotel for lunch. It’s a lovely resort here which has a fantastic reputation for its food and accommodation. I’m looking forward to seeing this place as many people have spoken about it. I am also going to look into getting a castor oil bath/massage from this place called the Three Sisters. Apparently not for the shy or faint hearted, as you’re essentially naked whilst they work on you front and back, its meant to be a deeply relaxing experience. Maybe I will make an appointment to go next Saturday. We’ll see.

Oh, and before I go. An update on my friend in reception who injured his foot. He returned to work last night (and did the overnight shift sleeping on the couch) with a cast on his left foot. It turns out he had actually broken his ankle. It wasn’t a full break, but it was bad enough to require a cast. The poor guy. I still can’t believe management made him complete his entire shift, and continue helping them with pushing motorbikes around downstairs, opening and closing gates, running up and down the driveway to help the owners with their vehicles. It’s ridiculous. But, there is not a lot I can do, so it’s not helpful to dwell.

On that note, I’m thinking it’s time for another tea and I might do some light reading. Ahh, the serenity.

Goodnight.

Namaste xx


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Just beautiful

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Special moments

This is how you cut tiles!

Time to relax - holiday Sunday

Never in my life have I cherished a Sunday the way I did today. After seven days of intensive training, having a ‘holiday’ day (as they call it here) has never been so appreciated. If you know me, you know my usual sleeping hours are from about 12.30am until 6.00am every day. Well - last night I slept from 10.00pm until 10.00am this morning. Granted I woke briefly at my usual 4.00am and again at 6.00am, however I essentially slept almost 12 hours. This is unheard of for me - but absolutely necessary. When I woke at 6.00am I had a mild panic attack thinking I was late to class, but upon realising it was my day off, I clearly fell back unconscious until mid morning. Fabulous!

Today has been the first day where I have felt as though this apartment is truly becoming my little 'home away from home’. I moseyed downstairs and did all my washing, utilising the mini top loader washing machine and clothes horse facilities in the underground car park. (Having access to a washing machine is such a simple pleasure which is not often available when traveling. Not having to walk 5 kilometres to find a laundromat is like a God send). I also loved being able to chat with Owen with no restrictions on time - usually when we chat I’m constantly having to look at the clock to make sure I’m not late back to class. But no - didn’t have to worry about that today! Today was holiday Sunday!!!

When I eventually got myself dressed (about 2.00pm) I walked to a little French restaurant (run by Indians) about 50 metres away (I told you - lazy day) - just down the hill and around the corner. I hadn’t eaten there and had wanted to all week. There was no one in the restaurant, which is always a concern, however I thought, “what the hell - give it a go Jessica!” Aside from feeling totally lazy, I also didn’t want to walk too much further away as I was in shorts (all my pants were on the washing line) and it’s not ideal to walk around in shorts here. You get a lot of unwanted stares from men. As it is Sunday, and the area is pretty quite today, I thought it would be ok - and it was.

Sitting on a small porch looking out onto 9th Main, hidden behind some bamboo blinds, I enjoyed not one, but two, salad sandwiches. Three slices of white toast, shredded carrot, tomato, red onion and capsicum with a spicy tomato sauce - I was pleasantly surprised. My immediate thought was that it tasted like a Subway sandwich. Because I am unusually hungry lately, I had to order a second. The young Indian waiter laughed when I asked for a second which I thought was cute. No doubt he looked at me as an over indulgent westerner - it’s true, I was in that moment.

I really enjoyed sitting in this little restaurant. As the streets were quite today, I was able to sit and study without much disturbance, which was nice for a change.

After carrying eight litres of water home from the mini supermarket which is a little further up the road, I took time to fold my washing, chat with Owen some more and continue studying. I have been practicing the Surya Namaskara series in my room. We will be examined on this tomorrow. We also need to know all 84 of the foundation asanas in Sanskrit. Thank goodness I learned these before coming to India. It has made life so much easier. I have also been practicing the opening and closing prayers/chants we must know (in Sanskrit). I chanted them to Owen and he said they sounded very relaxing.

To be honest, I’m quite pleased with the level of work I have put into my training so far. I think it will really help when it comes to the big exam in week four.

Tonight I had my first cup of tea since arriving in India. It was fabulous! So fabulous in fact I have since made a second. Again, this is one of those simple pleasures which you don’t appreciate until it’s taken from you, or at least been made more difficult to have. Here, i need carry my cup, tea bag and 2 litres of water to the fourth floor where the kitchen is. I then need to boil the water first to wash my cup and also rinse the kettle (I was going to use the microwave but the kettle seems ok to use), then boil a second lot of water, carry my tea and water downstairs, juggle everything while I unlock my door and then add my soy so I can drink it. Everything just takes more time and energy than usual. So again, the simple things are so important not to be taken for granted. I know this now.

As tonight has been the first night where I was home at sunset, I did my best to get some pictures from the fourth floor. Unfortunately the smog is so bad here you can barely see the sun - but I guess that’s what makes it an Indian sunset!

Tonight I will make sure I am in bed nice and early in preparation for the next week (a lovely 4.00am alarm to look forward to again). But until then, it is back to study as tomorrow is going to be a big day,

Namaste xx