Friday, July 20, 2012


Choosing classes in India is quite opposite from choosing classes back home, or at least at MC. Like always, you have to consider the class title/content and what department its under, but in India you also have to take into account as to whether or not you can actually understand the professor, find the classroom/building, or even if the class is going to be taught this semester, regardless if it was on the course list. The head of the SIP program warned us all of this at orientation on Monday, but I don't think any of us actually took her that seriously. That was dumb and a perfect example of American elitism.
We got a list of potential courses on Monday and had about a week to visit the classes and decide if we'd like to register for them or not, which is quite nice. However, its at least a 20-30min walk to nearest of class buildings.
I began my trek on Tuesday morning after breakfast and its already very hot out, which is not helped by the required dress (no cleavage, sleeves past shoulders, pants past knees). Once I get to the social science building it occurs to me that I actually have no idea where my classroom is. So I wander around... for a while. Finally I run into a friend who is going to the same class and she knows where it is; on the roof. So we took the stairs to the third floor/roof, walk across the roof and into a covered hallway that has classrooms off it. There were a few other SIP students there too, so we all sat together and chatted before the professor came.
Eventually the professor showed up, but once he started talking I immediately understood why we were warned about being able to "understand" our professors. I was able to decipher about a third of what he said, maybe. The class was called Developmental Anthropology, and after a 90min class I still cannot tell you what developmental anthropology is. At one point he apparently said something funny, because all the Indian students started laughing. There was silence on our side of the room, a part from the awkward glances we were exchanging.
After class we journeyed back to the Tagore House for lunch where everyone was laughing at one another for our similar, yet different, experiences of our first morning classes. I learned that some of the art students have a 45-60min walk to their building, but they got lost so they walked around campus for over an hour and a half before they found it.
I had another class at 2, so around 1:30 me and three of the Norwegian girls walked back to the social science building (where all of my classes are). I had planned on attending a History of Medieval India class, but I couldn't ever find it. We walked around for a long time, but when we finally asked someone who knew what they were talking about, they laughed at us and said all the professors were still at lunch and no one would be back until at least 2:30. Duh.
Once 2:30 came and went we continued to look around, but to no avail. A little after 3 we gave up and headed back to Tagore.
I had more luck on Wednesday and Thursday. I went to a Medical Anthropology class which is going to be really cool, and a Sexuality in Society class that focuses on LGBTQ issues in India. I learned a lot in that class even though it was only the first day, however, the professor/Indians? call the LGBTQ community "homoerotically inclined," which is kind of funny, but also kind of sad. It will take some time getting used to all the same.
I find myself spending a lot of time in my room. Alone. I think at this point its safe to say that I won't be getting a roommate, but I also just haven't really been in a social mood. I know you're probably thinking, "But Harper, when are you ever in a social mood?"
And to that I will repsond, "Fair."
Knock Out beer.
Legitimately the worst beer I've ever had.
While I know I should be "making friends," I'd really just rather read. And I think that is just fine! I've only been here for 5days, even though it feels more like a month. I'm having a good time, I'm just letting myself get settled by being a hermit. Whatevs! There's nothing wrong with that!!...
However, I did "go out" last night. 10 of us were going to try and go to a Western cafe/bar, but none of the tuk-tuk drivers would give us an acceptable price, so eventually we just got some beer and came back to Tagore. Getting the beer was incredibly sketchy. I'm not sure why it was necessary to do this inorder to get beer, but we went around the back of some shops, down a little path, and knocked on someone's door. A little old Indian woman came out and Mike (a flaming, neon ginger) asked for 10 beers. So she loaded 10 Kingfishers and Knock Outs into an old rice bag and we were on our way.
the view from my window
(some people were asking about it)

I like India. Sketchiness is the acceptable norm of society. 

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