A Travellerspoint blog

Acclimation and all that

Crazy Jim

When I saw the room and the place I would be staying for the next four months I immediately wanted to go home only because I was used to more luxury than the appearance of my new home, plus I hadn't slept or eaten in a ridiculous amount of time by my standards. I had to compare experiences with Austin and see how he was doing too because after all he had never even been on a plane so I was hoping he was alright. We talked and he said that he tried to stay a night in Bombay and catch a flight the next morning but he ended up staying in a slum and wasn't comfortable so he got a rickshaw back to the airport but the driver took him all over the place and demanded to be paid for the tour. Luckily he only gave the man 20 rupees and sent him away but it felt like we were both same place ready to embark on an unforgetable journey.

So to describe my room is that is has two beds, the most uncomfortable things I had ever seen and it made my bed in Wales feel like clouds. The walls are dirty and the bathroom is pretty gross but luckily equipped with Western toilets. I may sound like a snob at this point but already my views have changed, and this was my initial reaction. After unpacking what little I had brought, I went into this common room where there were 2 white picnic tables set up with chairs around it, and tv, microwave, and refrigerator in it and some Japanese students. There were 11 students and they all appeared very quiet and shy so I didn't know how much interaction there would be plus they were leaving at the end of February.

Austin had told me Rahul (our program director in India) said he planned on picking me up at the airport so I was confused as to why he didn't and figured I should get in touch with him so he wouldn't be waiting, but the people at the front said he would be coming in 30minutes. I waited up for a bit but Austin informed me that the Indians don't stress punctuality as much as we do so I decided to take a nap and that turned into a 5 hour nap. I was awoken to a knock at my door and a strange Italian/Jewish looking guy wearing a kurta was standing at the door with Austin. He introduced myself as Jim and told me he was from Connecticut and had been studying philosophy at Goa for 2 years now. He proceeded to tell Austin and I the in's-and-out's about Goa and Indian life. I found it interesting and also scary. He said relationships between men and women were drastically different from the US, and he compared it to living in the 1950's. He said most of the girls had never held hands with a boy or had any boyfriends and many would live at home until they were married, or if they were lucky they would live in a women's hostel (like a dorm) where the curfew was 8pm and there is barbed wire and a stone wall around it. That is his words, not mine I have yet to witness it. There were many other things we spoke about that night but overall it was very helpful and he seemed excited because he had been the only American for the last two years. Goa University is a graduate school of 500 students and Jim told us the Arts & Humanities was not really a flourishing scene because it is highly stressed to get a high paying job and you certainly wouldn't with a degree like English, Philosophy, Sociology or Religion so he says many of the students are very apathetic and are not passionate about the subjects and just want to make the grades. He said everything is about a test and grades and not about the actual learning process, but that the teachers are dying for real philosophy but when a good discussion gets going that someone always wants to get back to what is on the exam, so we shall see.

Posted by sierrak 04:15

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