What happened to the SRM University in Chennai
Hello everyone 🙂
At the moment I am enjoying my deluxe Sunday morning breakfast on the balcony with a breeze that is much too hot again! 🙂 The temperatures are currently around 31-32 ° C, but that feels like at least 35 ° C in the sun! Summer is on its way .. If you ask me, winter is hot enough .. Can be compared to the German summer. Not much is happening at the moment, we were at a wedding again. Incredible 10,000 guests - no, I didn't make a mistake with the zeros !! The daughter of a party member of a very important party got married. And yet we were still an attraction in our sarees with the flowers in our hair among the multitudes of Indians.
Half the time is up. I now only have less than 6 months left here in India. Since everything is now somehow easier to see, I often think about where I can go on my vacation and try to find out what is going on in and around Chennai. On the past two Sundays we went to Kovalam, a small, cozy village outside of Chennai, to surf! The atmosphere there is wonderful. It is simply good to escape stressful, noisy and polluted Chennai for a few hours on the beach and in the ocean. The surf school Ocean Delight belongs to the friend of a volunteer who did her FWD here last year. The surf school is still quite young and small, which we think is great because there is a pretty familiar and cozy atmosphere there. Two girls of the last generation of volunteers are also in Kovalam to visit their friends there. It was really cool to exchange ideas with both of them, as they experienced exactly the same thing as we did a year ago!
The evening before yesterday I was on a stand-up comedy show as part of the cultural festival “MILAN ´16”, which takes place every year at SRM University. The third comedian out of a total of four had quite a bit of Indian English, which is why I had to concentrate very hard to understand him. 😀 However, I was positively surprised that topics such as sexuality, politics and the heavy monsoons were discussed. It is not very often that such piquant topics are discussed so openly here. It was exciting to see how the young students all celebrated it! The atmosphere in the hall was great. 🙂
Meanwhile, the school is preparing for the Annual Day at the end of March. The higher classes perform dances and small plays. Sophie and I are trying to put on a dance with the third grade. Let's see what comes out of it in the end .. 😀 The Annual Day is something pretty special here and it is raised very big. At the moment I don't know exactly what the extent of this is, but I will definitely tell you!
Sophie and I are currently reading with the kids. So we try to teach the children anew every day how to pronounce the English alphabet and how to pull the letters together so that in the end an understandable word is created. On the whole, it doesn't work very well, but we are always more pleased when it does. 😀 Last week Sheila, our coordinator, finally came after our request for a meeting .. after 5 months! However, that didn't really have the hoped-for effect, which is why Sophie and I were almost in despair. After the knot had broken and all the tension of the past few months regarding work had subsided, the tide turned for the better. We are now the proud owners of a timetable and have found new motivation to be able to teach the children something. As annoying as they are sometimes ... I still love them. 🙂
Since the children speak English too badly to understand me, I can't avoid learning at least a bit of Tamil, so I've recently dealt with the language a bit. In the meantime I have expanded my vocabulary a little and mostly recognize the alphabet. The Tamils have (for whatever reason) between 260 and 270 letters. Far too many and mostly unnecessary. But now I know most of them (which I'm pretty proud of: D). I try to somehow decipher everything that is written on the signs. The sounds of the individual letters are relatively simple, but I find it quite difficult to pull them together. I also believe that this is the reason why the students at school have such great problems with reading English. The principle of the two languages is just completely different.
Most of my vocabulary includes vocabulary that I need in school. Something like "Sit down!" Or "Try it!" (Which is quite important because the children only spell the word and then look at me questioningly and expect me to say the word to them). Otherwise you can get through pretty well if you do that ing-Form of a verb used and his English reduced to the minimum: Verb (in the ing-Form) plus subject and sometimes also place or time information; in addition, as much gesture as possible. “Writing down, notebook!” Or “No fighting!” As well as “Reading” or “Eating finish”, as an answer when you ask whether you have finished eating. It can happen that I come home from school and can't get a single correct English sentence right.
My life here at the moment is pretty mundane. During the week I am actually at work all day, in the evening I try to torture myself to the gym and then the day is already over. At the moment, I spend weekends doing the same thing that I did in Germany during my school days .. messing around, going out to eat now and then, going to the cinema, meeting friends or hanging out with the flat share 🙂
With that in mind, I hope you are all doing well - wherever you are in the world.
Best regards, your Maite ❤ 🙂
The fifth month is coming to an end .. that means almost half of my stay here is already over! I don't really notice how time goes by. Suddenly it's the end of the month again and my remaining time is shrinking!
So far, looking back, I can say that my work got off to a miserable start. I now know why that was and, together with Sophie and our boss Sheila, I am making everyday work more positive and, above all, more productive.
But that doesn't mean that I haven't enjoyed the time so far. During the entire application process, I can well remember the question of what I would do if the project just didn't work out, if it wasn't my thing, or if my mentors didn't cooperate with me there. Of course, the project is an important part and one of the main reasons for the FWD, but there are many other things that make it worth coming here.
Sometimes I'm very frustrated, but I know very well that I also have these lows in Germany, they are normal and will pass. Sometimes I do it oldschool with mom. 😀 It usually helps pretty well if you can just wail your ears to mom for a moment or just get a caring message back. 🙂
My lows are then balanced out by quite a few high moments, which sometimes arise from everyday things: the India moments! 🙂
Sometimes they are just plain awesome and it often just comes over me in simple moments:
• in the shower when I look outside at the palm trees through the always-open window, which cannot be closed, stand under the ice-cold water and notice how much I have got used to the fact that you neither set the water temperature nor can remove the shower head. Then I stand there and think how awesome it is that I've been here for 5 months and that I'm in India at all!
• when I walk through the small alley on my way to work, where an old Indian woman after another is selling vegetables and fruit and the sun is already burning on my back at 10 am in the "winter". Then I have to think about how cold it is in Germany right now and how far away I am.
• Or simply when I turn into our street after work between four and five in the afternoon and everything is so familiar to me and I realize that our little apartment in the bright green house in Bharathi Nagar has become my home. 🙂
Not to mention all the happiness hormones that my body releases when we go somewhere again and I have traveled to another part of India.
Then the map of the world opens up in my head and I begin to visualize where Germany and India are and how much distance there is between them. And how much greater the perceived distance is because you simply live in a different world here.
Hello again 🙂 finally my travelogue from our “winter vacation” is ready!
Our winter vacation started on a train to Bangalore that was far too full and headed for Gokarna. On the morning of my departure on December 25th, 2015, I quickly went to buy a traveler backpack because I hadn't owned it before .. 😀
Gokarna is located south of Goa on the Indian west coast in the state of Karnataka. I spent 5 wonderful, relaxed days there.
We spent the night in bamboo huts on Om Beach a bit outside of Gokarna, I ran into the first snake, I did "the whale" on the beach with my roommates (in other words, stretched out on all fours in the sand ), enjoyed the most beautiful sunset of my life so far at the Sunset Point and made a short day trip to the city center 🙂
Gokarna is one of the few places in India where you can also lie on the beach with a bikini. Unfortunately, because of the Smoq in Chennai, no UV radiation can get through, I got Gokarna on December 31st. left with Alisa and Sophia and a reasonably healthy skin color towards Anjuna.
Anjuna is one of the small party metropolises in the north of Goa. You can hear music from everywhere until the early morning (or noon). 😀 Actually we wanted to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve in Goa right from the start, but at this time it is high season, which you will notice at the latest in the horrendous prices.
So without a real plan, we set out to spend a great New Year's Eve in Goa.
Once there, we had to look for somewhere to stay. Meanwhile we made friends with a group of 7 Indians who had traveled to Goa from Kerala with the same destination as us.
After running back and forth for a long time, we finally got a room for 2000 (!!) rupees a night. Apparently on New Year's Eve there is a hilltop party 10 km away from Anjuna on a small hill - this year too. It turned out that our new acquaintance wanted to go there and we spontaneously joined 🙂
The entrance fee was 3000 rupees (almost 50 €), which we weren't willing to pay .. But what would India be if we hadn't found a way to get in there anyway .. 😀
For this we climbed over a fairly high wall that was secured "the Indian way". In Germany you have barbed wire or something like that over high walls that shouldn't be overcome. In India, when these walls are built, shards of glass, nails and whatever else is so sharp, cuts or hurts are poured into concrete. So I ended up on the other side of the wall with blood-smeared hands and a hole in my pants in the middle of one Goa Trance Party!
The area was full of palm trees on whose trunks patterns with colors that were painted in the black light, old Indian grannies who prepared great food and sold chocolate bars, chiller places on the edge of the area where you could hop around and huge canvases behind and around around the DJ booth, onto which brightly colored, wild, moving patterns were projected.
And in between, a lot of Indians are pumped full of all the drugs that the jewelry dealers sell in the Anjunas shopping street, for example: “Hello Madam, how are you? Want some marijuana, some hash, MDMA, cocaine? ”- YES, it really happens! And if you have talked to them briefly beforehand and they know that you are German, then they look very disturbed and say: "But you're from Germany, right? And you don’t want something ?! Whyyyyy? ”- as if all Germans were using drugs. Which is probably 99% of those who vacation there, but I was still quite shocked. And after I was down this alley for the 5th time and was still being asked, that made me angry at some point.
Anyway, the party was really cool and at some point the nice guys from Kerala brought us to our hostel. Mission - "We want a great New Year's Eve party in Goa" completed! 🙂
The next day the others followed and we stayed there for 2 more nights. One day of that we were in Arambol - quite a touristy beach but still beautiful and really delicious food! 🙂 We went there with a few workers who work in various companies through the ISAAC organization in India. They were Africans, Americans, Brazilians, Argentinians and a German with whom we spent a really cool day. 🙂
On 4.1. we, Sophia, Nilab and I, made our way to Mumbai with the two Pondicherry girls. There we made it clear to us about couch surfing, so to speak, THE place to stay!
So we arrived at 6:30 in the morning on the 16th floor of a building in the middle of Bandra West (one of Mumbai's trendy areas). Including a panoramic view of Mumbai and the west coast (because each room had its own balcony), a minibar, a flat screen TV, 3 bathrooms, 2 sofas and a great kitchen! But that shouldn't be all: the door wasn't opened for us by the owner of this apartment, but by his houseboy (Vijay), who didn't even let us wash our own dishes! The actual host only came home from a business trip on our 2nd day in the evening. When we were given ultra fluffy towels from Vijay that had just come out of the packaging, our culture shock was complete.
When we got to know Anu, our host and son of the owner of the Japanese DHL, I soon discovered that he wasn't really aware of the luxury he was living in. If I had come to his apartment from Germany, I would not have been so shocked. The apartment was spacious and not too crowded, clean and, if you let the windows in, quiet. The only thing that would have made you aware of the prosperity was maybe the mini-bar, the 3 bathrooms (for a man) and Vijay.
He thought it was all "usual" so it spoke to him about it. But for me, after living 4 months in our comfortable 3-room apartment in Chennai with 5 other girls, it was pure luxury. We also made comparisons of how many of the shelter kids or families in our projects could live here in this one apartment. To see this difference was just amazing!
On our third evening, Anu said he would invite a few people over and after that we could go to any club in Mumbai or the bar that he is a good friend of the owner of. These few people then became a multi-cultural bunch of people from all over the world: Bollywood actors, even more ISAAC people from Poland, Brazil and Russia, models from Milan, etc. In the end we had a house party with us a little trip to a bar. We financed the whole evening! There were moments when I was just completely flashed with my champagne glass between all the people and I was missing the words. So this India also exists.
Nonetheless, it was of course a successful night when we fell into bed at 4:30 in the morning, while the party was still going on in the living room. I found it really cool to meet so many new people, make contacts and talk to them about India. I have the feeling, depending on where you end up in India and what kind of people you deal with, you get to know another India.
There were also 2 Germans at the party with whom we made friends and spent our next few days in Mumbai. 🙂 The more we saw of the city, the more we fell in love! Mumbai has 22 million inhabitants and from one end to the other it is more than 40 km, but everything is still more orderly and clearly arranged than here in Chennai with "only" 9 million inhabitants ..! Because of this and because you don't have to argue with the rickshaw drivers about prices, but simply turn on the meter, it is totally pleasant to explore the city.
Unfortunately, our stay in Mumbai was much too short, but we still saw a few things:
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- Why is it ineffective to study Japanese abroad?
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- What are some breathing exercises for sleep
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