First Days in Auroville – 1 Jan, Saturday

Ok, so here’s the first few days of our week in Auroville! I’ve been sick, and busy, and then our internet was down so I’m just getting it up and running. More to come!

Lunch at Solitude

At 10am we had our first official meeting at the Tibetan Pavilion. It was mostly to check in and see how everybody was doing. There were a lot of stories about our crazy travel experiences with luggage, customs, and the crazy drivers. For lunch we ate at Solitude Farm, which is located behind the Tibetan and US Pavilion. This is the beautiful picture of the meal on the banana leaf. It was absolutely amazing. I believe that all of the food was from on the farm or within Auroville.

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Vanakam Auroville

I made it! I am officially in India, in Auroville. I arrived safely in Auroville yesterday morning sometime around 7am. It was an eventful and long trip. Total travel time was about 30 hours. I was lucky enough to travel with 2 other people in the program from Seattle to Frankfurt, Germany. The airplane food was surprisingly good! I had salmon, rice, salad, and chocolate cake with whip cream and a strawberry for one meal. I was suitable impressed. Lufthansa = win. Plus they give you the hot towels. Also a win.  We met up with 2 other people in the Frankfurt airport before flying to Chennai.

On the 2nd flight, I slept through most of the food and the flight for that matter. However, a fellow student got some German chocolate in the Frankfurt airport. German chocolate is definitely as good as I remember it being when I was 10. We met 3 others in the Chennai airport and 2 out of the 3 had lost luggage. We ended up waiting in the airport for almost 3 hours filling out forms to get the luggage taken care of, which wasn’t too bad. While we waited we played several games of Quiddler, which is a card game similar to scrabble. This attracted the attention of several local men who stood over us to watch us play. Additionally, I had a comical time trying to figure out the toilets and lack of toilet paper. Thankfully I read up on it before coming here so it wasn’t too strange of an experience.

After we got bathrooms and luggage sorted out, we met up with Shankar, an Auorvillian, who had arranged for a van to take us all to Auroville. Our driver was very good at flashing lights and honking the horn, it’s practically a different language on the road! Once we got outside of the main part of Chennai we stopped at a roadside shop and got fresh Chai, which was heavenly… I highly recommend it. We drove for about 3 hours on roads that were better than I thought they would be. It was dark and we drove pretty fast, but they were like highways so it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. The roads got worse closer to Auroville. At all times there was a lot of loud music playing, LED lights, and shrines on the side of the road. I tried to get pics, but they were mostly a blur. In case you didn’t believe what you hear about the cows here, I can attest to it. There are cows. Everywhere. They own the place.

We are about to head to central services to get our bank accounts set up and then get our bicycles. Then I plan to eat some lunch and get some sleep! It is New Year’s Eve after all so I have to be able to make it up for the celebration tonight. I hope you are all having a great week and that you have a Happy New Year!

As soon as my photos upload I’ll add some to this post 🙂

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Hello World!

This is my first post to my brand spankin new blog!  I’ve never blogged before, but decided that spending a quarter studying and working in Auroville, India, merited a serious attempt to keep a journal of some sort.  This way I can post pictures, keep a record of the information I’m learning about sustainable agriculture, and keep my friends and family up to date.

I was hoping to start a little bit earlier in the quarter so I could also document my experience preparing to leave, but it just didn’t work out that way.  So here I am, just over 2 1/2 weeks away from leaving, and I’m about to go and pick up my Visa from FedEx.  I’d say this is a pretty good starting point.

At this point I’m pretty excited to go.  I’ve gotten my senior capstone project sorted out, arranged for a service learning position and found a great person to sublet my apartment.  Aside from all the nitty gritty of passports, immunizations, and getting through the quarter, it’s gone smoothly.  My anxiety lessens the more I get checked off my list.

And now I have to go to work, finish up my projects, and make it through finals.  Here we go!

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