...At least those who come to Mysore, all seem to be similarly peaceful, intelligent, receptively kind, and funny people. Maybe it's the India talking, but nearly every traveler I have met in this town thus far have been truly pleasant, with the exception of my brief shala-mate Peter from England. Peter the depressed alcoholic with a seemingly low sanity fuse. Peter who is running away from a an ex-girlfriend like so many other men of his ripening age who travel to India. Peter who smokes mysterious things in the kitchen, wears his shoes in the house, and drunkenly steams around all day. I have arranged to move into a tiny apartment with amazing light, at an amazing price with an amazing tiny garden out front, complete with no possibility of safety-compromising room mates. It reminds me of the little houses my Aunt Kathy likes to live in, a quaint abode with balanced energy and abundant charms. I will have to furnish it myself, but since it looks like I will actually be staying in Mysore through approximately the middle of February before traveling around, the twenty dollars or so that will go into purchasing bed, stove, and sitting arrangements will be well worth it.
I have been taking a little time away from studying for a day or two, and have opted to cut my language classes down to only a few days a week, due to my brain having felt like a sopping sponge, heavy with theory and the goo that starts to coat your brain after having been here, in the boot-camp equivalent of yoga, for a bit. I've noticed that my need to "chill out" has grown exponentially, or perhaps I'm just feeling more indulgent than I have in a while. I don't feel lazy, but I do feel the need to keep things very simple. And poetic! All I have been dying to read since getting to Mysore has been pungent with reality, but I have switched recently to craving wordy novels and tea like I once craved Archie Comics and chocolate chips.
I have had to adjust my diet to fit India. In Seattle I consumed coffee with soy milk, tuna salads and gargantuan green salads, Kombucha and good wine. Here I drink tulsi tea, coconut milk, and an abundance of foods from the whole-milk-from-cows food group (a reasonably ethical staple here). I eat loads of fresh papaya, chickoo and pomegranate. I eat coconut chutney and curry with everything: idlis, set dosas, thali meals, lemon rice, and vadas. I have porridge with ghee and jaggery for breakfast most days. The shift has been somewhat dramatic, causing all sorts of rearranging and stagnation in my body, both emotionally and physically. The teeny mirror in the shala isn't large enough to tell if I look as different as I feel. This lack of winter downtime has been somewhat of a scrambler as well. I am skipping a season entirely, it seems, and am therefor throwing my inner clock for a loop. It is like forgetting to sleep, or missing a period, or going up or down too fast in an elevator. Those rides at the carnival were thrilling, but nothing compares to riding out culture shock.