*I am so behind on blog posts, but I will try to catch up! It’s difficult living in the moment while also documenting the details…*
For the first time, I did not wake up with my alarm that was set for 7:15am. The snooze button called my name, and I ended up sleeping until 7:45am. I even felt like I could have slept a couple more hours. Must have been the exhaustion finally catching up with me. At 8:30am, around ten people were still at breakfast. I wasn’t feeling the breakfast which was pancakes (Indian-style), curry and tea. I got two toasts for Taniqua.
At 9:20ish, I walked to the Manipal library with Adam. We had to wait outside the room a little past 9:30am while more of our people trickled in. Dr. Raj’s lecture was about ethics and health systems. He talked about how schooling works here:
Grades 1-7: Elementary and Middle School
Grades 8-10: High School. Pick science or humanities track. Highly preferred track is engineering or medicine.
Grades 11-12: Pre-university
College: Professional school
Once you pick a track, you’re essentially stuck in it. Ex. no changing majors like in the US and no freedom to pursue a medical degree despite earning a BS in art.
Other quick facts:
1. In India, people visit the doctor only when they are sick. Once given the treatment and they feel better, they won’t return despite the doctor’s advice. This reminds me of my mom when we had no health insurance. She went to see an eye doctor because of a floaty and flash of light. They told her it’s a normal process of eye aging. The doctor told her to come back in 4 weeks to check-up on it. She never did because of cost, and the fact that there’s no treatment.
2. Raj was a part of the SAGE cognitive test project, which I happened to see on the OSU College of Medicine YouTube several months ago. Haha I guess it does pay off to watch every single video that they post. It’s a questionnaire to test if an individual’s cognition and memory is declining with old age. If the frequent testing shows a sharp decline in scores of the SAGE test, that is a harbinger of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is of particular interest to me because of my grandmother and background in Neuroscience.
Dr. Raj wants to take us to the circus because someone from our group asked and also on a tour of the Manipal/Kasturba Medical College hospital. He said he did not want to go to the hospital (sounds like he adversely hates the hospital environment), but can arrange a visit for us. I am looking forward!
Went to the Manipal store after class and bought a blue Manipal U – inspired by life t-shirt for 450 rupees ($7.50). I chose it because of the displayed motto – inspired by life. About five other people were in the store also and a couple people bought sweatshirts for $22. They felt very soft and comfy but I wouldn’t wear it here so not a good investment. I tried to find postcards, but they didn’t have any. Dr. Raj informed me a couple days ago that Mysore would have some.
Lunch consisted of barley rice, sweet rice, beans, veggie curry (my fave) and another type of curry. Walked back to room around 1pm with Lindsey. I tried on the t-shirt, and it was a little too loose-fitting, but I guess that’s good for India. It’s also 100% cotton so it’ll shrink. I walked over to the library by myself. Walking alone can be so refreshing. I pay more attention to the environment and people and think about how blessed I am to be able to study in this country on the other side of the world.
All of our students were in the rock garden when I arrived, and Adam led the way to the classroom. Dr. Bhat talked about secularism and social change in India. Adam inquired about my blog, and I gave him the URL. Makes me happy when others are interested in reading. Writing is a passion of mine, and it’s exciting to share it with an audience other than myself. Dr. Bhat told the Manipal administration people to turn down the AC, so it felt comfortably warm in the classroom as opposed to an ice box. He’s so cute. He told the people he has class at 3:30pm so that they would turn it down right away.
Dr. Raj told us to meet him on the ground floor of the Manipal Library so that we can get our ID pictures taken to access the gym facility. Meanwhile, several of us were reading the bulletin boards. One was by a de-stress organization advertising their multitude of activities. The second one was a women empowerment board with international women leaders. The third one had posters and ads. Dr. Raj told us about the computer room on the first floor too. The ID place was across the street from the university near the market. It was a passport photo place.
Tea time: coffee cake and bread with curried veggies inside. I enjoyed the bread. Went back to dorm to chill until dinner. Signed up for room cleaning with Lindsey. I was feeling really sleepy up until dinner. I saw Lindsey locking her door as I opened my door, so I told her to meet me downstairs.
Dinner: rice, potato curry and 2 other types of curry. I got a small portion, which was the perfect amount. Others got pizza, Chinese food and Subway from the second floor cafeteria. Went back to room to take a shower. During my shower, the cleaning lady came, and I felt bad but thankfully she returned around 9:30pm. It was weird sitting on my bed waiting for her to clean the room. Not used to having other people do things that I normally perform myself, but it does provide a piece of mind for me because I love cleanliness. She even wiped the table! Was not expecting that. She has to keep the door open and that made me paranoid because of the bugs at night especially in the rain. I’m gonna try to keep my room very clean. I skyped mom for about an hour. I was studying also so wasn’t too into conversation but it actually made my day a little better. Knowing someone cares about you. I think I had a slight bout of homesickness today. I felt kind of lonely, and it’s probably partly my own fault for not reaching out to others but it’s so hard to change natural tendencies. I should keep reading the book I brought with me on this trip, “Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by: Susan Cain, to discover some truth in this personality type and how to be a better citizen of the world as a reserved person. Look out for a blog post about the book in the near future 🙂 The thunderstorm could be heard all night, and the power switched off twice for a couple minutes. I thought electricity would be out for the night, but it was okay after several minutes. I studied for the first quiz until 2am. I need to get to bed earlier.