Life is blissful now.
The days move slowly so far, filled with sunshine, relaxation, a beautiful overwhelming clutter of life all around, tasty delights, a whole host of new and interesting smells, a cacophony of sounds from the street, and my love by my side in all of these new experiences and adventures.
I could get used to life like this.
My yoga practice starts tomorrow. 5:30 am! (It's been easy to adjust to such an early rising so far, thanks to the jet lag and my confused body-clock.) Wren is very excited for me to meet her beloved esteemed guruji. And judging by her hilarious impressions of him, I think I will love him too. This morning Wren did her practice at home, and I watched her move quickly from asana to asana with incredible strength and grace. It was inspiring. But I know that week one is going to kick my ass! In a good way, of course. I expect I will be quite sore for a while.
I had some fun adventures on the way here. Missed my scheduled flight from Chicago to London. You might find yourself asking why, or how that happened. Let's just say I had a brain fart. A BIG one. And then the plane was gone. I decided to remain positive, and saw the humor in it right away. It happened right after I was on the phone with Leah, telling her how relaxed I was about my travels. (A little too relaxed, maybe?) But I knew it would all work out fine. After lots of waiting patiently in line and one the phone, I got my flights rescheduled for no added fee (Don't ask me how that happened... Some sort of divine intervention, I think) . Since I would be spending the night in Chicago, I called Ben and in 5 minutes he called back with the name and number of a friend who was willing to take me in for the night. I called Jen, and she and her partner Cara came and picked me up from the airport, took me home, gave me pjs to sleep in, a cozy bed, a shower to use, and some fine company. I liked them right away. And their kindness made my trip so much better. I was actually glad I missed that flight. The next day we went to breakfast at an adorable restaurant called Earwax that had circus-themed decor, looked in some shops, and then took a little rolling tour of downtown Chicago before heading to the airport. It was a great little side-trip and I am so grateful to have some wonderful new friends.
Flew from Chicago to London, where I spent my layover all cracked-out from my lack of sleep. Flight to Bangalore was smooth-sailing, and I watched the movie Slumdog Millionaire for the first time. It was beautiful and tragic and made me excited and just a bit nervous for my visit in India. I'm not nervous anymore.
Wren and her taxi-driver friend were waiting for my just outside the airport. I could hardly believe she was real, after 4 months of missing her and longing to be together. We cuddled in the back of the taxi for hours from Bangalore to Mysore, chatting and watching the sunrise. The driver asked for directions about 10 times from different people walking around on the street. He stopped and bought us little garlands of fresh jasmine flowers that he wrapped around our wrists. And we stopped for tiny cups of sweet coffee and a "toilet' to use (that's what they call bathrooms here, like the British). It was my first experience with a squat toilet. Basically a hole in the ground to squat over and do your business. No toilet paper. I had to ask Wren what the little faucet by the ground and the small plastic pitcher were for. For cleaning yourself off, with your hand. Surprisingly fine & dandy, I thought. But it will take a little getting used to.
We finally arrived at the apartment that Wren has been living in. Our apartment now. She undid the combination lock, opened the small door, and I stepped inside. It was breathtaking. Fresh roses and their petals were covering every surface, and even on the floor here and there. Garlands of fresh white jasmine flowers and beautiful pink flowers were strung from the ceiling, in the doorways, and alongside the surprisingly lovely mosquito net canopy around the bed. Wrapped gifts were in little piles for me in every room. I was overjoyed, to say the least.
Our days here so far have been easy and relaxing. I have been trying to overcome my tiredness from so much traveling. We've been zipping around town on Wren's rented moped. Traffic is a crazy mess of honking and close-call after close-call, but I find it quite fun and relaxing to ride on the back of the scooter and look around at the overstimulating everything as Wren takes us all around. I love it. The feel of this place (and the crazy traffic) reminds me a little of Barranquilla, Colombia (my dad's hometown).
There are cows walking around freely, everywhere. All of their light spots (some of their whole bodies) are still stained yellow from turmeric from a recent holiday, and many of them have horns painted red and little adornments with seashells strung on their heads. Quite beautiful. One cow in particular comes to our house every afternoon. She stands outside the gate and moos, and we (and the adjacent housemates) bring her scraps of fruits and veggies (basically our compost), which she gobbles up quickly before moving on to graze by the side of the road or venture off to be fed by somone else. I love her.
We've been drinking fresh coconut water from vendors on the side of the road everyday. We've done a little bit of shopping (My first day here I had to buy some cheap flip-flops to tide me over while I waited for the airline to deliver my bag, which was delayed because of the flight I missed) We went to a fabric/tailor shop, where I picked out some materials and styles of shirts & pants, and they took my measurements to make them for me. It is amazingly cheap.
My bag finally arrived yesterday, all contents present and intact. Whew!
Yesterday Wren took me to the famous Mysore market. It's an overwhelming, vibrant, bustling place. People shouting at us and trying to sell us their things everywhere we turned. Flowers, produce, and all sorts of other things piled everywhere. A festival of colors and smells. I loved it.
There is an adorable tiny girl in this internet cafe, who keeps coming up to my little booth and tapping my arm and smiling at me and then running away. Aaah! The children here are beautiful, and love to say hello.
I love everything about this trip so far. And it's only going to get better and better.