I've been back in Mysore for a week now. And I'm exhausted.
So many things here are exhausting. The polluted air and polluted everything outside...the people staring and laughing and asking where you're from and what your name is as you walk past, and sometimes giving you dirty looks and often trying to sell you everything and trying to rip you off all the time...the overstimulating markets...the overstimulating smells and sounds everywhere and all the time. The garbage, the poop, the dirtiness. The sweltering heat. The feeling like an alien outsider all the time. The language barrier. The same food and same stuff everywhere you go, in little stores and restaurants that are all pretty much the same. The vermin everywhere and mosquitoes biting you and the itching and the scratching. The men peeing on the streets wherever they please and I have to walk past them everyday! The cultural differences that are so hard to get accustomed to. The digestive "adventures." Oh, such adventures!
Don't get me wrong - I'm still enjoying myself.
But all of these things in the outside world here are so much more exhausting right now, because my 'inside' world is so exhausting. I've started the second series of the Ashtanga Vinyasa asanas, and it's kicking my butt a little. You wouldn't think holding a handful of extra poses for about 30 seconds each would make that much of a difference, but strangely it does. And I'm taking pranayama classes with the guruji too. You might not think that a little extra breathing would take that much energy, but strangely it does. It's 7:30 pm now and I'm totally pooped.
It's nice to be back in Mysore again, with some familiar faces and places. But I feel some emptiness being here without Wren now. This is the town she knew and introduced me to and showed me around. And we lived in a little apartment together. And I miss her a lot now. Things are back to being wonderful with us now, I would say. And this is a huge relief. Though now we have to miss each other and pine away a little bit. Again. Like before. But only a couple more weeks this time! And we are so lucky to have the internet and skype! Skyping has been a godsend.
Yes, I'm feeling ready to be home. Not crazy or unhappy, just ready to be home. Enjoying what I do here, for the most part, and still feeling so very lucky to have this experience. But I miss my people - my family and friends, my sweetie, and my Seattle with it's familiar beloved places. I miss feeling comfortable and relaxed when I'm out walking around. I miss being able to walk around without being stared at and talked about. I miss being openly friendly and kind to strangers without awkwardness because of such huge cultural and language differences. I miss being able to walk around without being stared at and talked about. I miss toilet paper and soap in public restrooms. I miss cleanliness around me. I miss washing machines. I miss health food stores with organic foods I want to buy and cook for myself. I'm SO spoiled! Yes, I'm very aware of the priveleges of my U.S. life now. So very aware.
I also miss being vegan. I recognized that it would be torturously hard to be vegan here, having to eat out at restaurants where there is ghee in nearly everything and the people barely speak enough English to even take your simple orders sometimes. So I've relaxed my normal standards. I don't eat blatant dairy, and I have no desire to. Just some ghee here and there, mostly. And I still eat eggs every now and then, these days. I still crave them sometimes. It's such a different diet here, and I have much less control and fewer options for what I can eat to fulfill my nutritional needs. Good news: I've started eating wheat again and it seems to be going fine. Yes!!!
Today I rented another moped. I have been only walking around for the last week, but I'm so tired all the time! And for about a buck a day I think it's totally worth it. (And yes, everyone, that includes a rental helmet!) I'm very happy to be scooting around again!
As awkward as it was sometimes, I rather enjoyed being seen as a boy in other parts of India. Here in Mysore, I am a "madam" again. That's how they address female people here. You walk past a store front: "Yes, madam! What do you want?" It's a little abrasive, the way they say it. And oh man. I never want to be called madam, ever. Never ever in my life!
It's been raining here in the evenings. I think the monsoon season is just about to start. I've been rained on a couple times on the way home. I've sat out back at the shala with my friend and watched beautiful brilliant lightning shows. I got totally drenched the other night on the way back to the shala with my takeout dinner. I was smiling as I trudged through puddles in my flipflops, until I thought about the puddles - the rainwater swishing around and steeping all the garbage and shit on the streets. Lovely! But it was still kind of fun. And luckily there is a hot shower at the shala (amazing!) so I could wash it all off.
Yes, wash it all off. That will be my first order of business when I'm back in the states. I will retain all the magic and beauty and spirit and flavor and wonderfulness I've experienced here, and the rest I'll wash off. Like dirty poopy puddle water! I can't wait to be clean.