Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I think I like you, Kolkata.

One of the beautiful zen gardens at the Dubai International Airport - Terminal 3
Waiting for the umpteenth hour at Dubai... They had these amazing reclining chairs! 
Leaving Dubai - from the sky I could see some of the man-made islands and designs, and I was in awe of how tall some buildings were - especially the Burj Khalifa, which just so happens to be the tallest buildings in the world... 
And of course, the amazing view from the flat I am in, with two lovely girls Judy and Emma, and then Nate, who lives a few floors below us, and comes up to eat with us etc. He is the patient one teaching me the ropes!
To be completely honest, I really didn't want to be here when I first arrived. I had a bit of an overwhelming introduction to India in the form of Kolkata airport... it was dark when I arrived, I knew I was in India when I saw how dirty it was, I had been the only white girl on the plane, and my ride was late. I stood out the front of the airport, telling all the men who tried to sell me chai, or wanted me to come in their taxi, to go away, until finally I recognised someone!

On the ride to the flat, I didn't really have time to take everything in, as I was busy talking to John, and I just took Jonathan W's advice to just go with the flow of the city. So I did. I just accepted what was going on around me, jumped a few times when we nearly were smashed by buses, and then finally arrived at the flat. I met the girls, and Nate came up too; they all had apple pudding but Emirates had stuffed me full of food so I had to pass (I have now found out it was made to welcome me... whoops!).

I had a shower, then went to bed to unfamiliar sounds and smells that completely freaked me out, and I began to question whether I made the right choice in coming. Of course, when I went to Freeset the next morning, I knew the answer to my internal questions was yes, I did make the right choice, and yes I am going to be okay. Just breathe and take it one step at a time.

I was taken on a tour after devotionals at 10 by Gabrielle, an Aussie who is leaving in a short 9 days (which is a bit dumb, as she is so lovely), then began my induction into my role! It actually is a lot more in my field than I initially expected... so what I am going to be doing is receiving designs from distributers and making sure that they are going to be workable, and then print out the designs to be ready for exposure, (then printing etc)... 

The ladies here are so beautiful and smiley, and so welcoming. I loved that one of them pointed out I wasn't wearing enough eye make-up! Even though there is a language barrier, we still manage to get a few things communicated. I can tell I will be picking up the basics pretty quickly!

For lunch, Judy, Nate and me went back to the flat for left over curry (yum!), and to chill out for a bit. Afternoon tea was my favourite part of the day, as Nate and I grabbed some sweet chai, then went across to the t-shirt production building, and climbed up a really high spiral staircase (with uncomfortably low hand-railing!) to watch the sun go down with Gabs and her three friends. The sun was amazing. Due to the pollution, it is this bright peach colour, and you can stare right at it - it is also massive.

Dinner was yummy asian noodle soup that Judy made (she is from Korea - such a sweet character too!), shared with 9 of us! We had an Australian themed pudding, which was apple pie, with the shape of Australia, a kangaroo, and the name of a beer from there, cut out in pastry on top. It was served with pistachio ice-cream.... mmm.

I feel so much more comfortable living here now, and I am able to begin to visualise an entire year here. Before it wasn't possible, but I can definitely see myself staying the whole time.

The crows are noisy, the streets are noisy, it smells bad most of the time, and it is easy to feel alone here, but all in all, Kolkata is a remarkable city. Nothing like I could ever have prepared for.

I miss everyone, especially mum, dad and Joe, but I know that this is going to be worth any homesickness I encounter!
Love you all.


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