The Fulbright House Reception…
So today we woke up after 4 hours of sleeping and went down to the breakfast buffet at the hotel. This is no coffee and donuts! There is a huge spread of food that has everything you might have ever wanted for breakfast and things you never knew you wanted for breakfast! Teachers usually get excited about our free Chipotle burrito coupon once a year so when I describe my hotel, it is imperative to understand that never in my life have I gotten to stay in this degree of luxury! Everything is very fancy in our hotel and there are even bathroom attendants (not in the room!) and a multitude of employees for a whole lot of various and sundry jobs.
We were picked up by our bus with our driver, our driver’s helper who opens and closes the door, and our guide from Carlson Wagonlit travel agency who will be with us the whole time. His name is Ahzar. They took us the few miles to the Fulbright House which is where the United States Education Foundation in India who administers the program is located. We had a welcome and a talk from an education expert here. That was very interesting but I will discuss it later because as I type this, my eyes are blurring.
Basically, the talks were very interesting but I was so tired that I had stopped understanding English. It was hot, there were a lot of us packed in a room, and pretty much everyone was nodding off while trying to be polite as possible but what can you do?
Then, we went out under a tent in the yard (this place is behind a big gate and a fence, by the way) and had a beautiful reception. It was decorated like a wedding and some people in my group tried to convince me that it was a surprise wedding that my parents had arranged for me. People from the American Embassy were there as well as a whole bunch of other people and our match up teachers.
I met my match up teacher who I will be working with to complete a project while I am here. I think that I want to do a comparison of methodologies and just the school system in general. We have another meeting today and he is going to bring me some middle school textbooks so that I can choose which class I would like to go to. I would really like to meet kids the same age as mine at home.
I also met a lot of other really interesting people. One guy had done his masters degree at the University of Wyoming and so he had been to Fort Collins frequently and we talked for a long time. Everyone was very nice and we got good advice on where to go shopping to buy our salwar kameez clothes. These are a tunic, a scarf, and pants made of cotton and are definitely much cooler to wear than the hot Western clothes that I have brought. Also, some women told us they would teach us how to properly wrap a sari if we bought one.
So I realize that I am in India, but I cannot get over the fact that I get to eat Indian food for every meal if I choose! At home it is expensive and for special occasions and I have had it for every meal here. My family would be going crazy with excitement at the spread of food there is constantly at our hotel and at the reception since it is like eating at an Indian restaurant every meal! For my students who read The Breadwinner and you remember that Parvana ate naan bread, they eat that here and they have been serving it to us straight out of the oven. It is very good, and it is about the consistency of pita bread.