Back Home in Beautiful Hawai’i Nei

I’ve been home for about a month and a half now!  I’ve been back at work since December 12th, and tomorrow — Friday — wraps up my second week of school.

I miss Delhi a lot.  More than things like the pani puri, metro, rickshaw rides, phalwalas, etc., I miss my host family and my friends.  Since I’ve been home my host family has called me three times, just to say hello.  I talk to my two good friends quite regularly.  One of them went home shortly after I left (that is, to Manipur) and I didn’t talk to him once while he was gone; turns out, there was some upheaval in Manipur during the time so the state blocked the Internet and all SMSs, allowing only phone calls (we talk through WhatsApp).  I figured he was busy with his family, but as soon as he got back to Delhi, he explained what had been going on and why he hadn’t talked to me in so long.  I really hope my host family and friends can make it out to Hawaii one day; I’d love to show them around and introduce them to novel foods and all that fun stuff.  Delhi was easily one of the best experiences of my life, if not the best. I learned a lot about myself there.

School is hard.  The MA program in Delhi was really different (though, my advisor did warn me about this).  In India there is the BA, MA, MPhil, and finally PhD; as a result, my MA program there was basically an extension of a BA program, which, despite collecting a wealth of knowledge while I was in India from my classes at Ambedkar that I can’t access in Hawaii, it hurt me because I am currently having a hard time adjusting to my work load for my MA program at my home university.  I’m sure I’ll balance everything in out by the end of next week.

I’m enrolled in two Museum Studies courses (Museums & Education and Public History & Commemoration; I find the latter far more interesting), a World History seminar, and third-year Hindi.  So far, quite honestly, Hindi is giving me the hardest time.  While I was in India, I did not hone my Hindi very much.  My listening improved by leaps and bounds, but my speaking really took a blow because I was always listening, but very rarely speaking.  Since the two good friends I made were from Manipur, they only spoke Hindi when they absolutely needed to; my host family only spoke to me in Hindi occasionally (I understand that it must have been difficult to bring their Hindi down to my amateur level).  Very few of my classmates knew that I could understand and speak Hindi, so they never spoke to me in Hindi (and this was not something I bragged about, just in case they did attempt to speak to me and I couldn’t understand).  As a result, I’m struggling in class, especially since I have not formally learned Hindi since last May.  It doesn’t help that I don’t like the TA.  She’s another linguistics scholar from JNU, but she’s different from the other two we had; to me she’s a bit condescending, as if she can’t quite understand why my Hindi isn’t as fluent as one of my other classmates (a Second Language Studies graduate student who taught English in Chennai).  She’s also laughed at my mistakes, which is something I don’t think an instructor should do, and which I took very personally and resented.  The other two TAs would laugh when I’d make silly mistakes, but they’d never blatantly laugh at a mistake I made purely as a result of a cognitive struggle.  I was contemplating dropping the class altogether but this is already the home stretch for me; I’m in Hindi 302 and 302 is the last of the sequence and I know I’d regret giving up just because I don’t like my TA.  I’m not quite sure why my professor isn’t teaching my class since she’s no longer on sabbatical.  My Hindi class is adding unnecessary work to my already heavy workload (I only need four semesters of a language for my degree) but I want to keep learning it because: 1) I genuinely enjoy learning languages, and 2) Out of spite, I want to do well and “stick it” to my TA.  Oh, and since it’s a 300-level course, the course is taught entirely in Hindi which makes it even more difficult for me.

Anyway, I’m happy to be home but I really miss everyone in Delhi.  I think of my friends daily.  Both of them called me while I was waiting for my flight at the airport and I cried at the gate talking to my friend on the phone, the stranger awkwardly sitting across me trying to avoid eye contact (haha).  But my friend and I had all the same courses, and we’d ride the metro home together every day after school (I’d get off at Rajiv Chowk and he’d continue to Hauz Khas).  On December 1st, I slept over at his house and we made typical Manipuri food for dinner with his sister and cousins.  The next day he took me on a whirlwind Delhi tour since I had done 0 sightseeing the entire time I was in Delhi; we went to the Red Fort and Qutab Minar.  We tried to get to the Lotus Temple but we missed it by ten minutes.  Driving me home, I asked to go to India Gate but the lights were off (it was about 7:00pm) to show respect for attacks that had occurred in Kashmir.  I went home the next day but I managed to go to one of his Church functions a few hours before my flight.  I surely did leave a big chunk of my dil in Dilli.

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“This is my year to be selfish.”

Yesterday I became a college graduate!  I purchased my cap and gown in March but by April no longer wanted to participate in the Commencement Ceremony because I didn’t see the point, considering that I’m going right back to school for my MA.  I ended up walking, and I was in in the center of the arena toward the back (the graduates were called from the upper level and sides of the arena, then toward the center), so I was called roughly two hours and forty-five minutes into the three-hour ceremony.  It was painfully boring but the girl next to me didn’t think so, unfortunately for me.  She was screaming and squirming throughout the entire ceremony, hitting me every half an hour or so and basically screaming in my ear.  It was her day, too, so I didn’t want to be rude and tell her to get up and move fifty yards away from me even though her overflowing joy and enthusiasm was more difficult to sit through than all of my undergraduate coursework put together.

Later in the day I went to a friend’s graduation party.  Her step-mother was friends with my father since they were eight years old, but about five years ago – when my dad got re-married – he stopped all contact with her because his new wife didn’t want them talking as they have “history.”  But mind you, the last time they tried to date was about eighteen years ago and it was weird and both said that it they felt as if they were trying to hold hands with a sibling versus a significant other.  She’s also married and has a daughter (in addition to her stepdaughters) so I’m not sure why my dad’s wife is still so threatened.  Anyway, I overheard my friend tell another guest, “It’s my year to be selfish,” when she had asked her why she and her boyfriend had stopped seeing each other.  My friend’s step-mother then talked to me about it and told me that indeed, a person’s 20s is the real time for them to be completely selfish.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I don’t want any commitments besides school right now.  I’m so focused on and in love with my academics that I don’t want or need anything else, really.  My significant other will want to spend time with me and it’s almost a chore at times.  It makes me feel horrible, and I feel even more horrible knowing that he loves me completely while I mentally checked out of the relationship around February or so.

I’m going to India in about two months and I just…”want to do me.”  Is it extremely selfish to want to have my selfish years?  Judging by the name, yes.  But I feel that it’s rudely selfish of me to decide to start my selfish years almost five years into a relationship.  But I don’t see myself slowing down or wanting to settle down any time soon…I want what my professors have.  I want to be cooped up in an office doing research and traveling for conferences and research opportunities.  My mom always told me that I’d feel like this one day, that I’d just want to pick up and run away and do my own thing.  I didn’t know what she meant or believe that it would happen to me, considering I’m such a timid homebody.  But now I do, and I feel very heartless for wanting to choose myself over relationship that also took up years of another person’s life.

 

 

Hello, Stranger

I don’t even remember the last time I posted on here!  Since then, I’ve gotten my anxieties and depression under control (mostly, anyway).  I often forger to take my medication because I am extremely scatterbrained, but the most important thing is that I am feeling so much better and at peace.  My best decision of 2014 was undoubtedly getting help for how I was feeling.  I still have anxieties and I still am depressed, but I can function a lot better than I could.  I don’t cry or panic or cut as much as I used to.  I don’t dread going to sleep as much, or lie in bed dreading getting up and facing the day.  Everything seems, for the most part, mostly normal.

I think the last time I posted here, I had talked about school.  I’ve declared a double major in Japanese history and next semester, I am taking 19 credits:
History 328 — Modern Korea
Hindi 102 — Elementary Hindi
Religion 303 — Creation and Evolution
History 424 — 20th Century Japan
History 396 – Intro to Historiography
History 499 — Directed Reading
Wish me luck!

Lastly, my dog, Logan, is still as cute as ever.  His 1 year adoption anniversary is coming up on December 28th.  He’s getting presents for both Christmas as his adoption anniversary and my boyfriend and I are having a contest to see whose gifts he likes more. He also has his own instagram if you’d ever like to see what he’s up to: @logan_inu  

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