1 Month Reality Check
On Jan 30th remember blogged about my first month in India! That 1 month marker seemed like and eternity. Now I look at the calendar, see that it is April 18, and realize that I only have 1 month left. Where did the time go after that first month?
The reality check is starting to set in. In a week, finals will be over, and most students will be leaving Hyderabad for one last week of travel. Then they will return to the University for one last goodbye before flying out around May 6th. However, my plans are a little different. I will be staying at the University until May 1st before heading out for a two-week journey to NE India, returning on May 17th to fly back to the U.S. Our hearts stopped beating this morning when we all realized that we would have to start staying our goodbyes next week!
While I have finals to study for, I am thankful that the pressure is low, allowing me time to cherish the friendships I have created here. After all, my courses here are worthless compared to the experiences I have shared with my new friends this semester.
Our recent extravaganzas have been all about shopping in Hyderabad! Last weekend we made it to Laad Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in Hyderabad. It is located around the base of Charminar. If you recall one of my first blog posts, I was amazed at the hustle and bustle that surrounds the area. You can find virtually anything there: fruits, kitchen utensils, fabrics, and even underwear! But we were after some particular items, Hyderabad specialties: bangles and pearls! While you can find carts on the street overflowing with the colorful jewelry, but walking down a side street the entire lane is lined with shops selling bangles exclusively. The lane sparkled as the sunlight hit colorful bangles, blinding you with a rainbow of light! The choices are overwhelming! Traditional Hyderabadi bangles are molded of lac and studded with glass pieces of various colors, but you can also find metal bangles, studded bangles, and pure glass bangles.
Next we went searching for pearls! It turns out that there is a small village outside of Hyderabad called Chandanpet, almost the entire population is engaged in the delicate art of drilling pearls. Therefore, Hyderabad is known as one of the largest drilling centres in India, hence, “the city of pearls.” Being a proud member of Alpha Gamma Delta, I have my fair share of pearls. I was not planning on making an investment, but after seeing their beauty, I ending up with some earrings. After all, a woman can never have too many pearls and these would last me a lifetime!
Another find… attar! Attar is natural perfume oil. Did you know that in ancient India, attar was made by placing precious flowers and sacred plants into a water or vegetable oil?Slowly the plants and flowers would infuse into the liquid and be used as a fragrance.The sellers have the different scents lined up in glass bottles: rose, marigold, water lilly…and jasmine, my favorite! They poured the yellow aromatic liquid into a small glass vessel and placed it into a red velvet bag. Pearls and jasmine- I felt like a queen!
In the meantime, I was checking out l the fresh fruits on the side of the road; bananas, oranges, pomegranate, and mango! Yes folks, we have entered mango season. In addition to green raw mango, the fruit is just beginning to ripen. We have received some at our hostel and I have been surprised at the sweet and sour taste. The fruit will continue to sweeten as the month progresses. I also encountered this type of mango:
It is the size of grapefruit and tastes kind of like pear. Yum 🙂
Indian biscotti? 🙂
With 1 month to go…this is going to be the best one yet! 🙂