19.4.15; DEHRADUN, India

I’m settling in pretty well! On Friday, I had intended to go to school again, but instead went to the market with the warden of the shelter and one of the older girls. This actually consisted of waiting 3 hours in a fairly grimy office for an ultrasound doctor to appear; the girl has to have an operation because she had gallstones. The office was packed full of people only a short while after we got there, and I won’t lie, the smell wasn’t brilliant. There are a lot of private doctors’ offices in India, and only a few public hospitals. In these places, you have to queue for hours from six or seven in the morning to be seen, and they’re hardly sanitary compared to British hospitals. More on that later.

When we were FINALLY done at the office, we went out into the market area. I visited my first temple! It wasn’t much, but it was interesting to see a small one in amongst all the tiny shops in a side street, as opposed to the huge things people imagine when you say “temple”. Did the usual removing of shoes and taking a look around; interestingly, there is an inner section of each temple which you can’t enter if you’re on your period! Apparently, it means you’re “unclean”. Rude.

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17.4.15; DEHRADUN, India

You know that feeling when time is simultaneously going quite slowly but also flying by? Yeah.

Wednesday was my first day in the school where I’m going to be teaching for the next few weeks. The Headmistress of the school is my Workaway host’s mother, and she is very kind and welcoming (like everybody I have met here!). I was introduced to all the teachers in the school, and spent the rest of the school day observing different classes. I took a few notes and terrifyingly, was later asked to tell the Headmistress what I thought of how the classes are taught? Feeling mildly like an Ofsted inspector. I AM NOT QUALIFIED FOR THIS!

One thing I have noticed is that the children here are all so well-behaved and respectful! As soon as a teacher enters the classroom, they all stand up and say, “Good morning, ma’am.” It will take some getting used to! I have a feeling that it’s down to the fact that in England, kids are so spoilt but here, they are appreciative of everything they have. I haven’t heard a single child complaining about going to school. They love it! Continue reading “17.4.15; DEHRADUN, India”

15.4.15; DEHRADUN, India

Culture shock is not even the word. Neither is tired. I have no suitable word.

It’s been just over a day since I arrived in Dehradun, Uttarakand, India. It’s only just sinking in, really. Seems like I should still be at home, getting ready to go!



I think my first wobbly moment was probably saying goodbye to my parents at the airport. After fitting what seems simultaneously a ridiculously small and ridiculously large amount of things into my new 45L backpack (yes, it really is that small), I had exactly that backpack, a handbag full of electronics and various bits of useless rubbish, and a bag of snacks with which I would be travelling out into the big bad world for the next four months. This only hit me when I was checking my bags in and turned around to see that my parents had not left yet, and I frantically signalled to my mum to wait a minute.

I wondered, do I really want to do this? It’s quite one thing to travel alone, but it’s really another, to go completely to the other side of the world with very few belongings, where you don’t speak the native language, with a vague plan to volunteer for two months in India before moving on to South East Asia, and not much else mapped out. I realised that it’s been so long since I travelled to a country where I don’t speak the language; I’m so lucky in that respect. Comparatively, my couple of weeks in Germany seemed practically idyllic. Continue reading “15.4.15; DEHRADUN, India”

29.3.15; MUNICH, Germany

What a ride it’s been! I’m writing this on the plane from Munich back to Heathrow, with less than an hour until landing! Feels strange to be coming back home as it’s only really been a fleeting visit to Germany, and the last time I was abroad, it was for a far longer time; my 3 month stay in America last summer!

Wednesday was a fairly low-key day; other than some general housework, I took the youngest child in the family to the park for a while whilst my hosthad a bit of a rest, and then went to Erlangen quickly to do a little bit of work formatting the blog and catching up with friends, as well as checking my travel arrangements for this weekend. Only just made it back in the nick of time for my host to head out for the evening whilst I babysat again.

The kids are remarkably easy to look after; they really are so well behaved! Their boundless energy, whilst a little tiring to keep up with, is no problem compared to some kids I’ve come across in my life! Whilst I can’t say that I’ve been here long enough to really get that attached, it will be weird to be back in my quiet house with only my parents (and the dogs) and relatively calm surroundings. I’ve got used to having the kids underfoot, and really, they’re great kids! It’s also been nice to speak Czech, though a little difficult at times! I must make an effort to speak Czech more at home with my mum! Continue reading “29.3.15; MUNICH, Germany”

24.3.15; ERLANGEN, Germany

Well, I was nearly falling asleep writing that last entry so I thought I’d split it into two. Where was I? Ah yes, the weekend. Restful weekends are no more; when three kids are home, it’s anything but calm! I had to go back to sleep almost as soon as I’d had breakfast because I felt so terrible, but I felt better after that. During the day I hung a few bits of washing and did the normal tidying routines. Then I helped with some of the renovation work whilst my host was taking a nap. Said work mainly involved scraping paint off doors. It’s more fun than it sounds.

I find it interesting how nearly every house in the local area is unique; the culture of building your own house is bigger here, much better than the copy and paste neighbourhoods we have in the UK. The house is quite big, with three floors and an attic; but the bottom floor is used as storage and the top floor is the one being renovated; it will mainly be bedrooms; eventually all the kids will have their own, but that will probably take a while yet! I suppose there is something satisfying about building or renovating your own house, but it does seem a lot of effort.

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21.3.15; ERLANGEN, Germany

Tired is not even the word. A mixture of being very busy, being ill (very grim cold and tonsil stones), having to think and speak in languages I rarely use at home, and the fact that really, I am only just more evolved than a sloth, has meant that the most diverting thing I can think to do in my free time is sleep, and thus I’ve been procrastinating writing another entry for several days. As a result, this is going to be dreadfully long. Sorry, not sorry.

Monday ended fairly uneventfully. I’m sure I did the washing up and vacuuming in the evening, as usual, but nothing too strenuous at all. We watched some of The English Patient, my all-time favourite film, which I find exceedingly difficult to sell to any of my friends as the brilliant see it really is, but finally, I have found someone who appreciates brooding Ralph Fiennes in the desert as much as I do! Although my host’s preference is for Colin Firth… (unbelievable, there is not even a comparison… Colin Firth is firmly in the “teddy bear” category.)

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16.3.15; ERLANGEN, Germany

I really don’t think I’m cut out to be a mother. Or a housewife. At all. Even slightly. Having arrived at my host family’s house at around 2.30am, it’s safe to say I was lightly disorientated and absolutely exhausted after having travelled since 6am with a coach, the tube, a plane, three trains and a local bus to reach Erlangen, Bavaria. And that’s not even counting the extra hour.

I came into the house with the whole family asleep as we’d agreed, and pretty much went straight to bed. I was knackered, but it didn’t change my slight concern in that I had absolutely no idea to expect.I had only corresponded with the family via email until I arrived. This is my first Workaway experience, so my worries weren’t unusual, I suppose. Continue reading “16.3.15; ERLANGEN, Germany”