Our day at The Fort

This might have to be few postings, because there are so many things to do and that are happening each day.   And also I don’t know if there is a ‘typical’ day.  It is a place full of energy, creativity and friendly-ness.

It makes my morning each day to get out of the house (in my not-so-morning self) and walk 10 minutes to have breakfast in the school’s cafeteria (The Mess.)  As soon as I step out of our house there’s always someone walking and no matter who, there’s always a “Good Morning, Ma’m”.

We pass the two temples, many motorcycles, cars and probably the two school buses full of students coming from the Junior School to have breakfast as well.  Squirrels, lizards, mongoose, cows and dogs (that are becoming familiar), parrots, maybe peacocks, and so many other birds I’m still learning to identify.  Guards and people walking.  Teachers, students going to this school as well as to others, people we don’t know and few we do.  Getting through the school gate to the school grounds.

By the time we arrive to The Mess to eat breakfast, and my first thirty minutes of my day, I’ve been  ‘good morning-ed’ more than 25-30 times.

The busyness of the meal times at The Mess makes me smile. There are 600 students and probably 50 or 80 other people eating the meals each time. But everything is very organized and goes incredibly smooth. 

This is The Mess at a non-meal time, if you nwere wondering.

We walk into The Mess, wash our hands and line up to get our tray and dish up our foods.   Our taste buds have been overwhelmed by flavors but we are getting used to them. Siena and Lucas have done a great job in regards to foods, since we’ve arrived.  They try a little bit of everything.  A lot of it is too spicy for them still but they try it anyways.  They’ve learned to grab a chapati and curd (yogurt) where there is some and have glass-full of water at the table.   Then they go back if they are still hungry, or if they decide they like something.

After breakfast we like going to The Assembly.  They meet in the Assembly Hall the older grades for about 10-20 minutes.  There must be about 300 students and teachers, gathered here each morning.  They make the announcements of the day.  Awards and trophies are given to the students and teachers. There’s a prayer, a passage, and singing.  It’s the most beautiful sound.  I love it each time.  I think I’ll have to record it so we can listen to it later when we are far away and we can’t listen to it anymore.

We then go to the library for some work.

We’ve taken advantage of the invitations from teachers and going to classes to learn new things.  They’ve been making paper and other crafts in the Paperwork class.

Siena is making a project with beads and starting a new one with yarn.  They’ve tried the pottery wheel.  And they’ve also started going to the Metalwork class and have done their first pieces.

They’ve also enjoyed going to the art classroom to spend some quiet time on their own and do some art at the same time.  A very inspiring space.

And Lucas,  especially has been enjoying going to the music classroom.  To watch, to listen and play some of the many instruments they have.

This is Mr. Raja, our neighbor and great person, who’s been inviting Lucas and Siena to come to learn to play the harmonium. And so we’ve taken up his invitation and so far we know how to play the musical scale.  And I didn’t know the women’s scale started at a different note.

There are so many options and we are trying to make the most of it all.

We go to the teacher’s room mid-morning for their break.  Chai and snacks we’ve been able to try, of all sorts.  For us this is the only time we get to meet and to know people.  Most adults in the houses around us are teachers so they work during the day.  The afternoons are filled with activities and it is so hot that we (and most people) don’t really hang out in front porch a lot.  This is also the time Siena and Lucas can talk to other adults and track prospective play dates.  And is also my time to connect with other women and moms and ask all my questions from living in a new country.   Like where to get food and how to get there. When and how they get down The Fort.  Or how to cook meals or use the pressure cooker. Or learn a new recipe.  Or where and how I should buy clothes.  And so many other questions that rise in a “regular” adult conversations.

So we meet here and have a fun break with other adults and even get to see papá while he’s at work!

Afterwards Siena and Lucas head to another project in another classroom. I’ve been going with them to all these places, but Lucas and Siena are getting more comfortable being by themselves and visiting the teachers and classes on their own.  They like the freedom of this place.  It’s safe and they know the school now so they don’t get lost anymore.

At 1:45pm we usually meet for lunch at The Mess.   Siena now, is almost always sitting with her new friends.  Lucas still sits with us, even though everybody knows him (and Siena) and want to talk to him.

After lunch there’s Hobby time .  It’s like a club, where the students go to where they’d like to participate.  There are so many options that I don’t know them all.  Mark is teaching an engineer hobby.  There’s also music, crafts, art, debate, drama, photography, band.

From  3:30 ’til 5:30 there’s sports. Tennis, squash, football (soccer), basketball, archery, track, hockey, horseback riding, cricket, table tennis, skating.  I know I’m missing some.

Siena and Lucas have really enjoyed getting to know the students.  They have some friends they see each day and play when they have free time.  Which is not much for the students attending the School.  But other younger children, the staff’s kids, get home around 1pm and have more time to play with Lucas and Siena.

Siena has been staying for crafts classes and paperwork and walks home with Mark, after his engineer hobby.  Then she gets ready for horseback riding (not every day) or just hang out at home alone or with friends.  Lucas has been going to watch the school’s cricket and hockey team play.  Trying to learn how the games are played.

At 5:30 we all head to the swimming pool, when the staff has 30 minutes to use it.  It’s been a great way to cool off for the day and really fun to practice swimming.

After getting dressed and feeling refreshed (for few minutes anyways) we head home for some play time, go for a short walk, or go to another activity at the school.  Depending on the day.

Dinner is not until 8pm in The Mess, if we decide to go.  After that, sometimes there’s games or assemblies, or plays, or something going on and we stay to watch those.  If not, we head home to get to bed right away.

Our days here are much fuller and much longer than in Portland, so we are usually very tired by then.  Ready to take another shower and get in bed.

It’s been over a month since we arrived and it’s been mostly good times. We are always learning something.  Not much Hindi yet, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to remember my words that I try to use.  I think my brain has shrunk since I last tried to learn another language!  But I do enjoy listening everyone talk Hindi.  It sounds so pretty.

Namaste. नमस्ते


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