Here in Mussoorie, and in India in general, there are some things one should know about the culture or the habitat to be able to avert unfortunate events and live a boisterous life.
Lesson #1--the meaning of the head bobble. In Indian culture, instead of nodding your head up and down to signify your agreement, a person tilts his head side-to-side. Almost like a bobble head doll. In the States, if a student was to nod her head to the side once after I asked her to complete a task or do this differently, I would think that she would be begrudgingly saying, "Ughh, if I have to..." Not so here. That side head tilt or bobble of the head from side-to-side means, "Yes, of course!" or "Sure thing. No problem." I think I am starting to pick up the side head tilt but also find myself doing the standard up and down gesture in affirmation.
Lesson #2--they're climbing in your windows...snatchin your crackers up. I entered my classroom a couple Mondays ago to find something amiss. As I walked around my desk, I discovered what appeared to be cracker crumbs all over the floor, a torn wrapper, and crumbs covering my chair accompanied by a nice divot where someone (or SOMETHING) had quite obviously enjoyed his snack.
"MONKEYS," I thought as I surveyed the crime scene.
The detective in me searched the room for a lead in the investigation. It wasn't hard to put the pieces together:
What: trespassing and stealing
Where: Studio 51
When: sometime between the period of Friday afternoon and Monday morning
Method of entry: potentially one of windows positioned slightly ajar due to the increased moisture of monsoon
Consumed: my crackers
Who: presumably, a monkey
My furious fingers typed up a maintenance request for the full closure of my windows. It came out something like this: "A monkey got into my room and ate my crackers." Nope, that won't do. I decided to change it to the more serious-sounding and imperative words of "A monkey got into my room and made a mess."
Lesson #3--even YOU can be a culinary artist! Let's face it: life outside of college is tough. Especially in a foreign country. Not only are you away from the great community of friends and teachers who shaped you for the last four years of life, but for some graduates you are also learning how to live on your OWN. Because Woodstockers are far-removed from cinemas and other forms of entertainment, much of our excitement and energies get to be focused on one thing: FOOD. Now, cooking for me only became an interest within the past couple years. I took a stab at granola bars and then a peanut sauce Thai dish, all the while learning which spices I liked and if I put this with that it could really be tasty. Up here, far far away from foods we Americans are used to eating, a good ole heaping of 'Merica can be just what a person needs to keep spirits high and your GI problems at an all-time low. Maybe it's because of talent, maybe it's because of the LACK of comfort foods here in India, but I have become Chief Chef Katie Extraordinaire. "Katie, will you make those no-bake peanut butter granola bar thingies..." (we have yet to purchase an oven) and "WHENEVER you want to make those banana pancakes again..." (exquisite tastes, I know...and we eat them with the LOG CABIN SYRUP sent from my wonderful aunt and cousins!!!) can all be heard coming from the mouths of my friends and roommates. When times get tough, even amateurs can be acclaimed culinary artists.