The phase of getting comfortable and homey while adjusting to the thought of leaving soon – Rollercoaster ahoi!

Here we go, another update on whats going on in Kerala!

It has been more than a month that I am here. Now, I really feel like I settled. Things that would have annoyed or irritated me in the first few weeks, have now become a normal thing. I adapted to the somewhat slower pace of life and work. I got used to the “no planning policy”, the different structure of the days, the way people interact with each other etc. So basically I arrived, I settled, I am ok and happy with the overall situation. (As usual..Just a few days before I have to leave again, … but more to this later)

What definitely helped to settle is that the people in the office developed from strangers   to good friends. Furthermore, I also started to meet new people, friends of my “Office buddies” which is interesting, refreshing and entertaining. I enjoy endless discussions on the way of life in India with the differences in so many aspects to my live in Switzerland. Be it family, job, relationships, religion – over a coffee, tea, beer or a glass of wine, a “lets quickly go and have a drink” a few times now turned into a whole evening filled with great conversations.

One of the highlights of the last days probably was a weekend escape to Kochi and Kayamkulam further South from Calicut. Friday afternoon, we boarded the train and travelled about 4 hours south to the city of Kochi. There, the Kerala Blasters, the local soccer team, was playing a game in the national league against a team from Pune. I am not exactly known to be a big soccer fan. However, to me, sports events are a great opportunity to see a different side of foreign countries and I was really excited to see how soccer in India is being celebrated. And what should I say? Well the happenings on the field are not really comparable to other European National Leagues in terms of the quality of the soccer play. But the atmosphere!! 51’000 Indians in one stadium. Everyone going crazy, having fun, cheering the Kerala Blaster to a 2 to 1 victory, celebrating together. Only a group of about 40 fans from the opposing team found their way into the stadium and could freely move and cheer for their team. Some skirmishing here and harmless teasing there but no violence, no useless fireworks or throwing things around. A peaceful sports party, a great experience!  (Learn European Soccer fans, learn!) After the match, we met some friends and ended up on a beautiful, hidden roof-top bar where we enjoyed beers, snacks and interesting conversations. It was the first time that I had the chance to talk to a solo-travelling woman from Finland and it was interesting to hear why she came to India, to learn about views and experiences on Kerala and to exchange one or the other story from along the way.

The next day, it was time for me to board a train again and head further south. I wanted to go to a village in the backwaters and I was looking forward to spend some time in the village community. In this beautiful and quite place, 7 women have started an eco-cottage directly at the water. It is one of the most beautiful cottages I have ever seen and definitely worth a visit. The ladies are incredible hosts and offer a wide variety of activities in the region. So if you ever plan to go to South India, make sure you spend some time there, you will love it! Snehatheeram – The only community owned and managed Travel Experience in Kerala, India

I myself did not stay in the cottage but in one of the ladies’ house. I met her whole family, went all around the village with her and the kids and was invited to go and have a quick chat in uncountable houses along the way. Sunday morning, I also had the chance to take a nice country boat ride through the backwaters before the family took me to a huge temple festival nearby. The whole thing had quite some similarities with soemthing like a fair. Stally, rollercoasters, food everywhere – and sooo many people. (starring level off scale!) But I liked it and the ladies made sure I would never get lost in the masses. Soon it was time for me to say goodbye to all the lovely people I met and hop on the train which brought be back “home” to Calicut.

After a week of work, more birthday parties, bike rides through the city, good food etc. it was weekend time again and therefore I was off to another trip again!

We decided to go to Wayanad again because I wanted to get out into the nature. The plan was it to go by motorbike (a so called Bullet) but unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side and it started to rain just as we wanted to leave. Perfect timing! Anyhow, we decided to go by car instead and again I enjoyed the ride trough villages, forests and coconut groves until we reached our destination in Wayanad with its refreshing cool climate.

The next morning, we got ready to explore the region. The highlight was a trek to the Edakkal Caves. With something between hiking and climbing, we reached the caves in a bit less than an hour and admired not only the great view but also explored the caves in which, according to history, people were living some (many) years back. I loved being out there, surrounded by nature, great people, having fun, getting some exercise. Good times in India! Ones we were back down, it was time for a late lunch, typical Indian Paratha and Curry (not surprising, I know!) and then we drove back down the curvy streets to Calicut.

It was a great escape and the thought of only having one weekend left here to spend time with my new friends and to explore the region does not exactly overwhelm me with joy…In 10 days it will be time to say goodbye here in India. Again. And as usual, my feelings about leaving are mixed. A part of me wants to stay, wants to get more involved with this place, the people, work. I wish I had more time to travel, to explore, to learn. However, another part of me is looking forward to go home. Back to those people I have known the longest, I love and trust most. Back to the place where I know my way around, the faces in the streets and where I am not the exotic foreigner anymore. Simultaneously, I will be going back to a country inmidst pre-christmas craziness with all its completely exaggerated consumption, the stess about gifts, the urge for everything to be perfect.. no I do not feel like going home and face the whole Christmas stuff. But than again.. there are Christmas cookies, cheese, skiing, nightlife… this in turn is music in my ears! You see, I am confused. Half of me wants to stay, half wants to go. Its not the first and for sure not the last time I felt and gonna feel this way so lets just face it, board that plane on December 15th and see whats next!

Do’s

  • Escape the Indian cities and explore the nearby natural treasures – so worth it (and some clean and fresh air too) !

Dont’s

  • Don’t take a car to move through the city – Motorbikes are so much more fun! And kind of more practical too, especially in peak times.
  • Do not stress about Christmas.. its coming back next year. And the year after.. promise!

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