Day 12 of being in Chennai, and I'm loving it!
Allow me to share with you a few things that have happened since my last update:
(Note: some of this information is very specific and may be a bit foreign to those of you who are not as familiar with certain aspects of Indian/Tamil/Malayalee culture or my church background...but just go with it. And remember, google is your friend.)
1) I had the chance to visit the Chetpet Mar Thoma Church with my uncle, aunt, and their sons' families last Sunday as it is their home church. The parish is about 700 families large (making it the largest MTC of all seven in Chennai) and their building is spacious and beautiful (though part of it is undergoing construction at the moment). They have English divine service most Sundays at 7:30am. Now that's wayyyy too early if you ask me, but it's apparently only because the Malayalam divine service is scheduled directly afterward at 9:15. (English/Malayalam Holy Communion services are held just once a month - in this case, tomorrow.) The youth fellowship was leading the service this time, and I was pleasantly surprised by their clear dedication to worship and their natural musical talents.
Other highlights of the day included:
-meeting several people who either know or are related to my family/other friends from back home.
-playing guitar while singing in front of people for the first time EVER [and not completely sucking] since I started learning this past January. (I was asked last minute to fill in for the Sunday School worship leader who had come down with the chicken pox.)
-being introduced to a few of the Yuvajana Sakhyam youth members (or "yuvas" as they call themselves, lol) and sitting in on their weekly meeting that's held during the Sunday School time.
2) I MOVED! -into a lovely [and very safe] 9th floor, three bedroom/bathroom "flat" with two other fantastic and super talented girls who are also studying at KM (which is just a two-minute walk down the street). It's amazing how quickly this new place has begun to feel like home, and that is in part due to the fact that I have some pretty awesome roommates. One of the girls is from Coimbatore and has already been here for a year. Her parents are heavily involved with her education - not to mention they're also responsible for our apartment unit - so they call just about every night to make sure we're doing alright and are always ready to help if we need anything at all. The other girl is from Delhi; she's one year older than me and we share sooo many common interests. I feel super, super blessed by these new relationships and so grateful that even this, the most doubtful of situations, has turned into something amazing.
3) Classes began the day after I moved. :) And they've been wonderful. Much of it so far has been a refresher course, but what makes it cool is that every person is here to study music in some shape or form. Music is what unites us all and drives us to move forward, and it's so clear everywhere you turn. Jam sessions in between or after class are typical and encouraged by the faculty - and it's a really fun way to meet and collaborate with other like-minded musicians. I'm the only one from the U.S., but the other students in my "batch" are from all over the Middle East and India. So far, lectures have been given by professors from London, Armenia, and Michigan. :)
4) My India number has been activated!! Finally. For any of you who don't already have it, email me and I'll send it over :)
-Please download Whatsapp and add me so we can stay in touch by texting for free!
Other than all of that, I've been getting more used to the area, the currency, and the general way of life over here as the days go by... Since my Delhi roommate is also new to the area, it's been fun to explore and enjoy Chennai together. The food has been fantastic (had the BEST butter masala dosa the other night - and went to the gym right afterward lol), the mosquitos are almost nowhere to be seen now that I've moved, and the weather has been on the cooler side of things this week... so all in all, I'm a pretty happy camper.
Thanks again for reading! I'll try my best to make these updates a weekly thing... :)
Until next time...
:: a l i s h a ::