Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Just outside our window on the taxi ride to Bangalore.

Good evening. I am yawning uncontrollably right now. I wonder if you all yawned when you read that. Kind of like when you see someone yawning, and then you automatically yawn. Wouldn’t it be great if I passed on a yawn half a world away? Okay, maybe not amazing. But noteworthy. If you yawned, could you post it in the comments? My research is sure to be pretty scientific. Okay, now that I have almost spent a whole paragraph on yawning, I will try to make a lively transition. To waken us all up.

This past weekend, I went up to Pune with Bec and seven students from St. Hilda’s School and Hebron. We met her sister Debbie there, who currently lives in Pune. We wanted to take a crew of girls there to partner with the Sisters conference that is coming up in a week and a half. The goal of the trip was to broaden the knowledge base of the students on different social issues (HIV/AIDS, training centers for homeless youth, trafficking, meeting with the police commissioner, etcetera). The girls either interviewed staff or interacted with people at the different sites. They will take these experiences and be the “main speakers” for the social justice session during the conference. I went up on Saturday and came home Monday night. The rest of the crew is staying until Friday.

The girls on the balcony of the boarding school where we stayed.

The seven girls represented five different countries.

The lab at the HIV/AIDS clinic we visited.

Training stations for youth wanting to get jobs at car factories.

Let me tell you some of the more memorable moments... Interacting with students for the first time in probably four years (for those of you that don’t know, I was involved in youth work for about a decade, up until I had Sydney). That was such a big part of my life before. We had some meaningful conversations, as well as some good laughs. Another memorable time was going to my first movie in India. That was so fun. Also, I was opening my car door and didn’t look to the left and silly me knows that two wheelers can go between the sidewalk and the car... but I did not check and totally rammed the door into a passing scooter, not injuring the guys, but definitely tipping them over. Can you believe it? I tipped them over. Let me tell you how awful I felt. And so embarrassed. Moving on, my face is getting red just thinking about it... It was really incredible watching the students, in a very mature way, interview adults and engage in the social issues at hand (good eye contact, quite articulate, good non-verbals).

So, let me share with you another story of my travels. I flew from Pune to Bangalore Monday night. Then, I was to catch a 10:15 p.m. overnight bus to Ooty, getting in early Tuesday morning. Now, I could tell you that I was all breezy about going to the Bangalore bus stand at 10 o’clock at night and catching a bus. But then, I would be lying. I definitely had to put my big girl pants on and just do it. The fare was $8 U.S. dollars, comparatively to a car which is about $75. So, I got a bus from the airport to the bus stand, no problem. Found the platform that my bus was to come to, no problem. The bus didn’t come until 11:30, no problem. Bus came, gave the ticket to the driver, my ticket was for the next night, problem. No more seats left on the bus, problem. At this moment, I could have tried to pull myself together and talk rationally to these kind men. But I didn’t, I cried. I couldn’t help myself, people. In the big spectrum of life, not a big deal. But I was tired and overwhelmed and I simply just let it go. So, the driver was a bit startled by my reaction, looked at me as if my water just broke and I was going into labor and what in the world was he going to do with me. He told me that he did have a seat for me, but it was the seat that they usually don’t give to passengers. I didn’t care. Give it to me! But I needed to pay 400 rupees, and I freakin’ didn’t have it. I had 300 rupees though. No go. At this time everyone was getting anxious to get going. The driver told me to go to the office and get my ticket refunded, he said he would wait. I felt suspicious of that fact, but I went for it anyway. I flew up there and in a very broken conversation tried to tell the ticket guy my issue. Within moments, there were probably a dozen men surrounding me, giving me advice, all with very little English. After a time, they finally figured out what I needed, gave me a refund, and I flew back down to the platform. There was no bus going to Ooty in sight. So, in a bewildered and very loony way, just started yelling “OOTY BUS, OOTY BUS, OOTY BUS,” very loudly. And one of the traffic people heard me and told me to follow him and we ran after the bus, finally got to the moving door, tapped on it, and showed him that I had the money. I am pretty sure that he thought I was a serious nut case. But I got on the bus and found my seat. My seat was in the very back, in the middle of a block of five seats, and I think the reason they never sell that one to anyone is that the reclining feature of this particular seat never locks. So on every speed-bump, slow-down, speed-up, or curvy-curve, the seats moves up and down. It’s pretty much a constant roller coaster. But I didn’t really care my friends, because I was on my “OOTY BUS.”

The bus station...pre-meltdown.

****You may be wondering how the ticket mishap happened and why I didn’t catch it. Well there is no clear reason, just that between the four people that were handling the ticket, the dates got switched somewhere. It really doesn’t matter. And I never know the date of the month, so I am complete loser in that category.


Sarah said...

Wow, Tarrah. Amazing story. After almost getting frazzled because I drove an hour to Ikea and they didn't have the particular bin I came there for, I exhaled, and thought of you. And then it seemed ridiculous that I was even thinking about being upset, being in the biggest store in existence, where they have practically everything known to man, including very good macaroni and cheese :)

Glad you are writing down these stories...

Jada said...

I yawned even before I read the part about making us yawn!

I also can't believe your bus story. Wowzaz.

cassie said...

okay, i yawned after the fifth mention of the word yawn while trying desperately not to yawn, and then when i went back to count which yawn made me yawn so that i could type it here, i yawned again. happy yawning from north dakota!

mel said...

i didn't yawn. sorta wished i would have, just so i could write that i did. i was tempted to lie. :)
ps, the story about the scooter is really something. i'm so sorry for your embarrassment, but what a story!! can't help it, i just think its so miserably (or something) funny.

mel said...

oh and...your bus story. t, you're so brave. i love that about you!!
i almost cried thinking of you in that scenario. maybe a bit similar to our chasing the train. when that horror hits that you might just have missed the train/bus, especially with your family on the other side of that ride! so thankful you made it home safe and sound!!

Anonymous said...

I secretly (well, not anymore) sometimes wish I could stick out my hand as we pass street bikers...does that make you feel better about yourself? A scooter is an even higher point value! Um, and I literally laughed out loud at "ooty bus, ooty bus" I so wish I could revisit that scene on youtube! thanks for the laughter-Honja

Nancy said...

Nope, it's 11:42PM and I din't yawn. I did tighten up a bit reading about this young women alone in a strange country calling
"OOTY BUS OOTY BUS". You are one brave girl that God gives special attention to. Several months ago while backing down a drive way I backed into a BIG truck that was PARKED. My insurance company called me and said "I know you must be quite embarrassed but we are waiting for you to file a claim. Good night and God Bless.

mandy said...

I yawned!! all the way from yorkshire Uk!!! I think your scientific research is true! yes i do! flip! I would have cried too Tarrah, I'm with you on that one girl! I cry at nearly everything!

Natalie said...

I yawned, but I can't be certain it was because of the mention of yawning. I'm not sure where that falls in your research, but I wanted to give it to you just in case.

Bravo and well done and I'm impressed and wow. Yawn.

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