Originally posted March 7th, 2014
…And a lot of household problems.
After two weeks here we moved from our homestays into our intern houses. We spent a long day bringing all of our belongings up the hill from Chenni and arrived to a lovely house with three large rooms for the six of us and a big, traditional Indian-style kitchen. It wasn’t entirely ready for us… for example, some of us didn’t have mattresses on our beds (but we all had pillows! Which, in this country, are pretty much heavy sacks of sand. So questionable prioritising.) and there’s no sink or refrigerator in our kitchen. The next day some basic house supplies were purchased and it’s been a slow process of home improvement ever since.
While we were all upbeat and excited to be living together – we made fires in our kitchen which we’d sit around for hours while a few people cooked group dinners and later others did the washing up – this first week or two certainly had it’s challenges. I suppose like the start of spring anywhere, changing seasons means erratic weather.
Some days we walk around Naddi literally inside of a cloud. You can see it coming from across the mountains and then you’re enveloped in a damp mist and can barely see the person you’re walking next to.
At last some sun! The first real sunny experiences we’d had in Naddi and we spent all day chasing it around the house. A whole afternoon spent eating and working on computers from our porch and then, as the sun started to set, we climbed onto one of our roofs to prolong our outdoor time just a little longer. As soon as the sun sets here the memory of warmth fades pretty quickly as well.
And then the snow came. I guess it was due time we were seeing the Himalayas in the winter like it’s supposed to be. Apparently this year has been unusual in how little snow they’ve gotten in Naddi and a local I was talking to said he was worried because they really rely on a certain amount of snowfall every year – then this happened a few days later:
Our water pipe had broken the day before the snowstorm so fixing it was postponed… we went just over a week with no running water. The snow also shut down electricity and the fuse where our internet router is plugged in actually blew up, so when power did come back we were still stuck without internet for a while. One day, when none of these three facilities were working, we spent pretty much the whole day trying to keep warm by tending a fire, cooking by candlelight and washing up with water we got by boiling snow. It was a really amazing experience having all of us take care of one another and come up with ways to deal with these challenges.
Like everywhere, though, even when snow is difficult, it’s hard to resent it because it’s so beautiful as well. And the snow-covered mountains are unbelievable.
Plus, it’s hilarious to see the reactions that Indian tourists have to snow. They all stand around taking pictures with it; even a few days ago we passed a car that had pulled over to take a group photo in front of the last surviving snow pile in town. It was maybe the size of a shoe box and pretty muddy. And the men! We watched several pairs of guys taking turns photographing as the other posed sexily in the snow in a driveway across from Bobs. There was much seductive lying in the snow and several men taking selfies. Very weird.