I’ve been here 9-10 weeks now. At this point you start to establish some friendships and lots of connections with people.
A very typical greeting in Kerala is “Have you had your breakfast?” I don’t know whether I will ever fully understand their inordinate interest in what I consume for the first meal of the day. My fellow exchangers and I have learnt to ask this question when greeting people.
If you are in a de facto relationship, as I am – say you are married. If you have chosen not to have children, as I did, then assume that people will be very apologetic and feel sorry for you. In India marriage and children are expected. If you are an older student, as I am, note that this is highly unusual in India and requires some explanation.
My educational institution blocks you from viewing pictures of sports women and men online. Go figure.
Head movements are so important in India. So much can be said with the right rotation of the head.
People never tire of photographing the white person. Never, ever. But you will tire of being put in photos with or without your permission. Well, I did anyway.
Dosas are the best. Indian food has always been one of my favourites. As someone with coeliac disease you couldn’t pick a better destination. There are lots of options.
Kerala is a dry state (as in prohibition is in force). Yes. Attending a conference in neighbouring Tamil Nadu provided a chance to catch up 😊
Time is a very different concept in India. I was told very directly by one of the priests in my organisation, that no-one would ever think to turn up to a meeting on time. It is true. But there does seem to be a window within in which you are meant to appear and I haven’t mastered that one yet.
Keralans find it hard to say a confirmation just once. There is never a single ‘OK’. It must always be ‘Okayokayokayokay’. Malayalam, the language of Kerala, has words with many syllables, often sounding the same. I think this is why a single syllable just seems to be lacking something for them.
Doing a school visit. These are major affairs with gushing speeches and effusive gratitude. The younger students ask a lot of questions. They seemed quite curious to know whether dingoes were a problem in Australia, how much drugs and alcohol affect our population, and who was the first prime minister. Not really that easy to answer when you are put on the spot.