Now that I’ve been in Hyderabad for a few days, here are some things I wish I had thought to pack. (In other words: Mom, send care package please. ^__^)
For anyone planning to go in the near future, keep these items in mind:
- American coffee. You know, the kind with caffeine in it. I loves me my Madrasi coffee, but it’s so diluted with milk and sugar that there’s no punch to it. Plus it’s only served after supper.
- A pair of slippers for my bedroom, because the floor is fairly icky. Mine has a small insect infestation. Every morning, they crawl in from the outside hallway, take the same diagonal path through the room, and exit out the door to my balcony (yes, I have a room with a private balcony ^__^). It is the only time I see them, but it’s a bit uncomfortable having wet feet from the shower and trying not to step on or disturb their trajectory.
- Shower shoes. OMG. This is where I was stupid. When my mother asked me if I was going to pack my plastic-rubber flip-flops (you know, the ones that everyone in the U.S. wears everywhere), I said that I wouldn’t be able to wear them in India because I had read online that rubber flip-flops were only used as “toilet shoes.” Why I didn’t consider that I might want a pair of said toilet shoes is beyond me. Currently I wear regular shoes into my bathroom (the only one I ever use – will explain later), which only serves to make the floor even muddier.
- Soap-on-a-rope. Do they still make this stuff? My bathroom consists of the following items: one Western toilet, sans seat (I perch on the edge); one sink, one tap at foot level, one tap at hand level, one showerhead, one drain at the center of the room. When I drop the soap I scramble to pick it up before it goes down the drain and hope to heaven that Chandler Bing was right about soap being “self-cleaning.” (I can't believe I just referenced Friends.)
- Highlights from my DVD collection. This is only because my students are desperate to see American films. My DVDs are pretty eclectic, and I can’t really imagine the students being interested in watching the American Theatre Archive’s recording of Meryl Streep in the Broadway production of Uncommon Women and Others, but I should have brought at least one or two DVDs with me.
- My rubber yoga mat. Some of the students go to a free on-campus yoga session at 6 a.m., but I’ve never been too fond of 6 a.m. I do my own yoga (yes, I know, white-girl yoga, but I’ve had four years of training now so at least I do it well). And I miss my yoga mat, especially when I am trying to descend through plank and cobra onto a cold tile floor flecked with sand, next to a parade of morning ants.
Things I didn’t really need to bring? Um… most of the clothing I packed. After a bit of consultation with the visiting theatre faculty re: what I should be wearing, I have folded up all of the salwar pants and dupattas and am now totally rocking the khameez-cum-kurta over blue jeans look. This is, apparently, fashionable and modest without being pretentious. Also everyone agrees that I look very pretty in the kurtas. ^__^
Editor’s Note: If her mother does in fact want to send a care package, Blue would like to mention that all of her DVDs as well as her yoga mat are locked into her office at her university and that her mother shouldn’t spend any time looking for them. Plus they would cost too much in shipping, being so heavy. She should also note that she could probably get her own slippers/shower shoes in the city, the next time she plans a trip. And that although it would be great to get a bunch of those individually-packaged coffee bags inside an envelope (no coffee makers, natch, so she would need something she can put in boiling water), she realizes that it’s as good a time as any to kick the caffeine addition.