Friday, October 26, 2007

In which we find a school...

Let's see, where was I? Schools I think-

So, on Wednesday we visited two more schools. The first, Mallya Aditi International School I wanted to visit because it looked like they have not only a strong academic program, but a good arts program as well. They are situated on a beautiful campus with lots of established trees and good buildings and facilities. I believe that they have some connection with a nearby art and design college, but I am not sure. In any case- very nice campus. When we met with the principal he was quite concerned that there wouldn't be a good match up between the American educational system and what they offered. After I explained to him that we were more interested that she receive a well rounded education rather than just having all of her educational "ducks" lined up he was more open to considering her. Then, when I mentioned that she used to attend a Waldorf/Steiner school, he nodded his head and was much more welcoming. So we took a tour of the school and interviewed with the Upper grades coordinator, but in the end Anna just did not feel comfortable there. I think if she were younger and we were able to start at the beginning of the school year rather than right in the middle, she might have been more willing to consider it.

Afterwards I called a school that I had been trying to get a hold of, Mastery International School. This is a new school in Bangalore, but isn't too far from the area we would like to live in (I cannot express how important this is in this city!). Even though I was calling at the last minute they were willing to have us come over right then and show us the school. Once we arrived Anna almost immediately felt at home there. The interesting thing is that the school, being new, is still working on the building and grounds and all I can say is that it in no way is as nice as the other schools that we have visited in terms of cosmetics. BUT, Anna likes it very much and I think they have a good mix of the American philosophy of education (which is very rarely able to be applied in US classrooms!) along with International standards. It is a very good fit and she spent the day there yesterday attending classes and trying it out. So, we found a school!

At this point I have to mention something else. You might notice that I do not have a lot of pictures. I have felt very self conscious about taking pictures here, particularly when I am on my own. I think that Sheetal made a good suggestion (see comments on my last post) that I would blend in more if I wore local clothing. I fully intend to do this, particularly since this style of clothing is far more suited to the climate here than my western jeans and t-shirts! I just need to get some time to do some shopping. So, I don't have a lot of pictures to share. I have decided that before we return I am going to have some business-Moo cards made so that I can tell people that I am a writer (a blog counts doesn't it?!) and this will give me some context for taking pictures. Particularly when I went to the market area on Wednesday to find the "yarn" store- Oh I SO wanted to take pictures!!!! But just take all of those thoughts and feelings that I described in going to Thomas Cooke and multiply it by about 10 or 100 and you might understand that I didn't want to pull out my camera. But more on that adventure later.

In the meantime here is a picture that we took from the rooftop terrace of one of the apartments that we didn't like. (The view the other direction was of a large construction project!)

More later!


Eric said...

Cindy, this is Eric, Anabel's husband. I envy your time there. I spent 10 months in India after high school living with families. I have a few tips for you that you may find helpful. Please take or leave any of this for what it is worth. In addition to wearing Indian clothing, consider wearing some sign of marriage that would be recognizable there. In the parts of the country that I lived certain kinds of bangles (bracelets), black beaded necklaces, and of course vermilion in the part of the hair. I was not as familiar with customs in Bangalore so you may have to inquire. Such signs will give you slightly more respect and distance from strange men and more closeness with married women. On a similar note, few young Indian ladies will be alone. They tend to travel in groups or with adult family members. A teenage American friend of mine tended to feel more comfortable and accepted if wearing a scarf draped over her hair, accompanied by Indian women, or adult family members. For food consider the following (1) Chinese food, but I don't recommend the "American Chop Suey", (2) "snacks" from a shop not a stall (unless like me you are willing to tolerate short term intestinal acclimation to increase the dietary possibilities in the long term) and (3) just about anything tandoori style. To decrease heat ask for additional "curd" (yoghurt). Some other north Indian cuisine favorites include cashew curry (kaju curry), tomato soup, and paneer butter masala. All tend to be more mild. You've definitely got the right idea with the traffic . . . "just enter" but don't forget to yield to large busses and lorries. I encourage you to find ways of making social contacts with other women there. One friend with whom you can ask and answer those uncomfortable cultural questions. If you have additional money from your allotment, consider getting a family tutor in one of the languages. Okay, I'll get off my soap box, I wish you all the best and that you come to love India and its people. Bharati Jai-hai.

Margene said...

I've enjoyed reading about your adventure. It was very informative to read Eric's comment, too!

Sujatha said...

Cindy, you might want to consider looking up the Overseas Women's Club. It'll get you started at least for getting in touch with other expats. Some of the women are of Indian origin so it'll be helpful to talk to them about getting settled in.

Anusha said...

One househunting tip I can give you is give the agent a lowball number otherwise he will keep showing you fantastic houses in "Wonderbread" neighborhoods -- you pay a premium to have white neighbors!! They see the expats as walking atms and will be surprised that you can live in regular areas.
Also keep track of the miles your driver is driving or he may goof off and waste gas doing his tasks and make yoy pay for it.
Last hindi is useful but not the local language.

Helen Bratko said...

Wow, I am reading with much interest!!