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Saturday, May 26th.
Anddd we all finally made it to Kochi. The homestay accommodations are great, and the food and bonding experiences between all of us are fantastic. After napping after our 3 am arrival, we woke up for 10 am breakfast, did risk assessments, toured Kochi (saw the fruit and veg shops, went to Elite for dinner (featuring moths and mosquitoes and crazy lightning), and unfortunately got caught in the pouring monsoon rain—very thankful for rain boots), and ended the night relaxing and preparing for days to come (writing a percussion lesson plan proposal, reading, doing some research, etc). Looking forward to the days ahead! Also learned some new phrases—shattered and chuffed, which have become a running joke.

Sunday, May 27th.
We had a culture presentation in which learned the proper head wobble!
As we’d had our tour rained out yesterday, today we walked around Jewtown! (and the rest of the city tour will be tomorrow—I’m very excited). We saw a wedding parade with drums (SO COOL), walked around, went to Mocha Art Cafe (ran into the rest of the group so I took a picture—also had fancy coffee and a sizzling brownie!!) as well as a curio shop and the museum of the cafe. Before that we went to Krishna Cafe and had the BEST masala dosa ever—definitely ate 1.5. Upon return we covered EAPs, which were kind of a downer. But it was redeemed after debrief when I pitched my percussion teaching project to the GVI team (Tessa and Phoebe and also Paul!) and they approved it to be incorporated into the existing projects which is amazing—can finally work towards incorporating the emotional applications of music into teaching and cultural communication! Ended with dinner again from Ancy and then talking as a group.

Monday, May 28th.
We started out with a power outage—I somehow woke up at 5 am and then couldn’t go back to sleep, so I’ve been pretty exhausted all day. After breakfast and the first (of many) power outages, we played contact and then did some training with Tessa and Phoebe. Next we took a town tour of Fort Kochi, and saw all the Chinese fishing nets being cast and reeled up and more interesting shops around the area. Now we finally have some idea of where Kuppath House is in relation to Fort Kochi, and are able to kind of find our way around (and stop by the owner of Elite multiple times). Afterwards we played a card game affectionately known as S**thead, in which I didn’t lose which was great! It’s kind of like Presidents but with some magic cards—highly recommend. Afterwards was some TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) training with Paul, which was very interesting—lots of interactive activities and chances to practice our skills in person which I really value, and I was able to share a story about a personal connection I’ve made with my co-instructor at Walltown Children’s Theater during our 45 sec public speaking exercise. Afterwards was dinner at Rasa, which was fantastic, and I really enjoyed the conversation as well (though, since all of us are premed, that’s usually related somehow to the conversation topic). After returning from dinner, we had a short debrief in which we described our days in 3 words (exciting, thought-provoking, and enjoyable were mine) and had time to ourselves to relax. The days are getting earlier which is exciting but we’re still not quite acclimated to the Indian time schedule—hopefully soon. The side effects of our antimalarial medication have also been getting to some of us (myself included) so hopefully those diminish over time. Excited for project planning and Bollywood dancing tomorrow!

Photos coming soon—GVI is taking a lot for us and I’d like to add some of them to this blog if possible 🙂

Arthi Kozhumam