I haven't written in a while as not a terrible lot has happened. I've entered early retirement with my work at Shaktishifa, and have been spending most of my time tying up loose ends before I head to Thailand. Also, have been hanging out with three Jewish women I met through the website Couch Surfing, all here in Hyderabad as part of a world service fellowship.
Apart from loose ends and Jewish women, I met with my future co-worker from JPAL/CMF. I was already quite excited about the job, but am even more so after meeting Theresa; she's a charming Chinese-American woman who worked at the US Government Accountability Office before joining CMF. I'll actually be working with her on the health insurance evaluation that CMF is running in Karnataka (a state east of Andrha Pradesh), which is a good bit of luck, because normally research associates are all alone in the field. My posting is also really convenient; I'm based in Hyderabad and will need to make field visits every other week, if not every week, but the field assignments are entirely based out of Gulbarga, a city of 400,000 about 5 hours by train from Hyderabad ( I was worried I was going to be in a town of ~20,000 like Jamkhed again). Finally, I was really happy to know that JPAL/CMF are both staffed by a lot of young 20-somethings, all passionate about their jobs, but very fun-loving as well. Indeed, each organization holds an institute wide retreat every two months, which is basically just involves transporting everyone to one city and having a big party. Best part: I'm considered an employee of both institutes, so I get two parties ;)
That's about it. The only other interesting thing (to me at least) is that I (sort of) have two new pets here in Hyderabad, Elmer and Mr. Big.
Elmer is a garden-variety (literally) frog who hopped his way into our lives as little more than a tadpole. My first meeting with him, on the stairway inside the house, almost led to his expulsion (I assumed he got lost and wandered into the house), but the cook stopped me, saying "Ye gahr iska be hai" ("this is house t0o you know..."). He lives in a potted plant at the foot of the stairs (see the pictures), sleeping by day, and hunting house-hold creepy crawlies by night. Occasionally, we'll hear him looking for a girlfriend, emitting a sad croak or two. There is no Ms. Elmer, which must be puzzling to him, as he lives in this swank home in Banjara Hills.
As for Mr. Big, he's a tiny little, I think, weaver bird who's fallen in love with his own reflection. If I leave the windows to my bedroom open, he'll dart in during the day, and sit in front of the dresser, romancing the mirror and shitting everywhere in the process. And if I don't open the windows, he sits outside the house, singing incessantly till I do. Although a bit dumb, he's quite fearless, and will puff up and flap his feathers if I disturb his "sexy-time."
Photos of both my friends are below.
Photos of both my friends are attached.