Friday, January 2, 2009

What We Do All Day, Take 2

A while back I think I posted a sort of general overview of how we spend our days.  That must've been nearly 2 months ago, and now that we're solidly set up here and able to run our lives with a minimum of hassle (by Varanasi standards, anyhow), things for the kids and I have changed.  
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays all 3 of us have Hindi lessons with Virendra Singh

For those of you not moving in Indological circles, Virendra-ji spends his summers at the UW teaching Hindi at the South Asian Summer Language Institute and the rest of the year here in Varanasi teaching for the UW study-abroad program here.  (Mr. SLNC is also a SASLI wallah,
 but in Sanskrit.)  Guru-ji has graciously squeezed us in to his busy schedule and we are all
 reaping the benefits of his generosity.  The kids especially love the lessons and Guru-ji has a wonderful gift for working with kids.  He plays all sorts of games with Ben and has recruited 2 excellent T.A.s to work with Caitlin and Ben while I have my lesson.  Below is Pooja, tomboy and kite-flyer extraordinaire.  She and her brother are under strict orders not to speak English with my kids so in the process of teaching them how to fly kites, they are also teaching Caitlin and Ben a lot of practical Hindi.  

Then on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we are off to Assi for Caitlin's harmonium lesson.  Her teacher, Gupa-ji,
 lives and teaches just a few doors down from our favorite chocolate cake cafe, so Ben and I brush up on our cake eating, book reading, and waiter-wrestling while Caitlin learns.  (Ok, ok, only Ben wrestles waiters.) 
 (And you'd be surprised how much Hindi a 4 year old can pick up while wrestling waiters.)  Gupa-ji insists that Caitlin learn to sing as well as play.  She has recently graduated from scales to simple songs, and with the frequency of the lessons, Caitlin is quickly building up quite a repertoire.  We're looking forward to the music school picnic on the 25th, and hoping we'll be able to find another teacher in Pune!  

All of the lessons happen over the noon hour so we do school-ish things in the morning and then reserve the afternoons for errands and reading aloud.  Currently we're working our way through the Chronicles of Narnia.  Sprinkled throughout the week are visits with friends, playgroup and further explorations of Varanasi.  Its such a wonderful feeling to finally know my way around, have friends to visit, things to do and a general comfort with life here in general!  Now, if only I knew where to buy incandescent light bulbs...


Grampy said...

I'm so glad to read about all the time with the "Ji's." Sounds like a lot of learning and a lot of fun. I look forward to demonstrations.

I see that Mr. SLNC's portrait was snapped in front of our house.



Grandpa George said...

This is wonderful. I expect the kids will make rapid progress, given their tendency to retain almost everything seen and heard. Did you know Grandma Ginny went to 1st grade in Denmark and became the most fluent in Danish in her family?

Love to all.

Grampa George and Bob Glennon go to Chapel Hill tomorrow to see the Tarheels!!