Friday, 24 May 2013

T.G.I.F!

Amen to that!  And it was a pretty nice friday- the students worked on their catapults all day, no one lost an eye during testing and I got to start working on their week two evaluations.  After meeting #3 this week <!>, I went swimming (between it storming every afternoon because of the advent of pre-monsoon season and too much work this week, it's been too long), planned tomorrow's lesson and I'm leaving shortly for Italian food for dinner with Sid and Aseem who I met last night.  I'm trying not to get too excited about eating something other than Indian food... the instructor from last year told me they all went out to Olive Garden which had an extensive American, Italian, Chinese and Indian menu... but everything they ordered had curry in it.  We'll see if this is actually Italian.

Last night was fun too.  Mayukh's an infosys couchsurfer I've met up with several times but he's pretty elusive... kind of appears when you least expect him too.  He's leaving his life up to chance and going where the wind blows.   Anyway, last night he took me to the Green Hotel which used to be the King's guest house.  He told me about the king's curse... supposedly an old mistress or something said he'f never have children, and to this day, it appears the line might be ending.  It seems kinda surreal to live in a world of kings and curses but that's Mysore, I guess.  Mayukh prides himself in finding hidden gems that no one knows about.  This place is a gem- calm, serene and practically empty.  They pride themselves on eco-friendly sustainable tourism and even use solar panels.  We went into the French-style bakery.  The bakery is entirely owned by women, which is extraordinarily rare, and they actually find their employees from unprivileged areas and castes, send them to France for training then they work here.  
The Green Hotel, Mysore
For someone my age, Mayukh has a remarkable amount of stories to tell about people he's met and places he's been.  He planned out a hippie tour of India for me if I ever come back with a month to kill, and he highlighted some places that almost no one knows about.  We're both LOST fans and he told me about an island within driving distance of here that is a surreal, almost dreamlike community.  Everyone wears white, everything's free (free food, free place to stay) and there's places of worship for every faith and a huge meditation hall.  I barely believe him but he said he'll take me there on Sunday.  Unless we want to go to the jungle and get trampled by elephants.  We'll see which way the wind blows.

After the cafe closed, we went over the house of some of his aerospace engineering co-workers that I met at the floating restaurant the other day.  Hanging out on their back porch under an almost-full-moon, surrounded by interesting nerds was the perfect way to unwind and felt a lot like hanging out with the physics boys back in Raleigh.  I think I almost convinced the three of them to come in and talk to my class... I think the kids would appreciate the honesty of three young, working engineers.

We had one other guest speak in the class, from India's largest tire company, recommended by last year's instructor.  I was hoping he'd talk about what mechanical engineers do, what the training process was like, etc. Unfortunately, instead, he gave us what appeared to be a dissertation defense- two and a half hours of graduate level information on tires.   It would have made a perfect university colloquium but seventh graders don't need to know about finite element analysis.  I was so proud of them for staying awake and staying interested.  When he left, he sent an e-mail saying how blessed he was to have gotten the opportunity to speak to "such intelligent young minds" and that their "active participation made the presentation fully interactive" and that he wishes them "all the best".  So I'm glad he got something out of the experience because they didn't understand much and were monsters in the afternoon after having to sit, listening to him for three hours in the morning.

It's time for dinner.  Woot woot for two weeks of teaching down, one slightly shorter week to go!