18 January: Hello from Bangalore

I meant to post this many weeks ago. This entry jumps jack to January, when I just reached Bangalore and everything was new. 

Almost a week ago I boarded a plane that I knew was going to bring me to an unfamiliar world where the only person I knew would be at work for eight hours every day, leaving me to explore Bangalore alone. I’m living in India for the next six months (with a  wonderful man I met in May of 2017) and I have no responsibilities other than the goals that I set for myself. If it sounds ridiculous, believe me I am fully aware that it is. I feel insane for making this decision but I also know that if I didn’t do it now, I’d be bored out of my mind in the States, stressed about finding a proper job and simultaneously I’d be running out of money.

So here I am in Bangalore where one USD is approximately 65 rupees, it’s eighty degrees every day and I wake up at 9am to paint on the balcony. The whole reason I am here is to spend more time with my partner, Nishant, who I met at Elsewhere Studios: an artist residency in Colorado. He is a talented VJ and filmmaker who also does a lot of travel for work. Not to linger too long on the romance of it, but I never expected that the summer fling in Colorado would one day bring me to the other side of the world. Yet here I am, waking up to the new sounds of my new life on a new side of the world. This week has been more of an adjustment period than anything and it has been nice to ease into my familiar routine in a foreign place. Obviously there are sights, sounds and smells that are completely new to me and they have not quite settled with my system. I’ve taken to wearing ear plugs to bed because I’ve never lived in a city with a population higher than sixty-seven thousand people and now I find myself living with somewhere near eleven million.

My dear friend Kat asked me an important question right before I left. “What are you most excited for and what are you nervous about?” It took me a moment to answer but I told her that I was excited to have the opportunity to experience a completely different culture and I was nervous about walking. I know it seems silly but walking in new cities is always something that I make a point of doing because there really isn’t another way to fully experience where you are. Now that I’m here I’m still nervous because the rule of the road is thus: if you get there first, you have the right of way. Seems practical but that includes when pedestrians cross the street, even if they are in the middle of the road you have to step forward to make sure drivers don’t try to cut you off. Yesterday I crossed my first Indian street all by myself and it was absolutely riveting. I paced the south side of the road for a few moments before seeing a big enough gap in traffic to make it to the center of the chaos without breaking into a clumsy jog half way through. I arrived on the opposite side where there would generally be a curb, and found several motorcycles still in my way. I do think that I’m starting to get the hang of this charade.

There is so much more that I want to share but I’m going to leave it here today. The plan is to post a new entry every Friday so I hope to keep to that schedule. I’ve included few sketches I’ve done so far. They are simple watercolors of things I remember from moving around the city. The first is an auto rickshaw ride. They are these sweet little three wheeled cabs that are now competing with uber’s cheap prices. Though it still only costs about four american dollars to take a thirty minute ride. The second is of my favorite truck of baby blue with red and yellow warning stripes. A cute detail to notice is the family of three on the motorbike in the background. 

Thank you so much for checking in and I can’t wait to live through the next week and report back. Have a lovely weekend!

Emma Lucille

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