I wandered around the room, when one tall guy caught my eye. I noticed he was dancing balboa with his partner. (For you see in the land of lindy hop, not everyone dances balboa, so if you know this subset dance of the swing era, it’s like having a magic key to another ballroom that only those who know the secret password can enter.)
When I mention that I am from the US, but also lived for a year in India, the next question often follows: “How was culture shock going to India, compared with culture shock moving to Sweden?” I pretty much always reply that dealing with culture shock of arriving in India was easier. But, I think long term, living in Sweden will be easier. Here are some observations I have made about the differences. 1) Talking to Strangers For getting started in a new place and getting around in every day life, it was easier for me in an English speaking small town in Southern India. The Swedish people are…..
For those of you who haven’t heard the news, this world traveler has landed in Stockholm, Sweden. I moved here to teach music and to be with my balboa dancer boyfriend, Mattias. I will share more about how we met/started dating later. . .but for now this is the story of sharing space with someone who has had a place by himself for far too long.
“There are many teachers in my area, why would I choose you?” I have extensive teacher training, with a K-12 Washington State Music Certification and countless classes, lessons and workshops after completing my degree. And, I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Viola performance, with experience on violin and viola performing everything from classical symphony concerts and chamber music, to jazz and fiddle tunes. With over 15 years of experience teaching all levels of public school orchestra and more than 20 years teaching private lessons, I have gained many insights into how to teach all different types of learners: those struggling to read, having difficulty with social skills, to those who…..
As my school year has drawn to a close and I am sitting writing, just a day away from my final flight back to the US, I wanted to reflect on what things I brought with me that were my favorite things that I wouldn’t easily be able to get in Kodai. #1 My lightweight hiking boots. I wear a size 10.5 in American terms and so finding footwear that is comfortable and my size is always difficult, even in the US. These waterproof and warm shoes turned out to be the main thing decorating my feet nearly all year around. #2 My inflatable camping mattress. I purchased this thinking…..
The preschool students are the ones running after the older students with a banana peel and telling them to put it in the trash. The same students are picking up other people’s trash because they have ownership and pride. How much more powerful is the message to keep things neat and tidy, when coming from the youngest members of the school?
I wish to go home and feel the comfort of heat on a cold day, yet not forget those who are without any source of heat. I wish to feel my body soak in a warm bath, but not forget those who have not enough water to drink – let alone bathe. I wish to sleep on a soft, cushy mattress, but not forget those who share a bed with their whole family. I wish to have a family, but not forget those who have many more children than they have food to feed them. I wish to be free to choose where I want to live and work but…..
As I continue to learn and stretch myself in this new place in which I live, I was reflecting on the things that I’ve learned (to live without). #1 A Washing Machine & Dryer – In India it is very common for people to wash clothes by hand and hang them out to dry. Many families do have a washing machine, but a dryer would be much less common. But, here there are no laundry mats for those without. Instead, those without machines at their house either wash clothes themselves, have their household help (an Ayah) do the washing for them, or hire someone (a Dobi) to take the clothes…..