In Kerala!

Hello everybody! We all made it safe here to Kerala, India by way of planes, trains and automobiles. No kidding. And here the driving is a bit wild, always beeping and honking and driving on the left side of the road, sometimes no lane dividers. But, you know, it’s halfway around the world and the driving style is only the beginning, the mere surface of what beautiful differences and similarities await us each day.

Jennifer Ellen’s a bit sick right now but doing fine — so I’m (Patrick Commiskey) writing our first blog entry on her behalf. Perhaps I could share for you some of my first experiences of what it is like to be living now in Kannur, India.

We are right on the beach. Well. There’s a road in front of our house that separates the sand and shells from our door. We can see the beach from our roof, and the waves, and at night, the setting sun. The sunsets here haven’t been dramatic, colorful, or rich in shading or design. The sun has just lowered on the horizon, and then a few clicks above the watery arc, it just disappears. We can see this from our roof. We’ve watched it from the large granite retainer rocks along the road. And we can be swimming and see this too.

The sun’s become a large part of our experience here. The sun is very strong, and the heat is hot. Mixed with the humidity, it’s left us clamoring for water, sweating almost constantly, and adopting a much more tropical disposition when sitting, reclining or lying down. Even at night it is hot. But I’m learning that by moving my bed near the window, I can capture a bit of sea breeze, just enough to wash me to sleep.

Kalari practice is tough. I hit my right ankle and left toe today, and have general soreness in my hamstrings, which, despite prior physical exercise, I must not have actually used before. The kalari pit is red. Red with clay, and it is dug some number of feet into the ground, so that when you are standing in it, your feet become red, and everywhere you touch your sweaty body becomes a blood-like painting. And you can see the sun and hear life going on around you because, although the kalari pit is dug into the ground, the sides of it still creep up over the surface, and the roof is set off a few feet from the side walls.

Some of the students here are oiling their bodies before practice — this apparently helps the student remain cool in temperature and composition during practice. I haven’t experienced it myself, since my health isn’t 100% from travelling.

The teachers are all nice and I love the other students here. The food is amazing — three meals a day provided for us of exquisite taste, health and variety — and our laundry has been cleaned promptly once every day or two.

My clothing attire is very different than it is in the United States. For starters, it is January and I’m sweating constantly. So, sandals only. And then instead of pants or shorts we are given wraps of cloth called lungis. These lungis require no underwear, and it is similar to wearing around a very cool, and very breezy shower towel… all… day…. long. Very comfortable. And I’ve been wearing t-shirts and white tank tops around the house.

I’m going to sign off for now. I don’t know when, or if, I’ll be updating again. But I feel good about putting some kind of good vibrations out there onto the Internet about our happenings here in this wonderful little coast town. Peaceful, happy and growing.

Signing off from the Happy House,

Patrick

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