Cultural Experiences

We have continued to have extremely busy weeks and weekends here in Bangalore, and this weekend was no exception. Saturday morning, Abby and I attended one of Geeta Ma’am’s (our vice principal) famous cooking classes at DPS. We were joined by two 10th standard girls, Zoya and Saaraah, that take Home Science as an elective. We startedIMG_0102 off the class going over the different types of cooking: cooking with dry heat, cooking with moist heat, and frying. We then went over the different ways you can cook through each of these categories. For example, roasting a chicken would be cooking with dry heat and boiling a potato would be cooking with moist heat. Geeta Ma’am did a wonderful job of explaining the different types of cooking and I have to say it was interesting to learn the logistics behind throwing some vegetables on the pan.

After she was done giving us some background info, we started to cook. We started off peeing potatoes and frying them in a pan with a little bit of oil. Geeta Ma’am sliced them very thin so that they would look like French fries. While in the pan she added some chili powder to add some spice (of course) because Indian’s love their spicy food! We then decided to experiment and fry some carrots. They surprisingly tasted pretty good and very sweet. After experimenting, Geeta told13697225_10209756241798589_5764532783371179431_n us we were going to make a stew/gravy with tomatoes, onions, carrots, water, masala, and some herbs. She put all of this in a pressure cooker—sort of like a crockpot—and in a few minutes we had a delicious stew that went along with the rice that we made. We also made Indian potato salad; this isn’t like the traditional American potato salad with mayonnaise. We diced boiled potatoes, added chat masala, and then roasted onions and threw them on the pan for a few minutes. We had a lovely meal and learned a lot about how Indian food is made along with some tips we can bring back to our houses. Rose and Mom you would be proud! 😉

After our great meal, Abby and I, went to a workshop that Geeta Ma’am had prepared for all of the primary teachers at DPS. IMG_0104We went to the auditorium and there were 50 teachers waiting to hear her speak. It was very cool to see how incredibly respected and valued Geeta Ma’am is. She gave her presentation on “Quality Circle Time” and how to create a universal respect in the classroom. During the workshop she gave tips and tricks on how to have successful circle activity in the classroom. Some of the tips that were given included:

-Create a conch or object that the students can use to speak

-As a teacher, become a participant in the activity

-Listen when others are speaking and only speak one at a time

-Pass a smile on to each student and have it go around the circle

-Have your students give a fact about something they like so that everyone can focus on their similarities

-Have a give and take environment—receive a smile, pass a smile

Abby and I had so much fun spending our day absorbing information from Geeta Ma’am and I can’t wait to incorporate the things I learned into my future classroom.

13658989_10209770702040086_3555617956167176363_nOn Sunday afternoon most of the group decided to take the night and go to Ashram: The Art of Living. Ashram is a meditation center that focuses on reflection for all religions and cultures. The campus of Ashram is very large and absolutely beautiful. There are many places for crowds to gather and meditate as well as where workshops can meet. We spent our time mainly in the Vishalakshi Mantap, which is the main meditation hall. On the way there and before this whole experience started I was expecting a deep breathing exercise or a yoga session. This is not what happened at all. We first sat down on pillows in a large room with many religious symbols, showing that their center has no real main religion chosen as their focus. The session started off with a woman sitting on the floor singing a beautiful song and chanting very softly and slowly. After a few minutes men joined in on drums and other instruments making the music fast and upbeat. It sort of reminded me of a concert hall. As time went on people started to get up and dance and throw their arms in the air. It was obvious this was a very up beat and joyous experience, definitely not the relaxing, serene environment I think of when I picture a meditation center. It was really interesting to see this new take on meditation through celebration and song. It was a different and new experience for me and I am glad that we were able to be there to witness it.

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Until next time,

Sarah

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