Monday, September 13, 2010

Kottayam, Kerala

My year will be spent in the city of Kottayam (Coat-tah-yam), Kerala. I arrived last Wednesday and was immediately welcomed into the campus life of CMS College. On Friday there was a holiday so there was no classes and the students have only just arrived back. Today, however, the students have decided to go on strike and so there are no classes today either.

This weekend I took the time to venture out into the city and surrounding area to familiarize myself with it all. I visited to Syrian Churches: Valliyapally and Cheriapally. Both churches were built in the 1500s by Syrian Christians here in India. These churches predate the United States and yet, by Indian standards they are relatively new. It makes for a very interesting place.

Apart from these churches I just strolled around the street to familiarize myself with the city and the staring people. The best is when I entered a restaurant by myself, ordered some food without looking at a menu and then proceeded to eat the meal with my hands-- this took everyone by surprise. The one good thing about eating with your hands is that you really have to concentrate on what your doing so I usually can keep myself busy and not pay too much attention to all the looks I get.

On Sunday I had my first rehearsal with one of the two choirs I will be singing with during my time here. It is a community choir made up of men and women from Kottayam and the surrounding area. Check out their website at                                   

Today, I was part of the Economics Departments Inauguration for the start of the years programs. Afterward, I went to meet up with the cricket/baseball team and played cricket with them for an hour and a half. Now I am just resting and reading. That is going to be one of the great things about this year. With few distractions I have time to do some serious research and reading. So I am looking forward to that.

Oh... and I got a new fan in my room so I don't sweat constantly while at home. I do, however, sweat constantly everywhere else.


  1. What were the students striking about?

  2. for some reason it really, truly, warms my heart that you are still singing. :)

  3. I'm so very glad to hear that Jeenie! It's really nice to have a familiar setting (choir rehearsal) in an unfamiliar place. And the students are striking about the type of student elections that will be held. CMS is infamous for its very active and vocal student government groups similar to our college republicans and democrats. Many of the leaders in these student groups have aspirations for careers in politics. The college administration selected parliamentary style elections and all of the groups want presidential. So, in response to the decisions they went around to all the classrooms and told the students and teachers to strike... and... they did.

  4. JIM!!! hello please keep up the blogging it is lovely to hear about your daily adventures, i had no idea what u were going to be doing in india... and now i do :)

    also if you are in gujarat look for shaina! i looked it up by car you guys are only 1 day and 5 hours away from each other! it looks like it's a very scenic drive just up the coast... nbd

    Miss you!!!

  5. geat hearing all your news have been working all week off today so have caught up with all my reading!loved the outfit just like a long kilt Pope due to land at Edinburgh today and they are having a St Ninnian's day parade down Princess Street speak soon love you

  6. So with all of the profuse sweating are you going to be a skinny wee boy by Christmas?

    I am also glad to hear you are still singing. I somehow got roped into being the DPC choir treasurer. Those old people have a way of shmoozing that is even unmatched by your dad. Good times indeed.

  7. Hope all goes well and I will keep up with how things go.

  8. I'm glad that you have had opportunities to leisurely take it all in. Each and every part of this experience will reside within you for life and you will be richer in spirit for it. Bless you.