My second story is live!

Here it is: my first actual story for Citizen Matters. Not just me babbling about coconuts this time. I really enjoyed reporting on this, and these ladies were just as awesome as they sound. Happy reading!


My first published piece with Citizen Matters

On July 2, I had my first piece published with my host newspaper, Citizen Matters. It as a blog post documenting my culture shock and awe in the first couple of days here. For a little bit at least, I was on the homepage (albeit after a bit of scrolling):

Screen shot 2015-07-02 at 10.24.26 PM

You can read it here. Here’s a sample:

This morning, I was offered a coconut by a man with a bicycle full of coconuts. Last night, I walked past a cow napping on my street corner as I went to fetch dinner. On the precarious scooter ride over, I saw a woman doing laundry by the side of the highway.

I don’t know how else to put this, but back home there aren’t people with bicycles full of coconuts.

Let’s talk toilets

Let’s be forward with each other, shall we? Dear reader, who I may know well or not at all, you are going to get to know all sorts of strange things about me. Today, for instance, I am going to write about my toilet.

Of all of the things I’ve been itching to tell about, to share with you, I think I need to talk about my toilet first. And while I’m at it, I might throw in some interesting details about the rest of the bathroom as well. You see, this isn’t really the type of restroom I’m used to.

My private bathroom
My private bathroom

Had you show me that picture a week ago, it would’ve been a sort of “Where’s Waldo?” activity, where I get to try and spot the toilet, because really, it’s fairly nondescript. A nice little hole in the ground, not even pretending to have a place to sit.

When I first arrived, and was introduced to my living quarters, it did come as a bit of a shock when what I assumed was a closet door revealed my own private bathroom. Yes, I take pride in my private bathroom – after all, that’s not the kind of luxury many college students anywhere in the world are afforded.

At first glance, all was well. A sink – fabulous, I mastered those years ago. A shower head jutted triumphantly out of the wall. But rounding the corner, there was only a little hole and a bucket to greet me. The hole’s purpose dawned on me quickly enough, but it was the bucket, sitting ominously in the corner that worried me the most. It was to my embarrassment that I had to ask what it was doing there.

Ah, so the thing I had been eyeing so suspiciously was my new shower. And the shower head I had spotted earlier? Mere decoration, as it no longer worked.

This was a game changer.

Until you’ve found yourself alone, laughing madly at your own inability to bathe with a bucket, you haven’t lived. Until you have dumped a bucket of cold water on yourself because you were too shy to ask about the hot water, I assert again that you simply have not lived.

The toilet, too, has provided its share of interesting predicaments. Perhaps it’s also true that until you have had to Google how to use your toilet, you have not lived. But I’m not so sure about that one.

I’m happy to report that in the week I’ve been here, the bathroom and I have established a working relationship. The hot water and I have been introduced, the bucket and I are now well-acquainted, and I no longer need a search engine to use the bathroom.

Small luxuries, but luxuries nonetheless.

Until next time,



Let’s do this

Consider this the formal welcome to this blog. I originally wrote an awfully pretentious introduction, but thankfully had the peace of mind to delete most of it. Here are the good parts:

Holly and her first cup of tea in Bangalore.
Holly and her first cup of tea in Bangalore.

Hi! This is the place where I’ll be talking all about my time abroad. Here’s the stuff you’ll need to know to follow along:

  • I am in Bangalore, India (now Bengaluru, India) in the southern tip of the country.
  • I will be here for 10 weeks. I arrived June 26, 2015.
  • I am one of three students completing an internship through the University of Washington Journalism program called Foreign Intrigue. Each of us travels to a different country to work for a local publication. I will be working for Citizen Matters, an online news outlet for Bangalore.

This is an entirely new experience. Terrifying and wonderful already, and I’ve only just begun. And when it comes to articulating the new experiences I have here, I expect that the words I normally rely on may be left, like myself, shrugging their shoulders and wondering “How could you possibly say it?”

The answer, of course, will be “In any way you can.” So that’s what will happen here, on my blog: storytelling of the most sincere kind.

Storytelling informed by my experiences here, by my interactions with the people at home and India, by my work at the paper.

I can pretty much guarantee these stories will include things that are awkward and strange and silly, and I can sincerely say I hope that they’ll also be funny and useful and, at the very least, interesting.

With that, I’ll see you around.