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  • Amber Vanderburg

Dance Stop

This autumn, America has been bustling with protests, politicians, and the glorious football season. This is the time of year with the leaves change, pumpkin is involved in every aspect of the ‘merican diet, and the anxiousness of Christmas begins to peak its head around the corner as Hobby Lobby has already marked ornaments and wreaths for sale. Meanwhile, in Bangalore, the weather is still a beautiful 75 degrees and we have many holidays before ‘ole Saint Nick comes down the chimney. We also have been bustling with protests, politicians, and glorious football.

First, I shall address the protests conducted Indian style. I have had some forced rest as Bangalore experienced a spirited Bandh earlier this month. For my non-Indian readers, let me explain how a bandh works. When there is a disagreement, sometimes the entire city will shut down (“bandh” literally means “shut down”) as a form of protest. The streets go barren, the stores are closed, schools are locked, businesses don’t open. The bustling sounds of constants horns and people and animals and cars all stop. No one leaves the house. Everyone stays inside. In this Bandh specifically, there was basically a disagreement between my state of Karnataka and the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu in that there was a dispute about how much water Karnataka would need to release from the river that runs to Tamil Nadu after a dry monsoon season. In this Bandh, I was unprepared because the protest was impromptu and I did not have food in the house. Needless to say, after a forced fast we were very excited when the bandh was over.

I’ve had some people ask me what happens if you break the bandh and open your business or carry on without acknowledging city protest. Guns are not a commonality in India and therefore forms of violence and crime is resolved through means like fire and stones. Yes, buses and rickshaws can be burned and businesses can be stoned (like bible times) if the bandh is broken. Naturally, I stayed inside for a couple days and simply read a book.

In other news, football. At Gameday Arts, tournaments have been abounding and surrounding in recent weeks. We had our first tournament at one of our locations last weekend which was a success. Next weekend is a city wide sports day hosted by Adidas in which we will be managing football tournaments consisting of over 300 teams in seven different locations across the city. The event is called “Adidas Uprising” and hosts a number of sports for one day including running, tennis, basketball, etc. and we are very excited to be involved with this event. The week after that, our elite teams will be traveling to a city called Goa to compete with some of the best teams in the country and we wish them the best of luck in this exciting opportunity.

Our Academy continues to grow as we added yet another new location to our repertoire with two (and possibly three) more teams to coach. This is our third international school location which I am convinced are the coolest types of educational facilities ever. One school resembles PCA from Zoey 101 and another one resembles Daddy Warbuck’s home from “Annie.” Though this may be only a slight improvement from the Tulsa Public Schools that I attended, I find myself sometimes reminded to pick up my jaw as I gaze around these beautiful grounds.

In regards to Indian life, I’ve been learning quite a bit of Hindi and can have the beginnings of a conversation with people and count to ten and say I’m hungry (very important). My driver almost become my Mr. Miyagi when he teaches and perfects my rough Hindi vocabulary but this is a very fun part about becoming Indian. I rode on a motorbike through the city for the first time this month as well and felt like just then did I become a Bangalorean. Slightly terrifying but luckily the extreme traffic keeps it at a slow pace. I’ve also continued learning how to eat certain foods in India which I’ve determined as a never ending process. Just when I think I’ve mastered the food here, I’m given a plate some new food that I can neither pronounce nor eat, definitely keeps me on my toes!

Concerning holidays and celebrations, Dasara is coming up and I might be heading over to a town called Mysore with a couple friends to see the streets and palace illuminate with lights, music, and celebration. I encourage you to look up this place as it appears breathtaking! The bigger holiday, Diwali, is coming up next month as well. Everyone is heading home to celebrate with their families and enjoy longstanding traditions. I will be trekking and swimming on the heavenly Andaman Islands while on a relaxing vacation. Thank you to everyone for your kind wishes and prayers in regards to my health as I am feeling much better and look forward to enjoying this trip with strength.

I am very thankful for this past month and look forward to the exciting things to come. Prayers for safe travels in my upcoming ventures, continued opportunity for teaching and growing moments with my teams, and chances to build quality relationships with people are appreciated. As always, thank you all for your continued love and support, it really means a lot as the Lord leads me in this extraordinary journey.

Until then, Boomer!

Amber Vanderburg

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