You’ve all experienced the following emotions... the pitter patter of your heart, clammy palms, upset tummy, involuntary screaming, close-eyed worry. I experienced all these at last weekend’s Sports Day at Hebron School. I was the proud parent and wife. Yes, even Jayson got in on the action. Ani ran the 100m, 200m, long jump, and football (soccer ball) throw. James and Sydney did the 50m dash (and got a chocolate bar as they crossed the finish line) and Jayson ran in the dad’s race (which consisted of jumping rope, while skipping 100m...he didn’t win a chocolate bar, but instead fell down as he crossed the finish line). Honestly, it was the most competitive race of the weekend. As always with Hebron, the events were a great mix of British and Indian - with the Cricket and Football Ball throw, a sort of Chai tea being served in the bleachers, and curry-spiced chips passed out to the kids...
Time to talk a bit about grocery shopping, food preparation, and clean-up. Now, some of you may find this not very interesting, but we do have many questions about this from you all coming our way. So, I thought I would tackle as much as I can w/o exasperating you.
Grocery Shopping: Everything fresh or dried is bought at the market in town (picture your local farmers market on steroids, with really bad body odor). There are many, many (many) stalls for everything. So many, in fact, that it can be overwhelming, so I owe my friend Bec for pointing me towards the stalls that she likes going to. I start by going to the chicken guy, asking him to prepare two chickens, 1.5 kg - 2 kg. I then go to the beef guy, asking for 2 kg’s of minced and cubed meat. From there I move on to the egg guy for 60 eggs. While they are packing all that delicious protein, I find my veggies, fruit, grains and beans at...you guessed it...my veggie, fruit, grains and beans guys. (The kashmir guy, of course, for most of my fruit, including apples from kashmir.) The market is really smelly, compliments of the chickens, fish, beef and mutton, but I just have to go for it... Oh, and I don’t wear sandals to the market and I roll my pants up, because yes, I have gotten pooped on by a cow. The best part? There is the cutest gentleman, probably 65, give or take, who literally finds me in the market, takes my bags, and carries them for the rest of my time in the market, bringing them to the car for me. He even comments on what I’m getting, but I really can’t tell what he’s saying because he speaks Tamil and has (close to) zero teeth. So cute, so interestingly helpful. Most other items I get at the Modern Store - the store stocked with the imported goods. It’s actually quite surprising what you can get.
Food Prep: When I get home from the market, it takes me a few hours to prepare everything for storage or the fridge - soaking all the things that we don’t peel in vinegar and water, making baby food for Jovie, washing and freezing the meat and sorting the dried goods. I enjoy the rhythm of this process. As far as meals go, we eat more similarly to how we ate in the States than I would have imagined. I am glad that I enjoy cooking from scratch (props to my parents and extended family for this love and ability), because if I didn’t I would find cooking here really annoying. I do miss the convenience of a box of Mac-n-Cheese or a frozen pizza, but for the most part I am quite pleased with all that we can do with food here. We can’t drink water out of the tap here - we’ll never be able to do that - so we buy water and transport it home on a weekly basis.
Clean Up: The biggest headache about cleaning up is the lack of hot water in our kitchen. Our hot water is heated in a “geezer” (a mini hot water heater unfortunately located in the bathroom). It takes a half-hour to heat the water, then we use buckets to transport water to the kitchen. You’re jealous, I can feel it.
So, how are you doing? Was that agonizing? I hope not. I share this so you can better picture our day-to-day.
One last thing to report on. Lost Kilos. We had two fantastic meetings last week. Fourteen women total, including both Indians and ex-patriots. I do admit that I was a bit nervous. I have lost weight before, successfully and unsuccessfully, but never dreamed of leading a group of women trying to lose weight. I still feel a bit overwhelmed by it, especially considering the convergence of women from all over the world. In the midst of my uncertainty, I am completely pumped about the opportunity to be part of these womens’ lives every week and trying to lose my booty in Ooty...