Sunday, May 30, 2010

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

After Tarrah left for the U.S., Ani and James decided to set up in Mommy and Daddy's room watching "Little Bill" for a special dinner. It wasn't too hard to convince Dad this was a good idea.

I think the late John Denver says it best, “I’m leavin’ on a jet plane…” For the last few days, that’s what I have sung to myself when I could not push myself any more. Tomorrow at this time (it’s Saturday evening, but the blog will not be posted until Monday a.m.), Sydney and Jovie and I, will just be passing though Mysore, (
click here for a map of Ooty, Mysore, and Bangalore) halfway into our car journey to the Bangalore Airport. Beautiful. Our driver’s name is Rajesh, just in case you were wondering. I really like drivers. The driving company we use, the boss is named, Guru. Awesome. If you are a boss, I dare you to try to have your employees call you Guru. Anyway, other than Jayson, or my parents when I was younger, I’ve never had anyone really drive me someplace. I think it’s a great way to go. We do it whenever we travel outside of Ooty. To rent a car (our car/van/can would fail miserably in the journey to Bangalore) and hire a driver for an eight hour ride, it’s around 65 US Dollars. Pretty sweet, eh?

Goodbye's as Tarrah, Sydney, and Jovie head out. (You may want to click on this photo just to see Ani's face up close.)

The three girls, ready to head out. Sydney's not crying here, I think she just bonked her head on something.

See you soon Mom!

Notice it says, "No Objection to Leave India." So what would we have done if they DID object?

At the moment though, I am feeling a bit like a pile of rubbish. My tummy sounds, like, oh, what does it remind me of, hold on, it’ll come to me, good grief its taking me awhile, it’s from a scene in a movie. Wait, got it. It’s like in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 when Steve Martin is in the bouncy castle at his neighbor boy’s party chasing one of his twelve kids and it starts to overfill and he yells, “Look out. She’s gonna blow!”, and sure enough, it launches him across the yard into the party cake. Whew, it took a lot out of me to think of that. So, I do look forward to see what the next two days of travel look like for the girls and me. I am sure glamorous and so much to envy. My friend Wendy said that there are supposed to be attendants on airlines that are the designated baby helpers. Say what? I have never heard or seen such a thing. I am sure it is an urban myth. Jovie turns two on August 7 (two days before we fly back), so we just barely made the cut for her to sit in my lap and not pay for a seat. Which, I am sure, will make for some really special moments between her and me. Please note the irony in my words. If you want to, you can play a game with me and then post it on the blog. Here’s the game, “At what hour of my two day travel with the girls did I want to check myself into the nearest insane asylum”? It will be fun to play, come on, I know you want to. All I have to say is this, “Mom and Dad, you are the proverbial finish line, be ready for me to pass the two, darling, precious ‘batons’ on to you… Oh, and a tall, iced, hazelnut latte please.”

Okay, on to other news, Jayson went on a motorcycle trip with his friend Glen Parks on Tuesday. The trip did have the purpose of seeing two specialists for some ailments. (Parents, do not alarm yourself, truly it’s nothing to worry yourself about.) Ooty does have generalists when it comes to medicine, but anything specialized you need to head three hours down the mountain to Coimbatore. So, Jayson and Glen headed out at 6:30 a.m., and got back around 10:00 p.m. Seven hours of that on a motorcycle. He was a bit shattered when he got back. All good news from the doctors, but his body was done. I, the good wife, made great fun of him. He was altogether ridiculous.

Photos from the bike trip to Coimbatore.

Glen got a flat tire on the trip, making things a bit interesting for about two hours, trying to figure out where and how to fix it.

We had another graduation from Roja this week. Maya. It was a stressful week for the aftercare staff, because Maya was making plans to go home. Which sometimes is not a bad thing for the girls, but for Maya it is. More than likely, Maya’s family, were the ones who trafficked her in the first place. So, all week long, she said she wanted to go home and not come back. But the night before she was to leave, she told the staff that she promised to come back after her visit home. We pray for strength, determination to come back, good choices, and safety.

A few photos of Maya

Well people, as you all know, I am completely ecstatic about going back to the States for a visit. I’m having some strange emotions about it all though. Similar to going to a high school reunion (which I have never been to, if that tells you anything about me), I think. I am sure I will have moments of complete hyperventilation, hysteric laughter, and rivers of tears. But hey, I am going to pull up my big girl pants, face raw emotion, and go to Starbucks whenever possible. The next post will be from my parent’s living room - WOO HOO!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Saw the Spree Candies

One of our volunteers with a girl from the aftercare program.

I am feeling so sore right now. Incredibly sore. Sore to the core. I am walking like, well, like someone who is incredibly sore. So descriptive, I know. Today, with Jovie on my back, we hiked out to Avalanche Camp, were Freedom Firm hosts an annual camp for rescued girls. The girls came from Calcutta, Pune, Mumbai, and our girls from Ooty. Do you remember this camp from last year? Anyway, Jayson went out last year and this year it was my turn. The hike in and of itself was beautiful. My lungs did feel like they were going to explode at one point and I am pretty sure that I ripped some muscle when I was trying not to land in the foot-high mud. Secretly, I kind of want to keep on writing about how sore I am, but surely you would rather watch paint dry.

Moving on, the camp was great. A group is here from Texas to run the camp - bringing so much energy, great activities, and massive amounts of love. Watching these girls, ages 14 on up, have so much fun at the limbo was such a treasure to behold today. They brought a bunch of games and I peered into the trunk they were in and saw a box of Spree Candies. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the sight of candy from the States and told someone that I saw the Spree Candies. (Note: I would rarely eat Spree Candies, it was just the novelty of seeing a cute box of Sprees that nearly brought tears to my eyes). Anyway, I guess I must have looked rather pitiful, as they gave me the box. It was a big box too. Like the kind you get at the movie theatre.

Sore legs and Spree Candies - riveting, I know.

So, Obi had something caught in his throat. Sounding like he was hacking up a truck about a million times a day. After a few days, we called our big animal, vet friend, to see what to do. She said to have him eat oatmeal and drink cooking oil. Awesome. Obi was not real keen on the oatmeal, but did like the oil. But that didn’t seem to help. We were kind of dragging our feet to bring him in to get checked on, since we were going to have to bring him down the mountain to do so. The day before we were going to bring him down, our house help, Josephine, brought her special sauce to help him out. She called it “medicine”. What she performed, though, looked more like voodoo. In a very dramatic moment, whilst I had Obi on a leash, she took out our broom and swept him down his back a few times, and that was it. I was quite stunned actually. And then humbled. I think the thought that went through my mind was like, “Oh, how sweet, such a simple person like Josephine, thinks that is what is going to help him, how sweet and equally ridiculous.” But, a few hours later, the hacking truck sound was no more. So, the next time your animal or child is hacking up a truck, get your broom out and sweep away.

The infamous magical broom.

This weekend we were jailed to the house since the amount of tourists in town tripled Ooty’s population. The Ooty streets were not made for the traffic. So, unless I want to prematurely age 10 years, I just stay home. I am a better person for it. The rage stays safely inside of me. Anyway, we took the “at home all weekend long” opportunity to go through every drawer, closet, and bookshelf to clean out, give away, bring back to the States, get ready for us to be gone for a few months, etc... And it took us six hours. That number reflects how little we have here. When we were moving out of and selling our old house, it practically took me six years to go through everything. The number of benefits to living in India continues to rise.

A few photos of the India-famous Ooty Botanical Gardens (photos grabbed from Google, since we stayed as far away from the throng of people as possible last weekend.)

Hey, I read a great book on trafficking. It’s called “Sold” by Patricia McCormick. I highly recommend it if you want to understand more of where these girls are coming from.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Large Animal Veterinarian Friend

James and his friends in the big "boat race". Note his friend Samuel getting into the spirit of competition.

I think it may have been cheating for James to both fan his boat with the paper plate AND blow on it.

The boats had been painted earlier that day. Looks a bit like the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Blue paint...everywhere.

After the race, James brought home this note. Very cute.

Happy Mother’s Day. Last year, on Mother’s Day, I had the India ick and was in bed most of the day. That is, I was in bed until some friends of ours, that had not gotten our message that we could not have them over because I was sick, showed up for dinner. With, might I add, myself and the house in disarray, and hardly anything for dinner. So, I played that my plan all along was to have french toast and cheesy eggs for dinner. We had a nice evening, but I promptly fell into bed when they left. Why am I telling you this story? It was a year ago. Never mind, this year we had a fabulous day, other than the fact that both of our moms are half way across the world. Breakfast in bed, cards from all, a walk in the tea fields, Chinese for lunch, and then we all gathered on our bed to watch The Sound of Music. As you can imagine, The Sound of Music was a bit slow for James and Syd, they kind of bounced around, wrestled here and there. But we were together and it was as relaxing as our family can get.

Jovie wants to be just like her Mommy.

Okay, my large animal veterinarian friend - I have never had one of those before mind you, it’s kind of fun to say. Anyway, she was telling me the other day, that she was doing surgery on a cow, who was having a bit of indigestion, and she pulled out 23 Kg’s of plastic bags. That’s roughly 50 pounds! It’s hard to know what to say, right?

There's a phrase used frequently in this area of India, "Plastic Free Nilgiris". They're obviously still working on it.

I must say, I think my conversational skills are sliding dramatically. I kind of prided myself in my ability to hold a conversation with anyone. Not because I am altogether witty or an intellectual, but I am a curious duck and if you are willing, I will bombard you with questions galore. But, for some reason, I find myself quite boring lately, with nothing much to say, or ask, and if anything does come out it’s insanely stupid or embarrassing. For example, last Friday, I was having a very civilized tea with two other ladies, and I told them that I have had a lot of mucus lately. When I was on my way home the previous day from picking up the kids, I had spit out the window and accidentally spit on my arm instead. Why, Tarrah? Once I started saying it, I knew I was heading into verbal diarrhea and couldn’t figure out to bring myself to a more dignified state of being, so I just kept on going. For those of you whom I have conversations with this summer, can you please give me some pointers, to help me get back on track.

During the parenting class that I do with the Freedom Firm aftercare girls on Tuesdays, I was able to go visit Sangheeta’s new house. She has saved up enough money and moved out with her son to their very own place. It’s a very simple home, with no indoor plumbing, but it has a fabulous view and it has given her a great sense of autonomy and pride that she desperately wants and needs. It is such a pleasure to walk alongside her as she finds her feet again.

Sangheeta's new home

There are some funny desires and cravings from the States that our family cannot wait to have when we get back there this summer. Ani told me the other day that she cannot wait to use a dry bathroom. Our bathroom is flat. Where we shower does dip down a bit, but the water gets everywhere in the bathroom when we shower, resulting in a wet bathroom for most of the day. Out of all the people we are going to see, and the things we are going to do, James told me that he cannot wait to play with his yellow and black monster truck. I’m excited for carpet. Jayson is excited to have really clean jeans. Simple pleasures give such great delight. I am pretty sure that is on some sort of greeting card. Sounds cheesy I know, but it’s so true.

The floor that is "always" wet in our bathroom

Until next time dear ones…

Monday, May 3, 2010

Brothel Keeper Conviction in the Paper

The brothel keeper conviction from last week was in the DNA Pune newspaper. Give it a read!
(Click on the image below to read the article up close)