Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Moment of Silence Please

Photos taken last week during the kid's school break by a dad of their friends at school. He had a camera the size of the car/van/can. 

Happy Easter to all.  We had hot crossed buns after church today.  I was a bit surprised.  I haven’t had hot crossed buns on Easter for about 15 years, and then, all the sudden, bam!, hot crossed buns in India.  Nobody prepared me.  No email.  No phone call.  Nothing.  Did any of you have hot crossed buns today?

On Tuesday morning, it was like Mutual of Ohama’s Wild Kingdom around here.  Probably a smaller version than the African Plains.  But you know, birds are constantly flying into our house.  The fly in, they fly out.  Done.  But, Tuesday morning, one swooped in and our cat, Snowy, was on the prowl and caught it in mid-air.  Ani was home with pink eye and saw it all happen and screamed.  Snowy was running around the house with a flapping bird in his mouth.  I am so not-brave you guys when it comes to animals.  It’s really quite humbling.  So, I told Ani to go open the door to the courtyard to shoo out the cat, because I didn’t want Snowy ripping the bird apart under someone’s bed.  Gross.  So, Snowy ran outside and proceeded to chase the limping/dying bird around the courtyard for about 10 minutes.  My dear, animal loving child, Ani, was bawling, telling me to call Ilona, our vet friend.  I can only imagine what Ilona thought about the phone call, but I was a bit desperate to console Ani. Ilona said that I needed to end the birds suffering and break its neck.  Pardon me?  Come again?  No, no, no, there was no way in all of the world that I was going to do that.  At least, not yet.  So, I told Ani, let’s give it just another minute, and (deep breath) whew, the bird did die.  But I was already trying to play out the scene in my head of whacking it with my frying pan - and I did not like that scene at all. 

My audible pleasures are this currently: fireworks, bus horns, meowing cats and really loud music from the neighboring guesthouse.  Let me give you their playlist, it has been played often as of late.

“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” - Guns and Roses
“You’re Beautiful” - James Blunt
A few Hindi tunes
“Country Road” - John Denver

We have some serious “bus action” going on around our house.  Being that we live close to the lake, a tourist hot spot, it’s a bit of an obstacle course getting to our house.  As we were stuck for 30 minutes in a bus jam yesterday, James said, “Mommy, these roads are not made for these large buses.”  Right on James.  I grabbed some photos from Google images to at least some sort of visual... 

A moment of silence please ------------------------ tomorrow, we are selling the car/van/can.  I have made my fair share of jokes about our little vehicle, but it has served us well.  We thought selling our car/van/can was going to be quite the task, but it was a hot item around here.  The buyer wanted our vehicle so badly, that he was willing to give us his vehicle to use until we go.  So long car/van/can...

Well folks, we are leaving India.  Wild, crazy, beautiful India.  I feel like I haven’t processed much with you all about my transition feelings.  In all honesty, I don’t know how I feel.  Last night we had an early Easter dinner with the Parks and Ketchums.  It occurred to me in the last few days that this will be the last holiday shared with them.  For the most part, we have celebrated all the major holidays together.  Although we once were used to our mothers, aunts and grandmothers making the pies, stuffing and mashed we are.  Although we used to get ready for Thanksgiving at our extended family’s house, now the kids ask, “Are we going to the Parks’ for Thanksgiving?”  The Parks are staying in India, the Ketchums are moving to Cambodia and we are going back to the States.  (Tears stinging eyes, lump in throat.)  We probably won’t be sharing a holiday together in the near future.  But in the very same breathe, I am wild to see and live beside our family, friends and church and I am ready to not have my tummy ache 80% of the time.  So, it’s all these mixed up emotions.  Which is fine.  It’s really the nature of transition. Jayson and I have moved six times in the the last nine years (the next one included).  (I am not including that fact the first four years of our married life we moved to a tent for a few months each summer.)  All moves different.  Some enormous, some smaller.  I think because my parents have basically been in the same house since I was little, I don’t feel like a “mover”, but as an adult, I think I have been.  And I don’t know if the moving season is coming to a close, but for now, it’s moving time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

James Herriot in 3D

Good evening.  It’s Sunday, April 17, at 8:15 p.m.  What to write about tonight....  Hmm, let’s start with the elections.  On Wednesday, it was Ooty’s turn to vote.  National Elections (State Assembly and Presidential)  happen every five years, so it was interesting to sit back and watch a bit.  We would show you pictures, but you already know the camera sob story, so I will be sure to be extra descriptive as I paint you the picture.  There is so much about politics here that I don’t understand, so I won’t talk about that, because, well, I am simply overwhelmingly ill-informed.  But elections here happen over a three week period.  Every part of the country has a different time to vote.    And the votes will be counted on May 13.  Now, the day of elections, we were driving down one side of the mountain and there were loads of people bare-footed walking in from villages to vote.  I felt so glad to be a quiet observer of such an important day.

Election Day
The two Chief Minister candidates in Tamil Nadu

We went down to IPAN Animal Shelter on Wednesday.  Our friends Alona and Nigel, who run the animal shelter, have a few vets on sight and also train other vets in India.  Anyway, their place is beautiful, crazy and I always see new things.  On this particular day, we saw a baby monkey who was rescued after his mom was hit by a car.  Now, you all know that I am not partial to monkeys.  But this monkey was oh so cute.  The best is when he popped his toe in his mouth to suck on, like a child would his thumb... My other favorite moment was when we were watching Ani getting ready to ride a one-eyed pony and we looked over and saw one of the vets with her arm fully up a horse’s rear.  All of our eyes dropped out of their sockets and we had to pick them back up to continue checking out the sight.  It’s not like I was disgusted or even alarmed, I just don’t often think that when I turn my head 45 degrees to the right, just three feet away from me, and two feet away from my kids who are painting merrily away, that I am going to see a person’s whole arm stuck up a horse’s whole rear.  Now, I actually have a great love for animal stories.  I have read James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small” about a half dozen times, but this was like James Herriot in 3D.  A bit shocking you know.  You can only imagine how the kids loved to talk about it the rest of the week.

In Freedom Firm news, there are five cases right now where the judge has issued a warrant the arrest of the brothel keeper or trafficker.  All five of them are absconding (in hiding) and the police are searching for them.  Freedom Firm staff are encouraged because if found, all five of them will likely be convicted.  

I have been full of India spirit as of late.  I think that’s all quite normal when leaving a place.  Jayson and I have been eating Indian food at least once, if not twice a day.  Last week I went into town and bought three kurtas (longerish shirts) to wear in my last days here.  (Previously to now I kind of rebelled to the Indian wear, and just wore my “western” clothes and tied a shirt around  my rear when going out.)  I have also been reading a good share of Indian novels, which I haven’t really read much since the initial first few months here.  And it’s fun to read in context of cultural norms that I know about or live in.  I feel glad for this last burst of India energy.  We’ll see what I bring back with me.  

We have a few pictures to add, none taken by us of course. A few were taken by our friend Ruth of the kids sports day at school.  The others are from Google images, just to add a bit more flavor.  That’s all for this time folks...   

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy British Mother’s Day

Syd's class assembly, about plants.

Monkey sighting, outside our back door, 20 feet away

Three things.  First, Happy British Mother’s Day.  I did receive a painted pot from Sydney and a nice picture from James.  I love that I will be able to celebrate twice.  If you know any British women, make sure you wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.  Second, let’s give it up for India winning the Cricket World Cup.  The World Cup takes place every four years and as Jayson was watching the game via the internet last night, the moment they won we heard a massive amount of fireworks.  Now, a lot of people do not understand cricket, myself being one, but Jayson is a bit hooked currently.  When we get back to the States he is going to start the rally cry to start a U.S. team.  Let’s see how that goes for him... Lastly, my third child, second girl, princess extraordinaire, called me a “Noodle Crack-Head” at dinner tonight.  On British Mother’s Day, of all days.  Sheesh.  Give a girl a crown and she throws it back in your face.  

Well people, our camera broke.  So we took out the back-up camera that we had given to Ani.  That’s broken too.  For the last week, if we need any pictures taken, we ask whomever around us to take a picture of said object/person and email it to us.  Seems a bit high maintenance.  We can’t solve the camera issue until we are back in the States though, so we may be a little lacking in the pics arena from here on out.  Maybe I will have Jayson draw pictures instead.  Like the good ol’ days. 

I am “trying” to help Jayson with the job search by spending a bit of time looking at about 20 designated websites every other day.  And I must say I am getting so good at it.  When he lands a job, I will take all the credit.  Just kidding - kind of.  My “helping” did start out a bit rocky though.  Making comments like, “There is no one in the whole entire world that would match the criteria of this job description” or “This company is so elitist, why would anyone ever want to work for them?” or my personal, all time low, “Searching for jobs is such a waste of my time.”  Honestly, I am learning a lot about looking for jobs. There is a culture out there in the whole looking for jobs world.  And I am fascinated by culture so it has been really very interesting diving in.  I also can see how someone could fall into the trap of having others define if they are “good” or “worthy” depending if they get an interview or not.  It’s quite exposing really.  We have been doing a lot of reading and networking,  but if you have any tips or insights to share, send them our way... it’s a whole new world to us.

Well, this week we are heading into Parent’s Week at the kid’s school.  We’ve got a sports day, a swimming gala, a junior school open house, and few other bits.  And then starting at the end of the week we are on mid-term break for a week.  All so fun.  We hope you all have a great start to your week.  Until later...