Friday, November 27, 2009

thanksgiving and baby taj {and happy bday finn}

Thanksgiving was good. We were supposed to eat at 2, but you know, per usual, didn't eat until like 5:30. {That was BAD news because we had a dinner appointment at 7 with our Telugu teacher. She was disappointed that we didn't eat more, but seriously I thought I was going to die I was so full. I had to force myself to keep taking bites.} We made a Thanksgiving plate to take to our dear friend, V-Raju, and as I was walking with him and Courtney to take it to his house, I tripped twice... that was after I commented that I want to be a waitress, but was thinking that maybe I'm too clumsy. After that Courtney told me I definitely should not be a waitress.

Dan is so good at vice-gripping {shout out to Niels}

Sometimes I wear this sari, which totally looks like a prom dress. {Realized that after I bought it.} And Courtney is totally bombshell.

And this is our little adopted puppy {Taj} for three days. I already know what the Faj Mahal is going to say - it will include the words "filthy animal," and "diseased."

SOOOO CUTE. {Also kind of annoying.}

Also, Finn - remember when you got the dorkiest gifts for your birthday? They included a GIANT stuffed bright green caterpillar, rescue hero size gloves, and camouflage earmuffs. Just thought I'd remind you.

I miss celebrating family birthday parties and I miss pretty much everything about this picture:

And I had to put this picture on because it's my favorite picture of Finn the whole world. And, love that sheet! Happy birthday, Finnie!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

1, 2, 3, 4, and Frank

This is our neighborhood dog gang. They are always together. And they are exclusive {aka they don't let other dogs join them.}

The tan ones look like Santa's Little Helper.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I saw a chicken die.

I saw this poor little chicken die today:

Each week, the Jalari-Peta has a chicken sacrifice as part of their Hindu worship. I witnessed* two chicken sacrifices.
* I didn't really actually watch them kill the chickens, because I don't really like seeing animals get killed, you know? And not to be too graphic, but one of the chickens kept flailing/practically flying after it was decapitated, and could possibly have flailed onto me since I was averting my eyes, but Courtney moved me out of the way in time.

Here is a photo inside the temple:

And, tonight Kristin and I walked to the Jalari-Peta cemetery.

It's a pretty cemetery, yeah? I like how all the tombstones are bright, just like the way they paint their houses.

Except, look how creepy this picture is:

Do you see the real human skull in the corner? Frightening.

This is the Jalari-Peta shore from the distance:

Kristin and I walked home at dusk, when the city looks like this:

Ps, the other day, Kristin and I walked into the Jalari-Peta, and this precious little boy was just staring and laughing at us, like cracking up. He acted like he'd never seen anything more funny than us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I do stuff...

Apparently my friends (and sometimes my family) wonder what I really do here….

So, here’s a little example of one of my interviews.

I had an interview with an HSBC bank employee. I was waiting with my translator, Anitha, at this little cafĂ© place called, “Baker’s Castle.” There was a little bit of confusion because the man I was supposed to meet (named Punth, pronounced Poont) thought we were meeting at this place called “Bagels” instead of “Baker’s Castle.” Anitha got off the phone with him and started going on a huge soap box about how Indian people never listen; they always act like they are listening, they bobble their heads and say, “ah, huh, hm,” but really never listen to you. (She’s Indian, so she’s allowed to make generalizations like that, I think.)

Then I accidentally knocked over Anitha’s glass of water, which spilled on the table, chair, and floor. Per usual, you know me.

Finally Punth arrives. Shakes our hands, and sits in the water chair, jumped up and moved to the other chair. (Whoops.) That made me kind of giggly – that happens, you know? So, I had to concentrate a little bit so I wouldn’t start laughing or anything (that, and the music was super loud.) Then Anitha starts kind of lecturing apologetic Punt about how she told him Baker’s Castle, not Bagels. I try to talk over her and tell him it’s no big deal.

As I was interviewing him, Anitha’s coffee arrived and floating on the surface of it was a smiley face out of cream and chocolate syrup. Because Anitha is the biggest squealer I have ever met, she SQUEALED loudly, “Ooooooo!! How cute!! Look! Look, how cute!” So, I look over and see the smiley and start laughing, of course. She starts on a quest to figure out which waiter created her clever cup.

I keep interviewing. After about 30 more seconds, Anitha’s over-enthusiastic and spastic squeal reverberated in my mind and I started giggling again. All I could do was point at Anitha’s cup, roll my eyes, and make a face like, “She’s out of control and sorry that I'm immature and think that is so funny…”

Then when I thought we were done interviewing, I started thanking him, but he just sat there and didn’t leave. It was like an awkward doorstep scene. So, I interviewed him some more.

Anyway, that’s part of my way exciting India life. Ps, I really like Anitha, in case I sounded otherwise. And Punt was super nice, and super helpful. Oh, and ps, I usually don’t talk to people in cafes, usually I’m sitting outside in the sweaty hot sun, with tons of flies landing on me. In case you were wondering.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

i am so bad at blog titles...

Our cooks and translators wanted to have a photo shoot on the beach. We kind of dragged our feet, but finally made our way over there. And it actually ended up being fun, even though it kind of felt like we were taking roommate pictures. Not that I know how that feels, because I have never done that. And I'm only judging you a little bit if you have.

{of course they wanted poses by the baby}

{kind of cheesy, but also really pretty, right?}

{fishermen casting their nets}

Friday, November 20, 2009

walk about

I went on a walk, and ended up at another creepy baby beach. I'm going to miss Vizag.

{scary electrical box - do you see those frightening hanging plugs?}

{Beach Road}

{Beach Road. Ps, some of these pictures are boring. sorry}

{remember this? even scarier at night? yes.}

{oh, and there's a female version. equally creepy.}

{oh, and another creepy gremlin baby}

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Salty Skin

A.) I love going to the beach. So much.
B.) I hate creepy leery peery men on the beach. {Had to ward off a few of those today.}

Ps: One of my favorite things in the world is in the evening/at night when the palm trees are dark black silhouettes against the sky. It reminds me of Utah, when the mountains are dark black silhouettes against the night sky.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sai Baba

I have been so bad at blogging lately.

I went on a trip a couple weeks ago to Puttaparthie, to see this man:

{photo courtesy of google images}

He is believed to be God by many people here.

It took about 20 hours by train to get there. I can't even say how much I love train rides. I love them. Oh, and one of my most embarrassing moments in the whole world happened on the train to Puttaparthie.

Basically, I went to the bathroom, and apparently didn't lock the door {there were two locks, and I seriously thought I locked one}, and a young Indian man {oh, he was about my age} walked in on me. Now, I would have been embarrassed in the states, but I was even more embarrassed here because a.) Americans are already a spectacle as it is, and b.) Indians have much higher standards of modesty. Just saying. Anyway, so I was super embarrassed, and stayed in the nasty, smelly bathroom, laughing and too embarrassed to leave. Finally, I decided to leave the bathroom and maybe I said a little, tiny prayer that I would never see that boy again. {I mean, I needed some extra help, since I was on that train for 20 hours with the same people.} Left the bathroom, walked around the corner, and who was there waiting? Oh, yep, that boy. {Don't worry, I still believe in the prayer...but maybe not as much - kidding, kidding.} Maybe we kind of awkwardly apologized to each other - so awkward. I ran back to my friends, so flustered, and laughing so much I couldn't breathe. And THEN! Guess who's bed was in the same berth as mine? Yep, same boy. I awkwardly avoided eye contact with him the entire train ride.

Anyway, Puttaparthie was an interesting place. There were so many Westerners and foreigners from all over the world. I ate more Western food there than I have the whole time I've been in India, I think. It was a pretty touristy place.

We stayed at the ashram, which was a good experience. Every morning and evening, everyone gathers in this huge, beautiful and ornate hall, in preparation to see Sai Baba. Luckily, he showed up the first night we went there. So girls and boys are separated on opposite sides of the hall. You sit in nice orderly lines, sitting pretzel-style on the floor. Then everyone started getting really excited {because Sai Baba was coming in, although I don't know how everyone knew when he was going to come in} and everyone starts bum-scooting forward. Thus making all the lines messed up and causing people to practically sit in each other's laps. Then Sai Baba came in {he is 83 years old and in a wheelchair} and he gets wheeled across the front a few times, and then left. But, everyone wanted to be as close as possible to him. So, I'm sitting there and some lady whacks my head with her hand because she wanted me to move out of the way. I just glared at her. {Too bad I am a bad example of one of Sai Baba's main teachings: "Help ever, hurt never."} Then she shoved my arm over, and then she wanted me to tell the lady next to me to make her baby sit down. Geez, out of control. Anyway, it was cool to see him, especially since he means so much to a lot of Indian people.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Late Halloween and LARS is NINE!

Halloween was so delightful! We had a little Halloween party so we could invite our neighbors and show them what Halloween is all about. I'm so glad we got to do this, because our neighbors have invited us over for different things, including Diwali celebrations, so it was nice to show them something about American culture.

We tried to do lots of typical, traditional things. Like doughnut on a string...

Anitha {our new translator/one of my very favorite Indian people} cheats and tries to use her hands. Courtney kept getting bumped out of the way with Madeleine and Anitha's hips:

My precious neighbor friend, Hyman (sp?). He was kind of nervous to be at the party. Maybe you can tell by his face:

And even this gem of a neighbor came! This is significant because he spends ALL his time sitting on his porch, wearing a lungee and no shirt. A lungee is basically like a wrap skirt/sarong. And, yes, he was still wearing his lungee at our party. {And maybe he's running a potentially illegal hostel out of his flat. Super funny.}

Bobbing for apples {when I told Lars that we bobbed for apples, he was like, "Ew." And I was like, "What?" And Lars said, "That's just gross, because then, after the first kid goes, there's just all these spit and germs in the water." But, still a classic tradition, and I'm pretty sure that's one of the more sanitary activities you can do in India.}

Meghan had a rockin' costume - she was an idly, which is a white dumpling breakfast food. She looked just like one!

A lot of the group {ps, I was Aladdin - I know a super original costume in India}:

Our German friends did a tribal dance for us, and Daniel tried to act like that Indian chief from Peter Pan. I think Daniel is super funny, which is why I like this picture.

And Lars just turned nine on Halloween! I just think he's the cutest nine-year-old in the world. This picture was taken by the Faj Mahal - I have no clue how old Lars is in this picture though. But he is wearing thread-bare hand-me-down boxers {from the brothers} and maybe that's the bathroom door he is peeking under. I started cracking up when I saw this picture:

How can Lars not be the favorite child? He's the only boy who will hug the Faj Mahal without using it as a cover to pinch or punch him.

And I took this picture the day before I left for India and Lars already looks way bigger and older than when I left him. Super sad. {Sorry for the blurriness - you know how taking pictures in a moving car goes.}

Point being, I like Lars a lot and since I didn't get to take pictures of him celebrating his birthday this year, I just posted some old pictures of him. Happy birthday Bardy!