Sunday, September 21, 2014

Packages from Grandma and Grandpa, by Zibby;)

This is a picture of the packages that Grandma and Grandpa have sent us.  (Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!)  The boxes that came were crumpled and smashed.  In them, were dried fruit, trail mix, 10 different kinds of granola bars, Nutella, goldfish, fruit snacks, freeze dried food, Beano, and beef jerky.  The freeze dried ice cream sandwiches tasted like ice cream sandwiches only dry.  They melted in my mouth.  The freeze dried pasta we had to add boiling water, but we could have eaten it crispy, but we didn't.  My favorite is beef jerky and fruit snacks, because there are no fruit snacks here, and beef is rare, instead there is the occasional buffalo meat that they call buff.  

Menu at Dev Dar

I'm going to talk about Dev Dar which is a restaurant that serves mostly pizza.  The menu at Dev Dar is about 2feet by 3feet.  The menu is made out of cardboard and tape and it is hand written with Sharpie marker.  My favorite things on the menu are "Finger Chips" and Cheese Pizza.  Finger Chips are basically french fries that are a bit soggy and spicy.  The cheese pizza is circle of crust with chunks of tomatoes with cheese on it with a little tomato sauce.
by Felix

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Just another Saturday

Our Saturday started with a bit of a sleep in.  Of course, the dogs do not acknowledge that it is Saturday, so it becomes more like they call it here and in the UK a lie in, because we are in bed relaxing, but not sleeping.  Zibby and Gregg were up the hill at 8am to the Chukker (the road above Bethany) to register Zibby for her cross country meet which Woodstock was hosting.  They came back to join Felix and I for breakfast.  Zibby dashed off to watch some of the earlier races and hang with her friends.  Her race started at 9:45, 2.5km around the big Chukker.

Side note:  The Chukker is a road that has two loops, with a short connector in-between, that form a kind of figure 8.  Bethany is in the middle along with the Kellog church.  The big Chukker includes Char Dukan (translation, 4 shops) where Gregg and I take our Hindi lessons and eat lunch, but is also a destination for the weekend crowd.  The little Chukker, 1.2km, has Dev Dar Woods restaurant and Inn and Sister's Bazar.  Sister's Bazar only a few shops, but the important one is Prakash's.  Prakash's shop is a grocery store with imports and locally made goods.  He sells his own cheese, home baked breads as well as the occasional doughnut and cinnamon roll, and jams and peanut butter.  He also sells imported goods like spaghetti sauce, mustard, and candy.  You'd be surprised how much he can fit into his 200 square foot shop.

Zibby was amazing.  She is not on the cross country team, the 5th and 6th grades only had 1 team member, so they allowed other students to fill in their 8 spots, 4 girls and 4 boys.  She ran the course during the Woodstock all-school cross country run, then again this past Wednesday to try out for the meet.  She insisted on a practice Friday, dragging Felix and I along, but left us in the dust.  She finished 20th out of 40 runners for grade 5 and 6 girls.  
Here she is with her 3 classmates she ran with.  Pippa, who finished 3rd, Zibby, Lily, and Addya.  (The 3 in white are also on the soccer team.)

After watching her race, Felix, Gregg and I left Zibby to watch the next race, and walked down to Woodstock.  Gregg and I had arranged for our Hindi tutor, Rani, to meet Oscar at Woodstock to give him a lesson. Oscar has been struggling with Hindi a bit, but after just 2 lessons with our tutor, his teacher was noticing a big improvement.  Hindi like Chinese, Arabic, or Thai, is truly a foreign language, since it has a completely different script.  Oscar, like Gregg and me, has struggled with learning the new alphabet along with the new words and grammar.  Gregg and I also took a lesson with Rani before we caught a cab up to Char Dukan.

We walked to Bethany where Zibby was kind of working on homework and had lunch.  Thanks Grandpa for sending beef stroganoff, it made a good lunch.

The rest of the afternoon was homework and vegging.  We walked back to Char Dukan to meet Mark and Annie, a Woodstock couple, for dinner.  We walked some more down to Doma's restaurant.  Doma's is a Tibetan/Chinese restaurant that we haven't eaten at until tonight.  The service, like the food was inconsistent.  The kids were not impressed with their mo mos, but Gregg's meal of noodles, chicken, veggies, and nuts in a soup was well worth the trip.

The kids and Gregg watched X-Men, while read some email, watched some of the movie, and wrote this blog.  Good night!

work in progress

Where to start where to start?  Kerry has been carrying us so far and now it's time for Zibby, Felix and myself to contribute.  So much has been shared and yet there's so much more to this journey.  It's been almost two months now and our family has made great progress in adapting to the environment, both educational and living day to day.  The most challenging is accepting, we are learning to accept our own selves and accept that which surrounds us.

Speaking of surrounding, this picture is taken of a tree just off our deck area.  The tree has fern's that grow out of the tree and live because of moisture.  During monsoon season ferns are green and healthy.  They grow everywhere in this area, all over every tree, out of the rocks, I mean everywhere. When we first arrived the caretaker of our living quarters clearly stated to me, "the ferns well change color when the monsoon season will end"  Direct quote.  SO, this picture gives you an idea of the green, to yellow eventually browning color of the ferns right now.  OH GOSH do I feel good seeing this.  To wake up everyday looking for the color change.  This means sunshine and nice weather.  It's so amazing how mother nature has her own indicators of weather!

This past weekend we took a nice comforting hike up to a hill called FLAG HILL!  A hill around here is generally around 8,000 feet above sea level, so you can imagine the effort it takes to hike both with breathing and physically exerting.  Kerry and I enjoy it from the planning to implementing, Zibby and Felix on the other hand take a short time to get into it.  

On our way up to Flag Hill we decided to walk through Hanifl Center.  Pictured her is the dedication plague for the center, and yes Paul and Suzanne (Kerry's parents) built this education center.  It is a absolute wonderful place.  I'm sure you'll here more later about who, what and why.
Kerry, Zibby and Felix in front of Hanifl Center

A small hut was just off the road as we walked up Tehri road as we searched for the entrance to climb Flag hill.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Oscar and I both competed in Woodstock's "Goalathon."  It is a fundraiser for one of the villages Woodstock supports, as well as entertainment for the students and staff.  Oscar was on a team with some soccer friends, and I was on the women's staff/parents team.  
We all had fun- Oscar's team competed against a local club team, the men's staff team, a couple high school teams, and another 8th grade team.  My team competed against the 6 other girls teams (6 games), and in the semi-finals.  We lost in overtime to the team that won in the finals.  I was not sad to loose.  After 7 games, my body had said enough!
I'm not sure if it because of the change of season, the trimming of plants, or some other reason, but the snails have been a lot more visible the last few days.  We have often seen them smushed on the path, or small ones in the garden, but now the larger ones are out, especially at night.  The snail in this photo has not been altered- the shell is actually carried that way by the snails, not upright as we seem to draw them.

Dogs are everywhere in India.  There are some with collars, but most are without.  The ones with collars mean there is someone looking after them, but they are still left to wander.  Some are guard dogs which are kept behind fences and put away at night so the leopards do not prey on them.  We often see dogs in "packs" as in this photo.  You can also see a group of kulies resting in between jobs.  I will urge Gregg to write about the kulies in a future blog.  Most dogs are quite tame, but we need Bob Barker over here to help control the population.