Nov 26, 2011

Leigh and her paper dosa--notice the guys behind us  ;-)

The perfect bite: dosa wrapped around seasoned potatoes, with coconut and tomato chutney on top

Sugar cane with a baby sleeping on top of the pile

A sugar cane train

Inside the 100 year old Mukti orphanage church

Some of the ex-pat ladies at the Thanksgiving Dinner

Here are some snapshots of the past couple of weeks.  I was sick last week, so all of our plans were put on hold while I rested in bed.  I do not have any pictures of the orphanage children, but will take some this Thursday.  The girls have blogged about the orphanage, and everything they said is true.  It's definitely a God thing.  It is the cleanest place in India that I have visited thus far, and the children and the adults who work there are genuinely happy and sweet.  We are looking forward to spending our Thursday afternoons there.

The girls are doing wonderfully.  There really was never an adjustment period for them.  I know it is because we are surrounded by wonderful friends here at the Oakwood.   The people here are amazing--so kind, so genuine, so helpful, so smart, so funny.   We will miss these wonderful friends all too soon.  :-(    We are blessed to be here at this time.



Nov 18, 2011

Our Unreal Reality

Serenading our neighbors

This week has been the best week so far as it feels that life is regaining its sense of rhythm.  We seem to have nailed down a nice routine that allows us all to do what we need to do in regard to work and school, and also to have some fun on the side.

Living here is not reality (at all).  For example, we are literally surrounded by wonderful people who have fast become friends, breakfast is unbelievably amazing with its varied options and freshness (and friends), the weather is perfection--so much so that when we asked last weekend if the girls were interested in going to see a film Sam said, "It's such a beautiful day, I'd hate to see it go to waste," and we find ourselves wondering if there will ever be a crummy, cloudy, cold day.  It is truly a happy place.  The ex-pats here are all so very friendly and down-to-earth.  It feesl like we are living an ex-pat version of the sitcom "Friends," as we are personally sharing our lives throughout the day with the other folks who live here at the Oakwood--whether it is breakfast, at the pool, chatting at the playground, eating out, riding in rickshaws together, or having tea in each others flat.  Often times I have to cloister myself in the apartment to relax and let my mind settle.  I still find myself with a headache when I socialize too much, but living here has been such a blessing for when I do fatigue the girls can keep on visiting at the hotel park where I know they are safe.

Tomorrow we are going to visit an orphanage that was started over 100 years ago for destitute women and their children.  Living here makes me feel everything a thousand times deeper--like gratefulness for example.  I am ever so grateful to be me, and I feel guilty about it.  I have experienced many losses throughout my life...but, when I see the kids on the streets, my burdens feel painfully light, like I have been weeping over carrying a humming bird's feather, while everyone else has been bearing a two ton boulder, and all of a sudden my problems and pain feel trivial and embarrassing.

Violin lessons over Skype with Mr. Henry in Iowa

Nov 6, 2011

Hotel lobby--flowers for the Diwali Celebration
The girls' adopted puppies that live on our street
Strings of marigolds
Sidewalk in Pune--they are not all this bad.  ;-)
Snoozing at the bus stop
Slum area a couple of blocks down
Boy who asked me to take his picture (they ask to see it after you take it)  :-)
Fresh air hair cuttery
Malaka Spice--wonderful restaurant where we went for my b-day
Sweet Samantha, who is now 13!!!
Another lady who asked me to take her picture
My gang standing under the coolest trees we have ever seen
Diwali cows
True love
13th b-day cake!!!
Elephant on the street...we heard that they love bananas, so we are going to feed the next one we see
Custard apples
Custard apples and passion fruit
The inside of a custard apple
The roadside vendor cutting a passion fruit for us.  She sprinkled some masala inside.  I was the only one who like it with the spices.

These are snapshots from the past 9 days...we did not catch the camel we saw in one of the little villages on the outskirts of Pune, but it would have been a great picture as he was covered with colorful blankets--very charming.  Notice the baby goats that the horse is carrying--sooo sweet.  The adventures we have had in the past two weeks are many and varied, so much so that I think I could write a book.  

Our plans have changed in that I am homeschooling the girls as the school that was touted as being so wonderful and challenging, was worthless in almost every aspect--except for the facilities and surroundings that are truly gorgeous, but that is what we are learning about India--you cannot expect to get what they are selling you--lying/exaggerating is just an accepted part of life here.

We are loving our time here at the Oakwood Premier.  I have coined this place "Ex-Pat Camp--India."  It is almost like being back in boarding school, as we see each other at breakfast, and the spouses who are not working here, hang out during the afternoons.  It's been great fun.   There is a beautiful swimming pool, tennis court, racket-ball room, fitness center, walking trail, and they offer classes from cooking to yoga.   Last week, one of the ex-pats asked if the hotel would be willing to put up a basketball hoop, and by the end of the day they had it installed.   So, Andrew has been enjoying playing hoops with the other men.  They are all fathers, so the kids join in as well.  ;-)  

The produce here is phenomenal--especially the fruit.  Our driver stopped last weekend at a roadside vendor to buy us some fresh figs and custard apples.  Heavenly.   The trees were just across the street from where she was selling them.  Freshness, it's a wonderful thing.   The climate here is perfect.  We are surrounded by mountains which keeps the humidity and heat at bay.  They say it will not become hot here until April, and then it will leave in June for the monsoons.