Monday, August 30, 2010
Interestingly, I was watching The Colbert Report yesterday and busted up laughing at his usual comments regarding Canada, Americans love to poke fun at Canada. And no, I don't know why, we just do. The episode was hilarious though, he discusses the latest article in Newsweek magazine on "The World's Best Countries".
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
There is something very magical about rain. Of course, being raised in Southern California where you get rain maybe 3 times a year probably has something to do with my personal feelings towards rain. I remember as a child those days where we'd have a full days rain (ultra rare) and it feeling like a real winter to me. You see, we don't have huge change in seasons in Southern California, it's pretty much glorious weather year round. Mild temperatures without a cloud in the sky. This is what I grew up with, never too hot, never too cold. Sounds boring, but when it's all you're used too, any change in weather is considered 'freaky'. Like rain. But oh how I loved the rain, such magic! Cold wet rain,wearing your raincoat, carrying and umbrella, coming home and warming up to a fire my Mom would light in the fireplace. This is my winter.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Living in India makes you (or at least it should make you) more interested in learning about the country itself. After all, you are living in it. As a result I spend some of my time researching many a questions.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Here is one pic from the first set of photos. Our journey began in Beijing, we visited the Great Wall on the second day. We walked so incredibly far that day that we actually got to parts of the wall which were empty of the typical tourist scene. It was so peaceful and amazing out there alone on this ancient piece of history. Though I did feel like I might die on a few of the really steep climbs, the reward was totally worth it!
Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Spent all day working with the kids on their posters. These will be hung up in the AIC Volunteer apartment as a sort of "Welcome to AIC, Welcome to India" thing. The volunteer apartment is currently mostly empty, so Tresta Didi and I thought it would be nice to include some warm well wishes from the kids on the walls. They all had such great ideas, they came out so well, can't wait to hang them up!
Friday, May 14, 2010
Okay, so I didn't exactly foresee my life becoming one of these clichés. It just happened. Not to say that I don't have Indian friends, (do the children count? heh heh), but when you're an expat you tend to always go places where you run into more expats. You start chatting about India and what you're doing here and before you know it you have another friend. Whether they're Japanese, American, British, German, Canadian, French, or even Nepalese.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Okay, sometimes randomly I think of something truly Indian that is cute, funny, annoying, frustrating, awesome, incredible, crazy, etc. Then I think, "Hey, I should blog about that..." However thinking it and blogging it are two different things. Honestly, once I start blogging I end up ranting and I don't come off saying what I'd really like too. I have a hard time writing about one topic without branching into many others.
Labels: 10 interesting facts
Saturday, May 1, 2010
We recently had some visitors to our school from France. Over the last weekend we showed them around Pune, including inviting them for a swim at the pool. While laying out in a lounge chair enjoying the Indian sun I pulled out my latest read, 'Being Indian' by Pavan Varma.
"Indians are extraordinary sensitive to the calculus of power. They consider the pursuit of power a legitimate end in itself, and display a great astuteness in adjusting to, and discovering, the focus of power. They respect the powerful, and will happily cooperate or collude with them for personal gain. In the game of power they take to factionalism and intrigue like a fish to water. Those who renounce the lure of power are worshipped, not because their examples are capable of emulation, but in sheer awe of their ability to transcend the irresistible."- Pavan K. Varma
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Bored today, decided to finally crack open this box of the henna cones I'd bought nearly 4 months ago. Henna cones are what's used to apply mehendi, think of frosting a cake and it's basically the same tool.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I forgot to mention what I've been really up to lately. I just reread my last post and it's so all over the place. Aside from the kids exams, for the past weeks I've made a really good friend out of Tresta.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Julia is in Italy for the week and exams have officially started for the kids at AIC. Tresta and I have been working round the clock to prepare all the kids. So far we have 4th standard covered, they all seem like they'll do fine on their upcoming SST. Pooja, our only 2nd standard received a 99% on her English exam. AMAZING to think that only a year ago she barely spoke English and now she's aceing her exams. She's been doing so well they want to bump her into 3rd standard.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
I'm confused about a lot of things in India. I never really understand things like how babus can exist so openly. How so many people who claim to live in the "best country in the world" (they seriously believe that here), can allow such horrible disgusting blatant forms of corruption. Down to even the tiniest thing, for example applying for a BPL (below poverty level) card, which is supposed to be FREE cannot be obtained without slipping some rupees to the clerk who handles the forms. You think people who can't even afford a bag of rice will be able to afford the bribe money required for this form?! Obtaining birth or death certificates (also free) require bribes as well. These are only small examples, setting up a business here for a foreigner is incredibly difficult. I honestly don't see how it's worth it. The bribes, the delays, the incompetence with a lot of the workers...I wonder if they factor those things in when companies are like, "Hey, let's set up in India...it's cheap there!"
Sunday, March 21, 2010
This weekend was a special festival the school put on. Mostly to sort of put the name of the school out there (since it's still only in it's second year) and attract new students. It's going on right now as I type. There has been music going since 11am this morning. It's a two day event and yesterday they had a lot of music, games, some equivalent of a bouncy house but made for soccer, and other random things. All night they had a really famous rock band play until 11pm. It was so loud I couldn't watch tv at night. Today was mainly paint-ball. Pictured above is Remi and his team, I believe Remi won both matches he played. He is always so calm and methodical when he plays, he also has deadly accuracy with fire arms, it's scary. I would have played, I do love paint-ball. But it's was already scorching hot outside (around 100 degrees), and the idea of putting on these smelly suits that the stinky male students had already been sweating in all day really deterred me. It was so hot that just standing outside watching them for 20 minutes and I was ready to come in. When I finally came back to the AC in our apartment I checked my face in the mirror and it was bright red and hot to the touch.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Holi is a Hindu holiday in India lasting three days, though some people say a week. Now, if you ask the average Indian here what Holi is about, you'll get mixed responses. I think most don't really know, they call it the "Festival of Colors" and that's about it. In fact, I had a Muslim once tell me it's not even a Hindu holiday, that it's just a day of "fun" with colors, which is why sometimes you can find Muslims playing. Since I couldn't seem to get a straight response out of anyone I researched it myself.
The main day, Holi, also known as Dhuli Vandana in Sanskrit,also Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing coloured powder and coloured water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister ofHiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Just got back from the Westin Hotel (newly opened) in Koregaon Park, Pune. Since I've been here I'd noticed this monstrocity of a hotel in it's contruction phase. Massive gray modern building along the river near Kalyani Nagar. I'd drive by it almost every day wondering when it's completion date would arrive. WELL...it opened about two months ago, and only now have Remi and I gotten the opporunity to try it out.
Fantastic architecture! Very sleek, perhaps a tad cold, exterior, the inside however is much warmer. Tight security (Mary likey in light of the recent bombing event here in Pune), modern art lining the lobby, the elevators saturate your eyes with a shiny metallic golden floral wall decor, and the restaurants...OMG, must be like five or so just within the hotel itself.
The restaurant we ate at was called "Seasonal Tastes" (pictured above) and it was buffet style (came highly recommended to us by Remi's collegues). We went with our friends Charlotte and Guillaume, who happened to have two friends visiting from France.
The food was wonderful (for a buffet) included a lot of Asian foods, ahem, SUSHI!!!! Woot! We were thoroughly stuffed by dessert time. Desserts (which anyone who knows me knows is my FAVORITE course) were plentiful, along with an extensive cheese selection (which the French loved) they had ice creams, crème brulee, tiramisu, trifle, beetroot cake, fruit tarts, pistaschio bars, apple crumble, chocolate gateaux, mousses, Indian puddings, cookies, chocolates, plus every fruit under the sun drizzled with your choice of chocolate syrup or caramel. It was a relative dessert-lovers heaven.
After a massive overload of sweets + wine I was yawning and ready to pass out. They did bring us some coffee, which I managed to gulp down to waken myself back up.
In total, the buffet was 800 rupees per person (around $18.00)! Though this is still cheap for this class of buffet, still a tad pricey by Indian standards.
Oh, and my only complaint...the drinks took FOREVER. Just bringing us a glass of wine (which was overpriced) took around 20 minutes. I don't know why this was, but they could have made lot more money off of us if they were a bit more attentive with the alcohol. I mean, I ended up having 1 Bellini and 1 glass of wine (and the wine was all my own effort in flagging him down), but had the waiter been around more to offer a refill in a timely manner, I probably would have had 3-4 glasses easy.
Monday, February 22, 2010
"India has been reported as having the highest rate of human rabies in the world, primarily because of stray dogs." -Wikipedia
Glad I had my rabies vaccine before coming here. We have like 11 stray dogs -plus puppies- living on campus. These aren't the same strays you see in the states, oh hells no. We're talking like WILD dogs here. Like Animal Planet, Discovery Channel type wild. Occasionally in town you find some semi-friendly, but for the most part they're very scared of humans, and rightfully so. Most people consider them pests and will beat on them and chase them away. But at night they tend to gather together and form packs, these packs can be quite dangerous. I've seen a pack chase a little girl on a bike before...she got away unharmed, but was scary to witness. It's for this reason I know my Mom would never like India. She's an animal lover and it would kill here to see all the animals in pain here. It's quite shocking to see and very very VERY hard to ignore.
Labels: dogs in india
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I've started a creative writing class and yoga class. Both started last week. I picked up some new yoga mats for both Remi and I, yep it's true, Remi is taking his first yoga class ever!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
"Shaniwarwada (Marathi: शनिवारवाडा) is a palace fort in the city of Pune in western Maharashtra, India. It covers six and a quarter acres in central Pune. It was constructed in 1732 as the seat of the Peshwa(prime ministers of the Maratha Empire), and remained the political capital of the Empire until its annihilation. The fort itself was largely destroyed in 1828 by an unexplained fire, but the surviving structures are now maintained as a tourist and archaeological site." -WikipediaRemi and I visited this fort for the first time a few weeks ago, it's located in the heart of Pune. We haven't seen much in Pune actually, surprising I know. Aside from this fort and a Ganesh Temple on the outskirts of Pune, we've pretty much worked every day since we've been here. Not that we don't want to do a little sight-seeing, because we really do. It's just that Remi is so busy with school and it's hard to arrange it all. We're definitely putting forth more of an effort to see stuff every weekend. I have been putting a lot of effort into our upcoming vacation to Nepal. Remi really wants to add Tibet to our vacation, I'm trying to squeeze it in but it's a heck of a lot more hassle to go from Kathmandu to Tibet. Not only is Tibet surprisingly expensive, but you require a tourist Visa to enter China, which means even though you can take a bus from Nepal to Lhasa, they will check your passport at the border. So basically it's a lot more money if we decide to go to Tibet as well. However Remi looks at this as a golden opportunity, if we're in Nepal anyway, might as well check out Tibet too? Either way, we really need to get out of our apartment more and start exploring, we've been here half a year already and we've barely seen a thing! That is all about to change though!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
It feels a little weird to be writing about this since never in my life have I experienced something hitting this close to home.
Just last night around 7:30pm a bomb went off at the German Bakery (pictured here pre-attack) in Koregaon Park here in Pune. It's strange on so many levels, but mostly because everyone knows this bakery. It's not just a bakery, they serve coffee, chai, and organic health food. It's famous in Pune, it's right next to the Osho Ashram and is always filled with foreigners in their maroon robes. This was the first place I met Julia (the AIC on-site Director), faculty from campus and students go here to hangout, it's a hot spot that's been in Pune for years. We heard the news last night, Tom (colleague of Remi's here on campus) called us to make sure we were OK, he was in town and saw all the streets closed off and fire trucks. Luckily, no one from school or AIC were involved.
Labels: terror attack
Friday, February 12, 2010
This is a picture of the front yard of the AIC residential house. Whenever I pull up, Ramu is often the first one I see sitting in the yard, usually talking to himself. Since he is not old enough for school yet he stays home and finds ways of entertaining himself.