New Delhi, Weather from Weather Underground

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


We found the boxes containing Christmas decorations and ornaments. I allowed the girls to unpack them while I made dinner. This happened in ten minutes. How can four little hands leave such a path of destruction behind?
Rebekah's box of ornaments or the ones that Rachel didn't want. Poor little one. She even gets hand-me-downs (or handy-downs as she calls them) when it comes to Christmas decorations.

When it came to putting them on the tree, she didn't seem to mind though.
Rachel was thrilled to go through the box and pick out all her favorite and special ornaments.
She is becoming very particular about where everything goes. Maybe next year I won't even have to go back and move them around after the girls go to bed.
Finished tree with ornaments and our two beautiful princesses.
Side note: Too bad the converter we bought doesn't work with the lights. The tree just doesn't seem the same without the lights on. Maybe next year....

Rebekah's Point of View

Rebekah is in that stage where she really doesn't need a nap anymore. If she does nap then we are both up until 11:00 or even midnight. This said, you can probably guess that I will do just about anything to keep her awake in the afternoons. This is a very difficult feat as we drive to Delhi four days a week to pick Rachel up from school. (I say "we drive" but have to admit that I don't drive in India. Nemlal drives and Rebekah and I ride along.) The drive can take anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes each way. Today the method to keeping her eyes open was my camera. These photos are Rebekah's point of view of our drive home from school.
Starting with a picture of Rachel being her normal nutty self.
Rebekah's self portrait
The setting sun from the freeway.
The always present sippy cup.
The toll booth man.
Rebekah's favorite sparkly shoes. She insists they go with every outfit.
Almost home....
Yes, we can see home out the right window but it still takes ten to fifteen minutes to get there as this is India and there is always traffic.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Being Thankful for It All

I have so many things in my life to be thankful for.... a wonderful husband, beautiful, healthy children, amazing immediate and extended family, good friends all over the world, and the adventure that Dan's job has allowed us to live for the past 16 years. There are days that I get caught in the moment and tend to forget so many of these positives. Life in India is a roller coaster to say the least. I have developed a love/hate relationship with the country. Most days it is more love but every so often those "grrrrr get me home days" creep in.

So, along comes the holiday season. Halloween was all about the kids. I was nervous about having seven families with a total of seventeen children at our place, but it went off with a bang. Friends included us in their Diwali celebration showing us the traditions and joy of this important Indian holiday. Then along comes Thanksgiving. A truly American holiday that I have always loved. Growing up, Thanksgiving was full of aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends. We would eat at lunchtime, then play games, watch football, and pull out the leftovers at dinnertime. Great memories. When we lived in China, most of our friends were American. This meant that Thanksgiving was similar to the way we would celebrate it in the US. Close friends with good food, getting together, being thankful for everything God has given us and creating more precious memories. Our first Thanksgiving in India comes along without any plans. Sadness sets in while thinking of the four of us eating fried rice at home just like any other mealtime. An American friend, who was feeling the same way as I, came along and and bam....let the celebration begin.
We used the clubhouse at our complex which opens onto the playground. We rented a bounce house for the kiddos. No Indian celebration seems complete without a bounce house.
I ordered a turkey with the fixings from the club at the American Embassy and everyone brought their favorite dish. Yummy!! We even had apple pie and a gingerbread house. There were families from all over the world....America, Canada, India, Denmark, UK, Germany, Australia, Sweden and probably one or two more that I forgot.
I think Rachel and her friends put a little of each type of dessert on their plates.
The kids had their own area to sit and eat.
And...the men found a corner to sit in and discuss "man stuff."
I am so thankful for where we live, our friends and neighbors. Every time I am on the hate side of my relationship with India, one of my friends comes along with a smile, an offer to join them for dinner, some much needed advice, and/or a shoulder to lean on. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Preschool field trip to India Post

What's better than a preschool field trip? Well....tons of things actually....but, thankfully, it doesn't take much to get a group of three year olds excited. So this expedition to the India Post branch near the school was a big hit.
The bicycles that carry our mail from the branch out into the community. After seeing these and the way the post was piled haphazardly onto the bikes, I understand why most things mailed to us never make it.
The mail sorting area. Yep, laundry baskets full of it.
The class even got to meet the postmaster. He may have been the thinnest man I have ever met.
Rebekah with her stamp. The three year olds had made Diwali cards earlier in the week. They got to put the stamps on them and post them. Thankfully, ours arrived a few days later. Rebekah would have been very disappointed if it hadn't made it.
Showing off the cards with stamps all ready to go into the mailbox. (Rachel was off school that day and got to tag along. She enjoyed being the big kid in the bunch.)
Into the post box go the hand made Diwali cards.

Diwali Celebration

Our wonderful neighbor, Vanessa, had a group of us over for a delicious Diwali dinner. She spent all day cooking for six couples and seventeen kids under the age of ten. This was our first Diwali in India. Many of our friends and neighbors were traveling due to offices and schools being closed for the holiday. We are very thankful to Vanessa for including us in their celebrations.
The children's table.
Zara, Versailles, and Rachel heading out to set off firecrackers.
Rebekah and Torrin ready for some sparklers and crackers.
Rachel and Versailles
Let the celebrations begin!!

Below is Rebekah's first experience with a sparkler. I was nervous, of course, but she loved it. Rachel on the other hand wouldn't go anywhere near them. Dan had to hold her during most of the fireworks. I guess the fire safety section at school really had an impact on her.

It's beginning to look a lot like Diwali....

The holiday season has arrived in India. Diwali is a five day festival for Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs also known as the Festival of Lights. Many aspects of Diwali remind me of Christmas in the US and Chinese New Year in China. Families travel from distances to be together, eat a big meal, and exchange gifts. People decorate their homes with lights. Shops have huge Diwali sales with sweets, gifts, decorations, cards, and clothing.

Rebekah and her diya she made in preschool. They are commonly filled with oil and a wick but we opted for the tea light instead.
Rachel with the Rangoli she made in Indian studies beside a large one on campus at the American Embassy School.

Following the theme of the Festival of Lights many homes are decorated for the holiday.
Looking up at our building with all the Diwali decorations.

Monday, October 25, 2010

elephant washing

One of my favorite parts of being in Corbett was our late morning and afternoon by the Kosi River. While eating breakfast after the early morning safari, one of the rangers walked up with a huge grin on his face. "M'am, girls, would you be interested in accompanying me to the river. We will be washing the elephants at eleven a.m. Maybe you could help us." Really, we can help? Of course, I said yes immediately. I was THRILLED. I think even more excited than the girls. We followed our guide to the beautiful riverside. (Unfortunately, this was the only day that Dan had to work while we were on holiday. We left him carrying his laptop around looking for a wireless connection.)
As we near the river, there they are, being led by their handlers through the water. It was an amazing sight to see. So big, so strong, but also so calm, and so peaceful.

They brought them right up to the shore where we could get up close and personal with the elephants. Two female elephants right in front of us. The handler said that the males can be aggressive at times so they only use females for work with people. Rebekah was very excited about touching the elephant. Rachel stood back and had no desire to get very close. They use flat rocks from the riverbed to scrub the mud and dead skin off the elephant. These huge ladies thoroughly seemed to enjoy the bath/massage treatment.
The handlers would have allowed us to get in and help wash the elephants. I tried and tried to talk the girls into it but had no takers. Below she is helping to rinse herself....just beautiful
The girls decided that it was more fun and interesting to play in the river. They used sand, rocks, and sticks to build. We ended up spending almost three hours watching the elephants, building in the sand, and just hanging by the Kosi.
After they finished washing the elephants, the men wrapped themselves in towels, stripped down, bathed themselves, and also washed their clothes in the river. That's one way to get all your chores done at the same time.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Corbett Trip, Early Morning Safari

On our first full day at Tiger Camp, we woke up much before the sun and headed out in an open jeep on our first safari. It was dark and cold but beautiful and peaceful. The multitude of stars seemed close enough to reach out and grab one. The blankets were warm and the adventure had begun. Dan and I were both grumbling when the alarm went off at 400 am. "Why is it necessary to be in the jeep at 430?" Grumble, grumble. We found out why.....there are limited entries into the tiger reserve each day. We had to stop at the ranger's office and register with our passports for admission at the park. When we arrived at the office, there were already ten jeeps waiting. It took about an hour to get everything stamped and double checked. By 530, the sun was starting to peek over the mountains and we were on our way.
The girls at first were cranky about being woken so early. They quickly rallied and starting being their normal, silly selves.

The sun was just coming up as we made our way through the first checkpoint at the tiger reserve. The cool clear air, blue skies, lack of pollution, being with my was just an amazing morning.
Peacocks out for a morning stroll along the riverbanks.
Future safari guide Rebekah testing out the binoculars Gramcracker (my mom) gave her for Christmas. She loved being just like the real guide.
They even pose on safari :)
The closest we came to seeing an actual tiger was these paw prints or pug marks. They were fresh from the night before. As cool as it would be to see a tiger, I was in some ways glad to not come up close and personal with one. Rachel got a little nervous when she realized that a tiger had been walking on the same road as we were driving.

We were back at the hotel by 1000 am for a delicious breakfast and much needed nap.