Tuesday, November 25, 2014

a quickie

I spent most of last week not eating. Turns out I had a bacterial infection so aside from sleeping, I really didn't get a lot accomplished last week. As of yesterday - Monday - I'm finally not afraid of food. Apparently it is possible to survive on water, antibiotics, and bananas for five straight days.

In happier news, the weather is really brilliant and the air quality is improved compared to a month ago (still not great, but I'll take improved). 

Thanksgiving break is coming up in T-18 hours and our family has planned a day trip to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal for the day on Thursday. The rest of the weekend will fill with a belated chicken dinner for Thanksgiving (a Turkey costs about $180. Not going to happen.), a Delhi Dynamos soccer game for the family, and a food festival. I'm pretty stoked. Pictures to follow, I promise.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Beautiful Bali

A huge benefit of living and teaching abroad is the opportunity to travel for professional development. We truly got on board with this as we booked a trip to Bali, Indonesia for a Restitution conference with Diane Gossen. In an opportunistic way, this conference fell on the Monday and Tuesday after our Diwali break, so we went ahead and booked our hotel room for the entire break beforehand as well. 

A bit of me felt some sadness at not being around India for Diwali as India certainly seems to know how to celebrate things. But the fireworks started the week prior and I realized my asthma is much more prominent than I ever imagined, so I think our family felt like leaving India was a-okay for us at this moment. I'm truly hoping to experience Diwali in its glory at some point, even if it means I'm on a breathing machine throughout the celebration. (Oakes doesn't seem to be bothered by the air, by the way. Go figure. And cheer. Go cheer.)

I digress. Back to Bali.
An overnight flight kept our arrival day (Thursday) full of mini-naps and an early bedtime after an afternoon check-in and a swim in the pool. The fun truly began on Friday. We spent the day wandering Ubud and shopping, stumbling upon amazing art and beauty and happy to have brought an empty extra suitcase. The kids were somehow great during all of this (praise for the stroller!) and the weather was fully cooperative. We came home in time to swim again and if it were up to Oakes, this would be the activity all day, every day. And you know what? Our boy can now boast that he learned to swim - for real - in Bali. One of his swimmies was flat, so we tossed them aside and I worked with him on swimming without. Evan swapped jobs with me a bit later and while I kept Wren afloat, Evan instilled the confidence in Oakes to swim the width of the pool without his swimmies. And the boy did it. Over. And over. And over. Cue proud parents doing high fives and celebrating in ways that we never imagined us doing (I'm sure the honeymooners staying at our hotel thought we were a bit over the top, but whatev). So dang proud.

Saturday was another day shopping, but it was amidst an onslaught of tourists and humidity. I stopped in for a $7 hour-long massage (which left me bruised but somehow relaxed, probably because I realized I got my money's worth) while Evan made a Dad-purchase-of-the-year with a rainbow tutu for Wren. The kids were great, but we were all whipped after a late lunch and ended our day in the same manner as yesterday.

Reminds me of the one down from Wando...
Outside of the Monkey Forest - we dared not enter. 

View from our table at lunch on Friday.
IB made napkin hats for my three favorite people!

We debated the adventure of riding an elephant on Sunday, but after reading Chained and then researching the elephant rides around here I couldn't in good conscience support an endeavor like this. So instead, we visited a recommended cafe (thanks, Jackie!) and laid low until our conference welcome event that evening. We hired a nanny to come watch the kids on Monday and Tuesday while we attended our conference, and then late Tuesday night we flew back to Delhi, where our Vogmasks are our reality for the next few months. C'est la vie. We chose this. Or it chose us. But either way, it's ours.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


The season of Diwali brought a multitude of reasons to love India. From the embellished diyas the kids all took home from school to the rangolis made of colored rice that adorned the floors, you could feel and see the excitement.

School prepares for a Diwali mela. 

Our school added to the excitement by holding our annual International Day Assembly and Celebration. Almost 50 countries were represented by our school and everyone dressed in an outfit representing their country (Oakes wore his Germany soccer jersey, below, while Evan and I represented with a US jersey and a red,white, and blue ensemble, respectively).