Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Santa x 4

Two rainy days, the busyness of the holidays upon us, and a chill in the air has made us all feel a bit more like it is winter and more like the Christmas season is here. And so have all of the Santas.

This past Sunday we planned to celebrate Wren's 3rd birthday with a fancy breakfast with the kids at The Imperial, a luxurious 1930s hotel down the road from us. We awoke early, dressed up, and then Oakes immediately fell ill with a tummy ache and ended up sleeping until 11:30am. 

The rest of us changed back into jeans (except for Wren, who was intent on staying in her birthday dress all day) and when Oakes woke up ravenous, we all walked across the street to the embassy's restaurant. We stumbled upon a Christmas brunch there, including mimosas and an Indian Santa.

Monday involved a tradition of hot chocolate and Christmas carols on the playground for the on-campus families. 

As we wrapped up our singing, Mr. & Ms. Claus showed up and did a wonderful job of taking notes of the gifts that were requested and the time frames to deliver them. After all, many of us won't be here on Christmas...

Santa, Ms. Claus, and our on-campus family even sang to the birthday girl.

By Tuesday, we got a third chance to see Santa as our school PSA organized a sing-a-long on the elementary greens. Little did we know, Santa would arrive in his decorated tuk-tuk and by this point, the kids were okay with just going over to wave at him.

But let's be honest, nothing says 'tis the season like seeing Santa FOUR days in a row, right? So today we got another photo op (not our call, this was all Oakes' idea) as we attended the embassy's Christmas Mela and Oakes eagerly waited in line to tell Santa the same thing he had already told him two other times.

So if Santa doesn't know what these kids want by now, there must be a big disconnect between him and his helpers. 

We leave Friday in the wee hours of Saturday for a week in Germany with Evan's grandparents. After that, we'll head to Kerala, in south India for a bit of beach time before returning to our second half of the school year. 

Peace & Love. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

November Pictures

It's Sunday night and I type this with the background noise of a marching band, car horns, a siren, and booming fireworks ushering in a bride and groom from the camp behind our house. It causes a headache if you are 3 years old and trying to sleep, but otherwise these celebrations make me appreciate the Indian culture. Unfortunately for us, the three year-old is a demanding soul so rather than write, I'll give you a photo sampling of November.

At a Delhi Dynamos match
Life skill: she learned how to cut in line to go on this jump castle over, and over, and over.
At Fall Fiesta: Oakes, sitting with Wren and her friend.
The water leak that took a month and a half
to diagnose, repair, and rebuild.

Staff Thanksgiving Dinner
Oakes' class at Fun & Games Day

Saturday, November 29, 2014

a case of the blues

I've come to the conclusion that being far away from familiarity comes with ups and downs. Two weeks ago I think I had my first true "what am I doing here" moment. Was it included in a mix of some homesickness? If I want to be honest with myself, I would say yes. Though I think I wouldn't confine this to the homesickness I felt at camp or on the first holiday weekend at college when I didn't go home. It was most certainly different; a longing for a cool night by the fire pit, orange leaves crunching beneath my feet, or maybe the ability to hop in a car and drive to a store to get an item I need.

Facebook keeps me connected to friends and to what is going on in that part of the world but it also fills me with envy at my friends living back home experience holidays and seasons as I've always known them. Skype allows us conversations with family and friends, and streaming radio broadcasts. 

Even the day-to-day chores of India are much easier today than they would have been 10 years ago. I can buy a bag of Doritos if I'm craving orange fingers. Granted, it will cost us $10 for that bag, but sometimes that's the price you pay for a taste of home. More and more commercial enterprises are finding their way to New Delhi and there is even talk of Ikea and H&M setting up shop here. 

As that wave passed, I spent a lot of time reflecting on how easy we have it here compared to if we had come to India - or for that matter traveled abroad - 10 years ago. India is a tough place to live for many reasons, but I'm finding that with a bit of ingenuity (and sometimes a few hundred extra rupees), day-to-day life is becoming easier.

This Thanksgiving season, however, has been particularly trying for us as we've watched our friends and family celebrate the turn of the season from halfway around the globe. Cold Mountain beer release party, Halloween where the night is chilly, first snows, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. These are a few of our favorite things and the past month has definitely pulled at our heartstrings as we have sensed their absence.

And to fill our Thanksgiving break with more than just hanging out on campus, Evan put together a Taj Mahal visit for us on Thursday. It was simply stunning. I really underestimated it and figured it was going to be an architectural beauty, but maybe not all that the rest of the world has chalked it up to be. I was wrong. The beauty of this monument simply cannot be expressed in pictures or words. It was remarkable.

On a camel ride to the Taj 

Even with the Taj thrilling me, I was still upset to not fill my senses with Thanksgiving in the traditional sense. Evan pulled through though, and on Friday we baked an amazingly delicious meal: macaroni casserole (I had to tweak this recipe a bit, but it worked), greens and fresh green beans, sweet potatoes, roasted chicken and an apple crumble to top it off. We got to see the Delhi Dynamos win on Friday night and on Saturday we bought and decorated our Christmas tree.

There are amazing adventures to be had, for sure. I'm not sure where that leaves me on the spectrum of missing home, but I know that these are some of the things that pull me through these short-lived episodes.