Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Break Review

Oh wow. Koh Samui was amazing. The house was spectacular, the island was fun, and we had a great time with the families we traveled with. We spent much of our time at the home we rented but also had a few fun day trips out: beach, quad-biking to a waterfall, shopping, and football golf. It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to that island on Saturday. So here's a photo heavy post of our adventures this past week...

View from our bedroom balcony

Half of the kids are out cold before dinner...

Wren & Oakes both got their nails painted.

Poolside Thai massages for the Daddies. No worries, the Mommies got them as well.
The next few are photos of our day spent Quad-Biking. We rode to the highest point on Samui, had a beer, enjoyed the view, saw a few Buddha statues, then continued down the mountain for lunch. After lunch, we drove the bikes to a waterfall where we played around for the remainder of the afternoon.

A few more photos from the house/pool. Wren fell off the couch on Wednesday night and busted her lip. Aside from some bruising, she seems to be fine now. We are wondering if she'll end up having a dead tooth from the fall but considering it would fall out anyway in a few years, it's not a huge concern for us.

While the other families spent Thursday snorkeling, we stayed back and took the kids to play football golf

An amazing sunrise from the balcony on Friday morning.

The adults went out on our last evening to a night market, have dinner on the beach, and then to see a Ladyboy Cabaret. 

Maybe it's because we never really traveled during Spring Break (except for Disney World last year) but I came back from this vacation truly refreshed. We went to bed super-early on Sunday night and Monday was a great segue back into the end of the school year. It's amazing to me that we only have 9 weeks of school left before we all hop flights out of Delhi and return to families for the summer. 

Speaking of summer, Evan and I have put together a rather tentative summer plan for our travels. As of now, it'll take us to Charleston and the beach during the month of June and to North Carolina (Evan's parent's house and cabin plus Asheville) for the month of July. We have to get a new roof for the house while we are there this summer and are also hoping to enroll Oakes in a summer day camp for a week. And if any of you are around, we'd absolutely LOVE to see you while we are in town. We hear there are a few nice breweries that have opened up this past year while we've been gone...

Monday, March 9, 2015


Everyone told me it would fly by.

"You think this is busy?" said to me in October "Just wait until second semester..."

Whoa. This train is rolling. Fast.

Spring break is the week after next. We'll spend it with a few other families in Thailand and while I couldn't be more excited, I can honestly say that it snuck up on me. This is a first. And after that, we have a solid two months until we say farewell to Delhi for the two hottest months it knows. 

Whew. Craziness. In the meantime, we've bided our time at birthday parties (by the looks of February, I'm feeling positive May was a spectacular time for couples in years past) and most recently, with Holi. There was a great street party at the camp behind us, but Oakes and Wren were both happier with the tameness of the on-campus faculty Holi party. Not that it was that much tamer; many still came home with dyed hair and skin and were soaked to the bone by the pishkaris (water guns) and worn out from the chase.

Wren took a bit of warming up in order to participate, but once we sold her on it, she was good for about 5 hours of pishkaris and holi colors. Oakes, on the other hand, grabbed his pishkari and never looked back. It's a beautiful way to wear your kids out for a great night's sleep.

So on Friday the 20th, we'll head to the airport for a week in Koh Samui with no other huge travel plans for a bit afterward. Evan has to go to Chennai for a conference and we've muttered about going to Bangkok for a weekend for medical check-ups, but no flight miles like we've had over the past two months. Thank god. I think I've watched every airline movie I care to for a while.

In closing, I'll leave you with a few other video shots I've taken this week. Evan and I are both trying to capture video for One Second Everyday. He's better at remembering, but I still feel like it's a great way to capture this time in our lives.

Cricket game: they are doing this every time we pass this field and were happy to be in a video, especially as he hit it way out of the park.

March rains are rare. And we've had quite a few. I love it. This is from our balcony.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rights, simply because we are human

I've spent the last week in freezing cold Winnipeg, Canada for some training for school with a colleague from school. The people there bent over backwards to make us feel welcome: bringing us gifts, ordering us lunch, arranging transportation for us, and indulging in wonderful conversations. It was truly above and beyond what I had expected and made leaving the beautiful warm springtime in Delhi a lot more bearable. 

And while it was incredibly cold there, we enjoyed Winnipeg and tried to make the most of our few days here. Our last night there, we ventured downtown and spent a few hours touring the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It was amazing on every level. The architecture was awesome and the museum collections were empowering. I wavered between feeling stronger about how far we've come and having a heavy heart about what we've done and how far we still have to go. It was quite moving. 

So as my colleague and I headed to the airport yesterday, we both never expected to feel the way we did. 

I wrote this approximately thirty minutes after the incident with a still fast-beating heart, my body temperature raised, and my fingers having a difficult time typing:

Our flight carries us from Canada, through America to Paris and then back on to India. And since the moment we walked up to the door to the US Customs room, I've watched firsthand the racial discrimination that has taken place by the TSA. 

My colleague was ahead of me and is not a US Citizen. Before walking into the room, the gentleman who had been scanning tickets at the door, took her to a separate counter in the room to scan and stamp her ticket. Mine was not stamped, and he stayed at this counter for the remaining passengers so I thought little of it. 

As we approached the baggage scan, she continued first and the lady who took her ticket at the bag scanning looked at it questionably and took it to someone else to discuss. She told her that she would have to put her through screening, then she allowed my colleague through the metal detector as she called to a lady on the other side while holding up 4 fingers. The lady pulled my colleague aside after she cleared the first metal detector with no alarms going off. My colleague then had to go through the body scan 2 times as they weren't coming out clear and then all of her bags were wiped down after going through the baggage x-ray. I, on the other hand, went right behind her in the process and had no issues. We have the same plane ticket, but different nationalities; I feel sure this is the only reason she was flagged.

My colleague was visibly upset by this, as was I. Frankly, I was speechless at first. A part of me wanted to deny it thinking They do body scans for almost everybody; I'm surprised it isn't part of the process for everyone here. and Maybe it was just a misunderstanding or maybe the US is on high-alert. All of those are simply excuses. High alert doesn't mean racial profiling. It doesn't mean automatic discrimination of certain groups. And high-alert would mean that everyone would go through the body scan. Not just my friend. And I knew for sure that this wasn't just "random." 

We made our way to customs where we decided to go through that as a couple rather than singles, which I think put us both at ease. 

We went through all of that less than an hour ago and I've spent the entire time at the gate waiting while surfing the web to file a complaint against the TSA. I'm still shaking and still upset by all of this and by the impact it had on my friend. We are both wondering simply why she was harassed so much. If you knew her, you'd know that she's a kind mother and teacher who is studious and is a true "rule-follower." You'd know that something like this (which she confessed she also experienced on the leg to the United States TO our conference as well - we were separated for 2/3 of the trip) affects her emotionally and I imagine will stain her trip and her appreciation for traveling in the US.

The irony of all of this falls on the heels of our visit to the Canadian Human Rights Museum. As we left the museum feeling empowered and hopeful and walked into a situation where her human rights were obviously not met. Thanks, TSA. The two of us spent the remainder of our travel side-by-side, looking out for each other. Thankfully, France and India were much easier.