Thursday, August 21, 2014

Week Two of School? Under our belt!

Last weekend was a wonderful three day weekend, full of fun and camaraderie! We spent Friday evening on campus (with Indian Independence Day + a new Prime Minister + high security + living in the Embassy district, we were more or less told to stay put). Many of the on-campus folks met up at the playground to grill out, play lawn games, and relax with friends and beverages. We all had a great time and I can't emphasize how nice it is to be able to let Oakes and Wren run around for a few hours with friends and not even have to worry for a moment if they are okay.

Saturday was spent on a family outing to purchase 2 new carpets and hit the market. For the carpets, we had to go to the home of the seller (the basement, actually), where he and his son rolled out rug after rug for us to view, walk on, and admire. We settled on two large area carpets and a small carpet for Oakes' bedside. While waiting on the gentlemen to run our debit card, we noticed a photo in the corner of them and former President Bill Clinton. Of course, I begged questions. And yes, they've met him and sold to him. So, if we rely on Kevin Bacon and 6 degrees of separation, then I can totally make a generalization and say that we buy our carpets at the same place as Bill Clinton, right? 

Crammed in the rickshaw. It was actually fun, despite Evan's facial expression.

Our living room rug. I love it. There's another in our dining room that Ev loves more.
After shopping for floor coverings, we hit Khan market with the kids and then took a rickshaw home in time for the kids to make an on-campus birthday/pool party. 



Sunday was also pretty amazing as a group of us got together for brunch at one of the nicer hotels here. They had a supervised kids' room so we could eat/drink/talk and the food spread here was impressive. Unfortunately, I was coming down with a head cold and wasn't hungry/thirsty and really didn't feel much like socializing. But it was still a pretty awesome 4-hour brunch.

Oakes was retrieving Wren after she rolled herself to our table from the kids' room.


KISS cover band


Some other awesome news:

  • Wren was moved off the waitlist at her preschool and will hopefully start next week (Ev and I will tour the facility on Monday and bring the paperwork - we aren't completely sure of a start date yet).
  • Next weekend our family goes out of town for our first India excursion! The school is sponsoring a retreat weekend at Fort Neemrana Palace and we are totally stoked to see a bit beyond Delhi.
  • I'm finally feeling human again after about two weeks of tummy rumbles and a few days of a cold. I'm pretty sure this only means I'll get Dengue Fever next week but in the meantime, I'm enjoying feeling whole again! Speaking of which, I should probably go get my rabies vaccine...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

First week of school is finished!

So much! So much!


We started school this week and after four days of class, we are all ready for the long weekend ahead. Ev and I both have sweet kids and our classrooms are truly global with kids from all over the world; there are 6 fluent languages in my classroom of 20 kids! One of the things I haven't quite adjusted to is the fact that I can put in a work order for just about any task I need completed. Posters to be hung up high? Work order. Need air conditioning on a Saturday to catch up on work? Call maintenance. Need a bookshelf moved? Work order. Check out the following work order I had to put in on Monday. Yup, they not only feed my fish, but they change the water and replace the ones that just can't hang. Poor guy, hadn't even had a chance to name him yet...


So now on to our week-in-review:
Last Saturday, we finally took the kids out in public to a market about 20 minutes across town. We had a goal of buying a DVD player and a kitchen utensil canister and were thrilled to complete both tasks, even with a cranky Oakes. Wren had her photo taken the moment we entered the market, but no one came up to her directly which we weren't sure would/wouldn't happen. I loved that we were able to wander a newer market for me and we all got to see a street cow in the middle of the market.


On Sunday, Evan not only got to go on a hike in the nature preserve across the street, but he also took Oakes back out to a closer market for a few groceries. While they were gone, a monsoon rain hit and we must have received 6 inches in an hour. Our balcony drain backed up so our porch flooded and we ended up having water inside the living room as well (little did we know, this was only a precursor to our water woes we'd face this week. Water was pouring into our hallway through a light fixture last night - completely unrelated to rains.). Ev has some great photos of the market during the storm on Facebook, so take a look there for some better pictures.


Oakes started his Pre-K program this past Tuesday. They go for half-days for the first two weeks, then he'll go full days. He really loves school and said that when Komlesh (our ayah) dropped him off, he didn't even notice when she had left! He's by far the oldest in his class, but we feel like this is a very good thing for him developmentally. 


In the meantime, Wren keeps falling out of her bed which is super fun on a tile floor and in the middle of the night. Our sea shipment is set to arrive in mid-September and once that arrives and we get our bed, we'll move the queen-sized bed into her room which should help her out a bit. 

Speaking of sea shipments, we are VERY MUCH ready for it to arrive! I recall mentioning how cathartic it was to clear out our home of the unnecessary things when we moved here. And how it really taught me how we didn't need all of that stuff. However, now that we are living in a rather stark apartment I can't emphasize how much I want that stuff here. Those small bits of home and the toys and the wall hangings that are floating on the back of a cargo ship somewhere on the water. We had packed a few toys for the kids in our air shipment and the kids have loved playing with those, but toys only hold their luster for so long. Luckily, our children have found other kids around here to play with and - at times - seem to play together nicely.

Oakes is trying to put Wren's hair in "Elsa braids"

Wren is hanging with the big kids, trying to do cartwheels.
So after four days of classes, we had a wonderful assembly today to celebrate Indian Independence Day, which is tomorrow. Oakes and Wren were able to attend with Komlesh and it was truly amazing. One of the troupes of dancers were from a local school of disabled children (mostly hearing impaired) and it was such an amazing and inspiring thing to watch.



We've been advised not to leave our respective homes tomorrow as it is Independence Day and security is high, so we are trying to plan a cook-out and bocce ball game here on campus. And on Saturday, I'm hoping to go furniture shopping for a table for our TV. If time (and energy) permits, we'll go to the rug store afterwards to search for a living room rug for us. We need something to dampen the noise from our kids running around. And Sunday we are going to brunch with a group of friends at a local hotel. It's supposed to be amazing and since our tummies have seemed to have recovered from Delhi belly, we are all excited to eat again!

And saving the best experience of the week for last...
His Holiness Karmapa came to our school on Tuesday evening as an opening to this year's Sangha (check out the link for more info on him). He is most likely next in line to be the leader of Tibetan Buddhists when the current Dalai Lama steps down or passes away. He's only 29 years old yet years wiser than I am. We spent an hour with him while he answered our questions and joked with us. It was a truly worldly experience. Sorry, no photos of this as I was too involved in listening to this wise man's words. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Week In Review

What have we been doing this week?

Professionally...

  • we've danced Russian, Swedish, and Australian folk dances (Evan too! Shocking, I know.)
  • we've played xylophone and sang a beautiful song to the tune of Pachelbel's Canon in D (again Evan too, except I think he only played).
  • we've sat through some of the most empowering professional development we've ever sat through.
  • we helped create a mural of needs.
  • we've set up our classrooms.
  • we feel like we are on a really great team.


Personally...

  • we drank wine and beer we got delivered from "The Russian."
  • we've eaten some amazing foods.
  • our family dealt with "Delhi Belly" (not fun. Also: related to above?).
  • we handled about 20 frustrating phone calls (in 2 days) from the place where we bought our TV to say "No, we do NOT need installation" each time.
  • we found a "grocer" and a "chemist" to fulfill so many of our needs.
  • the kids have found an amazing group of friends on campus to play with multiple times a day.
  • Ev's played basketball and ultimate with some of the staff here.
  • the kids have discovered that rules don't apply when the ayah is here.
  • mommy and dad are frustrated at the above.
  • we figured out how the outlets work ("Don't do what I'm doing, kids.")

India has its quirks, but as Oakes said tonight, "I really like this place."