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Head's up - this is from a couple weeks ago. I just never got to "publish" it. But I figured you'd appreciate the sentiments, all the same. As an update, I'm back in the mountains, lazing about since my mentor's not back from Delhi and I'm at a loss for things to do. I might explore local sites tomorrow. Might as well see this beautiful place, right?
Oh, as an update, you'll be glad to know I emerged victorious against three, count them - THREE, big monkeys (with plenty of little ones milling about). I had my stick, I began walking rather than running, and I audibly quoted scripture at the three growling monkeys circling me. I was NOT going to fear those vile creatures and it paid off.

Aight, on my rather long bus ride back to Palampur from Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, I sketched out a few random thoughts. Shimla was beautiful, btw, with a central promenade that people stroll in the evening. The architecture reflects the British influence and appeared to be some combination of a Bavarian village and English hamlet. Check out my pic’s to see the real deal.
-Is high-pitched, Indian music a) the right of bus passengers, b) meant to cover the noise of squeaking brakes, or c) merely a product of the young dirver’s and conductor’s musical tastes?
-picture this: looking down from the precariously high, narrow, winding roads to see brilliantly yellow corn cobs drying on flat rooftops in the sun.
-eagerly awaiting reuniting w/ fam in 8-1/2 months!
-sweet fellowship time w/ a group from CO and being able to say, “it is well with my soul”
-learning the value of inches and the expertise of these crazy bus drivers that navigate with only inches to spare
-seeing kind faces of Nepalis
-having freedom to wander the streets of Shimla at night in safety
-“God shave me” on the front bumpers of mountain vehicles


I've been shaking literal and figurative dust off my feet since coming to Delhi a few days ago. It's been great to meet up with another Fellow, some friends based in Delhi, a friend from the States, and even a friend from Palampur who's visiting her Mum. Paul, Monk, and I checked out India Gate this afternoon.

I love the speedy internet service but mostly the company (thanks for both, Paul!). A lot of insightful, soul-searching questions have been asked of me concerning my work here and I appreciate the opportunity to expand my mind. Here are a couple "sound bites" from my visit to the big city:

-A mall in Gurgaon (a cosmopolitan suburb of Delhi) had all the trappings of modernity, including an escalator with directions for using the escalator

-I have had two salads and loved every bite

-Cost Center Taxis run between Delhi and Gurgaon and enable those welcoming claustrophobia to travel between the two locations for a mere 25 cents

-Naina and I crashed a 40-year old's birthday party last night when we heard good music and went exploring

Sunday evening it's back to the mountains where there's clean air and no traffic.


I’m taking a break from my Educational Philosophy paper to tell you about a few joys in my life recently.

Numero Uno: Pepsi’s Club Soda makes every sip of sparkling juice good to the last drop

#2: An entirely magnificent, exceeding-all-expectations package from some amazing ladies in CT AND a card from my dear CA pastor

Drei: Introducing myself in Hindi to a group of students AND recognizing my first word in Hindi (samaj = society)

Char: Thinking critically about educational philosophy in preparing my application for an Associate Professor position.

So now you know what I’m aiming for after India. August ’08, baby, on the North Shore! I’ve never been the kind of person to hide the fact that I’m going for my driver’s license, etc. I prefer to be an open book so you get to see the ups and the downs. This is life, after all, right? A very wise friend wrote, “All the masterpieces of art contain both light and shadow. A happy life is not one filled with only sunshine, but one which uses both light and shadow to produce beauty.” Ed knows that I’ve faced both the light and dark here and I deeply appreciated that affirmation. Ten months in the Himalayas sounds idyllic, right? There are many parts that DO transcend imagination, and yet . . . Hmm, how to capture some of this hard journey AND reflect the hope, meaning confident expectation, that I have . . . The path that I walk here defies so much of whom I have been to this point in my life. And the hope comes because I am painfully shedding layers I will be better without. I know my Maker has led me on this path so that I might SHiNE for Him. He doesn’t need my identity to be founded in achievement but in Him. He doesn’t need me to rebel at every request but to recognize the extension of His authority here on earth. If you want to know more about this, please call or write. I am blessed to be known and loved by One Who far exceeds all the joys I listed above. And with that, I think I’ll continue my paper on my educational philosophy.


Guess what?! I rode a bus today – all by myself. “So what,” you may ask. Well, I have never found, boarded, paid fare, and alighted on my own in India previously so this marks a turning point.

The story began yesterday when my mentor and I went to the Agriculture University in Palampur to visit an entomology professor. My mentor is interested in a proposal to research the use of bio-pesticides in the state of Himachal Pradesh. He also wants to submit a proposal to study organic farming within the state. The head of the Entymology Department referred us to a professor in the College of Agroforestry and Environment who works closely with the organic farming program at the university.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. My mentor went to a meeting today so he told me to return to the university and talk to this organic farming prof. He told me to spend this morning writing a letter to Dr. Poonam and then visit her in the afternoon to deliver the letter. I double-checked with my landlord who was working on our building today (or, I should say, overseeing work on the building) and he confirmed that hand delivering a letter of introduction is unnecessary when going to meet someone. I typed a letter just in case then printed it off up the road since we don’t have a printer in the office. The printing process took 45 minutes as usual because the printer man’s printer never likes my jump drive. I thankfully remembered where to get on and off the bus and found my way to Dr. Punam’s cubicle. I quickly surmised I would not be delivering the letter since I had misspelled her name. She spent a bit of time with me and suggested I return when the head of the department is present and when I can receive a proper tour of the organic farm. So then I got to play the “find the bus, jostle my way on, pay the fare, and get off” game. As a side note, on the way to the university I pass the Sperm Board buildings. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with breeding animals. I hope so.

Oh, yeah, about the picture. As many of you know, I’m not fond of cooking but I have no choice here. Tonight I made something really weird, even by my standards. I had tofu flour balls with garlic and raisins. It tasted all right but, yeah, it was strange. OK, as usual, I can't upload a photo today so check out "My Pic's" for a view.

rivers of living water

OK, it’s just about bedtime since I went to sleep late last night but let me fill you in on the latest. I went to a friend’s home for dinner last night around 6:30 PM after we finished our ballet lessons. We stopped by a roadside market to pick up veggies for dinner. We started making dinner around 7 PM and were finally eating around 9 PM. My friend was feeling a bit out of it last night. She SO wanted to have a festive evening, but she ended up conking out while playing Uno. Seriously, she was in her PJs and in bed before I was out the door!

The latest “this is India” moment came a couple days ago during a morning run. I was attacked by a monkey! Granted, the thing was maybe 1/4 - 1/3 of my size but it was FEROCIOUS! It was the biggest of all the monkeys on the street and I saw it come barreling across a stone wall and leap off in my direction. I turned to see it nipping at my heels. I let out a deep yell, ran, turned around and yelled again, and then kept running. Now I know why the old men carry sticks. Maybe I should have gotten that rabies vaccination . . .

everything we need for life

It’s 12:30 and I’ve finally made it to the office. Have no fear that your favorite blogger is slacking, however. I’ve been working on a proposal all morning. My English language skills are being gainfully employed (hmm, can I truthfully say that since I’m a volunteer?) as I revise a draft of a proposal to assess and improve the socio-economic status of Dalits (see previous blog) within Himachal Pradesh. I’ve been working from my sitting room, a nicer environment than the office. Though my manager is still out of town, I’ve had the company of my landlord and his troupe of Mr. Fix-its. I use that term slightly deridingly because I asked my landlord today to call a different toilet repairman since this is the fourth time within a week that I need my toilet repaired.

On the cooking front, I boiled a kilo of milk this morning and promptly poured a large portion down the drain. I buy milk in ½ kilo bags and then boil it to ensure healthfulness. I have been storing the milk in an old Whiskey bottle after boiling it. Unfortunately, the mouth of the bottle is too narrow for my pot and, hence, I poured a lot down the drain. At least I completed this operation in the sink. I wasn’t so forward-thinking last time. After pouring the milk down the drain and in the bottle, I heard a glass-cracking sound and noticed the bottle had broken. I quickly re-poured (successfully) into a series of cups lest the bottle shatter (which it did not). So that’s my fun morning activity in Palampur. Oh, when I opened my fridge, the uncovered cup of milk spilled on the floor but I’m not crying over it.

By the way, you can check out my local “market” in the pic above. OK, I can't upload pic's on here at this time so click on My Pictures to your right and look for the Palampur folder. The pic's in there.