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Showing posts from 2008

quick updates

What I notice about the US that differs from India: -warm water comes out of the Hot Water Tap without heating it up in advance -toilets flush automatically, scaring me because I'm not expecting it -the toilet handle is on the left side of the toilet tank We went x-country skiing as a family last night which was good exercise AND good for curing jet lag. I still fell asleep at 9:30 PM and awoke at 3:30 AM before taking some meds to catch a lil more sleep but I'm glad to be back with this crazy, quirky fam.

state sponsored terrorism

I spent some time this afternoon listening to the founder of Alternative Radio . Thankfully, I attended with a friend who was sympathetic to the rage within when we left and who allowed me to "go off" for awhile. Here are some thoughts . . . -This American Alternative wages a war of words against American Imperialism and claims to despise the British yet in the next breath he espouses brotherly love as the solution to the ills of the world. He spoke of how America is "keeping the world safe for hypocrisy" (rather than democracy) yet I sensed a bit of hypocrisy in what he said. -This afternoon's glorification of anti-American sentiment concerns me. If Americans disdain their own country, does it become easier for others to justify their attempts to bring America to its knees? -Haven't we spent enough time groaning about the abysmal foreign practices of America? Haven't recent changes given cause to hope for a brighter future? Am I naive to wish we w

A Day in Delhi

I awoke for an 8AM concall only to learn it's tomorrow. I fell back to sleep & slept 11 hours total. I ignored the trash man's doorbell. I ignored the maid knocking on my bedroom door. My new roomie , Shelli, & I had a good heart to heart after I awoke. I'm catching up on e-mails, photos (click link on right for the latest), blogging, and work. I turned the fan/light fixture washer man away because my broken toilet ran the water tank dry last night so there was no water with which to clean. I filled up the water tank to over flowing when the water came on this afternoon. now shelli & i are planning on ordering in & enjoying the rest of our cloistered existence in delhi ( umm , take a look @ the pic's if you're actually worried that we're cloistered away up here).

Call My Name

I undertook a 24 hour fast on complaining which ended an hour ago BUT I've found there's very little for which I can legitimately complain. I took my new Profile Pic a few minutes ago, hanging out on my friend's rooftop, procrastinating a bit before really working. This blog name comes from the song I'm listening to on by Third Day. God is good and I am reminded of that continually. I read Abi's blog earlier today and was reminded of the blessing of being surrounded by community to encourage, strengthen, and support us. I miss that; then again, I'm shifting back to that in Delhi this weekend! Like I said, God is good.


MISSING Name: Monk Last Seen: November 14, 2008 at Dakshin Chitra Pottery Painting Station near Chennai, Tamil Nadu , India Description: Height: 4 inches, Weight: 1 oz, Species: soft toy monkey, Characteristics: red body with purple face and ears If found, please contact writer of this blog. Reward: Eternal gratitude from numerous persons.


I like promoting things that strike me in some way. FB has become a bit too much these days so here's a more discrete way of getting word out about an artist who is somewhere in this world, creating beautiful music. Enjoy!

back to liking it

So after an evening of moonlit climbing and good food and good friend and good wine (with an unpleasant window breaking incident to remind us we're living in this crazy country), i've returned to liking india and even hyderabad . and as if yesterday wasn't enough, a good time was had by all this afternoon at snow world, an indoor chilled oasis that celebrates the white stuff. we inaugurated a new "run" on the sledding "hill" and got pulled into the bhangra dance circle and got pelted repeatedly by snowballs and let snow fall on us from the snow blowers and tried making tracks while riding the sled carnival ride. oh, & the best part was the gear everyone wore -- sweet red polyester mittens & jackets, army green socks that bunched in the wrong places, and red rubber boots. oh, we can't wait to enjoy the REAL white stuff!

things that are getting to me @ the moment

First off, Jason Mraz's song, "I'm Yours." I have my sis & Jess to thank for this. We videomail & they sent me a mail yesterday, karaoke-style, to this song. "The sky is yours" "We're just one big family" "Time is short" "Open up your plans and *&!# you're free" "I tried to be chill but you're so hot that I melted" Perhaps I'm reverting to my middle school years, but there's something about this song that gets to me. Maybe it's watching two ladies I love deeply care enough to send me silly messages, perhaps it's thinking about the common sentiments that people the world-round experience. I watched a video by John Eldredge recently and listened to him highlight how God speaks to us in hundreds of ways. When something pierces our heart, it's time to wake up and pay attention. The photo illustrates another thing that got to me (though not in a feel-good way). I ret

diwali & coffee

Diwali's over (see pic for me on that day). I spent it at the home of a lovely couple that has welcomed me into their family. We consumed more sweets and breathed in more smoke from firecrackers in that one day than one should expose oneself to in a year. But, akin to Christmas or Thanksgiving Day excuses, this holiday occurs but once a year. I enjoyed wearing my new sari, though it was time for hair, make-up, and a costume change before going on the evening show to discuss Obama. All in all, a full Diwali. I'm visiting my fav Indian city, Delhi, and staying with a friend who has encouraged my coffee-drinking tendencies. I just drank a full mug and am a bit wired. We're feverishly following the upcoming US election and I'm feverishly getting out biz info to make this start-up happen in India. Coffee has only supported me in my quest to feel productive and empowered today. Hmm , maybe I should re-think this foray into the world of caffeine!

to climb, perchance to swim

My outdoor Hyderabad buddy & I set off in search of the Secret Lake today. Though I didn't take this pic myself, this was our playground for the afternoon. We climbed rocks, trees, and the paddle boat after our evening swim. We got whistled at by the guards, circled by a potential rescue vessel, and charged for keeping the paddle boat out past its bedtime. Yeah, I was loving life this afternoon!
first, check out My Pics for some shots of my HYD home (scroll to the bottom). second, i've been reading Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss and wanted to include a passage that is cause to pause, especially living as a Western foreigner in a developing country: "These people could name them, recognize them-the few rich-but Lola and Noni could barely distinguish between the individuals making up the crowd of poor. Only before, the sisters had never paid much attention for the simple reason that they didn't have to. It was natural they would incite envy, the supposed, and the laws of probability favored their slipping through life without anything more than muttered comments, but every now and then, somebody suffered the rotten luck of being in the exact wrong place at the exact wrong time when it all caught up-and generations worth of trouble settled on them. Just when Lola had though it would continue, a hundred years like the one past-Trollope, BBC, a burst of

what to do

One of my fav phrases in Nepali is " ke garne ," translating to "what to do?" I find myself asking this exact question because I've flooded my stove. Yep, it all started when I decided to be smart and boil a bowl (mistake #1) of water on the three-range stove. When the water began boiling, the bowl tipped and began flooding the gas nozzle (technical term might be incorrect). I reached for a towel (smart move #1) to return the hot bowl to its upright position and turned off the gas. I then quickly began sopping up the spilled water. Unfortunately, the water made its way into the gas chamber (this is where my "best guess" enters the picture) before my quick sopping moves took effect. So now I've resorted to microwaveable foods like oatmeal, microwave dinner, and nighttime milk with honey. Seriously, I'm being driven to extreme measures over here. If you have ANY idea how to return my stove to its former working condition, I'd be ha


Pictured above are my new roomies - Theresa (aka Big Man) & Jack (aka JMC ). This was the first weekend in Hyderabad, full of alternate versions of ping pong, dancing, and climbing. Oh, yeah, and the business download from Nathan, my biz partner who was heading back to the US as I was returning to India. As the Indians say, I shifted from Delhi to Hyderabad. I'm actually in the process of doing this as I type, having re-sorted the mountains of stuff I kept in Delhi and planning my return flight down to Hyderabad (aka Hbad or HYD ). Tonight I get to hang out with the Delhi Dems Abroad crew again. I've been making use of Carolyn's flat as my Delhi office space and crashing with my friend, PC. I've had many wonderful reunions as friends have come to town from the mountains, the South, and just across the neighborhood. Harsh, who lives in Chennai, told me he was having a gift delivered to me in Delhi that was about the shape of a baseball bat. I screamed when

you know you're back in india when . . .

1. people speak in vague terms such as, "i'm with a kind of friend right now." 2. auto drivers (enough said) refuse to give you proper change, even after you stage a sit-in following the ride. 3. you get to boulder at sunset to the sounds of evening prayers during Ramadan 4. you have more new friends after one day than you can count on two hands combined. 5. a complete stranger stops his motorcycle to tell your friend that you should be in hollywood.

family stories

i've been hanging out at home a lot these days, soaking up family time before my departure to far-off shores. i got to hear a couple vignettes today from Dad . . . back in the day, a church we used to attend invited a liturgical designer to visit in advance of beginning renovations on the church building. the designer took the stage and began, "i want you to dream your wildest dreams for this church." Dad looked at Mom and said, "this is going to be one of the biggest con jobs we've seen." years ago, a youth organization with which my parents were active planned to hold a meeting to mediate between the youth leader, the local committee, and the leader's manager. Dad left a high-profile dinner that might have lead to more sales for his business to attend the mediation. he anticipated some heated discussion. the committee president got up and began speaking of peace and love. not a single harsh word was spoken. it's amazing that after 27-1/2 yea

settling in?

i still remember my surprise when i returned to CT years ago and my brother's roommate commented that i seemed to be settling into life in CA. "settling in," i exclaimed. "well, maybe chillin," he cautiously responded. "yeah, i'm chillin but definitely NOT settling in." however, tonight i sit in my all-time favorite bedroom, apparently settling in. hey, maybe it's just for the next few weeks but i'm content to settle in for as long as it lasts. all the same, let me share what sarah's version of "settling in" looks like . . . it all started with one of the infamous hawes family partees, pictured above. we know how to celebrate together, importing people from europe, asia, and the south. next, the happy hiney kids hit the rocks and somewhere along the line Big Man explained how "something can't be the same and be different." profundity abounds! after that, i was desperate for indian food, so some friends dropped i


The title of today's post comes from my current foray into the world of colon cleansing. I drank a glass of charcoal today, all in the name of improved health. My teeth felt gritty afterward and I'll ingest in the capsule form hereafter, but I needed to determine how many capsules comprised one teaspoon of activated charcoal. And that's how I ended up drinking charcoal. Now for some culture shock fun. Since returning, I have likened India to a gopher, a basketball poll, a light bulb, a window pane, and probably many other random objects I cannot presently recall. I have strange urges to embrace random Indians I see walking in the parking lot at Home Depot. I post pictures of a chat wallah in Lodi Gardens to remember Delhi. I successfully drove around the block and to a store but I still have an impulse reaction to correct my family when they begin driving on the right side of the road. For that matter, I have to picture myself sitting in my friend's car in Delh


i told a friend today that's my motto of the week -- simplify -- if it doesn't have to happen this week, don't hope for it to happen. i've got my list going, organized by location of activity and tagged by day of activity. in case you didn't hear, i'm shipping out sat early am for nyc . while such transitions send me into manic mode, "simplify" is an attempt to enjoy every last moment. on my auto ride this morning, my mind raced through the items already residing on my list then i realized that i've already recorded them so why not enjoy the sites and sounds around me, instead? i vacillate between exhaustion and extremely high energy. unfortunately, the high energy levels tend to kick in at 1am. perhaps that's the result of my body subconsciously preparing me to shift times zones. i haven't listed anything out for you recently, so here's a top (fill in the blank) list: i've been to bangalore , delhi , & hyderabad al

#1: india's like . . .

this is the first in a potential (currently undetermined) series titled "india's like . . ." during our endpoint meeting last week in corbett national park (where we observed a liger with our very own eyes!), we discussed what we were NOT looking forward to facing in the US. topping my list was the unavoidable question to be posed by many well-meaning friends: "How was India?" you, my dear readers, can help me in advance by cleverly disguising your curiousity with other words. and i am planning how to stage my own inside joke. i will begin my answer with, "india's like (then fill in the blank with the first thing that comes to mind)." when practicing with a friend, she began, "india's like a bubble bath." the onus is then on her to make the connection so the inside joke goes undetected. i KNOW, you don't have to tell me, how cruel this is in the face of genuine interest. but imagine, "india's like a gecko." this was

just some words

soon & very soon i'll upload a pic or two but for now i just want to happily type away for a few minutes. i'm listening to a cd by my friend, Short, titled "listen" in french. as always, the songs are hitting me bang on in the heart. i finally have a free day after two months of travel, closing out my fellowship, saying goodbye to some of my closest friends here, and sorting through job prospects. for those intent upon my "next steps," i have no definitive words for you. guess you'll have to be still and know Who's God like i am doing :) hmm, that's about it for now. i suppose i'm not in as talkative/write-ative a mood as i suspected.

day in, day out

Today’s Activities: 1. Setting Altimeter: current reading: 12,145 ft/3701m, 86.5F/30.1C (which decreased to 67.5F/19.7C INSIDE the office), 1013 mb/h/Pa 2. Reviewing next three weeks’ activities with Freya: includes research on local geology, first aid training, evaluation of home stays, research on health care in area, evaluation of current local handicraft marketing 3. Filling in the infamous Med List to include uses and dosage for meds fyi, I'm finally in the remotest corner of the world I have ever visited and will post pic's that will make you weep (maybe) when I return to non-hippiedom civilization where the air's smoggy and it's hotter than heck.

Natural Metaphors

With a relaxed mind I witnessed the beauty around me, nature speaking to me, God meeting me through His creation. Some revelations occur only once my mind stops its overactive compulsion to analyze, criticize, question, and make sense of everything around me. Sometimes I need to sense rather than intuit. My crew of reluctant campers sat silent during their first solo experience, a 30 minute moment repeated daily. I noticed lights come to life, suspended mid-air. One blink, then another, then three blinking simultaneously. Fireflies synchronized – could I attune to others as effortlessly as these? I took care walking through the coffee plantation for cows were wont to leave their paddies in the middle of paths. I ventured across one such paddy during the first week of camp and rediscovered it during the second week, turned completely into fertilized dirt! Amazing what happens when nature takes its course. My friends make fun of me when I climb because I approach th

short shorts and snowballs

I wish you were there because you, too, would have been overcome by infectious laughter of the uncontrollable variety. So, I was at the gym a couple days ago and I got on the elliptical machine next to a man in very short shorts running on a treadmill. I've seen this guy before, running at super-sonic speed while listening to his iPod. The worst/best of it is that he self-motivates while running. Not only does he appear as though he'll go crashing through the wall (or flying off the back of the treadmill) at any moment, but he begins cheering himself on, "Go! Push! You can do it! That's it! Keep it up!" And that was the moment at which I lost it. I started grinning; I glanced at the runner and he looked back as though nothing was amiss; I started silently giggling. I glanced to the other side and my neighboring ellipticalist was grinning back with a knowing look. I closed my eyes and pictured sobering, terrible scenes to control myself. I had flashback

memorable, indeed

What's going on? Yeah, I asked the same question when I saw a fistful of balloons with strings attached. Soon I realized this was meant to be none other than the funnest youth group game invented -- a combination of fancy footwork, loud and surprising noises, and competition. After tying a balloon to my ankle, I prepared for all-out war against my opponents, determined to pop their balloons before someone popped mine. Unfortunately, the birthday girl didn't last long and was relegated to crab walk around, stomping on the balloon's of others. But seriously, how fun are my friends that they brought such a fun game to life again? Then there was this amazing poi performance, aka fire dancing. Roshini's swinging up a royal celebration in this pic and she was followed by Xav and Kutts. Imagine a rooftop performance, accompanied by the tunes of DJ G and the warm Delhi breeze! Brian and I commented on how other-worldly the experience was. Like I said, my friends know

my love/hate relationship

No, this is not the juicy gossip session you may have hoped for, given the title of the posting. HOWEVER, let me tell you how much I love and hate my phone service, Airtel. I picked up my landline phone this evening, expecting, once again, a miscommunication with some Airtel Sales Rep on the other end who would continually say, "Hello? Good evening. Hello? Good evening," after I already responded. Instead, I was greeted by calming music and a pre-recorded message that offered me the option of ordering daily devotionals on my phone. No, I don't want daily devotional calls but the change of tone was appreciated.

the girl who cleans

Well, I'll admit this is rather a mundane picture of my Delhi kitchen. Nothing fancy going on here, just your average gas cylinder below and stove above. I'm lucky to have a fridge on the right and Bisleri bottled water on the left. As the days heat up, the ants increase in the sink and the dust piles up. And that's where today's blog takes off. It's Saturday and in every place I've ever lived, certain Saturdays have been devoted to top to bottom cleaning. I turned down two concerts and a fashion show to keep with that tradition today. And, I'll admit it, my place was in desperate need of a thorough cleaning. As I began scrubbing away (with rubber gloves since I was in for the long haul), the mali or gardener appeared to care for the potted plants (see patio photo two posts down). He commented on how I was working. Next, Sapna, my landlord's maid, appeared and inspected my work, offering suggestions for how I could improve my cleaning techniques

people who like each other

I think we were all in various stages of saying, "Hello" to the camera or we were just being silly as people who like each other are wont to do. I'm back in Delhi now after a wonderful week in the mountains with these peeps. We learned, played, camped, climbed, impersonated, laughed, danced, cooked, shivered, ate, acted, discussed, shared, and hiked together. I got to experience the pain and joy of the group process. If you know me, you know that I struggle with impatience. Once I get the point, I want to move onto the next point. Thanks to my training, I can label myself an Accommodating Learner with a bias towards action. And thanks to this week spent with amazing people of all learning styles, I can sit back and take a deep breath as I enjoy the journey. Tonight is the first time in 12 days that I have an evening to myself. I miss being surrounded by close friends, deep fellowship, and challenging conversations. A friend's e-mail today reminded me to desir

to the mountains i go

i'm in one of those "no need to use caps, happy to abbrev, might as well type in हिन्दी" moods. i've always wondered how my name in Hindi should be spelled so thanks to blogspot's new Hindi application here you go: सराह। though i think this is a more phonetic representation: सेरा। i've been working in delhi for one month and need a break so i'm heading to the mountains tomorrow night for a week of training with youreka , an educational organization whose offerings include outdoor summer camps for students. i hope to spend a couple weeks with them this summer. for the next week, i'll play games and learn about youreka's educational philosophy and approach. now, let me share about today's activities. i love the ngo with which i'm working, i love my flexible work arrangement that allows me to work from home on my own schedule, i love my neighborhood, & i love my flat. where else would i get to watch a daily parade from my doorway? my sis

to the border and back

Last weekend, Naina, Sukrat, and I traveled to the border city of Amritsar . Though we thoroughly enjoyed our chance meetings with a self-proclaimed saint, Sant, a Frenchman, and a group of proud Indian grad students, each stop was marked by sorrow. We began at Jallianwala Bagh, a garden that was the site of a 1919 massacre of Indians. British troops fired on the crowd that had gathered to commemorate the religious new year, leading to people throwing themselves into a well to escape the relentless fire of bullets. After a lunchtime intermission at the Langar Canteen at the Golden Temple where meals are offered free of cost to anyone, we continued to the Indo-Pak border crossing known as the Wagah Border. The atmosphere was festive, replete with music, dancing, and cheering. Only after my initial excitement did I realize that the crowd was also jeering at the Pakistanis across the border. Indian soldiers held back the crowd of rowdy boys quickly becoming vengeful men. We left e

Global Warming - a fable from the Himalayas

I've just added a new link to My Fav Places which is a youtube posting of a video supported by my NGO . It tells the tale of a village boy sent on a quest to solve the mystery of the ecological changes taking place across the Himalayas. This is where I am headed in the spring. Pretty amazing place! My NGO , Muse, focuses on conservation of the environment and culture in this mountain paradise and I get to be a part of it. ALSO, if you consider yourself a potential consumer of my NGO's products which currently include food products and community-based ecotourism in the Spiti Valley of the Indian Himalayas, please take 10 seconds and complete a survey . I am supporting my Indian NGO through the branding process. As part of that, we are determining what brand names appeal to a broad (Indian and international) audience of likely consumers. You can also suggest names in the comment box. I will be collecting results over the next week or so. Thanks so much for your help!

20 Questions

A friend was sharing about a recent car trip with his family. To pass the time, they played 20 Questions. His daughter had the entire family stumped . . . "Can you see it," they asked. "Sometimes," came the response. Any guesses? It was a dot on a wall. Brilliant, I say!

so much to say

First off, let me take the liberty of disclosing too much information by telling you that, ONCE AGAIN, I'm sick with diarrhea. I'm truly sick of, well, being sick over here -- the sulphur burps, frequent trips to the toilet, feeling my stomach gurgling. Do I REALLY need to use filtered water to wash my toothbrush? My WFR -certified, saver-of-lives, Indian Nepali friend was in town this week and even he encouraged me to take precautions so maybe I'll rethink my water standards. On another note, the siblings made an impromptu trip to India and we had a blast, as you can see. Tim fell through a sewage grate, Lisa was sleepy at 10AM and wide awake at 2AM, and I tried to keep to my itinerary (like that was gonna happen!), but those all became sources of much amusement after the fact. Monk's role as my right-hand monkey was eclipsed by Lisa, who's covering him up in the photo. Not that Monk's been forgotten, but it's much more gratifying to talk to people that