Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Is that your dog?

No, this is not in the country I'm living in now. This is back home in Florida no less.

A few guys were over at my apartment the other day and noticed that I had a picture of an alligator tail as my background on my computer (not this picture) they asked if I had taken the picture myself and wanted to see more. Not too long before I left the country, we had a 7ft gator removed from my neighbor's yard and being that is was a boring evening, we decided to watch the lady catch it and get it on film. (Yes a woman captured this prehistoric beast!) Anyway I have several shots of it snapping and going into the "deathroll" and such, and while the guys were looking through them, I figured I would have some fun. So I casually said that it was my dog in the local language. They both immediately looked right at me with the same puzzled look. That was actually what I was intending. But a few days later I figured that I hadn't told them it was my dog. Apparantly I got the words confused and said that was my umbrella. Now I know the difference between the word for dog and for umbrella. I am learning that the way to learn something is to make as many mistakes on it as possible. Now I wonder what other crazy things I have said unbeknownst to me...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I was in what is called the "dollar store" the other day. Nothing in there is a dollar, everything is 99 rupees and that's about $2.25-ish. They really should call it the "two-and-a-quarter store" But moving on to the important part. Given that a certain softdrink is bottled in Texas, only on rare occasions does it reach the ends of the earth. This just so happened to be one of those occasions. On the shelf full of sodas, I saw a familiar color of a can and I just had to look closer. My eyes had not deceived me, but before me stood, not one but TWO cans of Dr Pepper! I expected them to be R99 each and I guess I could sacrifice a little, but when I got to the counter, they said they were 3 for R99!

I am really not that obsessed over the stuff, I had just heard that people go years without seeing any form of it. So I was just blessed to have found them.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Next week is the holiday called Diwali (the "W" is not a "w" or a "v", it is a hybrid of both. Try to pronounce it, it'll be fun). The only thing I know about it is it is when a god is supposed to come to their homes, and they light candles for the god to find the way. Over the years, things have gotten bigger. The started building camp-fires in front of their houses, then bonfires in the streets, and after a while they have retorted to fireworks. Now it is THE firework holiday of the year. Even a week before, I cannot sleep at night because of the explosions outside my window.

So, not to be left out, we decided to join in. We set off some a few days prior, (so we are not celebrating that holiday, we are just having fun) and I must say that the types of fireworks you can find here, you would need a licence to acquire in the states. Observe in the picture, does this look like $30 worth of fireworks? Well... it is. And yes we still have all of our limbs and eyebrows, despite the larger tube throwing shrapnel 30 feet away.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

This is going to be a fun one...

I am learning firsthand about the lack of privacy this country has, whether I like it or not. I am in an internet cafe right now, since I am waiting to get a connection in my apartment, and this is the third attempt at posting this thought. I came a few days ago to check my email and after a few minutes, I had two guys with their chins almost resting on either shoulder reading out loud what I had received from my sister and was asking questions about everything. The first time was funny, but I came back the next day to post this and they were back for a few minutes at a time. I even added a few written pauses to say they were back, and at one point I thought about posting what I had and saying I would have to finish it later, but one of them pulled up a chair and proceded to do the same thing he was doing, but this time he did not come and go sporadically.

After a few minutes, I told him that in my culture to read someone else's mail is extremely rude and his only response was "There are many people who come to this place and I think many of them will read your emails." I continued to argue with him for a little bit, but I don't think he understood. After I went home, I bypassed the authority of my landlord, bulding supervisor, and president of the something-or-other association and applied for a connection. Hopefully it will come in soon.

Oh, and another thing, I was asked at least three times this week why I had spots on my arms, so I had to explain what freckles were, partially in the local language :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Made it to my city

[This is a view from my apartment balcony at night. Note the split in the headlight-trail, they are dodging a cow in the road.]

Ok so it's been a while since my last post, but that's not my fault... ok so it is my fault. I haven't gotten internet in my apartment yet so I am relying on a cafe whose ceiling is not tall enough for me to stand up in and none of the computers have a usb drive so I can't upload any pictures yet.

On to the important stuff. I made it into my city a few weeks ago, I have an apartment with a nice balcony and I just got a language tutor the other day. The time is spent at two extremes, some days I have nothing to do and others, I can't get it all done. I've been on one trip to a neighboring city to see what a volunteer group was doing and to get some contacts to do some work in the villages surrounding the city. I'm excited about what is going on here and I should have more pictures soon.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Full Weekend

(For the full effect, please read out loud as fast as possible and follow the instructional hints)

This weekend I went on a 18k hike in the Himalayan foothills, passed through a village that spoke a language I had never heard of before, was attacked by hoards of bloodsucking leeches, got a haircut in a metal box hanging over a cliff by a disgruntled man with a straight-razor while wearing an apron covered in small splotches of blood, trekked to a Tibetan Budhist temple, saw a cardboard cutout of the Dhali Lhama, was asked by some upperclass kids locals if I knew where they could find some ganja, passed another man so stoned he could hardly stand, accosted by a group of angry Sikhs, (take a deep breath) got ahold of some bad milk, waited in line for two hours to pay my phone bill and didn't even get it taken care of, took a jeep with 14 people and 9 1-gallon bottles of buffalo milk to a temple of a decaptated goddess, hitched a ride with some PhD students on vacation in a borrowed car the size of a skateboard, saw a gang war between two groups of monkey, fell off a parked scooter and was almost run-over by my language teacher, Habib.

All in all, I had a good time, but I was a little busy.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Language Breakthrough

For the last few weeks, I have been struggling through the language learning process, but today in praying for my lunch, I used "danyavad" instead of thank you. This may not really mean much but I found it to be rather humorous :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Unwanted Guests

Almost forgot, I did have a few unwanted visitors in my room. the picture helps explain it, but there were three of them within two days of each other. So I moved.

The Rotary Club!

Many schools around the world have a plethora of extracurricular activities to choose from. I did find one that sounded very interesting. From what I gathered from the translation, it is called something similar to the "Rotary Club" I'm not sure exactly what it entails, but I'll keep you posted.

On a lighter note, my language tutor has a habbit of laughing at me. I'm not sure if it is my pronunciation or the flies landing on my face or what, but I did tell her a funny explanation of what one of the phrases in Hindi means in English: it's pronounced "yeh-tee" and it is the female past-tense. So I told her that in English, that describes a very large, furry animal that walks like a man, we call it either Bigfoot or in these parts, the Abominable Snowman. So if she sees another large furry man she said she would call him a yeti.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Train Ticket...Almost

Much to my dismay, I discovered I am not in the neighboring state of Illinois or even anywhere near Indianapolis, but in fact I am on the other side of the world... I was wondering why no one spoke english.

Since I arrived here, I did get the opportunity to try to buy a train ticket. I simply walked down to the ticket office and and after waiting in line, I asked for a ticket to another town. The man behind the desk asked for my form, of which I had none. So another man behind the desk handed me a small pink paper to fill out. I got back in line and waited for a while and shorly there after a very prideful man of about fifty politely squeezes past me in line and hands the man at the desk his form. Within moments the power goes out and the computer to process the tickets as well. We continued to wait for the following two hours before the office closed. During that time another few men came in and tried to jump to the front of the line, but the man who recently decided to be in the front of the line, in another language, seemed to say "you will have to wait. First there is me then him," pointing at me, "then the rest of these people."

This was my first experience getting a ticket here. Normally I believe I would have been sorely vexed, however, I was overcome with a spiteful humor. I did not get my ticket... but neither did the man in front of me :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Language School

As of now, I'm in a language school in a small town nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. I sat with a family one evening who were amused that my hometown is about 80 ft above sea level and now i'm at close to 8000ft. I have found a few believers and even a church or two that I am going to visit.

And not to forget, I did get a monkey in my room, however I was not there to see it :( The (sho-kee-dor)- gate keeper, chased it out, but not before he left a little present.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Made It!

Aha! I made it to the country of my destination. I'll be in language school for the next month and I should be in the city where I will reside in for the next few years sometime in September.

Things are going wonderfully here, I have picked up a few phrases in the local language and am getting pretty good at bargaining for a rickshaw :) And best of all, I already have a list of names that I should share with and I haven't gotten to the city where they live yet.

I would post some pictures, but I don't have any yet.

Until next time...

Friday, July 07, 2006

In just under a month, I'll be on a plane to the southern part of the continent of Asia! Right now I am lerning about the culture and getting all the arrangements taken care of before I go. I'll get keep any news posted when it comes up.