Sunday, August 30, 2009

Musl!m Pr@yer

So, last night we had some guests over for dinner. My host mom told me that her son had invited two guys over for dinner but I didn’t think much of it. But when they got here I realized that these weren’t just any guys, these were some quasi  important Musl!m people. I still am not sure if they were imams or something though. Anywho. We sat down to dinner and ate our fig, then our bowl of fruit and started in on the appetizers(we always have some type of fried thingers that I consider appetizers) when Arif and the two guests stood up. Sitara went and got three pr@yer mats and began to lay them out in the living room/dinning room floor. She then said her and I would eat dinner on the couch(really more like a bed) since the chairs at the table would be in the way. Once we were seated the guys began their pr@yers. It was really an interesting thing to watch since they said all the pr@yers in Arabic. They would recite a prayer then bend over, stand up, and then kneel on their mats with their heads to the floor. It went on for about 15 minuets or so. When they were done they went back to the table and finished eating.
When they left Sitara told me she felt bad because she was supposed to give them each a new suit(not like a suit and tie, but as in the local dress) but she didn’t know till that afternoon that they were coming and it was not enough time to go and get a suit. She also told me that these guys had been at the mosk since R@mmadon started(last week) pr@ying and reciting the Korh@n. It was really quite interesting.

Later that evening we were looking at some of their pictures and there was a picture of a group of men without their shirts and their backs were all cut and bloody. I asked her about it and she said that there are two different sects of Musl!ms in !nd!a. One of them believe that their prophet had done this and that they need to do it also. So, they have a day dedicated to whipping their backs. At the end of the day they go to a certain area of town where they had been burning wood all day. When they get there they walk on the coals barefoot.

It is amazing to me the dedication that other r3l!g!ons have that we Chr!st!ans lack. And to think that we have the hope that they do not. Why can’t I show this same dedication? Why is it so hard for me? Why do I sometimes read my B!ble simply because I feel I should? Why can’t I always do it because I long to know my S@vior better? These are just a few of the thoughts I’ve had while learning about the family I am living with.

Passport...part three

I realized today that I never finished this ongoing entry. So, here is the rest of the story.
On July 19th Suzy and I got up early and headed to the bus station. This time we had to travel from Muss00r!e so we had an extra leg to our trip. We took a bus from here is D.D. Once there we had to go to the main ISBT(bus station) and get a bus to D3lhi. The trip there was uneventful, no bus crashes or anything.
    Once we arrived in D3lhi we found the metro and took it to C@naught Place. We had decided that since we were in D3lhi we would go to Papa John’s for dinner. Oh! It was so good!! We’ve tried Pizza Hut and Dominos here too and I think that Papa John’s is the closest to the pizza from the States.
After dinner we walked to the train station to find a hotel in the bazar there. They tried to get us to take an air conditioned room for twice the price of one without, but it really wasn’t that hot and we were only going to be there for one night. We settled in and went to sleep.
The next morning we took an auto to the embassy to pick up my new passport. We were old pros at this by now. While we waited there was an American couple who were filing for new passports. We talked to them a bit and found out that they had been getting on a train for D.D. when her purse was stolen! Both their passport and their money were in it. So, here they were. They ended up being able to get passports that day because they were going to be heading back to the States later that week.
We left there to go to the FRRO to apply for a new visa. When we got there we had to wait in a HUGE line!! We must have waited maybe an hour and a half. But there were all kinds of people who just went in. I was slightly confused, so I went up and checked it out while Suzy stayed in line. But, it was just the people from Afghan who were going in because they had a separate line. So, back to my spot I went.
When it was finally my turn I went to the reception desk gave them my new passport, the documents they gave me at the embassy, copy of my old one and visa, and the police report. The man looked at it, wrote a number on the top of a form, told me to fill it out and go to counter five.
I filled out the form, attached my passport photo and went to counter five. I was really confused at first because counter five was not clearly marked. I tried to ask a few people but they all told me different numbers. So, I stood in one line for a bit when a guy told me I was in the wrong line, this one was for the Afghans. So, to the next counter I went. It ended up being counter five. The lady there looked at my documents and form then told me I needed copies of my new passport. I asked her where I could get them and she just point to the door. I was a little bit flustered and asked her again, “Where can I get copies made?” And again she just pointed to the door while saying I need copies. Grrr.
So, Suzy and I began to weave our way though all the people to the door. On the way out we saw our friends from the embassy. We told them they would probably need to get copies also so they sent their driver to get copies while they waited in line.
We asked one of the guards outside where we could get copies and he gave us directions. Once I’d made my copies(more than I really needed for the FRRO) we went back and I got in line at counter five. She looked at my copies wrote something on one of them and told me to take it to another counter.
I went to that counter and no one was there. So, I tried to talk to the lady at the next desk but she said to wait till this person came back. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally the lady at the other desk made a phone call and then asked to see my papers. I gave them to her and she shuffled through them a bit then told me to leave them (with my new passport) in a pile on this other desk and to come back at four. I was a bit uneasy about leaving the passport I had just got that morning, but didn’t really have a choice.
Suzy and I went to lunch and came back at four. I went to the desk I had left all my documents at and asked if my visa was ready. The lady shuffled though the stack till she found my papers, looked at them and said no, it was not ready yet. She wrote something on the paper and told me to go to the reception desk. I walked over there to find on one there and a sign above that said reception was open until two. But I waited anyway. And while I waited our friends showed up. They also were told to come back at four. Finally someone came and looked at my papers. He wrote something on them and sent me to counter five.
To counter five I went. They lady looked at my papers asked me when I was planning on leaving !nd!a and I told her 180 days from May 13th. She wrote on my papers and sent back to the desk where I’d left my papers before. When I got there the lady looked at what counter five had written and said she had not completed it. I told her she was not sure when 180 days from May 13th was, so this lady thought for a bit and just picked a day in November. Ha! Then she sent me back to counter five. At counter five the women finished writing what she had started before, put a stamp in my passport with some numbers and sent me back to the other counter. This lady then proceeded to sign in some areas, and told me to take one stack of papers back to counter five. I took them, gave them to the lady and she shuffled through them and just set them aside. I waited, but she didn’t tell me anything, so finally I asked if there was anything else and she said no. So, Suzy and I headed out the door with my new passport and temporary visa!
We got some dinner and then headed back to D.D. and then to Muss00r!e. I’ll have to wait till we got to N3pal in October/November to get another ten year visa since they do not issue them in !nd!a.
And that is the end of my passport adventures. Sorry this one was so long, but if you did take the time to read it all I give you kuddo points!! And I’m sure you got a good laugh because of all the red tape.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Always moving

It seems that my whole time here in !nd!a has been spent moving every few weeks. And each time I move I think, “Ok. This is where I’ll be for at least a couple months.” But then within just a short time I am packing my things again and moving.
This time I have moved in with a Musl!m family, and just in time for Rammadon too! They are a really fun family and enjoy playing games a lot. :D They have one son who is 19, and two daughters who are 16 and 17. Sitara(the mom) speaks really good english and is able to help me with my H!nd! almost every day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hey Macarena!!

If you were in another country that loved to dance and your new friends asked you to teach them a popular American dance what would be the first one that came to your mind? For Suzy and I it was the Macarana. Twice. The first time was at the hostel. And then this afternoon we went over to Mohammed's house and the girls were asking us to teach them an American dance. “Hey! Macarana.” Aksa, his youngest at six years old caught onto it pretty darn quick. It was a lot of fun. I so enjoy going over to their house!!
Tomorrow I am going to teach Aksa how to make a chocolate cake. That should be a lot of fun! : ) She goes to an English medium school but is only in kindergarten so she doesn’t yet know a lot of English. But, I think we should be able to make a cake well enough.
Tonight I was working with Aksa on her English reading. She always get her b’s and d’s mixed up. (something I am sure each one of us did in kindergarten as well!) I tried to help her remember which was which by showing her that b’s point to the right and d’s to the left. We’ll see if she remembers tomorrow.
Anyway. I guess that’s all (for now) folks!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Knitting Community

Since Suzy and I moved into our new place I have looked out my bedroom window and watched the ladies across the alley knitting. They often go sit on each others balconies while they knit and visit with each other.  I am also a knitter(though not as good as they are. They knit sweaters without any pattern at all!!) and I have been longing to go sit and knit with them. They always seem like they are having so much fun.
Well, today I got my opportunity. Suzy and I were watching Grayson and Deakin while Stephen and Amber went out for their date night. The boys love to go up on our roof(we have a flat roof) and hang out up there. So, while Suzy cooked dinner I took the boys up there. We were looking down at all the hustle and bustle in the ally and the boys got the attention of the ladies knitting. They smiled at the boys for a bit and then motioned to come down with them! : ) We hurried downstairs and I looked at my pattern to see what squares came next in the blanket I am knitting and headed back to the alley. It was a lot of fun. The boys played with the two ladies children while I knitted away. They even called me their friend!! : ) What a great evening it was!! And now I can say that I am part of the knitting community out back. : )                 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Voices from home

Last night I called my best friend, Leslie. Wow! It was so good to hear her voice. I was so excited to actually be talking with her that I didn’t know what to say! I think I didn’t realize how much I missed her until I got to talk to her. I miss hanging out with her, goofing off(we did PLENTY of this!!) playing games, drinking coffee(sometimes WAY too much!!) being able to share what is on our hearts with each other, and so many other things. She is the one person who truly understands me, and accepts me for who I am without trying to change anything about me. I miss her so much!
I also got to talk to my little sister the other day. I’ve been able to email her and have gotten a few emails back, but there’s just something about being able to hear her voice and actually have a conversation. I miss her and the boys tons!
I think that’s one of the hardest things about being so far away

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pick of the litter

Since we moved into our house we have had several women stop by. All of them were offering their services for house cleaning and/or cooking. The first one to stop by was a lady who used to work here or something. She knocked on our door one after noon and after about five minutes of her speaking in H!nd! and our trying our best to figure out what she was saying, we finally decided she was offering to clean for us. At one point she walked into our dinning room, then into Suzy’s room and finally mine. All while talking about cleaning(I think). We finally decided to call someone to translate for us. And this is when we figured out she used to work here. We told her to come back later when Kishan(one of the guys who takes care of this place while our landlord is in Delh!) and talk to him. It was quite the adventure.
After this incident we had several more ladies stop by. One of them even had a reference letter from the person she worked for before! But because we are only two people we don’t feel that we need help to clean our house. But, if we wanted I’m sure we could have the pick of the litter!!

Our house has been invaded!!

This morning Suzy went and picked Grayson and Deakin up because we were going to watch them all day today. Stephen and Amber needed a good day to just rest and not worry about taking care of the boys since they have both been sick for the past week. We had a fun time with the boys today, but the most interesting part was when our house was invaded by five other small children.
We have a VERY small porch on our house. More like a hallway with a gate that leads directly to the main street through L@undour. (the part of Mussoor!e we live in) Grayson was picking apart some small daisy type flowers in our living room saying he was going to clean them up, but they pieces were too small for him to clean up, so I told him to go out to the porch and do it. Deakin followed him out there so I went to make sure the gate was latched. While I was out there several small (maybe K-2nd gradeish) saw the boys and stopped to say hi. One of the boys was trying to figure out how to open the gate the whole time. I wasn’t sure I really wanted them on our porch because I thought they might come into the house and I had my computer in the living room at the time. But, he finally figured out how to open the gate. I brought Deakin inside and told Gray to stay on the porch and try not to let the kids inside. Soon we saw several little face looking through the window and not long after that the door opened and the faces were peaking inside our house.
They all decided to let themselves in and proceeded to invade our house. I put my computer under the couch and we did our best to keep them in the living room. One of the girls saw me winding yarn into balls (yarn here just comes in a big loop) and showed me her backpack. It had a giant whole in the bottom and she was asking me if I could fix it for her. I got my needle and thread out and began to fix it. While I was doing this the five(it seemed like WAY more) were turning the TV on and off, fighting (and I mean fighting!!) over the remote, trying to play with Grayson’s toys (which he was not too happy about) and getting into everything! It was pretty hectic. Deakin was not sure what to think about it all. The two boys finally left and when I finished with the backpack we tried to get the girls to head home also. I was pretty sure their parents would be starting to worry about them soon. It took us awhile, but we were finally able to herd them out the door.
I’m still not sure what I think about this invasion. It was kind of fun, but also slightly stressful.
And that concludes the account of how our house was invaded.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Passport...part two

Sunday came and we decided that because of the culture that Suzy and I would go to D3lhi instead of Stephen and I. So, we spent the evening at the Clover’s playing games. We were planning on taking an overnight bus so we left the Clover’s about 10:30 so we could catch the 11:30 AC bus. When we got to the bus station there was a bus getting ready to pull out, but it wasn’t an AC so we decided to wait. Stephen came with us to the station so we found a set of benches and waited. We waited till about 12 when Stephen went and asked someone when the next AC to D3lhi was going to come. He came back to report that there wouldn’t be any more busses(AC or not) till 4:30am! So, we went back home.

Monday night we left the Clover’s at 9:30 to make sure we didn’t miss our bus. When we got to the bus station there were about a dozen busses to D3lhi sitting around! It’s amazing what the difference of an hour can make. But even with all the busses to D3lhi there weren’t any AC busses with seats left. So, we got on one of the cheap ones.

We got as comfortable as we could and tried to get some sleep. Some time around 4:30ish we went over a big bump and Suzy went flying out of her seat and landed in the isle! It was pretty crazy! Then around 5-5:30ish we crashed. Yes, you read that right. Our bus crashed. We never did figure out what happened or what we crashed into though. We hit something in front first, bounced off and hit a bus behind us, bounced again and hit whatever the first thing was. The whole front window was shattered and the bus driver’s arms had all kinds of cuts on them. Part of the back window was shattered too, but not as bad. We all just sat there for a few minutes. Then everyone started gathering their things and getting off the bus, so Suzy and I did the same. There were a couple other busses sitting just down the road and everyone was getting onto these, so again we followed. We had to stand on the bus the rest of the way, but it wasn’t much more than 30 minutes. And that was our adventure to D3lhi.

We got to the embassy ok and got everything taken care of there. My passport will be ready to be picked up in about two weeks. We got some lunch and headed back to the bus station where we got a deluxe AC bus back to D.D.

To be continued...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Passport...part one

I would like to take a moment to advise anyone who is traveling abroad to not loose your passport. Let me explain.

Last Wednesday the Clover’s, Suzy and I went to the bazaar to buy what we needed to set up house in Muss00rie. We had made a few purchases when we got to the metal works store. This was where we were going to buy the bulk of what we needed. The shop keeper began to show us some of the things on our list. We picked out two of almost everything since next month we will be living in two different flats. We were there for at least an hour trying to get him to show us the “simple” products. Finally we felt we had what we needed and he began to tally up our purchases. I went to get my wallet out of my purse when I realized that it was unzipped. I got a sinking feeling in my gut. I reached in knowing my wallet was gone. I had just gone to the bank that morning and had close to $300 in rupees along with my passport in my wallet. We looked all around the shop but it was really gone. Stolen.

We finished up at the shop and went back to the Clover’s. The man they are staying with is a retired police officer so he was able to help us with what we needed to do. He called the police station and had someone come to the house. I called my bank and had my card shut off while Suzy did some research about the embassy.

The next day Stephen and I went down to the police station to turn in the report and get it certified. We were planning on heading to D3lhi to get my passport taken care of. But when we called we found out that the embassy would be close on Friday for a three day weekend. “Oh, yeah. Saturday is the 4th of July.”  So, we postponed the trip and instead had a picnic of BBQ chicken, potato salad, fruit salad, brownies and ice cream for the 4th.

To be continued...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Home sweet home

We have found a home! It’s been awhile since I didn’t have to live out of my suitcase or live in just a small room. After a week of house hunting Suzy and I found a REALLY GREAT house!! It is a two bedroom house with a living room, kitchen, dinning room and bathroom. We also have a flat roof and are able to hang our cloths on the cloths line up there to dry. And to top it all off there are no leaks or mold! What a joy it is to unpack everything and set up house.