Friday, December 16, 2011

Warming My Hands and Heart

Soon these...

will be covered by these...

which will be wrapped around these...

which will warm this.

Leaving for home in 3 hours and 8 minutes.  Can ya tell I'm excited?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On the 12th Day of Christmas...Wait, I wanna switch those gifts!

Yeah I know I'm starting backwards but I got this card in the mail from my mom and I want to switch the order.
I wanna trade Day 1 for Day 12.  I'd like to have the 12th day be today so I can be on one of those planes-a-landing at O'Hare. Guess I'm gonna have to be patient just like everyone else.  2 more sleeps in India before I leave for good ole Chicago.  

Can't wait!

By the way, do you  Chicago friends, do you think there's anything missing from this version of the song?  I've got a few ideas...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Appreciating India

There have been a lot of things today to remind me how much I appreciate India.  Mostly the wonderful people who are in my life.  And a lot of these things would only happen here.  

The time screen time starts now.  15 minutes till my brain says screen time is over and I want to capture these moments before I take my new medicine and loose them.

Only on a random Monday in India do you:
  • realize you need to go home sick due to all of the dizziness and fuzziness, stop by the Business Center and have a ride home in less than 2 minutes,
  • have a driver take you door-to-door through the mid-day school traffic (rickshaws full of children),
  • arrive home to your apartment to find 7 pairs of shoes outside your door,
  • open your apartment door to find those 7 men repairing your 3 air conditioners that you asked to be serviced less than 24 hours before,
  • sit on a couch surrounded by 7 men who are servicing your air conditioners since the bathroom's the only empty room in the house,
  • have your housekeeper arrive while the men are working and tell them they need to hurry up so you can rest,
  • have your sheets changed while you make one phone call to a dr,
  • have 7 men finish their work quickly because your housekeeper politely asked them to hurry up,
  • have a healthy lunch (chicken, broccoli with garlic, rice and salad) prepared while you sleep,
  • have a light knock to tell you your yummy lunch is ready,
  • sleep all afternoon and wake in time to have your housekeeper give you final tips before leaving for the night,
  • have a doctor who makes house calls arrive within the time frame promised,
  • have the house doctor diagnose you with sinusitis, write prescriptions and help you feel a bit at ease for $28.39 and in 30 minutes,
  • walk to the pharmacy and pay $11.90 for 4 medicines including antibiotics.
I appreciate all of the help I had today from the people so much.  Thank you.  Also appreciating my ASB friends who sent me home, gave me hugs, called or texted to check on me and share the dr's number so I can get healthy for my big trip home on Friday.  The help's appreciated by my heart and my head which will hopefully feel better very soon.

Time's up!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Letter to the Church Across the Way

Dear Church Across the Street from my Apartment,

I know that this weekend you are having a special festival.  I saw the signs and have heard your music and songs like I was actually in the audience for the past 4 days.  Unfortunately those have coincided with me having the flu.  I'm all for celebrations and singing.  I think it's great.

It's just that today, day four of your celebration, I'm particularly noise sensitive.  I haven't complained for the past 3 nights.  It's just that the ear plugs aren't helping.  And I wanna feel better.  Could you turn it down just a little for the next 4 hours?  Just a couple of cranks.  That's all.  Still have your fun and song but a little quieter.

I'd be really grateful.

The Blonde Girl Across the Street with the Bad Headache who's Sick of Being Sick

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How you Doin' Mr. Motorcycle Guy?

It's been a long week.  A good week but a long week.

A wonderful, inspiring, kind writing consultant named Matt Glover has been working with the elementary teachers and I've gotten to tag along.  I'm growing as a conferrer.

A cold.  An upset stomach.  Grossness hit.

Every moment of each day's been busy.  Like warp speed from 7:30 - 5:30.

This isn't unique for anyone.  Really not at all. We've all had weeks like this.

Today I was feeling exhausted.  That point where you just wanna cry.

My shoulders were hunched (more than usual), my hair I knew had to be a fright and I think due to a fever I had most of the day I had that lovely pasty, pale glow.

I was waiting on the side of the road at 6:15.  It's hard to catch a rickshaw at that time of day.  A couple of ricks had stopped but said no to my destination.  Again, not atypical.

I was giving up hope.  Thinking I'd have to walk home and the day's weight would be even heavier.  The plan was to give it 5 more minutes and then I'd walk.

Then along rode a cute guy on his motorcycle.  He smiled and gave me the Joey Tribbiani, "how you doin'?" head nod.  You know the one.

I smile and shook my head. Was he serious?  I turned around to catch a second glimpse.  He did too.  I laughed.

Thanks Mr. Motorcycle Guy for the nod.  It was just what I needed and made all of the grossness, tiredness, and sickness melt away for a few minutes.    Well, that along with the rickshaw who pulled up right after you drove away and who finally brought me home.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just a Spoonful of Ginger...

makes my cold fade away (for a bit).

I finally caught the ASB cold.  It's been floating around school for a few weeks so I knew eventually I'd take my turn.  Yesterday morning, I woke up and my head felt fuzzy. I thought I'd had one too many egg nogs the evening before at the Christmas Tree Lighting.

Then I thought maybe it was my allergies. I'm stretching out my allergy medication by taking it every other day until I get home. The medication I used has a substance that's banned in India so I can't get it here.

Just before leaving for the day I realized the fuzziness wasn't nog or allergies.  It was actually a head cold.

I left a note today for my housekeeper, the wonderful Espse.  She makes delicious chicken,veggie and rice soup and ginger tea that I thought could help push away this cold.

Not only did I get my tea and soup, you'll see I also had a little friendly advice.
Don't worry about me following Espe's advice.  I drank my ginger tea very hot hot along with some Nyquil. The tea was super gingery.  There actually were huge chunks of ginger in the bottom of the soup pot.

And definitely don't worry about me eating yogurt for breakfast.   Not sure how that will help but I'll try anything to get better quick.  Here's to hoping I feel better soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Last evening, ASB had it's annual Christmas tree lighting sponsored with the Grand Hyatt.  It was spectacular.
Christmas tree lit by the moon.  
The elementary choirs sang carols. Santa visited Mumbai, India.  
Children and adults stuffed their faces.  

Eggnog, delicious cheeses, honey ham, turkey, dumplings, duck and an entire dessert bar.  Including...
Didn't try the Christmas pudding but I definitely did think of Gram.

"It's beginning to look at lot like Christmas.  Everywhere I go."  Even in India where we lit a tree in 85 degree temperatures.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reese's Trees

Reese's Trees (to the tune of Jingle Bells)

"Reese's trees. 

Reese's trees. 

Reese's all the way. 

How I love some Reese's trees when my mom sent them 

the Minnie mail way." 

Thanks Mom for the trees, 

the cute readers tea towel (so perfect for me) and 

my annual advent calendar.  

You MADE my day.  

Especially looking forward to opening Day 16 because that's when I leave for home to see you.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mashed Potato Memories

Disclaimer.  Many American bloggers and Facebook posts today will be dedicated to giving thanks.  In fact for weeks it's been this way.  And yes, I'm finally part of the mass.  Here's my token Turkey Day post. Hope I've given it a little different mash.  Maybe.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Today I leave  for a long weekend in Bangkok, Thailand.  And while temps in the 90s and sitting poolside with a drink in hand is exactly what I need right now, I am a bit nostalgic for Thanksgivings past.    There's no Thanksgiving ghost or Great Turkey on a Thanksgiving Peanuts episode but I remembering the wonderful people and the delicious food we enjoyed together.

Turkey Day 2010 - Andrea and I went to Buenos Aires for 5 days.  4 of them we were sick with fevers and and sweats and headaches which kept us apartment bound.  Eventually our sickness souvenirs turned into bronchitis and respiratory infections.  Fun.  No mashed potatoes but we did have Starbucks, gelato and cough syrup.

Turkey Day 2009 - Sam and I went to Rio.  Stayed in the honeymoon hostel "suite."  Sprained my ankle on a favela tour while going down some stairs.  The day after, I hobbled to the beach on a cloudy morning and was hit on by a hot, sunga-clad Iranian who I thought was trying to steal my bag.  Silly American girl being overly cautious.  No mashed potatoes but we did have Starbucks, caipirinhas and duck.

Sidenote:  Illness and injuries seem to be an overseas theme.  May need to wear protective gear and a mask in Thailand.

Turkey Day 2008 - My mom, dad, the Goo and I went to our cousins', Debbie and Jay's, in Bloomington, IL.  The Goo and I were asked to bring a dish to pass since we'd officially become grown-ups.  We brought mashed potatoes that somehow we managed to spray all over the wall when the mixer was set a little too high.  We didn't serve the potatoes that actually hit the wall at dinner (most stayed in the pot) but we did get to spend time with greats and cousins and second cousins and third cousins.  This Turkey Day tradition, well the family part, was how I've spent most of my adult Thanksgivings.  Obviously, we had mashed potatoes.

Turkey Days (and the surrounding vacation days)of old include:

  • Wednesday nights at Eduardo's for annual DHS reunions, 
  • Marshall Fields on Black Friday to have breakfast at the Walnut room, find special X-mas ornaments and check out Fields' X-mas windows, 
  • Oyster dressing,
  • Playing pinball,
  • Listening to family and personal histories in Lincoln, IL,
  • Sleeping over at Gram's and
  • Wearing Mom designed paper and string pilgrim hats that made me feel so cool with my plain blue dress, knee socks and Buster Browns.
Thanks to family and friends far and near.  Whether we talk every week or once a year, especially lately, I've been appreciating all of you.  Thanks for making a mash of memories with and for me.


On Saturday, during our shopping spree, we made a final stop on the way home.

The Parsi Dairy.

Rick and Kelli suggested a few things to try:  cream, yogurt and a a pastry (of course I can't recall the name).

My favorite?  The yogurt or curd.  It comes in a clay pot.  It's a rough clay pot that's not even on the bottom so it likes to roll around on the countertop.

It might not look like yumminess but oh you don't know what you're missing.
Breakfast this week's been lovely.  Each morning I open the fridge and put my fruit salad into a bowl.  Then I cut up a few bananas (remember they're small here) and top it with yogurt.  Stir and sigh.  Along with coffee and Parsi cream.

Rick and Kelli also told me their housekeeper's able to make Parsi yogurt now for them.  Here's to hoping Espe can continue the sweetness of my mornings.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sew Many Possibilities

Late Sunday morning, I went to Thakhars', a fabric store, in Bandra with Pallavi and Katie.

Pallavi's the perfect guide at Thakars'.  She'll pull a bolt of fabric and I'll think, "Oh, that's not  me at all," but when the bolt is opened, it's just beautiful.  It's almost dangerous to go with her.  When you leave your apartment, you'll have one or two things in mind you want to make.  Then you get to Thakhars' and Pallavi uses her amazing eye, opens another bolt and you think, "I've got to have that too!"

After shopping, we always go onto Pallavi's flat to pull out our fabric finds and talk about what possibilities they hold. Lots!
Shirts for me and gifts for others.  Santa's having fun with all of the beautiful fabrics here.

Brazil Brain?

One week, three times. What's going on?

1.   Now those of you who knew me in Brazil, know that I can understand Portuguese but I don't like to speak it. I shy away from it and force those around me to answer waiter's questions, make phone calls and accompany me into doctors' offices.  Last week I was in a three-day training.  There were 15 colleagues altogether.  One of them, Corey, who lived in Sao Paulo for several years, speaks Portuguese. What's funny though is during last week's training, each time Corey spoke, my answer came in Portuguese.  Now Corey's a friend so I do feel comfortable around him but we've never or barely spoken in Portuguese, although he tries. Weird.

2.  Friday night, there was a newbie dinner at the Elementary Principal's apartment.  The evening started with me and ASB's Superintendent, Craig, who also worked with me in Brazil, catching up on our EAB colleagues. I knew a bit more than he did about some and he knew a bit more about others but it was nice to talk with someone who knows my Brazilian family and friends.  Sigh.

3.  Again on Friday night, I was talking with Abby, who lived in Brazil, prior to India as well.  She and her family lived in Sao Paulo.  We reminisced about clubs and churrasco and caipiroskas.  Parks and swimming.  Pedicures and blowouts.  Fashion and how we so appreciate India's fashion more.


Why's Brazil on my brain?  Why am I craving the food?  Why am I thinking in Portuguese when I'm surrounded by Hindi, Marathi and English?  

I don't have a good answer.  

It's nice to have people here who also have Brazil brain.  Hearing Paul (Abby's husband) and Abby and Corey speak in Portuguese made me smile. Talking with Craig about our colleagues and friends fills me up because he knows how amazing they are.  

So beijios and abracos to Brazil and my dear friends who are there or who've moved to a new home.  You are definitely on my mind and it's nice to have you close this weekend.  Tchau!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Exactly one month till I trade...

Sorry for the crazy formatting.  I tried for 45 minutes to fix this, (including HTML code for the first time,and gave up.  
You get what you get and don't throw a fit!

Cows for...


The honks and bumps in ricks for...

the sounds of scraping snow plows.

My quiet apartment for...

the Goo's laugh.  
Cupcakes would be nice too.  Hint, hint!

Fresh lime sodas for...

Starbucks' white peppermint mochas.

Street stall shopping for...


I'm also looking forward to...

Big sisters ONLY picnics.

Hanging out with the girls.

 Maureen and Bernie 
No surprise this time Mom!

BT + a little one but - a big one.
We really need a new photo ladies.

G.A.D. and G.U.E.
Claudette's looking forward to seeing what's in her stocking this year.

This week at lunch, a friend asked what I was most looking forward about going home for the holidays.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Celebrity Sighting?

What celebrity you ask?  Sorry this time no Sachin.  The next obvious next choice is me of course.  Well, in the eyes of a three-year-old.

Last evening, Fiona and Toby, (Middle School Principal and High School English teacher), had a Friday Night Happy Hour at their apartment.  They have a beautiful and amazing home that's just about two blocks from where I live.  The drinks and food and company were wonderful.

Fiona and Toby have two daughters.  Cassidy is three and Maive is eight.

I was sitting and chatting with Jodi, the Elementary Principal's wife, when I heard Cassidy, say, "Momma, Momma, come here."

Then out of the corner of my eye I saw Cassidy lead Fiona by the hand around the cream and mod floral chair I was sitting in.

Cassidy said, "Momma, this is Miss Megan."

I smiled and said, "Oh it's nice to meet you Fiona."

Fiona replied, "You as well."  We both smiled at each other knowing that for her, rather than saying we already knew each other, her special "introduction" was more important.

"I'm lucky enough to visit Cassidy's classroom once a week to read a story to her class so I'm getting to know Cassidy pretty well."

Cassidy smiled and nodded.

It's easy to forget how special it feels when you spot one of your teachers outside school.  It just catches you by complete surprise.  Especially when the spotting happens in your own home.

I'm looking forward to this week's ECE3 (that's Early Childhood Age 3) read aloud to learn which part of my visit she shares with her class.  Will it be:

  • how we sat on the balcony and we counted pans of dirt and bricks being carried on the tops of mens' heads and then dumped into a large dump truck or 
  • how we watched Backpack eat funny things like swimsuits and skiis (on Dora the Explorer of course) or
  • will it be simple and just about how I ate dinner at her house? 

After a busy, wonderful, stressful, jam-packed week, it's nice to know that I'm spending time where it counts and that time is making a difference where I want it to.  With who's most important. ASB students like Cassidy.  That's the type of celebrity I wanna be.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cardinal Directions in India: North, Sachin, East, West

Today's conversation with one our wonderful ASB drivers:

"Can you drop me on Perry Cross Road?"
"Where madam?"

"Perry Cross?"
No reply.

"I want to go to Sachin's house."
"Oh yes.  I know right it madam."

Thank you Sachin Tendulkar for being an Indian hero and thus helping me to my final destination.

For those who haven't heard of Sachin, shame on you.  He's like a God.  A cricket god.
Everyone knows Sachin.

Each time I go to Pallavi's to pick-up some clothes, I pass his "humble" abode.

And yes, I stop and am one of the gawkers outside his huge new home.

Usually I'm lucky enough to see some car pull in or out but no sightings yet.  The rickshaw drivers, young boys headed to the mosque and I all hope to catch a glimpse.

For Americans, it'd be like spotting Michael Jordan.

For Brits, it'd be like Beckham.

For Kiwis, it'd be like Ritchie McCaw.

Now I'm probably confusing my American friends more.   Whatever your nationality, just make sure if you come to Mumbai, you've got your directions straight.

Watching Sunrise with Buddha

iPhone marimba alarm at 5:40.

Coffee arrived at 5:45.

Dressed in long sleeves and caffeinated by 6:15.

Cool sand snuck into our Keen sandals as we walked to meet our rides.

"What's his name?" 


Smiling.  Of course it would be.

I stepped on the stool and swung my leg over his hump.

The saddle wasn’t so bad.

“Buddha old.”

Yes, I could tell. 

He took his time. 

He walked a little too close to the edge of the hills.  Silently I thought, “Please don’t take me with you Buddha if you’re ready to move on.”
The camel guide’s striped turban turned and guided him once again back on the trail.

The top of the dunes.

As the sky turned pink, the other camels and riders looked East. 

Buddha looked around.    Pausing longer at the streaks of orange and blinding yellow sun.

His eyelashes were so long.  His harnesses bright with color and shells.


“Watch the sun.”  

“Stay in the moment.”  

“You’re like 60 miles from Pakistan and this is your chance to meditate here.  Your camel’s named Buddha for Christ’s sake.   Use the sun to help you focus,” my voice said.

Buddha looked around again.  What was he looking for?  Food?  Water?

And then I realized what was distracting him from the sunrise.   

Poo.  He shat.

Can’t blame him for that being a little distracting and if he’s old he may not quite function the way he once used to especially with some girl riding on his back.

Suddenly he was more calm and turned his head back toward the sun.

My sunrise lesson from Buddha. 
Sometimes sh@# can distract you from some of the most beautiful things around you.  Once you realize that it’s just sh@# and nothing else, you can get back to appreciating the beauty again.

Buddha and sunrise

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Desert Camp"ish"

Diwali break started with our flight to Jodhpur.  After arriving, Tiffany, Gretchen and I were picked up by a driver who'd take us out to Manwar Resort where we stayed for three days.

Along the way to the resort, we saw a huge herd of camels.  Our driver asked if we wanted him to pull over.  There was no need to even ask the question.

I'm sure to the shepherds and locals, we looked crazy.  Kinda like it would look as if somebody stopped to take photos of a herd of cows or sheep but to us, it was just beautiful.

Then we drove onto our resort.  We stayed the first night at the resort where we enjoyed some drinks and entertainment.  The entertainment consisted of several musicians and singers and dancers.  At one point we were asked to dance.  Tiffany and I reluctantly joined them.  We danced 'round and joined in until I was told not to spin or jump because I was too big.  That was my cue to go back to finish my drink.  Gotta love honesty.

The next morning we got up early to go on a jeep safari with our guide for the week named Jagswant.  He was really happy we were teachers and we talked a lot about the opportunities education provides for people.  He's a strong believer in education being the means to changing lives and prioritizes school for his children.  This connection actually helped us out throughout our stay.

After our jeep safari, we went back to the resort and enjoyed the pool.  It was nice to lay in the sun, work on a little tan and then cool off in the chilly pool.  Truly luxury.  Late that afternoon, we packed up all of our things and rode our in another larger jeep into the Thar Desert.

We spent the second night in our luxury tent.  Actually not just one tent, two.  Jagswant had arranged for us to have two tents.  Lucky girls!

The tent reminded me of what it might have been like to been in a caravan traveling 'cross desert.  The quiet.  The white.  The edges cut like like jack-o-lantern teeth.   But then there were obvious differences like the flush toilet, that quickly reminded me that I was in a different time and place and just happy to be where I was.

We watched the sunset, enjoyed some music and ate dinner under the stars. We sipped gin and tonics and margaritas.  We snacked on paneer and peanuts and chicken tikka.  The entertainment was the same as the previous night.  Same group, same songs but this time since there was a larger group of mostly French tourists who were part of a larger tour group, we weren't obligated to dance and could just enjoy the night's beauty and each other's company.  Whew.  I didn't have to be a careful dancer two nights in a row.

After dinner, we walked back from to tent #2.  I had slid off my Havianas and was in my bare feet.  The cool sand felt wonderful.  The cool air temperature, the peace and quick, the darkness.   Maybe it was the drinks but it seemed that there were so many stars that you could see galaxies.  Seeing the night sky period is a luxury when you live in Mumbai.

Luxury camping.  Hotel in the desert.  Desert camp"ish."  Whatever you wanna call it, it was perfect.  

Gift Giving at Diwali

This may be a somewhat controversial post.  It's not that I'm trying to cause any trouble here, it's trying to understand Indian culture more and in particular giving gifts at Diwali.  

I'd heard on the bus and at school that during Diwali it's common to give the people who help you:  apartment building guards, garbage men and women, drivers, etc a Diwali gift.  There are about eight girls, some of whom ride my bus, who all live in the same building.  One morning ride, they chatted about how much they should give for their Diwali gifts so that each tenant would give the same amount from their building.  I get that.

I do live in a building with other ASB employees but the amount I heard they were giving, was I felt too much.  I've visited my friends' apartment buildings where guards open doors, carry items, sign you in and are awake at all times.  My building doesn't have or do those things.  It's not the cleanest.  My guards, if they are in the front of the building are usually asleep; be it 10 a.m., 2 p.m. or 10 p.m. and don't help me when I return from shopping with my arms full.

I believe that if people are helpful, then I'm more than happy to give extra.  Whether they be a rickshaw driver, delivery guy, guard, whomever, it's appreciated and I'll tip them for that extra service.

With the lack of service in my building, I decided to talk with my housekeeper Espe to get her advice as she's worked in the building a while and has worked for expats.  We started at one amount and then decided on another due to the performance.  She's honest and I asked her, "Am I being fair?"  She said I was so I felt confident with my decision.

Before I left for Diwali, I didn't connect with the building employees.  They weren't around for whatever reason.  So I anticipated having to connect with them when I returned after my trip. Yesterday they stopped by.

First the building cleaner stopped by.  She smiled and said, "Happy Diwali."  I knew this was my cue to give her my Diwali gift.  I gave the amount that we'd decided on.  She smiled and then gestured upstairs, toward my ASB colleagues apartments, opened and closed her hand to demonstrate she wanted more and that they had given her more.  I smiled and said, "Happy Diwali" again and waited.  She smiled and then walked away.

About two hours later, my building guard stopped by.  At this time I didn't have change so I told him I'd give him his gift later.  Again, I wanted to be fair.

Now here's where my background kicks in.  Being American, unless you're a child under the age of five, you just don't ask flat out for gifts.  I don't show up on my birthday to my family or friends and say, "It's my birthday," and expect gifts.  I've also lived in two other countries where I did give gifts at Christmas but again, they weren't asked for at all. So people showing up to my door at all is just different for me but I understand it's part of the culture so I wasn't put out by it.

I also haven't celebrated Diwali before.  I haven't lived in India, so I knew it'd be different here.  I wonder now if the building employees think that I'm a cheapskate.  Really it's not about that. I talked with ALOT of colleagues about how  much they were giving and it varies a lot depending on service and the number of employees in the building.  I want to be fair and give what I think it right.

I'm not sure what others have experienced in India or elsewhere but this is all new and I'm trying to take the new culture I'm living in, mix it with what I grew up learning and toss in my other experiences.  The blend isn't quite right but it's one I thought others, whether you live in Mumbai or across the globe, might learn a little from too.

Happy New Year!

Diwali Post #2.  Again, sorry about the timing being off.  This post is why I need to find a blogging host who plays nicely with my Ipad because I bring that when I travel.  Open to suggestions...

Pop.  Bang.  Honk.  Woosh.  

Honk.  Pop.  Bang.

Warmth.  Flames.  Darkness. Voices.  Light.

Pop. Honk.  Peace.  

Happy Diwali!

In the front garden of my hotel in Jodhpur, I'm celebrating Diwali. The Festival of Lights, the Hindu, Sikh and Jain New Year. A celebration of good over evil. A time for new beginnings and starting fresh. Gifts are exchanged. New saris are worn. Blessings are given.

The smell of the green grass is at my feet.  The bubbling fountain just steps away.  The creak of the swing is soothing.  

Three quick pops catch my attention.  

Despite all of the noise, this festival really has brought peace back into my life and reminded me of new beginnings.  I'm feeling renewed and centered and calm.  It feels quieter all around me or maybe it just seems that way being away from daily life.  
View photo.JPG in slide show
There are diyas round my door and at the top of the hotel.  On the floors are rangoli.  The marigold garlands hang between the hotel pillars.  The prayers are starting.  I hear them.  Peace seems to be holding us all tightly in her arms.  

Sparkle.  Glow.  Light.  The youngest guests and owners are twirling sparklers.  

The family that owns the hotel has invited all of the guests to join in their Diwali celebration.  

Sparklers.  Crackers.  Small fireworks.  Sweets and other treats.

Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali.  Whether it's something you celebrate or not, wishing you lots of peace and light and happiness in the new year or just to you right now.