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.

Sweet!

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.

Sigh.

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...








































cardinals.

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...


















Target.

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?" 

"Buddha." 

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.

Distractions. 

“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