Thursday, October 23, 2008

A General Update

Getting my one picture of Thich Nacht Hahn onto the blog was a gargantuan chore at this internet shop, so in the name of my sanity we're going to have to be picture-less until I have a chance to blog from my own laptop at Open Hand, our wi-fi/coffee/chocolate cake connection. My apologies! There is so much to show you all, as well as just tell...

We've been quite busy this last week or so and finally seem to be getting into something approaching normal life.

Chris is up and off to Sarnath 6 days a week, taking 2 Sanskrit classes and availing himself of all the resources at the Tibetan Institute. He's run into a bunch of his former English students from the monastery in south India. Two, Chos Dak and Yeshe, came over for lunch on Sunday and played and played and played with Ben. I hav a great picture of them all playing chess, but unfortunately you'll have to use your imagination to see a monk wrestling with my 4 year old. The work seems to be going well as the Sanskrit teacher is both rigorous and lots of fun.

Our house is now about 95% fixed up, including a western toilet and hot water! There are pictures, but no words to describe how happy I am about these developments. The carpenter and electrician no longer make daily visits and there is hope that our new battery/inverter contraption will arrive today so that we can have power even during blackouts (which happen about three times in a 24hr period). Next we will turn our attention to some cosmetic improvements.

My Hindi is improving just the slightest bit, but enough to allow me to limp along with our cook and maid, and to let me go out to buy veggies and whatnot. Hindi lessons are still in the works and hopefully will start soon for me and the kids.

Caitlin and Ben seem pretty well settled. They have a solid routine down and are starting to make some good friends in the neighborhood. We hang out at home in the morning and do project-y/school-y things and then after lunch we have some sort of adventure - shopping or internetting or even the pool at our favorite hotel. Then home to meet the dud-wallah (milk man) and prep for English Class (which is actually now more like Play Time at the Americans' House, but that's for the best, I think.).

At our last visit to Open Hand Cafe I got to talking to one of the owners and he clued me in to a play group of Westerners. I connected with one of the women a few days ago and the kids and I joined in on Wednesday. There were maybe 7 women and about 20 kids from Caitlin down to a baby-in-sling. The gathering was a bit unusual as the hostess is about to have her third baby and the women were doing a sort of baby shower/prayer circle for her, but enjoyable none the less. They are all very Christian, but not missionaries, so I'm hopeful that we'll be able to agree to disagree about religion and just be friends anyhow. They were all quite welcoming to us and I finally feel like I have people to call for real help. The kids seemed to have a good time with the whole big group and I think they're looking forward to the next gathering as much as I am. I have felt like such an outsider here that it is a relief to spend time around other women who dealing with the same sorts of things I am. For a white, female, non-Hindi speaker India can be a pretty rough place at times!

Looking forward to posting pictures for you all to see! Huge thanks to everyone who is reading and commenting and emailing - all the voices from home mean so much! And if you're harboring hopes of coming to visit, go for it - 3 brave souls have already bought plane tickets...

Love to all.

1 comment:

paul said...

good thing scranton's eastern pa. otherwise i would be VERY UPSET!!