Monday, March 9, 2015

Countdown?

Everyone told me it would fly by.

"You think this is busy?" said to me in October "Just wait until second semester..."

Whoa. This train is rolling. Fast.

Spring break is the week after next. We'll spend it with a few other families in Thailand and while I couldn't be more excited, I can honestly say that it snuck up on me. This is a first. And after that, we have a solid two months until we say farewell to Delhi for the two hottest months it knows. 

Whew. Craziness. In the meantime, we've bided our time at birthday parties (by the looks of February, I'm feeling positive May was a spectacular time for couples in years past) and most recently, with Holi. There was a great street party at the camp behind us, but Oakes and Wren were both happier with the tameness of the on-campus faculty Holi party. Not that it was that much tamer; many still came home with dyed hair and skin and were soaked to the bone by the pishkaris (water guns) and worn out from the chase.




Wren took a bit of warming up in order to participate, but once we sold her on it, she was good for about 5 hours of pishkaris and holi colors. Oakes, on the other hand, grabbed his pishkari and never looked back. It's a beautiful way to wear your kids out for a great night's sleep.

So on Friday the 20th, we'll head to the airport for a week in Koh Samui with no other huge travel plans for a bit afterward. Evan has to go to Chennai for a conference and we've muttered about going to Bangkok for a weekend for medical check-ups, but no flight miles like we've had over the past two months. Thank god. I think I've watched every airline movie I care to for a while.

In closing, I'll leave you with a few other video shots I've taken this week. Evan and I are both trying to capture video for One Second Everyday. He's better at remembering, but I still feel like it's a great way to capture this time in our lives.


Cricket game: they are doing this every time we pass this field and were happy to be in a video, especially as he hit it way out of the park.



March rains are rare. And we've had quite a few. I love it. This is from our balcony.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rights, simply because we are human


I've spent the last week in freezing cold Winnipeg, Canada for some training for school with a colleague from school. The people there bent over backwards to make us feel welcome: bringing us gifts, ordering us lunch, arranging transportation for us, and indulging in wonderful conversations. It was truly above and beyond what I had expected and made leaving the beautiful warm springtime in Delhi a lot more bearable. 



And while it was incredibly cold there, we enjoyed Winnipeg and tried to make the most of our few days here. Our last night there, we ventured downtown and spent a few hours touring the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It was amazing on every level. The architecture was awesome and the museum collections were empowering. I wavered between feeling stronger about how far we've come and having a heavy heart about what we've done and how far we still have to go. It was quite moving. 







So as my colleague and I headed to the airport yesterday, we both never expected to feel the way we did. 

I wrote this approximately thirty minutes after the incident with a still fast-beating heart, my body temperature raised, and my fingers having a difficult time typing:

Our flight carries us from Canada, through America to Paris and then back on to India. And since the moment we walked up to the door to the US Customs room, I've watched firsthand the racial discrimination that has taken place by the TSA. 

My colleague was ahead of me and is not a US Citizen. Before walking into the room, the gentleman who had been scanning tickets at the door, took her to a separate counter in the room to scan and stamp her ticket. Mine was not stamped, and he stayed at this counter for the remaining passengers so I thought little of it. 

As we approached the baggage scan, she continued first and the lady who took her ticket at the bag scanning looked at it questionably and took it to someone else to discuss. She told her that she would have to put her through screening, then she allowed my colleague through the metal detector as she called to a lady on the other side while holding up 4 fingers. The lady pulled my colleague aside after she cleared the first metal detector with no alarms going off. My colleague then had to go through the body scan 2 times as they weren't coming out clear and then all of her bags were wiped down after going through the baggage x-ray. I, on the other hand, went right behind her in the process and had no issues. We have the same plane ticket, but different nationalities; I feel sure this is the only reason she was flagged.

My colleague was visibly upset by this, as was I. Frankly, I was speechless at first. A part of me wanted to deny it thinking They do body scans for almost everybody; I'm surprised it isn't part of the process for everyone here. and Maybe it was just a misunderstanding or maybe the US is on high-alert. All of those are simply excuses. High alert doesn't mean racial profiling. It doesn't mean automatic discrimination of certain groups. And high-alert would mean that everyone would go through the body scan. Not just my friend. And I knew for sure that this wasn't just "random." 

We made our way to customs where we decided to go through that as a couple rather than singles, which I think put us both at ease. 

We went through all of that less than an hour ago and I've spent the entire time at the gate waiting while surfing the web to file a complaint against the TSA. I'm still shaking and still upset by all of this and by the impact it had on my friend. We are both wondering simply why she was harassed so much. If you knew her, you'd know that she's a kind mother and teacher who is studious and is a true "rule-follower." You'd know that something like this (which she confessed she also experienced on the leg to the United States TO our conference as well - we were separated for 2/3 of the trip) affects her emotionally and I imagine will stain her trip and her appreciation for traveling in the US.

The irony of all of this falls on the heels of our visit to the Canadian Human Rights Museum. As we left the museum feeling empowered and hopeful and walked into a situation where her human rights were obviously not met. Thanks, TSA. The two of us spent the remainder of our travel side-by-side, looking out for each other. Thankfully, France and India were much easier.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A "December, January, and February" recap

To say it's been a while is an understatement. 
So here's the down'n'dirty recap of the past 8 or so weeks:

Days before we let out for break, I had the unexpected task of firing our ayah. She showed up to work drunk and after I let my brain stop running circles, I pulled myself together and walked her to the gate with her key and gate passes in my hand. I can honestly say that I've never thought I'd be in a position like that; it certainly wasn't pleasant and I don't want to go through it again. However, I'm proud of how I handled it quickly and was able to think on my toes with the kids in mind as my priority. I will also say that since we've let her go, it seems our home life has been different and in many ways, happier. Our all-rounder is still with us and has adapted into the role of a true all-rounder beautifully with our family. 

Needless to say, we were very ready for Christmas break. We kicked it off with a small playdate to celebrate Wren's 3rd birthday and then flew out that evening to Frankfurt, Germany. We had a lovely vacation in Germany with Evan's aunt and grandparents. It was cold and on our last morning, we finally saw a few snow flurries as we had breakfast. Wren and Oakes enjoyed themselves the entire visit, especially all of the chocolate the family and guests kept bringing them. I think Wren ate half an advent calendar with Opa one morning! We were able to visit a Christmas market, do some shopping in more western stores (groceries, Ikea, etc.), and really just enjoyed the beauty and quietness that Germany had waiting for us. I definitely feel blessed to have spent the time with Oma and Opa. Their age is showing and it just felt so nice to be able to help care for them and give back to them, after years of them giving to us.



After a week in Germany, we returned for about 2 days in Delhi with mixed emotions. I think both Evan and I mourned leaving Germany, but once our feet were on the ground, we realized how much we'd grown since the first time we landed in Delhi and how much we'd grown to enjoy our lives here in our new home. 



And after that quick stay to unpack winter coats and pack swimsuits, we were back on a plane flying to the southern tip of India to the state of Kerala. We met up with some Delhi friends there and enjoyed the beach or pool every day of our visit. Warm sunshine and vitamin D are always welcome in my life.

While away at Christmas, we heard that my Grandfather had fallen and was hospitalized, and it looked like things were bad and getting worse. So after a short week back at school, I was back on a plane flying home to attend Granddaddy's funeral. I could only stay a week as Evan had a conference to attend in the Philippines the following weekend, but the week with my family gave me much closure to a tumultuous year for our family where we had lost 3 members in a short 7 and a half months. 

Evan's visit to the Philippines coincided with the Pope's visit and while he didn't get to hang with His Holiness, he did have dinner with someone who had dinner with the Pope the night before. You know, just two degrees of separation there, no big deal...

January ended quickly and February is looking to go by just as fast. Evan is currently in Ranthambhore on our annual fifth grade field trip. He returns tomorrow and with 3 safaris under his belt, I'm hoping he had a chance to sneak a peak at the Royal Bengal Tiger or the elusive Sloth Bear. I'll wrap the month up with a week in freezing cold Canada for more Restitution training for the school. I feel certain by the time I come back, our short spring will probably be in full swing (maybe ending?) and t-shirts will be back in my wardrobe.

India Week at our school is this week as well and I am tickled to wear a sari for the first time tomorrow. I'll most definitely need to post pictures of that. In the meantime, Evan and I have a lot on our minds as we balance out the curve balls life is tossing to us these days. We could use a few positive vibes sent this way if you have any to spare.