Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Apartment Tour - Part 1

With less than 11 days until we fly out, seems like it's a good time to finally post my "apartment tour" I promised... oh, I don't know... 5 months ago. 

So a bit of background.
We live on campus and it turns out campus is a rather beautiful place, especially in the Spring. Campus housing takes up a small but significant footprint of the acreage and there are three main buildings with a playground/grilling area for staff to use. We also have access to the facilities on the main school grounds. The downside to campus life is that there isn't much privacy. If you are grilling out or out playing, chances are at least one other family has a similar idea. Not always a bad thing, but it's one of those things to be considered. We feel incredibly blessed as our apartment is quite out-of-reach. We are nearly ground floor and have a semi-private area of shaded grass off our balcony. Granted many others can use this as well, but few do and we've enjoyed quite a few Sunday mornings out there with just us and the kids. 

Our building entrance is just a small half-flight of stairs (you can see it in this post, along with other photos of our apartment on our first night in India). This post will only show the entrance and main living areas of the house (basically two rooms with a kitchen off of the dining area). So here are the photos with explanations in the captions. At the end I'll post a YouTube video of the same space for those who are a bit spatially impaired or want to see the amateur skills.


From the vantage point of the master bedroom hallway - front door is on the left of the picture, living room ahead, and kitchen just to the right, out of camera view.
Same vantage point as the photo above, but you see the kitchen and the dining area. 

Awful lighting, but a panoramic of our living room. Access to the balcony is to the right.

Much more civilized lighting. View of the living room.

Vantage point from the rock wall corner of the living room. Looking towards the dining room/entrance.

Panoramic of the kitchen. It's not clean as Evan was cooking bacon. Bacon. Any mess is acceptable when bacon is involved.

Dining area. Kitchen is to the left and master bedroom hall is on the right/ahead in the photo. Vantage point from the front door.

Now for the YouTube link of the amazing video:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dharamsala


Long weekend in early May = a chance to get out and about in India. We spent the first weekend of the month with another family in Dharamsala, north of Delhi with the plans to take in some cooler air and mountains amidst the 108 degree temperatures we were feeling here.

Dharamsala was just what we needed, too. From flying with the BJP President, Amit Shah, to visiting the official residence of the Dalai Lama to breathing in the refreshing air, we most definitely felt the sense of refreshment on this trip. 

We stayed at an amazing place, Glenmoor Cottages, which was about 10 minutes away from McLeod Ganj and set in the mountains. It gave us all a sense of privacy and Ev and I have noted that we would be more than happy to stay here on a subsequent visit. Each family had a cottage to themselves and I certainly enjoyed waking and listening to the birds in the mornings and observing the bright blue skyline (it honestly looked photoshopped). The owners were incredibly pleasant and offered wonderful conversation after breakfast each morning, and the nights were cool (cold, in fact) and a nice change from the 80 degree nights we were used to. 



We were able to take a few walks into McLeod Ganj. Of course, we visited the Tsuglagkhang Complex, where the Dalai Lama resides. We also did a bit of shopping on the street, ate some spicy Tibetan foods, and explored quite a bit.




The location of the cottages also allowed us the opportunity to take a very nice day hike with the kids up the mountain. Oakes was a trooper and hiked the entire 6 miles without whining while the little girls all rode on backs to save the parents from walking at a snails pace. We passed many monks as there was a temple at the top of the mountain and I'm not sure if they were happier with their souvenir photos of monks and blond girls or if we were.




Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Break Review




Oh wow. Koh Samui was amazing. The house was spectacular, the island was fun, and we had a great time with the families we traveled with. We spent much of our time at the home we rented but also had a few fun day trips out: beach, quad-biking to a waterfall, shopping, and football golf. It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to that island on Saturday. So here's a photo heavy post of our adventures this past week...


View from our bedroom balcony

Half of the kids are out cold before dinner...

Wren & Oakes both got their nails painted.


Poolside Thai massages for the Daddies. No worries, the Mommies got them as well.
The next few are photos of our day spent Quad-Biking. We rode to the highest point on Samui, had a beer, enjoyed the view, saw a few Buddha statues, then continued down the mountain for lunch. After lunch, we drove the bikes to a waterfall where we played around for the remainder of the afternoon.












A few more photos from the house/pool. Wren fell off the couch on Wednesday night and busted her lip. Aside from some bruising, she seems to be fine now. We are wondering if she'll end up having a dead tooth from the fall but considering it would fall out anyway in a few years, it's not a huge concern for us.










While the other families spent Thursday snorkeling, we stayed back and took the kids to play football golf



An amazing sunrise from the balcony on Friday morning.

The adults went out on our last evening to a night market, have dinner on the beach, and then to see a Ladyboy Cabaret. 






Maybe it's because we never really traveled during Spring Break (except for Disney World last year) but I came back from this vacation truly refreshed. We went to bed super-early on Sunday night and Monday was a great segue back into the end of the school year. It's amazing to me that we only have 9 weeks of school left before we all hop flights out of Delhi and return to families for the summer. 

Speaking of summer, Evan and I have put together a rather tentative summer plan for our travels. As of now, it'll take us to Charleston and the beach during the month of June and to North Carolina (Evan's parent's house and cabin plus Asheville) for the month of July. We have to get a new roof for the house while we are there this summer and are also hoping to enroll Oakes in a summer day camp for a week. And if any of you are around, we'd absolutely LOVE to see you while we are in town. We hear there are a few nice breweries that have opened up this past year while we've been gone...