Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Belated Diwali

Well, last week's prediction was accurate.  I did have to go back to Airtel. The SIM cards they gave me were the big size, and I need nano SIMS which I clearly specified. About a half hour later I got the right ones, and a few hours later the phone worked. I threw a minor American hissy fit in the one there could possibly understand how being a woman in a foreign country without any way to contact my husband or driver makes me feel. And when it takes two days to get something done that I could do in 20 minutes in the U.S., I get crabby!  I may have cursed a few times under my breath, but believe me, throwing a fit is much more satisfying if people understand what you are saying.

Let's change the topic to something that doesn't make we want to scream....

Happy (belated) Diwali!! The actual day of Diwali was November 3, but people celebrated for many days.  It is the biggest holiday of the year, and houses and businesses are decorated with lights just like Christmas lights.  People spend time with their family, enjoy a lot of food and sweets, and everyone gets new clothes. The holiday is for one of the dozens of Gods, which I can never keep track of.

Ajay had us over for dinner last week to celebrate. He kept telling us his family was so happy to have foreigners at their home for the first time.  They made Matt and I feel very welcome, and everyone certainly went out of their way for us.

 His family was lovely, and his children absolutely adorable.  Matt, Ajay's nephews, as well as other boys from the area, set off a ridiculous amount of sketchy India fireworks. I watched from far away...dangerous, unregulated explosives aren't really my thing.  After that excitement, we went inside to have a traditional vegetarian dinner. There were flat breads, I think they were chapatti. There was also dal which is a lentil dish, and a dish of peas, potatoes, and paneer which is cheese. It was tasty, and I am getting pretty good at eating with my hands.

The cutest kids!!! The little girl showed me how she can say her alphabet in English, and she can also apparently count to 100, but I had to stop her around 20.

It was really dark out and I was taking these pictures on my phone, so unfortunately they didn't turn out very well.  We had a great time and I look forward to more Indian holidays that don't involve fire works. :)

Since Diwali is so important, I wanted to bring some gifts to school.  I found a "99 Rupee" store, which is just like a dollar store! Many things were about 40 cents to a dollar. I was able to get every child a book in English.  I also bought two new cricket bats, a soccer ball, and some new posters of colors, numbers, etc. to hang up in the classrooms.

Cricket was a big hit! I am glad I got two different sized bats so the younger boys and older boys could each have their own game going.  The older boys weren't playing fair at first...I found the smaller bat hidden on top of a shelf where the little ones couldn't reach.  

One boy, Akash, had a plastic quarter he keeps in his pocket. I called the coin toss for who picked teams first.  I hope they continue to enjoy playing!

Here are the older boys reading their new books.  I also brought some newspapers written in English that I think will be good practice for them too.

Serious deliberations over teams.

One of the oldest girls, Laxshmi, was showing me her henna skills after school. She did a pretty good job!

Since our return from Australia and getting back into our routine here, I have been on some serious emotional roller coasters. I usually write about all of the wonderful experiences we have here, but in between those are some seriously infuriating, aggravating, and annoying daily occurances.  Matt was going through the deep frustrations of living here about a month ago, and now it is really starting to hit me.  I found this article about the stages of Culture Shock and it is really true:

I often go through all the phases in a single day. There are things here, like going to school, that make me feel very content.  Other times I get so angry with how daily life can be so annoying, or sad because I seriously miss my family and friends, or just irritated by the smells and sounds. (Matt and I like to play a new game when we go on a walk, where we guess if it's human poop or animal poop. Three out of 5 times, it's human). 

I have not yet been able to accept things yet. I am constantly wanting to change things and show people how to do things a better way...and the real problem is that I think MY way is the best way.  SO... maybe my bossy-ness is the real culprit.  If you know my family, you know where I get that from! :)

Some days really suck, but when I remember all that I have to be grateful for, and all the opportunities I will have here, it's not so terrible.  Hopefully that feeling of acceptance settles in soon!

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