we won!

Cricket mania is back, baby! Back a few months ago, "our" team lost in the cricket world cup, and everyone was so mad and depressed. Some of the star players' homes were trashed, and everyone had conspiracy theories. I thought I understood then just how crazy this country gets over cricket. But what we didn't know then is apparently there are two world cups! The second one is shorter and more viewer friendly, and started this month. It's been all Jaya can talk about, and she is very superstitious about her game watching practices. Well, as you can see by the picture, we won! I don't even understand cricket, but I am so proud of our guys. After the game was over, we heard crackers all night. The boys in blue arrived in the country today to a mob of well wishers and celebrations, and the news channels were on all day cricket coverage. Jaya made some snacks that her family only eats for major festivals, and she brought us some. We have nothing like this in the states, so I guess the best equivalent of it would be if America had one national baseball team, and our US Baseball team won the International World Series against our historical sports rival. Husband and I were trying to figure out who that rival would be, but we couldn't decide because we just have no basis of this.

Way to go, boys in blue!!


utmt barber

Someone we know jokingly calls this common sight the UTMT Barber. (Under the Mango Tree) Need a haircut?


thanks, babel

I've had more and more conversations where I've been forced to speak only the local language, no matter if what I'm discussing is something I know vocabulary for. And of course this leads to some pretty funny and embarrassing mishaps!

First, a couple of weeks ago, Kishori and Bhanu were over for lunch. We all speak English except for Kishori, but I like to speak what I can in her language so she feels included. That particular day, husband had a bit of the tummy troubles. Stomach is
payt, and I knew that well because we have to explain to nationals a lot that we have weak stomachs and so we can't drink the water. Anyway, husband was eating very lightly, so I explained to them that his stomach was messed up. For some reason I said paat instead of payt. I corrected myself, but Kishori and Ashu were suppressing some giggles. Husband noticed and said, "Paat must mean something. What did she say?" Bhanu replied, and this is a direct quote, "It means fart."

Last week, once again I was with Kishori, this time at her weekly ladies group gathering. I was chatting with a young lady, and decided what the heck, I'll try to
tell her my story in her language. This may seem impressive, but I memorized it awhile back, so it wasn't like I was coming up with it all on my own. She listened and enjoyed it, so feeling rather confident, I decided to go ahead and just tell her the great news as well. I've never tried this before, but I had a picture tool with me, so I thought it might be easy. I made it a little ways without a problem until I got to the part of being buried in the grave. I realized that I didn't know how to say grave, bury, tomb, or any other words relatively close! The picture showed a big stone and a very Roman-looking guard standing by it. So I pointed and said the only words I could think of, "There was a big rock, and the police."



I have finally made it to my 200th post! Took me long enough!

Something you may not realize about this blog is that I have several reasons why I do it. The main reason is pretty sneaky - I like to show the interesting things about South Asia to my friends and family back in the States in hopes that maybe some of you would come to love this region as we do. Then maybe, just maybe, you would decide to come on a trip out here! But I also do it because I love to talk about South Asia, and I love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts!

So, in these remaining months, what would you like to see on this blog...more pictures, more work stories, more silly stories? Something else? I know we are all opinionated, so here's your chance to voice your opinions!



This common sight, something you see within seconds of stepping outside your house in the capital, may become a thing of the past. Hopefully soon there will be no more overcrowded, completely unsafe bus! The number of deaths officially caused by the bus lines so far this year is over 100. People run to hop onto buses, and hang out the doors as they travel down the roads. The bus drivers have been under a lot of scrutiny lately about their unsafe consideration of the other people and vehicles on the road.

The claims are that the city is working on high occupancy bus lanes which would reduce the interaction that cars and buses have on the roads. We think they are working on one just outside our neighborhood! This picture is the construction that is going on just a few steps from our house.

This city is capable of so much! The potential is high for an efficient and safe city. We've seen firsthand what they can accomplish - a very nice subway system opened last year or the year before. The trains are cleaner than any subway I've been on, it is efficient, it is nice and cold, and it is extremely cheap. They are also working on extending the area the trains can cover. If they can gather their resources once again, South Asia will look a lot different if they eradicate these buses for safer ones.

A personal change is that husband and I have gone green! We found those more energy efficient light bulbs in our neighborhood market. They cost an arm and a leg ($6 per bulb!) but the theory is we won't have to change the 5 bulbs we bought before we return to America, and our electricity bill will be lower.


meal with jaya

Jaya and her family invited us over for dinner last weekend. We all have a lot in common, and when we are together, there is none of that awkward silence we find a lot when we visit a national's home.

The dinner turned out to also be a mini-celebration for me! Apparently there is a celebration during a woman's pregnancy around the 7th month where she will sit on a seat decorated with flowers, and friends will bring her gifts. Not gifts for the baby, but gifts for the mom-to-be! So when we finally sat down to dinner (at almost 9pm - very typical dinner time here!) I had the seat of honor. My place setting was decorated with flowers! It was very nice. Dinner was served, and it was delicious as usual. It was all veg of course - fresh veggies, lentils, a dish that is sort of similar to cottage cheese (but not really), rice, flat bread, homemade yogurt, and my favorite were the ginger potatoes.

After dinner, we all went into one of the bedrooms, where an AC was running. Up until this time, we were just under fans. As I've mentioned before, Jaya lives with her husband and in-laws, which is very common in South Asian families. Her in-laws are all artists and musicians; her father-in-law plays the violin, and her husband and mother-in-law sing. So they had asked husband before hand to bring his guitar, and he sang a couple of songs. Then the father-in-law played the violin, then Jaya's husband sang a couple of songs, etc. I had one embarrassing moment during his very serious and beautiful love song where sneezes attacked me. Of course.

After they all had their fun being musical, it was almost 11pm and time to leave. But Jaya wouldn't let us leave quite then because she had a surprise for us! She sat us down on the couch and brought us some gifts! She gave me a beautiful tan, red, and black sari. A sari ranges from 4 to 9 meters long, depending on what style it is, and you wrap it around strategically and then throw it over your shoulder. It's a very difficult thing for out-of-practice Westerners to wear, but it feels like you're playing dress up, so it's still a lot of fun. The over the shoulder part (the pallu) is sometimes decorated differently than the rest, like my new one. The red and black part is the pallu. They also gave husband some paintings done by Jaya's father-in-law! I actually like them a lot, and even more so that I know the artist and am friends with his family.

It was a great night and we were able to share a lot with them and build even more of a relationship. I am so thankful for Jaya's friendship!