Feb 27, 2012

Gymiversary.

This coming week is my one year gymiversary.

A year ago on a rainy evening, I called my Ukranian friend Natasha in tears of desperation and asked her what gym she went to. She told me she had just arrived at the gym and I took a bus to meet her there, stopping at the ATM along the way to take out the cash for a membership.

I joined the gym out of a desire to have an outlet for my sadness and anger following a difficult life experience. I felt out of control emotionally and knew I needed an intervention. The only thing I could think of (besides gallons of margaritas) was the gym. So I joined. Not with the intention of losing weight (thought I knew I was unhealthy) but with the hopes of working through my feelings and letting out my steam in a healthy manner.

At first I would tell myself to "leave it on the treadmill" and crank away until I felt better. And you know what? I did feel better. I was amazed at how the positive effects of endorphins affected my mood instantaneously. I went to the gym everyday for a month (to form a habit) before my sister's graduation from college and at the end of that month I had lost 6 pounds. A little light went off in my head - if I could transform my inside through excercise, perhaps, just maybe, I could get transform the outside as well. (ya I know, I'm a smart one).

I started small because I knew that too many rules would push me away. I've lost and re-gained the same 20 pounds since college, and I didn't want this to be another fad. I was in it for real this time. I joined classes, encouraged friends to join the gym with me, started lifting weights and completely changed my eating/drinking/sleeping habits. I read articles online on healthy living and weigh loss and healthy diet. I watched my calories, salt, sugar, fiber, and protein, and made sure not to be too harsh on myself during the process. My lifestyle has done a 180.

I have lost 32 pounds this year, gained control over a life-time of disordered eating and cultivated a positive relationship with myself by transforming my own body image.

I did it because I was sick of making excuses for why every picture was a bad picture.
I did it because I want to have a baby someday and I want a baby bump.
I did it because I wanted control over my emotions.
I did it because my body is a temple not a trash dump.
I did it because I was sick of telling myself that I was, "the average American woman." Well you know what? The average American woman is overweight.
I did it because I was sick of having Chin.ese people tell me I'm fat to my face and knowing they were right.
I did it because I wanted to feel healthy.
I did it because I had degraded myself with negative thoughts for far too long and deserve better from myself.
I did it because I want to live a long life.
I did it because binge eating is expensive.
I did it because I want to get married to a healthy person.
I did it because my outward appearance is linked to my inward self.
I did it because I felt like a hypocrite if I told Chine.se girls to love themselves and my body so obviously said that I did not love myself enough to take care of myself.
I did it because I knew I could and it was time.

I am not to my "final goal" weight yet. I actually don't know what my final goal weight is, I don't have one. haha. At this point, I am more focused on pushing myself on weights and seeing how I can transform my body that way. I know that my healthy lifestyle will be an ongoing experience with no expiration date. It's a daily battle - experienced through small choices encountered daily.

To celebrate my one year gymiversary, I am giving myself a present.

I signed up today for the 2012 Great Wall Half Marathon, held Sunday, May 19.


My friend Jessica and I will make the journey to Beijing together. I'm so stoked I cried when I emailed in my application.

I've been deciding over the past few weeks whether or not to do it. A few friends and I have talked about it on and off for several months. It's a financial commitment, a time commitment, and a beast to train for (5,142 steps!). Coming off a trip to India, I wasn't sure if it was the smartest financial decision. This morning I woke up, took a look at the paperwork, and knew I needed to do it - to give myself this experience since I am in the best shape I have ever been and to reward my hard work with...more hard work. ha. And I live here...why not try something awesome?

This is my reward for a year of treadmill workouts, yoga stretches, dead lifts, and squats. It is my reward for knowing something needed to be changed (internally and externally) and doing something about it. Finally. It's another journey, another chance to commune with my Maker, and another way I can continue to grow closer to myself. My imperfect, flawed, yet made whole again self.

Happy Gymiversary to Me.





walk slow. xoxo.





Feb 26, 2012

busybusybusy

I quit my second job last week.

I was on the treadmill cranking away, sweating like a beast, and had a realization.

I can't do all this. I can't work 2 jobs, tutor a Chin.ese high-schooler, go to school full time in my second language, follow a running program, spend quality time with friends, keep my cat alive, and keep sane living in a foreign country when I have to bike everywhere in the rain.

Just not possible.

I'm focusing on school now and there is a lot to do. Doing a PhD in a foreign language is no joke. Luckily, my advisor is willing to meet me in the middle and has realistic expectations of my language barrier/limited literacy. (he basically calls me illiterate to my face and I have no problem with that if it gets me out of assignments - which it has).

Besides language barriers, there are also cultural issues at play in my educational experience.

Case and point:

I showed up on time for my Wednesday afternoon class and 30 minutes after our class was supposed to start there were only 3 students in the class. ALl were reading books and noone would respond to my, "hello? nihao?"'s....

I texted a Chi.nese friend who is in the class and asked what was up with our class. Turns out, the class was moved to Thursdays but noone bothered to tell me. My classmate Gaoyang told me he just found out from other students as well.

This was class on Thursday, full of students like class should be....


I had no idea what was going on. This class is called, "Readings in Chin.ese and Western Philosophy," but it seems like we do no reading. It is our teacher introducing "readings" to us from ancient Chi.nese thought. What I could understand was that we were discussing some old dudes and these old dudes built some pagodas in Beijing? I don't know. ha. Gotta do some research.

After class I got a text from my friend Leo. "I haven't heard from you in a week, is everything ok?" What a dear, precious friend.

I replied that actually, I needed to find a Chi.nese book for my Monday night class and asked if he would help me. Minutes later we were running all over the library looking for the, "Six Brush Strokes" - a Chi.nese philosophical article from 8 billion trillion years ago. (or 1996, not sure).

He showed me where the philosophy books are in the library (NEVER would have found them on my own) and told me to check one side while he checked the other for my required reading.

I quickly realized that I didn't feel like slowly reading/deciphering the spine of hundreds of Chi.nese texts, so I took his picture while waiting for him to do the dirty work for me...


haha. He then handed me a few other books in English and Chi.nese that should help me get a firmer grasp on the foundations of Chi.nese philosophy as I enter this major with absolutely zero background and will be expected to give a dissertation in Chin.ese in 2 years. Yikes. Good thing I don't cower from challenges, because this might be my biggest hurdle yet...but at least there is a support system of precious souls who text me when they haven't heard from me in awhile.

Since I last wrote 3 days ago - I have quit my part-time job at the hospital (so sad), read 2 entire books on Chin.ese philosophy, taken a 4 hour harrassment prevention course online since I am employed in the state of California (and realized that 50% of what I say could be harrassment..?), edited a thesis survey for my masters student (part of my big girl job), threatened my students via email to get their crap done, made a schedule for student visits, cleaned the kitty litter box, run 10 miles (not at once), gone to yoga, not washed my hair (my new thing), celebrated my little sister's new job in LA via skype, biked through snow flurries, had a "girls night" complete with brandy slushies, discussed Jeremy Lin's testimony with several Chin.ese people, been invited to an English corner - but declined, and gone on 2 dates with an African.

And found my future employer once I crash and burn...


Cheers.




walk slow. xoxo.

Feb 21, 2012

google, ear mites, stealth photos, and a date.

I'm in a mood for random facts.

For instance: things I have googled since I turned on my computer this morning:
-how to use a french press
-how many times do Hindu's believe they reincarnate and what happens after that?
-what is the life span of ear mites
-how often should you wash curly hair?
-top non-meat protein sources
-when does america's next top model start?

ha. Look over your google searches sometimes, it's a hoot.

Something that's not a hoot is that baby kitty Mushu has ear mites. You would hve cracked up watching my breakdown over this a few nights ago. I was crying, holding him, and googling, "home remedies for ear mites in cats." I poured olive oil in his ear and dug around in his ear crevices until my usually mellow little man was meow'ing with discontent. Poor little doodlebug. I went to the "Doggy House" and got him imported french ear drops after a long chat in Chin.ese with the worker about which drops were best for my cat, (note to self: google, "how to say Siamese" in Chin.ese)...


Kitten ownership is showing me what kind of parent I will be. I was so distraught over him having a problem, that I bought him a billion little toys along with the ear drops. My friend told me that my kids are going to be faking illnesses one day! ha. No way. I'm just committed to this kitty doodle and the thought of him having any health ailment makes my heart so sad. So, until those pesky ear mites are gone, (lifespan of 21 days, thanks Google), we will ear drop our hearts out.

the back of the box warns agains lack of sufficient studies in, "pregnant queens and bitches..." I love Chinglish...

I also love to take pictures of people at the gym. Check out this awesome outfit, complete with a red scarf. When I'm old, I'm going to wear dresses and tights to the gym too...


I went on a date last night. He's not the love of my life, but he is a good guy so I thought I'd give him an evening. And I like saying things like, "tell me what it is like in Ethiopia..." ha. But there won't be a second date, because I don't want to spend my emotional energy on someone who is not meant for me. Gotta save it for whoever is out there. Somewhere. Hopefully saving their emotional energy for me, too.

Several funny things came out of the evening, though. (of course.) I was getting ready and my neighbor Mike knocked on my door. "How do I look?" I asked. "Like Alice in Wonderland," was his reply.

I changed.

Then asked again. He looked at me for a long time and said, "You have athletic legs, you should play rugby!" (on the all-male team he plays on in HZ). Um, that is NOT what a girl wants to hear before a date. haha. That I should play rugby with the boys. Ai-yi-yi.

I'm off to google, "how is this hilarious story my life?" and see what it says. Then put on my fanciest dress and hit the gym with all the other queens and bitches.






walk slow. xoxo.

Feb 20, 2012

zoom zoom.


New wheels.





walk slow. xoxo.

Feb 19, 2012

bus rides, thankfulness, and mashed potatoes where they shouldn't be.

I've been really contemplative/day-dreamy these past few days.

I'm just really thankful to be me and have this random, awesome life. I think it's good to like being yourself. You should like being yourself, too.

School started this week. Having a new major and advisor has given me a new pep in my step.

I'm happy. Not the, "bunnies and butterflies," happy - life's too hard here for that kind of energetic happiness, but rather the happy that comes from contentment. Burdens have been lifted from my shoulders. I don't have dread in my life and I don't question my decision to remain in a Chin.ese university. Even my closest friends have noticed a change in me - which prompts me to reflect on how change is necessary if someone is unhappy. I'm proud of myself for not quitting the 80000 times that I wanted to over the past 1.5 years. I'm also proud of myself for sticking up for myself. Because I can see the fog clearing, and it's gonna be alright. Hard, but alright.

I knew all along that this was my path - to be here in these classes and know these people. But I didn't want it to be. I was borderline angry that this was my calling. I knew this was my journey and my adventure to be had, but I just wanted to go home and have a nice life going to a big church full of like-minded people and join e-harmony and get married to a wholesome, native-English speaker and make babies and drive a car and have central heating in my carpeted house with a park nearby.

Briefly, I wanted those things. Actually, I still do. In due time.

But for now, I am so happy to be me, here.

Today I was standing in craaaaazy weekend afternoon traffic trying to find a taxi to meet an old friend for coffee on his birthday. I saw 3 foreign guys looking over at me and just figured they also wanted a taxi. I whipped out my phone to tell my friend I was running late, and I heard the boys talking. "Well, she has an iphone, she must speak English..." I overheard while stifling a giggle at their rationale.

They approached me, looking like fresh arrivals with glimmers of bewilderment in their eyes. "Do you speak English?" one asked. I just nodded. I was trying so hard not to laugh.

"How do you get to West Lake?" he asked, "What do we tell a taxi driver?"

Oh, those sweet precious boys. West Lake is the largest tourist attraction in Hangzhou and our university is literally 500 meters from it. But to get to the "nicer" parts, you take a bus. I saw the bus arriving and knew that it would also take me to my destination, so I suggested that we go together.

Me and the gang of three who have been in Chi.na all of one week piled into the bus and shared stories. They are from Philly, Chicago, and Australia and all ended up here on scholarships from their schools back home. They are hoping to learn Chin.ese to make it big in the business world - a smart plan. I told them places to eat, shop, meet Chi.nese people, get massages, and have a foreign beer, and they wrote down my info in their phones. I felt...old, established, happy to help, and...native.

We exited the bus together and I pointed them in the direction of the West Lake park. As we parted and I walked alone to meet my friend through throngs of Chin.ese tourists, I sent a little thought to heaven, "thank you for making me, for giving me the chance to know this place and these people so intimately, and for having patience with me when I don't remember to be thankful."

Seeing the boys made me realize just how far I've come since the days of knowing nothing and wondering around like a lost puppy. It's been a good ride. And it ain't over yet.

Here, have some pictures:

baby Mushu being perfect and awesome:


Walmart's finest snack special, chicken feet on ice:

I don't take enough pictures of Chinglish:

I once saw a man buy every balloon and give it to his girlfriend. I swooned.


and a sign for a new McDonalds sandwhich...bacon, two meat patties, and MASHED POTATOES. What is sad is that the Chin.ese people will think all foreigners eat like this. Goodness gracious. Pass the broccoli, just looking at this picture makes me sick...



What are you thankful for today? Please don't say McDonalds. ;)






walk slow. xoxo.


Feb 17, 2012

while my lymph nodes were draining...

Today I got my lymph nodes drained.

Not sure what that means?

Well, me either.

What I do know is that I paid a little Chin.ese dude 30 bucks to rub me down with oils for an hour and it was glorious. It was a wonderful step up from the 6 dollar poundings I usually get from the blind massage parlor.

While he was rubbing key pressure points in my belly, back, and appendages, I drifted into la-la-land. And you know what I saw there? ...

I saw men selling clothes on the street...

and was driven by a bicycle tuk tuk through bustling streets....

I saw camels...

and someone watching us from afar beneath a canopy of color...


I saw doors painted like peacocks...

and friendly, inquisitive people...

I saw people sitting outside temples...

and never-ending hills beneath a sheet of blue....

I saw color and life...

Goats and two weird boys ( :0 ) ...


I saw India.


And then I opened my eyes to see the little dude three inches from my face with his hands in a praying position. "Massage over, Miss," he said to me with a sweet smile that beckoned me away from dream land back to the real world.

My unspoken thought...."Can we do that again? I want to go back."





walk slow. xoxo.


Feb 14, 2012

it is more than that.

Holidays in another culture are fun.


Over the years I've come to anticipate how each Western holiday will be interpreted and manipulated to fit somehow into Chin.ese society. Valentine's day is a good one - it doesn't spark the sadness that a Jesus-less Easter does. Instead, there are 1$ roses in buckets at the grocery store, teddy bear bouquets in street corner shops, and heart emoticons popping up all over my text message inbox.


I even got pranked by the two American guys on my hall. I opened my dorm door to find street cones lined up on my welcome mat. Silly boys.


I like Valentines Day.


Today when I signed onto my Chin.ese instant messanger site, I found a journal that one of my old students recently posted online. And I did what has been done to me a zillion times - I copy/pasted it. ha.


This poem, written by a master-level computer student in his second language, really spoke to me. I've been re-creating it all day in my head. I started with, "Why I love teaching," and moved onto, "Why I love my kitty cat," and, "Why I love working out." You get the drill.


Here's his poem, stolen from the depths of the interwebs and pasted here just for you...


Why I love basketball so much?

by Chen Cong

It is just a game

You pass

You shoot

You score

It is simple, right?

It is just a game

But sometimes, it is more than that

Much more

Playing basketball makes me feel strong

It gives me more confidences in myself

It makes me want to be something in my life

Basketball makes me feel healthy

When I playing basketball, it helps me makenew friends

And I love being a part of a team

Basketball brings us together

It connects us

And no matter where are you come from

When we are on the court

We all speak the same language

We dream bigger

We dream higher

Sometimes we win

Sometimes we don’t

But no matter what

You always have to work hard

Basketball teaches

It teaches us that even when there is nochance o win

There is still an opportunity to be a hero

It takes effort

You have to practice

Practice is real hard

You have to practice dedication

Teamwork

Sportsmanship

Patience

Unity

And love

And if we can practice all those things tomale our game better

Can we practice all those things to makeour world better?

Basketball is just the game

But sometimes is more than that

Much more


See what I mean? Awesome and deep, right? Whatever we do, there is so much more there. The onion layers of our actions are infinite.


Happy Love Day from a far away place.

If I could send you a bouquet of teddy bears from the street corner, I would.






walk slow. xoxo.

Feb 12, 2012

My 1%.

Going to school in Chi.na is a hilarious and patience-building experience.

Sometimes it's just unbelievable the way things work around here. I thought it was a crazy (lovable, interesting, beautiful - but crazy) place when I was a teacher - but then I became a student and a whole new world of upside-downness became apparent to me and it's been one big deep breathe after another since then.

Without giving you the whole shabang of what has gone down around these parts the past few days, I will tell you that there are a few key Chin.ese people in my life who have saved my hiney yet again from the torment of living in the dark/not knowing a thing/being illiterate. I call these Asian angels, "My 1%" ;)

I'm wisening up to the ways of the world and decided that instead of crying at my computer and trying for hours to do something that should take 10 minutes, I am going to have Chine.se friends do everything for me. And I will be buying a lot of people lunch/coffee/chocolate as thank-you's. It is so much easier in Chi.na to take someone to lunch than try to register for classes by yourself. And this way we get quality friend-time in. It's a win-win on many levels.

I have relied on the 1% to choose my courses, text me what courses I am in, and make my study plan for my PhD. My entire study plan. I still haven't seen it. ha.

I told my friend Leo (dear, precious Leo) to, "do whatever," and sign me up for classes. I gave him my student number and password and 30 minutes later he called me, "I signed you up for the maximum amount! You said you want to get your classes done!"

"Ahh, Leo, I work!" I said.

"No matter, you are strong," was the reply. Haha, Oh, Leo, you think too highly of me.

Turns out, it is 5 classes for the semester total. 3 at a time thanks to the quarter system - not too bad.

I figured I had at least a week until classes started so I was just chilling until I saw a friend at a restaurant last night. "Classes start Monday," she said.

WHAT. As in ---tomorrow?!

I had no idea. No one told us when classes start.

So tonight I texted another member of my 1% (gotta spread the love), gave her my passwords, and asked her to text me my schedule if I have classes tomorrow. Sure enough, I have two classes tomorrow. haha. Good thing I have some extra notebooks lying around!

This place. It kills every part of the type-a planner/control-freak/need for clear communication in me. God had a grand sense of humor when he placed this country on my heart as a child and then planned a long stay here for my life.

Character building. That's what I call weeks like these. And a chance to really find out how much I love, appreciate, and am blessed by my 1% - the people I call in a crisis, the people who aid my life in immeasurable ways. The only reason I know what classes I am signed up for. If I had no Chi.nese friend to call and do my junk for me, I would not be signed up for school. Simple as that.

So, PTL. Yet again I have been diverted from crisis, lovingly cared for, and delivered from stressful situations.

School is Chi.na is hard. People are good.

Who is your 1%? Go love them.

MuShu says so...







walk slow. xoxo.










Feb 9, 2012

hunger rice and a side of fame.

There are few things in this world that I treasure more than my friendship with Dr. Xu.

Today we continued our BFF chronicles with a standard for us 4 hour dinner. Of course he chose one of the nicest places in town and then refused to allow me to order for myself or see the bill when it arrived. Typical Michael - so giving.

A snippet of our normal ordering routine that involves a lot of questions and communication mishaps,

Him: (reading the english menu) "lavendar custard... what is lavendar?"
Me: "A small purple flower. The smell is often used in beauty products."
Him: "Want it?"
Me: (knowing he will insist) "Ok, but let's get one to share. I don't really want a lot of dessert."
Him: (to waitor) "Ok, we'll take two."

haha.

If I was ordering for myself however, I might have chosen the Hunger Rice, or maybe the Funny Rice...possibly the stray rice?


Ya, I don't know what that means either.

During our 4 hour chat he showed me Chin.ese apps for my new phone, told me stories of his time he recently spent in Beijing on a tv show (more on that later) and took a billion calls from people who want to donate money to the orphans. It was a productive 4 hours, in those hours he managed to get enough money for 52 babies secured from a charity in Shenzhen. I loved watching him wheel and deal on the phone while I played with my new apps...


This man is a business genius and is using his gifts for such great work. Love him. I'm proud to know him and call him a dear friend.

During our meal he made this collage of our meal and sent it to my new phone...someone's excited about technology! haha. He's happy to be able to text me pictures now. It's the little things in life, I guess.

The bottom right picture is of his computer he brought to show me episodes of a tv show he was on in Beijing for seven weeks! It was a group singing/dancing competition that pitted cities against each other, each championing a cause. Hangzhou was represented by the hospital I work at and the cause was the orphans. (hallelujah!) Michael was the spokesperson and he got a lot of air time talking about the heart disease babies and orphans and asking people to help.

Anything that brings attention to Chin.ese people of the plight of orphans in this land is fabulous. Awareness/education is the first step to healing so many of society's ailments. And Michael has the charisma and passion to be the spokesperson on national tv!

He rocked it and was such a super star! I kept telling him, "my best friend is famous!" haha.

He is the back row center:


It's wonderful to see people you love do awesome things for causes greater than ourself.

Another great night with my old friend. Pass the funny rice, I'm not going anywhere soon.




walk slow. xoxo.



Feb 8, 2012

reality check.

I met Amanda two and a half years ago in the hospital where I teach.


She had come from her foster home in Xi'An to have a few orphan surgeries done at the hospital and it took her no time to put me to work. I was not a "visitor" to her, I was another able body. I soon found myself making homemade mashed potatoes for the babies, sending out emails asking the congregation for stroller rentals, and even accompanied her on a train to Shanghai to get a baby who would stay at my house overnight.

Amanda, she's a driver. Words I use to describe her to friends include, "steam-roller, workhorse, tanker, and machine." She gets things done. She has spent 7 years of her life running a foster home for orphans in Chi.na as a foreigner - a feet that is in many ways a miracle.

And so as I recieved word yesterday that she has recently been diagnosed with advanced cancer and is needing to be sent out of Chi.na to get first-world medical care - my heart sank.

Life is fleeting and fragile - no matter how earthly "tough" you may be. None of our bodies last forever, though there are those among us, like Amanda, who make incredible, tangible differences with their one short life.


Please join me in thoughts for Amanda - for recovering, healing, health, and strength- and for the babies and nannies. And also for the Starfish Foster home board of directors and leaders.

Visit the Starfish webpage for details on Amanda's situation and the home in general and see ways you can help.






walk slow. xoxo.



Feb 7, 2012

snippets.

Things are gettin' weird here in Hangzhou.

By weird, I mean normal.

It is Chi.na, afterall.

Today when I was biking to meet a friend for ice cream for dinner, there was a large screen outside a newly built conference center playing a Backstreet Boys music video circa 1998.


Reason #7847593728844 I love this crazy place.

Yesterday was rainy and cold which was awful, but today was clearer than normal with sunny skies thanks to the rain washing away the smog! This sunset greeted me as I biked by West Lake.

Gorg. I love this town.

In not so gorgeous news, Chin.ese people still hate foreigners. (generalization much? ha.)

Yesterday at the gym, I was sweatin' it up on the elliptical sans headphones (I need to think and not listen to music) and a 20-something year old Chin.ese girl got on an elliptical two machines over, leaving an empty machine between us. Normal, right? Until her friend showed up and she says to her, "you have to go by the foreigner!" Her friend replied, "I don't want to go by the foreigner!"

For real?

These girls didn't think that I understood. I didn't say anything to them (as much I wanted to) because I was in too good of a mood to ruin it. I just felt sad for them for being so....Chin.ese.

In positive news, I got my bike back! The day before I left for India, I somehow lost my bike key off my keyring between locking it outside walmart and coming out of walmart. I searched and searched to no avail and decided to just leave the piece of junk there and deal with it after the holiday.

I told some friends about it and they responded that they would move my bike for me while I was gone so it would be safe. Lo' and behold today I found my spare bike key to my bike that was waiting for me parked outside my dorm when I returned from India. A few guys went to walmart, found my pink, rusted transportation, and biked her to my dorm on a three-wheeled trolley they happen to own. I feel taken care of and blessed by this kindness.

In this crazy, weird world, I am not alone. You are not alone. Goes for all of us.

I'm still trying to figure out how to tell my India stories. I've been meeting with friends and they all ask, "How was India??" and I spurt off a random assortment of adjectives like, "inspiring, amazing, colorful, fabulous, dirty, awesome...." and then choke on my tongue and smile like a goober. My eyes probably gaze over as I dream of curry and naan bread.

Since I still don't have cohesive stories, here's an India video. It's from the Wagah Border of Pakistan and India. This is the nightly border closing ceremony where soldiers high-kick, salute, and bring down their flags to the cheers of their countrymen.

We are seated in the foreigner section on the India side (obvi). The two gates that are open are the India gate and the Pakistan gate (with their country's names written on them.) The people in the stands across the way are Pakistani citizens - segregated by gender since Pakistan is an Islamic state. The Indian soldiers are in tan with red head pieces and the Pakistani soldiers are in black. The whole thing lasted about 40 minutes, with different marches, back and forth chants, and the eventual bringing down of the flags at the same time. This video was taken as they are preparing to bring down the flags of the two warring nations.

It was here that I learned two of the three Hindi words I would learn over 3 weeks time...Hindustan Zindabad! Long-live India.


video




BSB videos, gym crazies, acts of kindness, and India memories...let the weirdness continue.




walk slow. xoxo.

Feb 6, 2012

Mushu Returns.

I'm a horrible cat mommy.

I left my baby for 6 of the past 7 weeks! He was gone in two 3 week incriments at two different houses and had a different time at each one of them. It's been a whirlwind for him as much for me.

He was cared for well, and tonight my baby boy was swindled into our home for two once again. This time - he's not going anywhere soon.

I was nervous all day because I had to get him and all his loot (litter box, backpack of toys....) past the dorm workers who are nosy and have nothing better to do than stare at everyone who walks in the door.

But me and Moosh are stealthy and with our teamwork (his quietness and my nonchalant swagger and late night timing) we made it to my 4th floor room unseen!

This is what poor baby has to go through - in a taxi, walking down the alley, and then through the dorm to get home...he lays in a Vera Bradley bag with his nose popping out while I hold the corners so he cant stick his whole head out...

his litter box goes in a plastic bag that Chi.nese people use to move...


and now all is right again in the world, I love this cat so much...




I'm off to snuggle a 5 pound fur ball...




walk slow. xoxo.

Feb 5, 2012

ways and means.

‎"It's very easy to settle back and say you can't afford whatever it is that's on your mind, thereby giving yourself an excuse for being thoroughly miserable. But however much you may enjoy this state, it's pretty tiresome to everybody else and never gets you anywhere. You'll come out much better in the end if you study ways and means, and throw in a little imagination."

(Bubbly on your Budget, 1937)

Feb 3, 2012

returned.

I've made it back to my dorm cubby hole in the Red Country unscathed and in good spirits.

I had a two night stop-over in Shenzhen after flying into Hong Kong from India and that time proved to be invaluable as a debriefing for returning to "real life" here in the 'Zhou. (But apparently I do not look like my passport pic anymore to Ch.inese guards, and thus border crossing was a little hairy...not sure what to do about that one?)

Anywho, tonight I made it to my final destination - home. My bags are strewn across the floor and my clothes stink. I'm chucking the shoes I trekked across India in because who knows how much cow poop is stuck to the bottom, and those germs belong in the garbage.

I've been uploading pics and I can't wait to share them with you, even though I have no rhyme or reason to today's batch. I apologize if you see some doubles in the future as I decide how to navigate my thoughts and share as appropriate.

My mind is still swirling with the colors of India. It was a great trip. When the boys and I parted in the Hong Kong airport, we group hugged and just looked at each other. "We just went to India and back!" I said. "Holy crap, we survived," I think was the response. ha.

India was incredible. It was filthy and challenging, warm-hearted and tricky. It was exhilarating and inspiring and scary and noisy and beautiful - all at the same time.

And I have a new found appreciation for monkies and cows. Curry and sunsets. Bangles and anklets. Hand sanitizer and high fiber cookies.

Here, have a little glimpse...

sunset from our roof terrace in Udaipur...


rowing a boat along the Ganges in Varanasi...

chats with the Udaipur villa owner, our self-proclaimed, "Indian Grandpa," ...

cow milking area in Varanasi...

shadows at the Taj...

moustache time in the back of a tuk tuk, in Jaipur...

Agra city...

painted elephants at the Amber Fort in Jaipur...

more fort action in Jaipur...

Jaipur...
Udaipur...

the Golden Temple in Amritsar, a holy place for Sikh's...

Need friends fast? Like attention? Dye your hair red and go to India...

a baby in Delhi...



And there's a whole lot more where these came from...







walk slow. xoxo.