Things are starting to come together! Check us out here for updates and more details. ciao
I'm back into the groove of life, working and going about my days. I enjoyed my days in India but love being home. Although I would consider going again at some point. I'm also trying to get some interpreting work on a cruise ship or two...we shall see. It still amazes me that American Sign Language has opened so many interesting doors!!
I recently broke out some art supplies and along with some co-workers started playing again! Just messing around experimenting and creating. Working on art journal pages and rediscovering my mojo!
Just bought more art supplies, time to play some more!!
I said I would update the next day after my last post but I just don't have the patience to deal with the painfully slow photo uploads. A lot has happened here in India since my last post including two trips to the Taj Mahal and World Cup Cricket finals. It is very HOT these days with temps in the high 90's....
My life is definitely on a new path, one of love and discovery. I am forward focus, the past is the past and it shall remain there. The only thing I ever intend to bring forward from the past is positive memories. The hurt, pain or confusion...anything negative will forever remain where it belongs, in the past.
I have made a new commitment to myself, to my life, and to my relationships. Ready or not, here I go!
p.s. you can see all my current photos of India on Facebook, if we are not yet friends, feel free to send me a friend request :-}
So sorry for not updating this blog very often. I will attempt to update at least once a week. So to catch you up: I nearly came home due to high blood pressure and home-sickness, got over that and feel much better both health wise and home-sickness wise. I did some touristy sight-seeing, celebrated my birthday and went on a picnic.
At Amber Fort I rode an elephant and explored the beautiful fort. This is one of the oldest forts and has been used but Hindus, Muslims, and the British when they were in power. All of these three groups have left their mark on this place. The fort is also surrounded by a great wall, similar to the Great Wall of China but not quite as big.
On the way back I snapped a few pictures of Jal Mahal, aka Water Palace. While there we were asked to have our photo taken with the 2 men is this group shot. This happens often that people ask to take a picture with you...kinda funny!
Then we checked out Jantar Mantar which is an observatory. As we were leaving there was this snake charmer that I had to have my picture taken with! In the first picture I am telling him "NO!" when he told me I could pet his snake.
I recently celebrated my birthday with three celebrations! The first was with my first group of students, the second was with my second group of students and then the third celebration with the family. Michael, my co-worker, took me shopping and out to lunch between my classes and celebrations. It was a beautiful day!
The tradition here is to blow out the candle first and then the singing begins followed by the birthday person cutting the cake and then being fed the piece they cut. Also, frosting the birthday person seems to be part of the celebrations. All day long I had people come up to me, shake my hand and wish me "Many happy returns of the day"!
And...here I am at 41 with blonde hair now since there was some miss communication at the hair salon here. The cut is good and I'm my original little girl color!
Sorry, the internet is so slow here the picnic, show and central park will be in my next post which should be tomorrow.
There are so many interesting animals and people here in India that I wanted to create a post just to the variety of animals and people all sharing the same world, the same country, the same city, the same street. I love the birds, it is kind of a theme with me right now, hence the name of the blog. Here are some that share my home. The first one, Myna bird was at my door at the hotel when we first arrived in Delhi. The parrots and peacocks live right here one the property where my home in in Jaipur.
These creatures are the ones I pass while driving around jaipur. I see many stray dogs, a few cats, random cows here and there, camels (my favorite so far), horses, and more; here is a sampling:
Then there is this little guy who spooked me the other day when he ran across the screen door as I opened the door to the sun room.
Jaipur is home to many beautiful and friendly people, just take a look:
It is truly an adventure and an awesome experience being here and I am so glad that I jumped at this opportunity. I know living here will impact my life in ways I haven't yet imagined! ~Namaste
Here I sit in Jaipur, India. This is my new home, this is where I will be for the next several months, maybe even the next couple of years.
I have started teaching and have slowly added to my schedule. Currently, I am teaching five classes Monday through Friday and one on Saturday with a second class being added starting this coming weekend. Needless to say, I stay busy between teaching and prepping. I am also working on a Sign Language book derived from the classes I am teaching. It is tiring but definitely keeps me busy six days a week.
Although I get plenty of sleep here, much more than I did in the states, I continue to look and feel exhausted. Not sure if the air is thinner or perhaps I am not sleeping as deeply, whatever it is, I hope I adjust soon so I can look awake and refreshed again!
My journey here and the clients I am working for has allowed me some awesome opportunities that I never would have had the chance to experience as a mere tourist to India. I had the opportunity recently to attend a garden lunch at the Chief Minister of Rajasthan's house and even had the privilege of meeting him. The Garden lunch was a beautiful event with all the women dressed in colorful saris and the men in different forms of semi-formal dress. It was even more interesting watching all these dressed up people eat with their hand which is the custom here in India. The food at the event was delicious and even I managed to clean my plate while eating with my fingers, (I haven't graduated to using my whole hand yet).
Another event I was lucky enough to attend was that of a former Chief Minister's son's wedding. I believe this was the pre-ceremony event that I attended and it was done in grand style. Lights, a couple of stages, food, and TV monitors were everywhere. One stage was where the bride and groom met guests and took photographs while the other stage was for entertainment and there were several acts while I was there, from a boy band dance group to belly dancers and snake charmers. It is currently wedding season here in India and it is very common to hear marching bands and fireworks on a nightly basis. It is nice to go up on our roof top here to watch the fireworks around the city.
Another event that was held just this past week was the Jaipur Literature Festival. It was held at Diggi Palace which is owned by a friend of the family I work for. I had the opportunity to listen to a few authors, mingle with the international attendants and even meet a few people. I thought it funny that the one guy my client met and talked with at lunch happens to be from Seattle, Washington. A place/state I am considering as a possible location when I move back to the states. This event had the best people watching and there were several interesting characters. I even saw some actors and Indian celebrities. The decor was so colorful and beautiful. The lights and music at night had such a cool vibe; the rum and Coke was good too!
I am feeling some pangs of homesickness. I miss being able to just pick up the phone and call someone. I miss being in control of my own comforts. It is nice to have servants, but it is an adjustment. However, I have everything I need right here, I just have to ask for it. Although there is always someone around; be it the family, my co-workers, or the help, I get lonely and am having to dig deep to not allow it to swallow me up. It is a good thing I stay busy, it keeps me from being too homesick, but it also keeps me from doing the heart and soul searching I want and need to do. But like all things it will come, I just need to "Let it Be".
After being in Delhi for a couple of days and getting registered with the office of refugees and foreigners, we headed off by car to Jaipur.
It was an interesting 6 hour adventure of highways that became narrow crowded roads of busy villages. There were lots of sights to behold.
Then we arrived in Jaipur and moved into our new home. It is an older home and the four of us interpreters have our own rooms on the second floor. We have two bathrooms, a men's and a women's. My fellow female interpreter and I also have a shared sun porch off of our rooms. My room is stunning, beyond what I could have imagined.
The property sits on 5 acres and is close to the center of town. Lots of things to do and see all within walking distance.
The grounds are home to several types of birds. The peacocks, which are the national bird of india, parrots, doves, and of course pigeons. From the roof you can see the Om Towers Hotel and you can see and hear people playing cricket across the street. I love that we can go on the roof both from the second level but also the third level. The is a peace that comes from being up there. I took some sunset photos the second night at our home.
After arriving in India, I developed both a sore throat and had a reaction to the Malaria medication I was taking. The reaction came out in my hands. They started out a bit itchy then became very hot. After about 12 hours some blisters formed on the outer palm of one and and the pinky finger of the other hand. I immediately stopped taking the medication. My sore throat lingered and once in Jaipur it became worse instead of better, finally on Saturday after a day of work, I asked to see the doctor. I was taken to the doctor, his office is just outside his home. I was seen within a half hour of phoning him. At his office I sat in his office/examination room. I sat across his desk while he asked me general questions about my health then moved to a stool on his side of the desk to be examined. Once the examination was complete I then moved back across the desk from him. He then proceeded to write out his orders including three prescriptions. This paper also included my vitals and is mow my medical record and I am responsible to hanging on to it. My visit ended up costing 200 rupees which is approximately $4 USD.
After about 24 hours on the medications, I am feeling much better. I am still a bid congested but no more upper respiratory infection. Also the reaction is finally fading but not yet completely gone.
Sunday is our only day off so we spent yesterday pretty much recovering and laying low. We did manage a trip to Jaipur's newest mall, Pick City Square. We only managed a couple of stores on a couple of floors of this 6 story mall. In the basement is a store very much like a mini Wal Mart, here we got some basic necessities.
Here I sit in my hotel room at 3am on Wednesday morning. After a layover in London that turned out to be almost 12 hours with delays, I finally landed in Delhi. Coming down the escalator this is what I saw. So many people from different places all gathering here to go through customs. My fellow traveler and interpreter and I stood in line to have our passports stamped and entry granted. The customs agent took his time as he looked over the passport and work visa all while mumbling something under his breath. He then heavy-handedly stamped my passport and paperwork and off to baggage claim we went.
We piled our suitcases up on a cart and made our way past guards into a reception area where we were greeted by the family's personal assistant. We were presented with a dozen roses and asked to sit and enjoy a coffee for a bit. When offered coffee, I declined and said I was fine with bottled water. I got away with this but only temporarily, I was then offered coffee again and brought an espresso with whipped cream and chocolate drizzled on top. I spooned off some of the sweet cream then stirred the rest in to sweeten the coffee. I managed a few sips, it wasn't bad, but is definitely an acquired taste I have yet to develop. Not sure I will have much of a choice as it seems coffee and tea are staples here, it will be a matter of finding those I tolerate and eventually like or love.
Our group, 3 interpreters, the personal assistant, and a driver then walked to the parking structure to our car, a Toyota SUV of sorts. The driver managed to get all 6 large, heavy suitcases and several carry-on bags into the rear and the three of us interpreters piled into the back seat. As we walked out into the air, it was smokey and hazy. I could smell fire but it was a faint smell. The temperature was nice, almost chilly. I currently have a sore throat and I think it is due to the smokey air and just being tired.
Our driver is very skilled. It seems that Indian drivers adhere to the motto, "share the road" as there were cars, taxis, buses, motorcycles, and pedestrians all right next to each other sharing the same lanes. Often times a 3 lane road like the one above would easily become 5 lanes. There was a stalled car we came upon but there was no back-up no lookie-loos the traffic kept flowing right on past.
Our host then took us to a very fancy, ritzy mall called CityWalk. Our car was stopped upon entering the parking garage and guards looked under the hood and talked to both our driver and host. We then had to pass through metal detectors to enter the mall. We were told the reason for this is that many high ranking officials such as the Prime Minister come to this mall as well as rich business executives such as Bill Gates.
Our host brought us to the food court where there were all types of cuisine to be had. There were even familiar places such as Subway, Dominoes Pizza, and McDonald's. However the menus were different, for example, McDonald's offers a McVeggie sandwich and a McVeg Pizza Puff. Our host wanted us to sample several things and spoiled us by bringing a ton of food.
After falling into a sleep-deprived food coma, we headed to our hotel. Back out in traffic where it is common to see armed military and police (not sure if they are armed).
I also saw everything I expected to see such as; stray dogs, women with children begging for food at the car window, women riding side-saddle on the back of motorcycles, auto-rickshaws. The sound of horns honking is everywhere. Drivers here do not honk in anger but rather as a signaling device.
Once at our hotel we checked-in by giving them our passports and signing the registry. The family personal assistant took care of the rest. The bellhops took our luggage up a flight of stairs to the first floor which consist of a small living room area surrounded by five doors. We each got our own room with a king-sized bed that is actually two twin beds pushed together. The toilet set up is something new to me both in the hotel room, the airport and the public restroom at the mall. I am not quite sure that the hose is for, although I have my suspicions. The shower is pretty much what I would expect except for the stool, bucket and pitcher which I assume you would use while bathing and washing long hair. The hardest part about showering is not getting the water in your mouth which was tough and may also be why I have a sore throat.
After showering and settling in, I went to pull out my pillow only to find it wet along with my undies and a few other items. It seems that while my bags were in London they got rained on, a lot, and it soaked through my suitcase. Now I wish I had bought the hard case luggage instead. But, mo hotel room has a portable heater which I turned into my personal dryer and proceeded to dry my pillow and other items, it'll do :-)
I also ran into a snag when trying to charge my laptop. My charge cord would not fit into the plug adaptor I had brought. After a semi-panic, one of the other interpreters informed me I didn't need the 3rd prong, the ground which was preventing my from using the adaptor. He offered to remove it and I allowed him to. Now my laptop is fully charged and the wifi here in the hotel is pretty fast!
I'm now going to try to get a few more hours of sleep as it is now 4am. I leave you with my favorite picture so far; this woman is working next to the hotel and I watched as she carefully stacked each brick working from the center out to keep balance. When I asked to take her photo, she giggled but then obliged me.
Arrived a few hours ago in London and am now on the train headed for Paddington Station where I'll take in central London for a bit before heading back on the train to the airport. So far I'm sore and tired!
Walked around a bit then stopped in a pub for some fish & chips, however, I must say the fish & chips at the Oceanside Harbor were better! Back on the train and back the Heathrow Airport to find the gate and plane for India.
Currently sitting here at LAX getting ready to board my plane to London. I've met up with a fellow interpreter and we are getting to know each other. We will have lots of time to learn about each other between this flight, an 8 hour lay-over in London and then the flight on to India. We have been informed that someone who works for the family will meet us at the airport and take us to a hotel where we will have a day or two to rest up from the jet-lag.
They are calling us to board so away I go!