Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cold And Flu Season

The little girl in the middle wearing the pink skirt is my newest English class student. She missed all the celebrations and the Christmas party because she was sick. The diseases run through the city's population. Deep chest colds, chills, fever flourish in this heat, we have it all, just like wind and snow chilled Chicago.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Winter's Tale (or tail)

There he is .......................look quick...
Right there, gold, near the bushes.

Oh you missed him! Last year two days after we arrived it rained and when we went out in it every corner was sparkling with dragon flies. Since we didn't know any people yet I decided that the dragonflies were the most enchanting thing about Chennai. I determined that next rainy season I would get their picture. One day right after the rain I was coming home in an auto and we saw a cluster of dragonflies buzzing around a green filled corner. Out of the auto I leaped like a little girl and with the aid a a fresh tree branch we caught one.

Backside...look closely at the gossamer wings.

Front side and his little face. Undoubtedly the best gold creation that India has to offer. (No animals or dragonflies were harmed during this capture. He flew away home.)

A Perfect Time

The Monsoon was over. The extra storm gone and the sky was freed of its typical gray. Heavenly blue reigned in the day and...
The night sky was dramatically full of birds and dragonflies. It was a perfect time for the Christmas season.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It All Started

A few months ago the younger brother was baptized. In December the decision of the older brother started our Christmas season. He was now ready to be baptized.
The younger brother had the proper authority to baptize his brother. This was a first since we have been here. Usually the missionaries do the baptism. Letting new members use their priesthood helps them to grow faster.

It was a very happy time for the missionaries as they came up to the end of a year with lots of work, lots of walking and lots of high temperatures to make their missions interesting.

This was an exception rather that a rule, but we celebrated a few days later with American food. Both of these young men love everything American. They were amazed at this restaurant with surf board on the wall and

License plates from every state.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Unique English Class

The assistant takes over the class. She is good at drilling and they increase their vocabulary.
Since this is conversational English the girls figured out that they could speak English and paint and so we do.

At the tree trimming party we added dancing.

And of course board work with a little art.

TIP: If you have marble floors don't teach nine year olds to swing dance. They will expect you to dance with them and it takes at least two days to recover from the high intensity impact.

It's Beginning to Look Somewhat Like Christmas

A friend wrote asking, "How do you get in the Christmas mood in a land of the Hindu?" This year we got a little rain and it took the edge off the heat. I got the tree up early and invited girls from my English class to help.

If you noticed green ribbons around their necks. They are not for Christmas decorations. It was too easy to get similar names of sisters mixed up so I made cute name tags and got the right name with the right girl finally. They like the tags so much that now they wear them every week.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Butter Ball

Here I am a year ago, down the path ready to run if the rock moves.
Is it progress to now put myself in harms way? Anyway here we are standing upright not side ways as shown iin the other post. One day I will get this technology thing!

Braver And Braver

During the visit to this site last year I posed way down hill and a little to the side of this big rock. This year I got brave enough to get up close and personal. I am barefoot so I can out run the rock if it starts to roll. It is called the butterball. Krishna (One Hindu god) loves butter and the legend is he threw it to the top of the hill.
I got brave enough to have my picture taken with monkey boy and his friend.

But braver and braver is not enough for this moment. For the elephant you must be braver and braver and braver! Think really big nose with really bad cold and you will know what is on top of your head after this loving kiss.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Finally Out Of The Camera

These are pictures from that same day that the monsoon started. They were just in the other camera and our computer has been rejecting things lately. Here we are in what could be termed the "backyard." of this ancient carved city. Mahablipuram. If you were an apprentice carver you worked here in this out of the way corner.
We were told that this carving was for water storage. We could come up with another good use.

Squared off holes about the size of a small loaf of bread were chiseled in a row along the middle of a large rock. With this and then pressure they could split the huge boulders.

Behind us is the "backyard" practice area.

We think that the novice who did these elephants was soon graduated to the big leagues.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Only A Bit Of Monsoon Each Day

It has almost stopped raining here in Chennai. People are grateful for the rain even though it brings lots of problems. This morning I saw a fifteen foot deep trench that was ten feet wide. The construction there must now stop because the trench is half full of water. This scene is played out over and over throughout the city. Sometimes it involves sewer lines and then there is threat to health. All over India the monsoon has brought draught relief on one hand and death on the other. Two states in particular suffered extreme flooding and high death toll. Yet scientist say that India will be out of water in twenty years. It would seem impossible and yet. . .
The river of ancient fame suffers mighty changes. In many places there is not enough water to perform the traditional rites at death.
At times of the year the head waters of the famous Ganges River have sunk to small pools here and there. Could this be happening to rivers all over the world. Is it past time for action?
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving To You

By now you have ordered the turkey and all the trimmings and soon you will start baking. We got invited out to an early Thanksgiving on November 7th so the holiday is passed for us. Here we are some of us gathered in the home of the same family who invited us last year. Hopefully it is a better year for them. There was a storm both years but the street into their new home was not under two feet of water like we experienced last year.

The dinner last year was wonderful but three days before it the family had to abandon their home because everything they touched gave them a shock. (I get a shock every time I use my computer. That's India.) The electricians repaired and the family came back and started to fix the Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey arrived from Bangalore but, it had all the feathers and the head. A new employee at her husbands office was not fully assigned as he had just arrived from the US. He left the office and came to our hostesses rescue. Without being too graphic he "shaped up" the turkey quickly.
This year the turkey came from Thailand and was elegant and traditional.

A local restaurant that does American food will do a Thanksgiving buffet. We have invited the senior missionaries from the humanitarian mission as our guests. We are in the same city but do not see each other often. This little extra dinner will be fun. There will be no turkey, only chicken but they will have cranberry sauce. Interesting what you miss when you are far from home.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

थे मोंसून इस स्टील विथ उस

एंड आईटी इस बिग्गेर एंड बेत्टर!


திஸ் இஸ் தி வே தட் தமிழ் லூக் வி ஹவே பௌந்து தி அல்மோஸ்ட் ஆல் எங் பெஒப்லே திரட்டி அண்ட் டோவ்ன் ஒன்லி ச்பெஅக் தமிழ். தே டூ நாட் வறிதே இட்.


Aren't grandchildren fun? These two little guys came to visit Chennai and we got to enjoy them.

These boys are not ours, but we would claim them any day. The little one is an animated "talker." His face breaks into a grin every time he communicates with you.

Here are the parents of the boys. When this Mom was younger she and her family came every Christmas with a batch of chocolate chip cookies. We ended up as their guests for breakfast, a real treat for missionaries who are usually offered lots of biryani. (chicken ( not much,) rice, and LOTS of spice. A third child will come to their family in a few months. Hope they were planning to announce!

Big brother kept us entertained with his great knowledge and unique humour.

So our grandchildren or NOT we had a great morning. Thank you Mary and Gene for the loan!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Monsoon Facts

We went sight seeing with friends even though the monsoon had started. So the first thing we learned was that a monsoon can begin rather gently. The rain was soft throughout this day and into the next.
Our household has two umbrellas and that brings up another monsoon fact. When the monsoon really gets going it is best for each person to have their own umbrella and tuck it close to your head. If you have curly hair you will look like the down on a thistle until monsoon is over.

This little goat has the right idea. As the days of monsoon advance the humidity even in the house can be almost 100%. It doesn't seem possible that it could be so humid that it hurts but there is no other way to describe it. Finally the whole think cranks up to raining all day and all night and then it stops and everyone says that it is short this year. They thought it would be three weeks and it was only two.

When you discover that one umbrella is lost you say, "That was good timing, we don't really need it now""

But the next day it starts all over again.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Our First Monsoon

It started over a week ago and we haven't had time to write about it yet. All the rain we experienced last year when we arrived turned out to be a typhoon. Last year there was no monsoon and we thought there would not be one this year either. Everyone said it wasn't coming.

One morning we woke to a grey sky. Checking the Internet we found that the monsoon was starting that morning or at least in 24 hours. We ignored the news and took off for the airport to pick up friends. We headed out for our planned activities and only had to use the umbrellas a couple of times. Heading south we stayed in front of the storm and it didn't catch us until the next day.
Posted by Picasa