Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Delhi Belly

So.. for the past 48 hours I have been sick as a dog.

Why? Because apparently I got the Delhi Belly.

Ugh. I do not wish it upon ANYONE. I have been MISERABLE for the past two days.

Word to the wise: Chinese food is not safe anywhere. Especially in India...

Ashlee got sick last week and then I got sick Sunday night. What did we both have? The Chinese food from the place down at the corner...

Melanie took a picture of me curled up hiding under the pillow


But now I have learned to be more careful about eating hot foods.

So random fact: Whenever I get sick and can't eat for a few meals or throw up, for some reason if I eat beef, I won't have a problem with it. I don't know why or how it works (especially since it should be hard on my stomach) but it always helps me feel better.

So tonight was awesome when Sister Shailajan (Sister Alice) decided to make beef for us tonight! Yes, we had beef in India. :)

And for my first meal in 48 hours... it was delicious. And I kept it down. Hallelujah!

The wonderful beef gravy as she calls it

Sister Shailajan told us to sit this way so that we could learn how to eat the "Indian" way. It was fun! :)

I still feel horrible but I've learned to be a wee bit more careful with the local street food. I hope the week gets a little better. We'll see. :)

Leia Mais…

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Weekend

This is how you make a team ecstatically happy. By ordering Domino's Pizza and also having Coke. Pizza and Coke just go together... But soo yummy. The left is a veggie pizza and the right is a BBQ chicken pizza. SO good. Our team was on cloud 9 after dinner. :)

Also we ordered 4 "larges." It was funny, because they definitely would have been a small in the US, but even with how small they were, I couldn't eat as much as I normally do. I guess I've just gotten used to smaller portions. Woohoo adapting to others' eating styles! (Seriously... have you seen how HUGE a Wendy's medium drink is? It's like a supersized version of a medium)

I love Indian food, don't get me wrong. But when you're having rice every single day, it gets tiring. You long for bread and pasta and carbs in another form. When Sister Alice made us quesadillas the other night using chipati (the Indian version of a tortilla) we all were just so happy and inhaled the food.

After eating we filmed a "dating show" and that was hilarious. I'll post the video when Ale and I are done editing it. We had Sean as the bachelor and Angela, Ashlee and Melanie as the bachelorettes. It ended up being super funny and a great friday night activity.

So after a week of meetings and hashing out what we're doing with partners, we all needed a well-deserved break. I feel like I know so much more now (I've read 227 pages of a book a partner gave me on thursday already) but I'm a bit overloaded. So sleeping in on saturday was nice. We were supposed to go to a wedding but that didn't work out.

Instead, we were looking at things to do and we decided to go to the Nehru Zoological Park! We were all so excited to go. :)

It was a fun ride too because our auto driver kept pointing out landmarks in Hyderabad and explaining the significance. He's the first driver we've had do that! He was super nice.

After driving for 45 minutes we finally get there!

There were turtles that were HUGE

And a ton of monkeys!

(Do you like my new outfit? :) Yay Indian styles!)

This guy was PASSED OUT. So funny.

The park was a little confusing and there were SO many people there. I have seriously never ever seen so many people at a zoo before. And about 70% of those there were children under 10. In addition to all of these people, the park wasn't very well laid out. All of the maps showed one big loop with the animals. However, there are in reality a lot of different paths to take.

So Julie, Melanie and I wandered off and look what we found:

A Brontosaurus


A T-Rex!

It was so random and funny.

We continued walking and came across the elephants. One of the advertisements for the park was elephant rides, but we couldn't find it anywhere! And it didn't matter who we asked, everyone looked as us like we had a third head. :( So no elephant rides.

Just regular elephants.

We kept going and came across this pretty little lake.

And then we found the line for the lion and tiger safari!

Pictured: the other team members in line for the safari while we had just gotten on our bus. :)

So the first ferocious animal we saw was a lion!


That tan lump in the middle of the trees is a lion just ready to pounce! (or sleep...)

Up next, Tigers!

Who was totally enthralled by the whole experience...

Julie and Melanie

We were having fun, even if it was a little bit overly dramatic for nothing. One of the more exciting parts was when we were going downhill and the driver went fast so that the little kids screamed like a roller coaster. That was fun.

There were also bears but I couldn't get a good shot from my side of the bus. :(

But I got the last ferocious animal!

I'm trembling in fear...

So the Safari was a bust, but it was still fun. It cost like $0.50 to do it so no big loss. The whole zoo experience cost like $2 including food, which was nice.

mmm... yummy, and it's cool because the plate was made out of leaves!

After eating we saw a few last animals before heading out.

A hungry hungry hippo

And a lion who was playing with his brother

On our way out we found this great spot to take pictures.

The group pretending to be animals

Sean, Melissa, Ashlee, Brandon, Angela, Julie, Melanie and Seth

And a nice shot of the group :)

After leaving the zoo, Melanie, Julie and I wanted to go to Cherma's to see if there were any outfits we could get. The first time we went was the first saturday here and it was a little crazy with the entire group so none of us had gotten anything.

It was a long ride back, but it was nearing sunset so I took some pictures of the city scenes.

Waterway near the zoo

a slum

I think it's the justice building? Not quite sure


this is so common here, people are so touchy feely with their friends!

This is typical India, first and third worlds combined

No that's not a glare from the sun, that's smog from the autos (rickshaws)

I thought this was a really cool structure, I think it's a mosque but we went by it too fast for me to read the signs, either way it was neat. :)

We passed by this, so random but funny

Smile! A little bright but it's in a small space

Welcome to India where this is the perfect family vehicle! Notice the child on the mom's lap.

The beautiful view of the Buddha in the Hussain Sagar Lake :)

This is the little place we get lassi's and food sometimes near the corner of our street and a big street.

So we finally got to Cherma's and were able to do some shopping. I got four new outfits! :)

I got:

A green and white one

A red and brown one

A purple and blue one

And a purple and white one

It was so nice to get these outfits! They are SO much cooler than my shirts that I brought. And my shirts are cotton! And they're pretty and I don't get as many stares when I'm in them.

Sunday was absolutely fantastic. The branch is SO strong here! There is such an air of humility and true love of God. Everyone who is in the branch has had to constantly defend their beliefs or come to know them on their own. Apparently the week before we got here there was the first ever blessing of a baby in the branch that was a 3rd generation member. That's awesome! The talks are all humble and wonderful and everyone sings (even if it's a little interesting in that department...). It's truly been such a blessing to be able to go to this branch. THIS is what the church is really all about! This is where it is the most needed. It can and does bless the lives of so many here.

And since we are only here for a short amount of time, we won't be officially transferring our records to the branch. But that means we can help out wherever we're needed. Guess where I was asked to go? Nursery and Primary! I'm with the yunguns all sunday! Woohoo! Actually it was ...educational. Haha. There were only two kids in nursery that day. All of the others didn't want to leave mom. :) But we had Jacelyn and Spencer. Jacelyn is Sister Gloria's daughter (remember Golconda Fort?). She is SO adorable. And so well behaved! Such a cutie. And then we had Spencer... or Spencie as he goes by. He's the branch president's son and he... well, he's a 2 year old boy. Full of energy! But it was fun to help out and feed them snacks and keep them from getting in trouble. Spencie didn't want to eat his snack at first because we gave him a spoon (most people eat here without utensils) but once I motioned with his hands, he dug in. And somehow he got rice EVERYWHERE. Seriously, how can kids do that? It's a special skill. I was holding his plate and everything and somehow he got it underneath the plate and all over his pants.

After helping out with snack time, I had mentioned to the Primary President as a suggestion that maybe I could teach the Primary kids the Father's Day song to sing in sacrament meeting. I thought she would get back to me on it but then she told Melanie and me to come into the primary room with the nursery kids and teach them the song! Right then and there! So... we taught them the song and it was so cute. As soon as I did the "great, big kiss, MWAH" they all giggled and nearly fell off their chairs they were laughing so hard. But it was fun to see the kids excited about doing a song for their dads. :)

Such a great branch. It will be so much fun to go there for the next few months. It's also been great because there has been a baptism every week that we have been here. And there are at least two more scheduled for the upcoming weeks. It's so exciting to see the work progress. Hopefully we can get senior couples back to India to help do service work and to further progress.

Overall a great weekend.

Leia Mais…

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Days flying by

Wow... I cannot believe that it is Thursday already! Where did the time go?! Have I really been here for 2 weeks tomorrow?

Holy cow.

India is so crazy and so much fun. I find I'm finally adjusting to the weather (yay!) and the spices (mmm) and even arguing with rickshaw drivers over prices and where we're supposed to go. :)

So some summary of the past week or so. I've met with a lot of partners and figured out what I'll be doing (mostly) with them and with the other team members.

So I am the project lead with CARPED for the Quarter Acre project. We're basically going to be showing how a poor family can live off of that small amount of land. But that means building a mud house (that should be interesting), adding a soilet (more on that later), adding an adobe stove and having square foot gardens in the back yard! It should be fun but a lot of work.

I'll also be working on the Polavaram Dam project. I'll be helping to analyze the impact of the dam on the tribal cultures that will be displaced. That should be fascinating.

I'll also be working with the MV Foundation with doing murals on the school walls. That one isn't set in stone yet, but we'll see how it goes!

Things have been so intense lately with meeting after meeting with the partner and solidifying what we're doing. But it's fun to be able to drive around the city and realize I know where I am and recognize roads, landmarks, etc. It's also been fun to get to know the team better. We're a good mix of people and it's been really fun meshing so far.

Oh, and on friday we had our "initiation" ceremony where we were given food and not told what it was before we ate it.

Can you guess what it is? I figured it out and wasn't too happy with it...

But they made it up by giving us cake later. :)

Kinda makes up for the fact that we were served goat brains...

More later!

Leia Mais…

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Charminar!

So on Saturday a group of us went to the Charminar to go shopping with Sister Alice. It was our first experience with going on buses. It was an interesting experience.

This is outside the main street closest to our house. For some reason I feel that this picture epitomizes India.

Here we are going on the bus, it was funny because when we got on the first time the girls just followed Rem... to the guy's side of the bus. We got a few chuckles as we went to the front of the bus.

So after 3 buses we finally get off at the Charminar.

It's so cool!

A picture of the palace across the street

A closer view

It was neat to see it up close. Because we were shopping we didn't have time to go up and look around.

It was interesting to see all of the different people hawking their wares. It was SO crowded though. Saturday is market day and the Charminar is always busy but especially busy on saturdays.

Some of the vendors and their wares

We finally get to this nice store and start to look around.

The store where we got our outfits

People looking at the outfits.

Sister Alice helping to make sure we get a good price. :)

After buying our clothes, we went to eat lunch while our outfits had the sleeves put on. We found this great restaurant and ate. We had some of the yummiest food. We had like 6 different dishes. All I ate was the paneer butter masala (my favorite Indian dish by far) and naan. Oh man, we had garlic naan. I forgot how much I love garlic. It was SO good. :)

Where we ate

Julie and Melissa with their dessert drink

I always take pictures when Melissa is eating apparently....

On our way back from the restaurant to pick up our clothes we got distracted by bangles.

Shiny bangles

It was sad because Melissa bought a bag and sometime between then and when we got on the bus we realized that her wallet had gotten stolen. :( It was a learning moment that you shouldn't leave wallets on the top of your bag in a crowd.

After leaving the Charminar, we realized it was easier to take an auto (a rickshaw) to the bus station than trying to catch a bus going in that direction. So... all 9 of us got into the rickshaw.
Hilarity and pictures ensued.

Angela is on my lap, Julie is next to me, Sister Alice is next to her, Brandon is in the back ledge, Melanie was on Julie's lap and Melissa was hanging onto the side while Rem and Ashlee sat next to the driver in the front.

It was an interesting day and definitely a fun market experience.

Leia Mais…