Monday, March 30, 2009

"A Day in My Life" *COMING SOON*

For the month of April, I have to decided to post everyday to give you a glimpse into my life. I hope to include pictures of daily life here, the people that I know and love and the places that I frequent. I hope you'll enjoy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

10 things I love about this place

I decided to make a list of things that I am grateful for and truly love about this place. I sometimes forget that I am so blessed to be able to live here, know these people, experience this culture and serve Him in this way. So here it goes...

Bangles at an amazing market

1. I love that I can easily get the freshest of fruits and vegetables at our favorite outdoor market or from the precious little man that walks around our neighborhood with his cart every day yelling, "Vegetables! You want vegetables?" in the local language. And, it's dirt cheap.

2. I love my neighbors. Even though our doorbell sometimes rings constantly, our neighbors are wonderful. The little girls that come by to play and make us laugh when they fight with each other, the sweet aunty that brings us food on a weekly basis at the least, the family that let us borrow their super huge extra television set because they felt sorry that we didn't have one...

3. I love our security guards. Throughout our time here, we have had the best rotation of security guards! They are always so friendly and helpful. I know that they will take care of us. One of the highlights of my day is when I leave my gate, and the security guard yells out, "Hello! Had your breakfast?"

4. I love the little things about this culture that make it so unique. Like "Had your breakfast?" It is common here to ask this question (or "Had your lunch?") instead of "How are you?" And, if you say "no, I haven't," you might even be fed. I love the head bobble, the way they use the thumbs up as a signal that they are asking a question and the way the ladies wear flowers in their hair everyday.

5. I love the body of believers here, national and international. It's amazing how you can be totally different from someone culturally but still have so much common ground. Sisters and brothers despite race, culture and background.

6. I love auto rickshaws! Now, don't get me wrong. It can be scary since the traffic here is insane, and no one ever follows traffic laws. But, Reba and I feel so comfortable and relaxed in the autos that we could fall asleep. We barely talk when we are in one. It's kinda soothing. I do some of my best thinking in autos.

7. I love the, I love the food. I am going to miss it so much. Sure, I can cook a few dishes, but I don't know if the ingredients will be available (cheaply). And, restaurants in America are expensive compared to prices here. I know there will be days that I crave dal, garlic nan and hariyali kabob!

8. I love how this place calls my mind to God's Word constantly. I mean, I basically live in the Old Testament. I see the verses about idol worship, about the fatherless, etc. come to life. It is very sobering.

9. I love shopping here. Everything is so beautiful and so cheap. I have no idea what it feels like to buy something that costs more than, say, $15. Food, clothing and gift items are very inexpensive. Can you say reverse culture shock when I have to buy a $4 gallon of milk!?! That's 200 stinkin' rupees (I usually buy my milk for 12 rupees)!

10. I love how colorful everything is. From the women's saris to the brightly painted public buses to the colorful way the owners decorated my home, everything bursts with color. It is so fun!

These are just ten of the things I love. But I could name so many more. Even though I am excited to return to the States in 4 months, I am already beginning to feel the sadness that will come when I have to leave this place.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hollywood, Schmollywood...

Have you heard about Bollywood?

Well, maybe you have. Thanks to Slumdog Millionaire (SEE IT!). But, honestly, Slumdog is not a Bollywood, and the dance scene at the end doesn't do true Bollywood dance scenes any justice.

Bollywood is not a place like Hollywood, but it is the affectionate name for the Indian Hindi Film Industry. It is everywhere. Nearly every movie is 3 or more hours long and includes cheesy dance scenes and pop songs that never die and are forever linked to the films. Most plot lines involve something related to a young couple in love who decides to buck the system of arranged marriage against the wishes of the father and, therefore, spend the rest of their lives trying to restore the relationship with their families.

Here's an example of a Bollywood dance scene from the film Kal Ho Naa Ho. There are definitely better songs and dance scenes, but I chose this one because it has English subtitles (so you could get the full cheesiness effect). Also, the actors don't sing! They always lip sync.

Well, let me be honest. Not all films are like this. In fact, there are some really really good plots in some, and they all (even with the cheesy dance scenes) are generally very good, expensively-produced movies.

The funny thing about Bollywood is that there are several families that kinda rule the roost of Bollywood actors. Actors from these Bollywood dynasties are in nearly every movie. So, you end up seeing the same folks over and over in different roles. It starts to be a little confusing. Movie plots begin to blur.

Perhaps the most famous Bollywood actors are Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan.

"King Khan", as SRK is affectionately called, is the Bollywood heartthrob, and has been for many years. He almost always plays the young, star-crossed lover who wins the woman anyway, despite going against his own father or the father of the lady.

Shahrukh Khan

Amitabh Bachchan is referred to as "Big B," and he has been around Bollywood for years. If you've seen Slumdog, you might recognize Big B as the famous actor that little Jamal swam in poop to see! Big B's family is a Bollywood dynasty. His son, Abhishek is also a famous actor. Abhishek's wife Aishwarya Rai is a famous Bollywood actress, a former Miss World and is considered one of the world's most beautiful women.

Amitabh Bachchan

My personal favorite is John Abraham. What a hottie.

John (we are on a first name basis)

My favorite Bollywood actresses are Rani Mukherjee and Kajol.


Some of my favorite Bollywood movies are Jodhaa Akbar (really good one about the Mughal rule in India), Black and Jab We Met.

And, perhaps one of the best movies I've ever seen is the Hindi film Water. It's not a Bollywood, per se. It's a socially conscious movie about Indian widows and is set in the time around Indian independence from Britain (1947ish). It stars my beloved John Abraham and music by the guy who won the Oscar for Slumdog (A.R. Rahman).

In my humble opinion, everyone should check out Bollywood. Try one of the movies mentioned here, and let me know what you think. You'll be singing and dancing along in no time. For more suggestions on good films to watch, e-mail me!

P.S. Don't forget to make sure they have English subtitles!

Monday, March 9, 2009

So I sewed a dress...

for this little cutie...

This is my first attempt at sewing clothing since I learned to sew last year. I'll admit this was an easy pattern, and there are some janky seams here and there. But, it was so fun and looks so cute on Little Joy.

Last week I was able to visit my dear friends in another city, meet that precious baby and attend a ladies retreat held by these women. I even ran into an old friend from college unexpectedly!

It was an amazing time of teaching, encouragement, fellowship and fun! What a great break.