Now that I have a NEW CAMERA that I'm SO thankful for!!!! Here is my very first picture that I took with it!!! Not too shabby!!!! This was taken from Mt. Hermon (where I live) on the backside of the place facing North!!!! Yes, these are the Himalayas and they are even MORE stunning in person!!!!:) It really makes you think how much of life you miss out on if you don't travel at least one other place in the world and experience an ENTIRELY new surrounding and culture!!!! I never dreamed I would be teaching in India, let alone LIVING in for 3 years minimum!!!!!! But now that I am here I am SO very thankful I took that chance, leaving pretty much all of my family and friends 4000 miles away, and moved to India!!! Yes, I miss you all OH SO MUCH, and here's the but, BUT like Dave said it best, you will all still be there waiting for me when I return from this journey!!! However long that will be!!! Yes, I am contimplating staying longer than 3 years now!!! I have taken a shining to my 8th grade class and want to see them graduate in 2014, which would mean 5 years over here!!! And there are so MANY teachers who only stay 2-3 years at Woodstock, some even 1, that I do NOT want to be one that builds this awesome relationship with my students and before you know it I'm outta there, leaving them hanging!!! They have enough of that as it is, I feel they need some reliability in at least some of their teachers!! But that's not here nor there, that's in another 2 years for me to decide!!! And a LOT can happen in 2 years!!!;) Heck, so much has happened already and it's only 4 months!!!!! AND I'm not even sure they'll want me back!!! There's no guarantee I will be asked for another contract!!! So when that times come, I'll come back to this!! For now, it's time to continue living life in India, missing everyone in Minnesota, and teaching the BEST subject ever: PHYSICAL EDUCATION!!!!!!:) Also, discovering my dream job!!! THAT we will cover later!! For now it's bed time!! GOOOOOOOOOD NIGHT PLANET EARTH!!!!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Here are just a COUPLE of my RANDOM WITHOUT WARNING PHOTO PICTURES and the sweetness and realism they bring to the photo world!!!! ENJOY!!!!:)
Hey Laura nice face!!!! OH and you just got RANDOM PHOTO SHOTTED!!!!!!:)
Matt and I agreed that this was by far the BEST photo ever of him!!!:) Oh and by the way Matt YOU GOT RANDOM PHOTO SHOTTED!!!!
Hey NEW BEST FRIEND who I'm replacing Matt as your "rebound boyfriend" YOU JUST GOT RANDOM PHOTO SHOTTED!!!!!:)
OH THE HORROR OF BEING RANDOM PHOTO SHOTTED!!!!!!!! I got camera jacked....
Well I hope you understand now the seriousness and horror that is THE RANDOM WITHOUT WARNING PHOTO PICTURE!!!!!:) Look out and always be looking over your shoulder, they could hit at anytime.........
First off I would just like to clarify something that has been bothering me for a while now!!!!! Is Lake Titicaca a REAL LAKE or a FAKE LAKE?!?! Your thoughts and insight would be MUCH appreciated at this point in time!!!! Okay back to mature world, HEY WELCOME TO BLOG POST NUMBER 100!!!!!! HECK YES IT'S NOT, but it's coming up soon I think?!?! Maybe 2011?!? WHO KNOWS!!! Well continuing from the ARRIVAL to Mussoorie from Activity Weekgot home and said my goodbyes to the students and Jennie and Aloke, THEN immediately headed to the bazaar for groceries and CLOCK TOWER CAFE!!!!! Got the egg fried rice and honey chicken!! Can't EVER have enough of that!!!:) YUMMY!!!!!! Walked home and as soon as I stepped in the house Dave and Cookie get home and we talk about this terrorist thing!! Sorry details of the convo, for security reasons, will be left between us!!! HEY you never know who reads these things!!! BUT I can talk about the pizza they ordered!!!! They just got home from their MONSTER TREK/HARDEST OUT OF ALL THE TREKS and were starving so was going to order some pizza!! Couldn't pass that up, so they ordered Dominoes and we ate and sat at their place talking about our activity weeks!!! Yeah their week sounded like HellO!!!!! Cold as heck, slept in places claustrophobic's would HATE, and couldn't even make it to their destination cause of 3-4ft snow drifts they would have had to walk through!! YEAH sounds REAL FUN compared to a week on the beach and sun!!!:) After pizza I was exhausted so went home and crashed until waking up 10am Sunday morning!!! THAT felt good to wake up with NO SCHEDULES OR STUDENTS!!!! Pretty much my entire Sunday consisted of playing Risk II on my computer and blogging/journaling until 3pm!!! THEN I heard word that the Boven's were throwing a "Goodbye Brinner" (brinner = breakfast for dinner) for Matt and Brady since it was their last night in Mussoorie, sad!!!:( I headed over to Jennie and Megan's to pick them up then we headed over to the Boven's for some DELICIOUS BRINNER!!! Got there and the smell was INTOXICATING!!! They had: crepe's, egg bake (haven't had egg bake since mom cooked it for me last, which I miss by the way mom, little note for when I return!!!!;)), pancakes, cinamon bread, biscuits, AND JUICE!!! SOOOOOO GOOD!!!:) We ate and talked about life!!! Oh and maybe a little RANDOM WITHOUT WARNING PHOTO PICTURES!!!!!!!!! Haven't done those since the couch days!!! And all you UMDnites out there know exactly what I'm talking about!! If you have NO clue what RANDOM WITHOUT WARNING PHOTO PICTURES are, it's basically when I take a picture without warning of someone's face REAL close!!! It's SO MUCH FUN!! TRY IT!!!:) We hung out at the Boven's for a couple of hours, THEN shifted the party to the Farley's because Matt and Brady had to do their laundry before they left, and HEY where better to do it then the Farley's right!!! haha I bet they deep down HATE IT!!:) OR love it!! Whichever!! Oh and you know what LAUNDRY night means: MENTALIST AND SVU AND SCRUBS AND OFFICE AND SOMETIMES MOVIE!!!!!! That night it was a Mentalist marathon!!! AWESOME!!:) After hours of the Mentalist it was time to head home and have only ONE more day of Bratt (Brady and Matt)!!! NOT COOL GUYS!!!
Well we reassured the students, on the ride home, that no terrorists are going to be attacking Rishikesh or Woodstock when we return!!!:) Some of the students were joking that each one of them would get personal body guards wherever they went, including the bathroom, and the guard would be set-up on the toilet paper holder with sand bags all around!!! So it was very comforting to know the light-hearted mood could still be had under a terrorist threat!!!:) Get back to camp, have some dinner and call it a night!! And what a night it was!!! In the morning (Friday), AGAIN, we wake up to terrorist talk, but only for the first 15 minutes or so!!! Now one thing I was REALLY looking forward to the entire trip was yoga!!! I really really really wanted to learn traditional Hindi yoga!!! So everyone is ready to go at 7am on the white mats they lay out for us over the sand!!! We see our yoga instructor walk up wearing jeans and a dark blue polo shirt!!! Not to be stereotypical of a yoga instructor, BUT when one thinks of yoga they think of loose, comfortable clothing, very NON-corportate, and long (possibly beard) hair!!! This guy was the COMPLETE opposite!! FIRST red flag!!! So he takes off his jeans, WEARING SHORTS UNDERNEATH, and begins by having us breath in and out slowly, then chanting ummmmmmmm!! Okay kinda off to a normal start!!! Fast forwarding through the entire LAME session, it was basically glorified stretching for an hour with elongated breathing mixed in!! NO explanation on why we breath like that, NO easy-flowing transitions from pose to pose!!! The guy couldn't even explain the poses correctly, and this was to 3 teachers as well, ONE being a freakin PE teacher who kinda specializes in that!!!! Not to mention he focused on our shoulders for like 45 freakin minutes!!! "STRETCH YOUR SHOULDERS" he kept yelling!! I just wanted to yell back, "I'LL STRETCH YOUR FACE!!!" Makes no sense, but just random enough he'd be thrown off by it!!!:) So yeah needless to say yoga was a HUGE disappointment!!! After yoga we had a nice 2 1/2 hour hike planned, along the river and through the woods to a peaceful little village we go!!!! Then to get back to the bus we TOTALLY had to FORD the river!! THAT'S RIGHT OREGON TRAIL STYLE!!! However, sadly, we didn't have any oxen or people with typhoid to ford across!!!:( If only we would have lost 34 pounds of food, 3 oxen, 2 wheels, Jimmy, and Bobby, while fording the river that would have been awesome!!!:) Not so much losing Jimmy and Bobby but you get the point!! A REAL LIFE Oregon Trail mishap!!! IN INDIA!! Eat that Richard Simmons!!!! So we FORDED across the river 3 times, each with a different load to ford, and walked .47km to the bus!!! Friday afternoon was nice and relaxing, BUT with a little RAPELLING thrown in there!!! Rapelling was AWESOME!! It was a 60ft flat cliff!! Just getting up to the starting point was a challenge!! Basically an 80 degree incline of rocks and trees to get to our starting point!! AWESOME!!:) There were 5 of us, Jennie (teacher), me, and 3 students!!! One of the students, Arit, was awesome at it!! We were jumping off the rock and landing back on our feet again, AND even running vertically on it!! Very very fun!! Did it 3 times, and each time used less rope for resistance so I could go down faster!!! Pretty soon it was basically a controlled fall with lots of jumping!! Needless to say Arit and I picked up on it very quickly and shook off the nerves we once had in the beginning!!;) Friday night had dinner by the campfire, then we agreed since it was their last night here they could stay up 'til 11pm!!! I stayed up with them until 10, listening to ghost stories, getting asked how strong/tall I was in high school, why did I grow my beard, what sports did I play, why did I come to India!! So basically the first 15 minutes of campfire was HEY let's ask Mr. Steve 50 questions about his life!! But I found it fun, especially when I told them I was 6ft tall in high school!! They were very jealous, cause apparently every Indian boy wants to be REAL tall, and 6'2" (what I am now) is the perfect height according to them!!!:) Then they began telling ghost stories which were quite impressive!!:) I couldn't stay up all night with them so I headed to bed around 10 and fell RIGHT to sleep!!!:) Saturday morning comes nice and fast and AGAIN it yoga time, yay....... Sure enough it was the same guy as before AND same as before showed up in his corporate attire!!! BLAH!!!! He did the SAME exercises for the first 30 minutes of our session!! Even "STRETCH YOUR SHOULDERS!!! COME ON!! STRETCH THEM!!!!!" At that point I got internally irate!!! This guy is being paid good money for a session I could have taught the students for free!!! AND with clarity and easy to understand instructions!!! BLAH!!! Sooooooo another hour wasted with a stupid yoga instructor, who I'm sure is very successful, so I don't feel bad I'm completely bashing him, cause he's probably in it for the money anyways!!! ON TO A MORE POSITIVE NOTE: BREAKFAST!!!!! Our last breakfast there and was it ever AWESOME!!! Fried eggs, toast, pourage, peanut butter/jam, AND of course chocolate milk!!! After breakfast was done we agreed that the students would clean their tents and pack first BEFORE having leisure time!! OH MY GARBAGE!!! Jennie and I walked around the tents to supervise!!!! Their tents (even the girls) were RIDICULOUSLY MESSY!!! Garbage on the floor, clothes on the floor, etc.!!! AFTER ONLY 5 FULL DAYS OF LIVING THERE!!!! I do NOT want to see their rooms at home!! And yes mom and dad, mine was just as bad in 10th grade, I KNOW, if not worse!!:) But holy crikey brought me back to the good ol' days!!!! So they cleaned and packed for an hour then had some leisure time!!! Had our LAST lunch then said our goodbyes!!! WHAT AN AMAZING ACTIVITY WEEK IT WAS!!!!:) AWESOME!!!!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Ooooooooookay so kinda stopped writing my blog mid-week there last Sunday, SORRY about that!!! MY DEEPEST SINCEREST APOLOGIES!!! For punishment I made myself do push-ups until I could push no more!!! Now one would think that would be fun for me cause I love working out, BUT I had to do push-ups WHILE............WEARING JEANS!!!!!!!! Soooooo uncomfortable and constricting!!! I don't know how your normal people do it!!!!! So I did my push-ups and INSTANTLY when I was done I stripped down and got my pj's back on!! Sooooooooooo much relief it was amazing!!!!:) Okay enough about that BACK to activity week!!! Now I didn't look at my older post to see where I left off, and I'm too lazy to go back and check right now, SO I'm going to guess and assume I left off on Tuesday!!! NOW Tuesday was AMAZING!!! This was the LONGEST day of rafting out of the 4 rafting days!!! We rafted for 5 HOURS!!! It was tiring, beautiful, and relaxing ALL at once!! Oh and add freakin cold too when we jumped in the river!!!!:) BUT I suppose it wasn't as cold as the hikers who hiked the Himalayas during activity week or didn't poo all week cause they were too cold!!! Hmmmmmm wonder who that was!!!;) Don't worry $#%$% you'll remain nameless!!! Rafted for 5 hours and pulled out where we will begin tomorrow (Wednesday)!!! Afternoon back at camp was leisure time again and we kayaked and swam!!!! Had dinner by the campfire then ALL went to bed around 9pm, cause we were EXHAUSTED!!!:) Now Wednesday was by far the most EXCITING rafting day!! WE FACED "THE WALL"!!! A level 4- rapid, which is 2 levels under the highest (6)!!! Yeah it was intense!!!:) Unfortunately, to hear about "The Wall", you'll have to wait until I return, via skype or in person here in India!! That's one adventure that canNOT be told via blog!!! So HA and HA!!!!!:) SKIPPING ahead to Thursday!!! Getting a little time to sleep in, we put-in around 10pm from camp and then rafted to Rishikesh!! FACING 8 RAPIDS!!! The first 3 were intense and awesome!! About levels 3+, 3, and 3-!!! A lot of water coming right at us, FACIAL!!!!:) The last 5 rapids were minor rapids but still fun as HECK and we stood on the raft for 2, and ALL made it!! YEAH we gots good balance here in India!!! Thank you PE class!!!!;) Then we came to a cliff diving part of the rapid, where it was this 25 foot rock overhang!!! Now to make sure it wasn't too shallow one of our guides, Vijay's brother, jumped from the rock into the river first!! HE popped up and sure enough said "SAND HIT BUTT"!!! Soooo no go for cliff diving, kinda disappointing!!! So I decided to use that rock anyway and did some REAL rock climbing!! Granted half my body was in the water while the other half was climbing, using all upper body baby!! OH YEAH it was INTENSE, if I fell the drop would be DEADLY!!!! I might have gotten my hair/bandana wet from the massive 2 foot drop!!!!!!:) There was also a heated springs that we relaxed in!! Mostly heated because the sun shined on this very shallow stream, no lava or anything naturistic like that!!!;) Thursday night we actually went into Rishikesh and walked around for an hour looking at shops and such, THEN celebrated Dev Diwali!! A light celebration where Hindi's lit candles and let them float down the river!! It was to celebrate one of their lady goddess who was the protector of the river if I believe!! Anyways it was SUPER COOL to witness!!! A lot of SINGING AND A LOT OF LIGHTS!!:) Oh and while we were watching, their was this REALLY white guy there that was dancing all white guyish and laughing, and had basically no rhyme or reason why he was dancing but doing it just for the heck of it!! Yeah basically every Indian was looking at him with disgust, and NO IT WASN'T ME!!! I have a little more respect than that, thank you!!! So I slowly moved away from him not to be part of his little dance show!!!! We head back to the bus and during our walk back one of my student's gets a little phone call on her celly!!! Well GREAT NEWS was received, apparently in the newspaper today, 2 terrorists were caught in Chicago and mentioned the LeT's next target was Doon and Woodstock School in Northern India!! Ooooooooh that went over GREAT with the student, and of course she told EVERYONE!! So the entire bus ride home it was, are we going to be blown up when we get back, what's happening, etc. panic continued!!! Except it wasn't scared panic it was more joking around panic!!! Terrorist's cont..........
WHAT A WEEK IT HAS BEEN!!!!!!!!!!!! Going from CONSTANT sun in Mussoorie to CONSTANT sun AND 80+ degree weather everyday in Rishikesh!!!! It's a rough life sometimes!!!!!:) So as stated in my last blog we (3 staff (Jenny, Aloke, me) and 24 10th graders) left Sunday morning for Rishikesh at 9am and arrived at camp around 12ish!!!!!! As you can see from the picture THIS is home for the next week!!!! Everyone had their own tent (students had a roomie, some two!!!) and it was RIGHT on the Ganga!!!!! I mean you could basically do 18 cartwheels or 21 forward rolls or 7 running forward rolls from your tent to the Ganga and hit water!!!!! Not that I tried or anything just educated guesses!!!!!!!;) We had lunch when we got there then drove 45 minutes up stream and did the basic safety and intro rafting trip!!!! We had 4 raft guides throughout the 6 days we were there: Vijay (head guide), Ram (his bro), Phil (only white guy (besides Amon) on staff who loved going shirtless and doing crunches), and Small but VERY strong (that's what we called him I don't know his real name!!!!:) So they showed us the 4 proper safety rescue techniques: grab lifeline, paddle, throw rope bag, and kayak rescue!!!!:) All were very fun to watch being demonstrated on dry land!!!! We put-in 2 hours East of camp and encountered 3 rapids along the way plus a swimming rapid!!! The 3 rapids we CONQUERED were called 3-Blind Mice!! They were awesome!!! A very nice way to start off our trip, not too hard and overwhelming, but not wussy by any means!!! We lost NO ONE (and when I say lost I'm stressing overboard mostly, not died) in those!!!! Then we came to our swimming rapid which is basically a rapid we jump OUT of the raft in and just float the entire way through!!! Let me say one thing, the Ganga is freakin COLD, at first!!! Nothing like the Polar Plunge, but when the air temp is 80 degrees and you're going into a 40-45 degree river, yeah it's kinda cold at first!!!!! So we jump into the floating rapid and basically it lead us all the way back to camp!!!! Afternoons all week were pretty much leisure time!!! We had options to: rappel, kayak, swim, volleyball, badminton, frisbee, football (soccer), or lay in the sun and RELAX!!!!! Being the first day and our first chance to kayak or swim EVERYONE was in the water either kayaking or swimming in no time after we got back from rafting!!!:) Like I said once you warmed up to the water and moved around it was quite pleasant to be in!!! EXCEPT around 4pm!!! Because we're basically on flat ground in the river valley, once the sun goes behind the MASSIVE hill across the river from us, there is NO sun at all on the river and it's swimming in shade the rest of the day!!! The air temp at that point goes from 80 to 70 REAL fast, and that water is A LOT COLDER!!!!:) Dinners throughout the 6 days had a VERY common theme: CHICKEN AND RICE!!!!!!!! Every freakin night it was some variation of chicken and white rice, oh and can't forget the dal!!!! When we were there for lunches those were better: pasta, noodles, tuna, etc!!! VARIETY!!!!! Sunday night we chilled by the campfire, which started at 6:30pm cause it was BLACK as BLACK by 6-6:30 every night!!! It got dark REAL fast!!!!:) Oh and one thing we couldn't figure out is why all the tents and shelters were tied down with white rope ON WHITE SAND!!!!!!!!!! Whoever thought all tents and whatnot should be tied down with white rope while on the beach is a complete jerk!!!!!!:) It was constant tripping after tripping over ropes the entire week!!!! And at night time one would think the white ropes would be a little more visible in pitch black, YEAH NO, almost decapitated half of my students!!!!:) So we told them to ALWAYS walk around with a torch (flashlight)!!! Monday was no rafting but instead a 5 hour day hike through one of the North valleys, perpendicular to the Ganga!!! We hiked about 500-600 feet upwards throughout the day and had AMAZING views along the way, as seen here in this photogenic opportunity!!!!!! During our hike we added 2 black canine friends that tagged along the entire way!!! I named them Rocky and Apollo!!!!!:) There were a couple checkpoints that we passed throughout our hike, our first one was this little temple that was like any other temple we've passed!!! Then we came to this village that was on top of the highest peak we would climb throughout the hike!!! We got a FULL 360 degree view of the ENTIRE VALLEY!!!! IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!!!:) Eating lunch in the village would just be rude, so we hiked a little bit past the village and ate lunch there!!! On our way back through the village, the local village dog (I called him Clubber Lang) was feeling VERY territorial that day towards Rocky and Apollo and TOTALLY got in with it with Rocky!!!! There was a 30 second scuffle, involving blood and Clubber RUNNING AWAY defeated!!! I was like heck yes Rocky and gave him some of my unfinished sandwhich in triumph!!!!! Then sang him Eye of the Tiger!!! We hiked back going basically 70 degrees downward and came to a river bed that was mostly dry, except during monsoon season, and enters into the Ganga!!!! It was obvious a day hike was NOT what the students had in mind for fun that day, BUT, barely little complaining and when they got back to camp it was history cause kayaks and water was waiting for them!!!!! ACTIVITY WEEK CONTINUED!!!!!!!!!!!...................