Friday, August 3, 2012


I can sum up last night’s dinner with two (or three?) words: feta-stuffed bread.  Pair that with tonight’s description—hot custard & ice cream sundaes—and it’s safe to say that I’m one happy and overly-indulged girl.

Perhaps even more exciting than dinner is the fact that I have officially survived my first “week” (3 days) of teaching!  The next two days will definitely be filled with extensive plannage.  Luckily, each class period is only 45 minutes long, whereas I’m used to planning out 80-minute blocks of time.
I also need to work on learning students’ names over the weekend.  This will be an incredibly difficult task.  It’s hard enough to memorize names that I’m familiar with, but the names of my new students are so… well… foreign.  Yesterday, I had each student write his/her name very largely on a piece of notebook paper.  Then, I used my camera to take a video:  each student held up the name tag and read it aloud, and I repeated it.  I think it will be a helpful study tool, though I wonder how many times I’ll have to watch the videos for the names to really sink in!
This weekend is also the first one for which I have no specific plans (granted, it’s only my third weekend here).  The first weekend, my “buddies” took me to Dehradun—the bigger city about an hour down the mountain—to go shopping, see The Dark Knight Rises, and eat at Pizza Hut!  Each new staff member was assigned a buddy (or, in my case, a married couple of buddies) to answer questions and just generally show us the ropes.  I was clearly paired up with some awesome people! 
Last weekend, I went to Dehradun again with a larger group of new staff members.  While there went to a couple of grocery stores (oh, how I miss Kroger!), KKM (a handweaving center that employs/aids people with leprosy), the Utensil’s Store (yes, the apostrophe is present on the store’s sign; apparently, one very powerful utensil owns the whole place… I’m envisioning a large cleaver that physically threatens its employees), FabIndia (organic whole wheat pasta, anyone?!), and a women’s clothing store.  The clothing store was fairly pricey (hmm...according to Word, "pricey" and "pricy" are both correct!), but everything just so happened to be 40% off.  I bought this little number, which I wore today:

Yeah, I actually thought for a second about changing back into it just to take a picture.  HA.  I will enthusiastically share the fact that the pants (which are like skinny sweatpants) are actually long enough for me!  Figures, I go to a country where I can’t buy shoes that are big enough, but I can buy pants that are long enough.
Speaking of pants, I almost shit mine the other night. 
I really hope you appreciate that effortlessly seamless transition.
I went downstairs to get a snack.  A spoonful of peanut butter, to be exact—I’ve had crazy peanut butter cravings since I’ve been here.  But there, strategically blocking my entrance to the kitchen, was the granddaddy of all spiders.  I just stood there gaping for a few minutes, then finally grew some balls, grabbed a bucket, and attacked.  Not quick enough.  Or was I?  The outcome of the brief and bloodless battle remained unclear, so I just let the bucket sit and retreated back to my room, sans peanut butter… full of terror, but with an empty tummy.
This made me think, what an effective (albeit extreme) dieting strategy!  If I could patent and market this idea somehow, I would make millions.  Trillions.  It goes a little something like this:
Step 1: After dinner, let a harmless, yet gargantuan, spiderbeast loose in the kitchen and shut the door.
Do you still get a snack? 
Step 2: Send in another larger, poisonous spider the next night.
Do you still get a snack?  Really?
Step 3: You die fairly quickly—either from a spider bite or a massive heart attack, whichever comes first. 
There is no step 4.
The only way I can see someone getting to step 3, though, is if they’re a) a skilled spider trainer, b) a vampire, or c) a person who has been living in solitary confinement since birth, hopelessly seeking out the company of anything with a heartbeat.  But for the rest of the world, this is pretty much a one-size-fits-all solution to weight loss woes.  Bahahaha.
But I digress.  Are you wondering what happened to the questionably-bucketed arachnid?  My neighbor heard of my predicament and was nice enough to come over to check my bucket with me.  But before we tended to the bucket, “we” had to deal with another bloodcurdling spider that was, once again, smack dab in the middle of the kitchen.  My neighbor is much braver than me, and she charged at it with a broom while I stood away, tiptoeing back and forth and waving my arms in tight little circles like a penguin frantically trying to fly.  Clearly, I was an integral part of the process.  After that intruder was flushed, we went back for the one beneath the bucket… which wasn’t actually there.  I hope beyond hope that the one she killed was the same one from my original faceoff. 
But to end this post on a more positive note… my spirits were definitely lifted today at lunch, when another teacher told me that a student who was in the health center said she was feeling better specifically so she could go to her “favorite class”:  English 7 with Ms. Julia J  Probably the highlight of my time here so far!  I hope I can maintain that same enthusiasm throughout the year.


  1. Spiders!?! The word alone sends chills down my spine. Do others have such scary beasts in their apartments as well?
    Glad to hear you are doing well (even with your 8 legged unwanted guests). On a positive note, the view from your bedroom window was amazing. Can't wait to see what it looks like in the other seasons! Living in such a mountainous environment I bet you are going on some fabulous hiking trips.
    I leave for China in 13 days. Schools begins on the Aug 30th. I'm really looking forward to exploring my new city.
    Of course the students love you! You are amazing!
    I have enjoyed your FB posts. Hopefully, I can continue watching them when I get to China.
    Kathy Thompson UNI friend

  2. Thanks for the comment, Kathy! I'm glad you've been following my posts, and I'll definitely be interested in the anecdotes/pictures you share through Facebook! Good luck with packing and tying up all the loose ends back home. I'm sure you'll love China :)