Monday, September 3, 2012

"I never realize how much I like being home unless I've been somewhere really different for awhile."

So, it’s been over a week since my last update.  Over two weeks, even?  Oops.  Forgive me, friends and followers, for I have sinned.

I’ve got quite the lineup of topics I’d like to discuss on this-here blog, so I’ll try to write a mini-update multiple times this week to get caught up.  Here we go.


Kathak dancer.  Motherhood.  Mehndi.  Playing a harp.  Thank you.

Moving on.
After all of the hype leading up to Independence Day, the holiday itself was fairly uneventful!  Taking time to get beautified in the morning was a nice change of pace.  I actually put on makeup for the first time since I’ve been here and donned my new salwar kameez, which is the most comfortable garment known to womankind.  So comfortable that, when I go back home, I know that it will be recycled into a favorite pair of jammies. 
I love it when I accidently match my clothes to my moss.
The Indian women have it good in the fashion department.  In the U.S., I imagine there to be some sort of annual roundtable where designers secretly discuss, “Okay, how can we make this special event as physically painful as possible for women?  How can we more effectively restrict their breathing?  How can we make them dread the simple acts of sitting down and/or standing up?  How can we make it so they can’t eat anything but crackers without busting a zipper?  And, if they rebel and dare to eat something else, how can we make it as expensive as possible to clean the stains?” 

I didn’t have to worry about any of those questions.  Independence Day consisted of a schoolwide assembly in the morning, followed by a lot of picture-taking, followed by a lot of food-eating.  And I mean a lot of food.  Luckily, my super-comfy pants had a drawstring; I could’ve gained 80 pounds in one day and they still would have fit! 
Afterward, some fellow staff members and I went to Ashlea and Owen’s for snacks, drinks, and games.  After graduating from college and pretty much not having anyone my own age to hang out with for two years, all of the opportunities for socialization that I have here are both exciting and a little scary… I’m out of practice talking to people and feel more socially awkward than usual, which I didn’t think was even possible.  I love that there are fellow teachers and dorm parents that I can legitimately call “friends” and that it’s normal and expected to spend time together outside of the school setting.  Last weekend, there was a fun girls’ dinner at Sabrina’s.  It was a true girls’ night in the sense that there was more dessert than main course, which was a happy accident that none of us much minded!  I wanted to bake something to share because I AM THE PROUD NEW OWNER OF AN OVEN, but, at that point in time, I was not the proud new owner of any baking pans. 
I think the topic of my new oven deserves its own paragraph.  All oven options are of the countertop variety, but I had to make a decision about whether I wanted a just an oven/grill, just a microwave, or a microwave/oven/grill combo.  I went with the combo and it’s made me very happy.  I can have my favorite baked oatmeal in the morning, nuke leftovers for dinner, and roast chickpeas in the middle of the night just because it’s fun to roast things.  Its surface area is small, but the exponential increase in menu options is liberating… and important, since I took myself off the school meal plan starting today.
There is only one major setback to my new appliance.
Sometimes it doesn’t turn off unless I unplug it.
Now, this is no longer a big issue because, as with the previously-narrated massage scenario, it was the element of surprise that really got to me.  But there I was, innocently manning my microwave for the first time, when I decided to open the door and check my food’s progress.  My hand was fully encased in the microwave when all of the sudden I realized that said microwave was still operating.  Freaking out, I slammed the door and ran to the sink, because, you know, furiously scrubbing your hands is proven to eliminate microwave radiation.  It’s science. 
I know it’s dangerous but I don’t know exactly why, so my mind started racing with presupposed side effects, all of them imagined and only potentially real.  Cancer?  Blindness?  Elephantiasis? 
I thought about how, as a kid, my mom always told me not to get too close to the microwave when watching popcorn being popped.
Then I thought about Juno and how I was probably harming my unborn (and not-yet-conceived, just to be clear) future children.
"She won't even let me stand in front of the microwave or eat red M&Ms."
Then I calmed down, ate my food, and returned to life as I once knew it.  One week later, I still have 10 digits and a full head of hair.  And quite the hankering for red M&Ms.
A word about M&Ms… you know how in "The Wedding Planner", Matthew McCantspellhisname only eats brown M&Ms because he figures they have less artificial coloring because chocolate is already brown?  That scene pisses me off for so many reasons.  Well, two:
1)      HE’S WASTING THE M&Ms.  I’m pretty sure Jennifer Lopez was sitting right next to him when he just started tossing the chocolate onto the grass.  That should be a deal breaker, J-Lo.  He’s being wasteful and practically calling you fat.  And endangering dogs.  He should have first offered them to you.  If you declined, then he should've found a little kid or someone to give them to… you're in a park, after all.  Wait.  On second thought, that would be a creepy deal breaker, too.  He should’ve put them in his pocket to give to give to his niece and nephew.  Case closed. 

2)      HE STOLE THAT IDEA FROM ME!  I, too, used to favor the brown M&Ms… but not because of the artificial coloring.  I always thought they tasted extra-chocolatey because chocolate was already brown.  Where are the thought police when you need them?  I should be raking in some royalties right about now.
So, I just read through what I have written so far, and I think I’m starting to venture into Negative Nancy territory.  First a scary microwave story, then a vengeful M&M anecdote.  Time to balance out this blog with another funny sign that I found in the bathroom of one of the nicest restaurants in Mussoorie:
“You better pay for that pee-stick when you're done with it. Don't think it's yours just because you marked it with your urine!”
I’ll wait while you laugh, reread, and laugh again… I don’t even know where to begin with this gem.
Gentlemen:  I would like to point out the poetic (though probably unintentional) parallelism between “our aim” and “your aim.”  It’s less clear whether the hilarious double entendre was intentional or not.  What, exactly, isshorter than you think”?  The distance to the toilet, or… : )
Ladies: First, I understand that if the gentlemen are getting lectured, then the ladies should get a stern talking-to as well… perhaps about those infamous “red bin” issues?  What I don’t understand is why they had to call it a frickin “performance.”  It really freaked me out.  I scoured the ceiling and floor for a hidden camera; for whom was I performing?  And is standing up during the act really that common of an issue?  What would possess one to do such a thing?  It’s not like going to the movies, people.  There is no intermission.  As mom and dad would say… “either poop OR get off the pot.”  Literally. 
I ordered a paneer and veggie wrap at the restaurant where I found that bathroom sign.  The conversation with the waiter went something like this:
“I’d like a paneer and veggie wrap, please.”
“It has Indian spices, ma’am.”
“Would you like less spice?”
“No, full spice.”
*waits for food*
*food arrives*
“I put in half spice, ma’am.”
*takes bite*
*realizes it’s not spicy at all*

Indian food, in general, is not nearly as spicy as I expected it to be.  Spicy food reminds me of pregnancy, which brings me full circle back to Juno.  I have a sudden urge to watch the movie, which I luckily brought with me!  I could be a really excellent teacher and show it to my students tomorrow instead of, you know, planning a lesson.  It’s completely educational and I can prove it. 

It introduces literary terms…
“Yeah, I'm a legend. You know, they call me the cautionary whale.”
alludes to canonical literature…
“You should try talking to it. 'Cause, like, supposedly they can hear you even though it's all, like, ten-thousand leagues under the sea.”
shows cause and effect…
“I'm just gonna go ahead and nip this thing in the bud. Cuz you know, they say pregnancy often leads to, you know... an infant.”
includes advanced vocabulary…
“Hi, I'm calling to procure a hasty abortion.”
uses simile and metaphor…
“You think you're really going to do this?”
“Yea, if I could just have the thing and give it to you now, I totally would. But I'm guessing it looks probably like a sea monkey right now and we should let it get a little cuter.”
“That's great.”
“Keep it in the oven.”
incorporates foreign language...
"Silencio, old man!"
demonstrates rhetorical question and subject/verb disagreement…
“Why don't you go back to night school in Manteno and learn a real trade?”
Bren, you's a dick! I love it!”
includes irony (maybe. I still have the darndest time identifying this)…
“So how far along are you? “
I'm a junior.”
covers geography…
And this, of course, is Juno.”
Like the city in Alaska?”
and even provides opportunities for mathematical conversions…
“Come on, let me carry your bag.”
Oh, what's another ten pounds?”

I’m slightly embarrassed by how long it took me to find those quotations.  Blogging is dangerous business.  Time to get back to real life and plan a real lesson.


  1. Here in the U.S., the microwave incident would have been a lawsuit as the microwave was not clearly labeled (as the bathroom procedures obviously were)that opening the door = microwaved body parts. Oh wait...I'll be there has been a lawsuit to that effect!

  2. That would be I'll bet (and that is after proofreading)!

  3. Haha! A perfect Juila nugget! I'm so glad you blogged. I've missed your commentary for several reasons:
    1) You're giving me such a great picture of your experience.
    2) It gives me a good example of what I want my blog to be like.
    3) You're funny!
    4) We think alike!
    Keep 'em comin'
    P.S I love Juno too!
    P.S.S. I still do not know how to use my oven. Stove...check. Oven...bad...No microwave...yet? maybe?

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Stacey! I'm loving reading your updates and seeing your pictures, as well... especially since I'd really like to teach there in the future ;) I hope you get your oven figured out so your life can be more cookielicious.

  5. SO......I finally was able to access your blog thanks to your dad! I read through 80% of your etchings tonight and hope to finish when the prairie land computer allows me access. Now I remember why I loved it when you and Jacquelyn wrote in AP! (JC--not as much!) How I wish I could enjoy a "tea time" with you in between classes. Thanks for the vicarious experience of teaching in India! Nelson