Saturday, October 5, 2013

Meet the Parents

This is my dad, Jack “JR” Schroeder.

 He is a *now-retired* math teacher who, rather ironically, rejects all laws of logic and probability by being an avid Cleveland Browns fan.  My dad doesn’t like heights, spelling, or artificial watermelon flavor.  He enjoys camping and using technology, but not using technology while camping.

This is my mom, Jana “Cutiepatootie” Schroeder.

She is a teacher of gifted students who has unfortunately called our dog, Sophie, “gifted” on more than one occasion.  My mom is also a Browns fan, but one who is fine with heights, excellent with spelling, ambivalent toward camping, and ignorant about technology. I don’t know her opinions on artificial watermelon flavor.

A clear case of Opposites Attract.

Something that my parents have in common, however, is extreme generosity.  To the point that, even though it’s my mom’s dream to go to France, she and my dad chose to send my sister, myself, and my brother to Europe on high school trips rather than taking a trip somewhere themselves.  In fact, my parents had never been out of the country until coming to India.  Key words: until coming to India.  I was a little nervous and a lot excited for their visit.  But all my nerves were for naught.  They maneuvered the bazaars like pros.  They traveled in sleeper class without batting an eye.  They toured six cities—via train, taxi, metro, auto-rickshaw, and cycle-rickshaw—in less than two weeks.

In short, my parents were rock stars.

So it makes sense, then, that after hanging out in Mussoorie for a few days, we headed to Rishikesh, primarily to see the ashram where the Beatles stayed with the Maharishi in the late ‘60s.  It was extremely difficult to find, which started us off on a bad foot with our hired asshat of a driver, but it was worth it:

The man in the last picture was our “guide.”  He just popped in at some point along the way, and it wasn’t until we had finished going through the deserted buildings that we realized that he had, indeed, guided us; he was that good.  We paid him a mandatory tip and, after he approved the amount, were allowed to leave the gated entrance area.  Apparently, all he needed was love… and some rupees.  Ha. Ha.

Speaking of love, the Taj Mahal.  The most lovely love story of all time, blah blah blah.  For any man out that that may possibly love me in the future, please don’t build me a monument/mansion/palace after I die.  It’s almost like saying, “Nananabooboo, you can’t live here.  Get it?  You’re dead.”  Give a nice speech at my funeral and have a nice cry.  Like I did.  In public.  I try not to make a habit of crying in public, but sometimes one just cannot help it.  This was one of those times.

The Fog Mahal… how “Agra”vating!

Luckily, elephants make everything better.  With this in mind, we made our way to Jaipur and my parents rode up to the Amber Fort on these beautiful creatures.  Remember what I said about my dad being afraid of heights?  Photo proof:

And, as if that wasn’t enough interaction with exotic beasts of burden, we also traveled to Jaisalmer and rode some camels through the sand dunes.  This time, it was my mom’s turn to freak out on top of an animal and almost cry in public.  Apparently, her groins are not what they used to be.

This was an overnight trip, so after riding the camels we camped out for the night on three cots inside of one big tent.  I was in the middle, with my mom’s cot on my right and my dad’s cot on my left.  Things were good.  Things were cozy.  Things were snug.

Then, things got a little snugger.

Something had jumped onto my legs.  It was not big enough to be a human, but it was not small enough for me not to be scared.  Dad was already snoring, so I managed to squeak out a quick, “Mom?”  Silence.  For the first time in my life, my mom was sound asleep while I was wide awake.  And it just so happened that this was also the first time I had a wild animal on my legs.  I assessed the situation as best I could (What is it?  I don’t know!), succumbed to my ignorance, and fell asleep. 

The next morning, this little guy was curled up on my feet:

It must have made mom miss Sophie, because the next day, my mom and dad were on a flight back to the United States.

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