Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Happy 75th to my wonderful grandmother Nina!

so last weekend i met an 105 year old woman who lives in Ogimi. She was beautiful. I swear i understood half of what she said but not in words, per se. She is incredible and it was a very cool experience; a student of mine and her mother took photos of us together.

So in honor of people in the "silver club" of life, here's a bit of trivia from my brand new Simpson desk calendar:

In "The Old Man and the Key" (DABF09), Lisa says statistics show that old people drive at least as well as who?
a. Young winos
b. Teens in heat
c. Sleep-deprived apes
d. Everyone in France, except the elderly, who are worse

the answer will appear in the next post.

i've rearranged my photo album, so if you need any of the passwords, e-mail me.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

who's Yoshimi

am listening to Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots . It's a good song, but i have no idea what it's refering to, if anything, so if anyone out there does, i'd be glad for the info.

this might be a bit of a random blog.
feeling a bit random at the moment. Tired as well. Haven't been sleeping too well, but perhaps that's only because i haven't been giving myself the proper amount of sleep on a regular basis and instead catching naps here and there.
The weather keeps changing as well. I won't whine too much. It's still nowhere near milwaukee weather right now, but it's a bit cold.

although there was a bit of a warm spell the last couple of weeks, warm enough for the cherry blossoms to explode two weeks earlier than anticipated. I was told that cherry blossoms usually come in in early February; Okinawa is the first place in a new year that cherry blossoms can be seen in Japan. They then "creep" up through the rest of Japan's islands, finishing their trek in Hokkaido in May.
On mainland, the Japanese will eat and drink with their families under the beautiful cherry blossoms. This doesn't happen on Okinawa, people just come out to look at them, take lots of pictures, to walk around, and to eat festival food.

Last weekend, a few of us went to Mountain Yaedake in Motobu. It is claimed that cherry blossoms appear here first in Okinawa. Not sure about that, because by the time we were driving on our way to the famed mountain on the rainy Saturday afternoon, blossomin cherry trees were lining the roads.
check out the pics here . What we participated in is called Hanami and the Japanese name for cherry blossoms is sakura.
And for those of you who might not be making it out to the land of the red sun anytime soon, and you live in the States, check out the Cherry Blossom Festival that is held annually in Washington DC in celebration of a gift of several hundred cherry trees given to the US by a Japanese emperor in the 1920`s.

oh..and because this is a completely random post, you won't mind if i throw in a bit about one of my favorite things to drink in Okinawa--acerola juice. It's tart and sweet and really good for you. I was looking for info about cherry blossom fests and found this bit of info. I really really like Wikipedia . Here's what it had to say about acerola .

every once in a while something happens on the island to remind me that i am indeed in a foreign country with unrecognizable cultural attributes and unknown traditions.
yesterday i went to a funeral.
Hisako-san's father passed away unexpectidly Monday. I didn't know. I was only told on Tuesday morning. The funeral was being held at 1pm on Tuesday. I didn't have any classes in the afternoon, so asked if it would be ok for me to go to the funeral. I didn't know what to expect and couldn't find my handy JET book that explained ways to behave at specific events. I was given an envelope, specific to funerals, and told to put a 1000 yen in it.
Gabrielle was able to leave her elementary classes for an hour as well, we went home, changed into fully black clothes and drove to the tombs closest to our house. After we parked, we followed the crowd up a slightly steep hill, into the forrest, and came upon a church like structure, previously unseen by us. People were lined up in three rows inside the temple/shrine/mortuary. After we gave our envelopes to the women seated at the entrance, whose job it was to receive the envelopes and to write down who they were given by, we joined one of the lines. From my place in the line, i could see the shrine at the front of the building, a photo of the deceased and a priest sitting cross-legged in front of it.
To the sides of the shrine the family members were seated, women and men separated.
I was nervous and saddened by my friend's grief. Her youngest child is one of my first grade students and i could see him sitting next to his older brother, opposite their mother and grandmother.
The priest chanted and a man at the microphone said some lines. Family members came up to the front, took bows to the shrine and to the sides, and threw something into smile pyres burning inside rectangular, stone containers situated on a table in front of the shrine.
After the family was done, the table was moved back and towards the lined up people who have come to pay respects. One by one, the three lines moved up. I watched carefully what the people were doing at the table, but finally decided not to follow their movements--it is not my religion, it has no significance to me and would be meaningless as a gesture. I decided only to bow to both sides of the family and to the front and follow through the exit. Upon leaving the building, I was given a token gift and a packet of white powder that we were told to sprinkle on oursevles when we came home. I saw people sprinkle it on themselves before they got into the car. I am still not sure what it signifies, but perhaps it has a purifying significance, something to ward off the darker spirits of death.
Don't know.
I came home and washed my hands, because where i come from that's what i've always been told to do when i got home from a graveyard.

Everything about the ceremony was familiar and yet it was very different from the funerals i have been to. Yet grief is universal and funeral's intention seems to always be about respecting the deceased and to come together to show support to the family who has lossed a loved one. A way for a community to gather during the time of darkness. A common sadness that reinforcess communal and familial bonds. Whatever the ceremonial aspects, the goal is the same, to create a moment when the person is remembered and his physical self is let go.

i told you. a random post.
last night, after karate practice, Ben and i found a new, tiny, cute izakaya for dinner. i hope i find it again. it was cheap and the food was good. my favorite thing to order now at restaurants is a sashimi salad. I love a country where i can get a mixed green salad with different kinds of sashimi on it for an equivalent of 6 US dollars.

Karate was great. It's getting much better and i can now follow through two katas. Kata is a form and i like them because they are like well rehearsed dance routines. Of the two katas, i really like the one called "godan" or fifth form...the gestures are akin to someone showing off their sword handling skills. It's very regal and proud.
at some point i am going to shoot video of the two kids with black belts at our dojou. They are incredible. When they move through their katas, it is as if they move air. It's really powerful.

ok. enough for today.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

and lastly..to the writers

tomorrow, i promise i will fill you in on my life back in okinawa and how wonderful the cherry blossoms are..and they really are..the japanese are absolutely right about this one.

here are two things have been written about our trip; one about our experience in Panskura and the other started out as a toast to John Taj but ended up being a toast to the entire crew.


"Twelve Days in Panskura Town" written and performed on January 30th, 2005 by Becky, Reyhan, and Froilan

The first day of Christmas( or the Camp)in Panskura town
We ate rice and boiled vegs.

The second day in Panskura Town
We got banana plates.

The third day in Panskura Town
We taught some children

The fourth day in Panskura Town
We wrapped some gifts

The fifth day in Panskura Town
Five eggplants

The sixth day in Panskura Town
We gave out the presents.

The seventh day in Panskura Town
Bloody Diarrhea

The eight day in Panskura Town
We dropped down like flies

The ninth day in Panskura Town
We watched girls dancing

The tenth day in Panskura Town
We travelled to the boat.

The eleventh day in Panskura Town
We had a boat ride

The twelfth day in Panskura Town
We saw NO Tigers.

The Toast to India written by Chris, Kelly and Ben C. and performed by Chris on January 5, 2006.

Here’s to the glasses and the gasses
and the smiling orphan faces
to muddy river boat rides
and Mexican family ties.

To talk of Maria and talk of Maria
and talk of Maria and talk of Maria
to copious amounts of medicine pills
the dire smells and squat toilet spills.

To monkeys, camels, and bears oh my!
but no hash this time to make us high
to banana leaves and cross legged pain
to dahl and veggies oh god, not again.

To rickshaw rides that near claimed our lives
to the men who offered their daughters and wives
not one nor three not five but seven
days of diarrhea; that was John’s heaven.

To the beggars we saw from rickshaw’s too small
our favorite the man with one giant ball
to the orphans we gave Christmas cheer
but lost our money on Bunti’s beer.

To dirty shoes and omiyage
the India blues and new words, aye?
to thai pants and smog, and the panskura mob
to the friends we made with no parents at all.

To the mainland JETs unknown at the start
who became by our trials Okinawan in part
we came to India for a selfless cause
yet gained friendship that touched us all.

But where would we be without a dedication of sorts
to our mates, tomodachi, our beloved cohorts
to Elvira and Cory and Lauren and John
whose planning and strength we came to lean on.

To Alie and Blair, Thulani and Fro
Okinawa bound, I hope time will show
to Alicia and Marshall the south’ners from ‘ginia
who gave the orphans soapstone and San’na.

To Sachiko, Caleb, and Dan who we saw
only in Panskura, for a time too small
to Reyhan and Linda and Becky who came
as guests to our group, but part just the same.

To Kelly and Craig and Yasemin Çakmak
and Elina who taught us how to “beat off”
to Andy and Ben (both the small and the tall)
the former of who had a massage of their balls.

Myself I would simply just like to say
what an honor it’s been each step of the way
so i raise this glass without fear of boast
to the best group of people I may ever toast.


Monday, January 16, 2006

back to India

i think the toughest thing to describe in words for me is my experience at Panskura. Panskura is a small, rural town in West Bengal. We came there to participate in an English camp. I don't think any of us knew exactly what that meant and i venture to guess, that even after we left, we were not quite sure what it was we accomplished.

I came in with a group that was two days late for the openning ceremony and the initial orientation. The day we came in, the classes were already done and i played outside with children and the other JETs. The most common sight throughout our days at the school were circles of children and villagers around one or several JETs. Whenever i saw a gathering, i was sure to find a foreigner in the middle of it, leading a game, signing authographs, taking photos and showing them off, or just chatting.
Second day was the 24th. Kelly and i taught three classes that day. We did them on the fly. We had flashcards and ideas, but we had no idea who we would be teaching. Kelly had taught a group of 11-13 year old girls inside the school building on the previous day and suggested we go to them again. We walked into a cement room with drab walls and a portable chalkboard leaning against a lonely chair. The girls were standing on mats that looked like potato sacks, perhaps they were. Eager and anticipating they were waiting for our instructions.
"Miss miss miss miss miss miss miss miss...." we heard that word so many times, it was like a non-stop ringing in our ears. We tried to teach them emotions by mimicking them. We tried to teach them to read the words by having them find the emotions. The girls were competitive and eager to please. They would tell on their peer if the girl cheated. They would scream for attention to make sure we saw the one giving the right answer.
It was exhausting and yet pleasant to have such a ready audience. I think we did all right that day--we certainly felt that our lessons went well, even though i felt that was i losing my voice and sanity towards the end.

During lunch, the group discussed how the morning went. What classrooms could be switched up..who was doing what where.
We were served our usual boiled veg on plates sown from banana leaves (that was the last day of those plates...after that we got paper plates once and banana leaves the rest of the time).
The ladies who would serve us in the basement room came around with laddles and buckets. Every time they scooped up something on the plate, we said "thank you."
One of the ladies got so used to it, that during the rest of the time, she would come up to one of us with a laddle and say "thank you?" as she got ready to pour out the veggies, rice, dahl, or noodles, whatever was served that day.
The food never bothered me too much. It wasn't the most extravagant and certainly didn't strike me as particularly tasty, but it was filling and there was usually plenty of it.
One day we got fried eggplant for dinner. I have never seen a group of people get so excited over one piece of friend eggplant. It was as if we had received a gift we had most desired and the high anticipation for a second helping was hillarious, but i felt it as much as anyone.

The night of the 24th people gathered in the girls dorm room at the guest house to wrap presents. Each orphan received three presents and we had also wrapped a bunch of smaller presents of pencils, pens, and erasers to give out to the school children that would gather in the afternoon of the 25th.

Here's an entry from my journal on the 25th:

Every minute is precious here. Every moment wants to be special and remembered. In the morning we watched the school children race in a sports event. It was somewhat reminiscent of the Japanese "undokai." .... Panskura is rural and without industry [as far as i could tell]. They are farmers and merchants who are scraping by for a living. Yet they are people of such spirit and joy towards others. Their eyes show such depth and beauty.....The joy we've brought to these people by paying attention to their children is apparent without words.
Standing in a small school room on the third floor. Looking out through a window at a field filled with trash with JETs behind me decorating it for Christmas events.
[after the Christmas day events] It seemed that things were chaotic and unorganized but the children loved every moment. It was a bit strange singing songs with everyone and yet i felt joy and love. So much love is radiating in this place. It's no surprise people are drawn here for spiritual guidance and awakening. It's not fully for me but i appreciate it and cherish the moments that are given me.
The girl grabbing my hand and wanting my attention. All they want is attention: a smile, a hug, a lift, a shake, and acknowledgment that we, strange foreigners, see them and like them.
We decorated the tree
[ouside] and kids kept running back to me for ribbons so that they could be lifted up by one of the guys to hang them on the tree. When the lights came up, we had gone through five or six renditions of "Jingle Bells" and once through several other songs and carols. It's bonding and necessary for everyone to feel at home in a forign land. At x-mas most kids [JETs] here are homesick for families and warmth and by coming together for this holiday in a very giving cause, they are filtering through the love they feel for their families.

Every day i learned something. I learned things about myself, how i am probably meant to be a teacher, but i also like to be a part of organizing the chaos.
Malati taught us about the projects she is involved in, and the slideshow she showed us was very intense. Some photos she showed us were no different from the things we've already seen at the school, but she told us some stories, especially the ones about the repression of women that were hard to believe. It's difficult to fathom how women live in India--the stories of bride burning are incomprehensible to me.

I was sick for a couple of days. Had to miss school one morning, but really needed the rest.
Felt bad for missing opportunities to teach but at the same time, needed to get away from the intensity of the chaos that reigned at the school the entire time.

There was one room in the school that members of the group retired to for a bit of shut eye and chat. Didi's room had in it two beds with about a meter of space between them. Sometimes 6 to 8 people would gather in it to step out of the constant attention spotlight that followed us everywhere we went.

I don't know if i'll be able to sit down to write more about the trip.
I have put up all of my pictures, even the ones that i thought were lost to the system were recovered, thanx to John.
More pics from others in the group are being put up daily and hopefully once all of them are up on-line and accessible, i'll be able to give you a password to see them.

Chris and John are working on DVDs with the digital movies and photos that were shot by all 23 of us. It's a huge undertaking and they're wonderful for doing it.

There are moments from the trip that float up into my mind's eye throughout the day. Images of the pond in front of the school with people in front of it. The image of Dan and i on the stage giving an impromptu speech to the Panskura community.
Orphan girls posing in their dance costumes to my camera. Walking through a quiet village with Kelly and three lovely guides we met there.
On the bus, on the way to the hotel in Kolkata at 1am. Watching Yasemine make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as the bus stands in the middle of a dark, unknown road and the bus driver is out looking for someone to give him directions.
New Years at the rooftop restaurant in Kolkata. Holding hands and mouthing "Auld Lang Syne."
Chatting with Ben in darkness of the night on a boat in the middle of Ganges. Teaching a few more friends how to play, "beat off" on the floor of the Delhi airport, waiting for our flight home.
Standing on the steps of our guesthouse in Panskura, with rose petals in my hair, surrounded by the best group of people i could have ever hoped for to share this trip with, singing, "I like the flowers, i like the daffodils; I like the mountains, I like the rolling hills..."

I barely wrote in my journal during the three days back in Delhi, mostly because they were a much quiet time--we stayed in a more quiet part of town and did a bit of sightseeing, ate some western food, and went to markets.

I did enjoy this trip..i loved a lot of it and it was difficult to get through some moments. I would like to go back to India with more time and a bigger say in the planning of the trip. But with the same group of people....anyone keen? :)


Friday, January 13, 2006

Nihongo de?

there are some japanese words that are simply indespencible to me now. i learned some of them during the first week while Gabrielle showed me around the island.
"genki," "daijobu," "sugoi," "arigato," "junken," "kanpai," "izakaya," "onegaishimasu," "kudasai," "hai, dozo."
sometimes we joke here that we don't know how we'll live without those words back home. we'll have to teach "genki" to everyone we know in order for them to understand us...same goes for "daijobu," and "sugoi."

so it was funny to see how this theory played out when 20 some foreigners came to India to volunteer and the one thing they all had in common was that they were all working in one capacity or another (mostly as JETs) in Japan.

coming from one foreign country and having leaned some of its social manners and expectations, it was strange being in another foreign country where none of the same rules applied.
We kept saying "onegaishimasu" whenever we meant to say "please" in shops and restaurants. we asked people "genki?" when we meant to say "how are you?"
there are several kids in a small village in India who know the word "genki" to mean "lively, excited, full of energy" and can play "junken," the japanese version of rock, paper, scissors (a way better version).

we learned how to greet the indian way, by saying "namaste" or "namaska", putting hands together as if to pray and bringing the fingers up first to the forehead and then to the nose as the words left the lips.
i bowed every time i said it!
i bowed when saying "hello" and "thank you" and "goodbye"
Malati, the volunteer coordinator, joked that we all bowed so much during the coarse of the week we were all there, that she started bowing back.

whenever something is given or received in the japanese society, be it papers, presents, bills, money at a bank, it is given and received with both hands. I kept extending both my hands in india to receive anything.

the nice thing about having a language in common that is not english (as english is well spoken and understood in india) is that gives a "secret code" advantage.
of course, most of us are no where near fluency in japanese, but we do know numbers and how to say simple things, so we would confirm with each other about market prices, tip decisions, and rickshaw price amounts, in Japanese.
it was cute. and it gave us a bit of practice in japanese, since only a few determined souls in the group actually cracked open the study books while in india.

so here's an article that made me think of all this linguistic nonsence.



Wednesday, January 11, 2006

about india

i think all of us that went on the trip would agree that it is extremely difficult to describe it; we had a hard time discussing our reactions amongst ourselves and we were all there to experience it.
things that are important to note before i venture to explore my own thoughts and tell you about a few things that had happened:
--india is a land of extremes and unlike Japan it is not very subtle about it.
--we were there as volunteers for an English camp at an ashram/school/orphanage--that fact alone colored my experience greatly...i feel fortunate to have experienced some of india not as a tourist but as someone who has come to share a part of my knowledge, energy, and love with a few of its people.
--i was fortunate to travel and work with a group of extremely dedicated, wonderful, stoic, fantastic individuals who have shared with me their wisdom, their humor, their spirits. Thank you, all!

Upon arrival in Delhi we were greeted by dirt--dirt that was ancient and new....it was inescapable, persistent, and i have used more sanitizer in those two weeks in india than i ever thought was possible. Perhaps i was overly precautious, but i didn't want to take any chances..i wanted to be well for the entirety of the short trip.

We spent our first night in India in Delhi's Paharganj disctrict. Late at night it seemed calm enough--in the morning, i stepped into a street filled with people selling things, cows just meddling about, kids stretching out their hands towards every passing foreigner, and inexplicable smells coming out of every shop and restaurant. That day we had to leave Delhi for Kolkata and then Panskura, all by train. Our train tickets were taken by mistake by the group that had arrived earlier and were already in Panskura when we arrived in Delhi. So with the help of one of our fearless leaders and organizers, Elvira, and our then slightly sick friend, Chris we went to the New Delhi trainstation to get our tickets reprinted in time for the 5 o'clock train.
I don't think i could describe the train station to you, filled to the brim with people it is scary and exciting at the same time. I was eager to get on the train, i fondly remembered the days of taking long train rides as a kid through Soviet Union, and wondered what it would be like in India.

Get to the right platform with 20 minutes to spare, even have time to bargain for a chain and lock from a vendor.
Walk along it to get into a good spot to board. Turns out we were wrong and have to walk a long ways back once the train actually arrives. Chris and Elvira are in a separate car and we watch them board as we search for our car. The ticket says A-5, we board and find the seats indicated. There's 5 of us: myself, Ben, Reyhan, Andy, and Ben's sister who joined us in Delhi, Becky. There are obviously only 4 spots, the 5th is occupied by a nice couple. I know what this type of car is called in russian, "platzkart" but have no idea what that's in English. Imagine the train from Harry Potter...take away the sliding doors..actually take away all doors from the entire car except the ones between cars..then add two beds above the two below and then add two more beds in the corridor perpindicular to the four you've already imagined. Give about 30 centimeters corridor space between them and you'll have a picture of what we were in.
We decide to forget about the fifth spot, there are four beds, we can make it work. We have at least two bags per person (Reyhan has four filled with things for the orphans), we pile those on the top beds and try to sit down. Then a man with a family comes up and says that the seats we're in are his. I show him our ticket, he says that "WL" in front of the seats means that we are waitlisted for those seats and don't actually have them. It's 4:50pm. He tells us to check the passenger list posted on the outside of the car. I run out, look through and sure enough, our names aren't on it. I start a small panic.
I run back into the car, Ben is already trying to get our bags off the beds and into the corridor. We say we need to get off this car, we don't have seats..While my companions are unloading onto the platform, i run around trying to find someone who can explain to us where we're supposed to be. I find an official looking guy, he tells me to check the list, i tell him i already did, he glares right past me and walks away. A nice random stranger looks at the ticket i am squeezing in now sweating hand and tells me that the thing written on it in pen does not say A5-5..but actually AS-5. Yes!! We saw a car named AS-5. It is at least 6 cars back..we run!
I see that Becky and Andy, and maybe Ben have already jumped on, i start piling my handbag and the train starts moving. There's a girl behind me, pushing past me to get on with her bags. I am frantically trying to shove my big bag into the openning jammed by other baggage. I scream for the bags to be moved out of the way. The train is moving! It's moving and i'm at a slight run trying to hang onto my bag and climb on. I feel a bag fly over my head, i am on board, the girl climbs up behind me and i realize i don't know where Reyhan is. The train is now moving at a comfortable speed past the platform and i scream out her name... a woman on the platform indicates that she has got on in a car behind me. i thank her and move inside.
Whew! Heart pounding, i regard my companions with frightened eyes. Everyone on board? Do we have our seats? Yes.

The rest of the train journey we spend getting to know our 6th neighbor, Phil, a 19 year old university student from Delhi who is going home to Kolkata. We are in a 2nd class car now, so that in the space for four, there are now 6 people and a nice couple sits across the corridor from us. He is a business man, she is his mother and we learn a bit about them throughout our journey.
We prove to be a loud bunch but have a really good time. We teach Phil and Becky how to "junken" and say "genki" and he tells us to give him a call once we're in Kolkata for New Years.

Here's a bit i wrote down in my yellow field book that night on the train, i wrote some of it in russian, though, so i'll be translating here...i apologize if it sounds awkward:

Dirty and horrible, but it doesn't touch me. Difficult to understand how people live like this, but at the same time don't feel pity. Why is it that i can feel pity towards movies. Perhaps in reality, i can't allow myself to feel the amount of anguish i otherwise would. Our survival depends on us keeping level headed in this whirlwind of a country. I am not focusing on any one thing in particular right now. Just trying to take in the whole thing.

We arrived at the Howrah trainstation in Kolkata and were met by the volunteer coordinator for the camp, Malati. A wonderful British woman who has lived and worked in India for the last fifteen years. She bought us tickets for the next leg of the journey, an hour and a half train ride to Panskura. This train is just open air cars with metal seats and dirty floors. People pile in and out for an hour and a half and we are stared at the entire way. Vendors come through shouting for their goods: packets of nuts, some sort of mixed spices, bags, packets of shampoo and lotion, an endless stream of screams and ignoring them becomes easier with each passing minute. We get out at the train station and push our way to the entrance. Looking out at Panskura for the first time we try to take it all in, but it's too hectic and we are too tired. We find the guesthouse, dump our bags and attempt to relax when a Didi (sister) comes from the school to tell us that we're being expected for lunch and everyone is waiting for us.

Here's a bit from my journal on that day, December 23rd:
the place we're staying at seems nice. clean and yellow walls. the dormrooms are big but Reyhan and i are sharing a double.
first impressions are difficult. There's a lot of color in this country. And poverty and dirt. I thought I could take it but it's too difficult. There were several moments today when i honestly would have hopped the next plane to Okinawa/home.
the kids seem great...in small numbers. There are too many of them and it's chaotic. i was tired after the flight and the overnight in Delhi and then the adventure on the train. The small, hot train to Panskura was almost too scary. People stare here but not like they stare at home [Okinawa]. There's hunger and desparity in their eyes. A huge part of me wants to help; is sorry for their condition but at the same time annoyed by it. And that sounds awful but the system here is obviously not working. There are too many people and the infrustructure is beyond being incapable of dealing with them.

Over the next two weeks i've tried to take in and observe as much as possible. It made my head hurt and my heart ache. It was overwhelming and stressful and i am so glad, once again for the company i was in. We would discuss how to solve the problems we saw, knowing full well that our discussions would lead nowhere. without reading more about the country and it's current political situation, i cannot possibly tell you anything of consequence about the reality of these people's lives. I can only tell you what i saw, and those observations are ignorant of 99% of how india lives, but they're all i've got. :)

perhaps this is only part 1.
i will attempt to write more later. i'll try include more humorous things, like the various teams we placed ourselves in, as a hint they were called, "team solid" "team porridge" and "team liquid." and some of the funnest moments for me on the trip were when i taught the majority of the group how to play a russian card game, durak , which means "fool" in english but within the group also has a new title of "beat off."

give me any feedback. should i be more concise. do you not care to read more? let me know. i am at your command as to how to proceed with the next one or two blogs.
after that it will be back to okinawa life.

P.S. I have uploaded over 80% of my photos to the fotki site. They do not all have titles and descriptions at the moment, but that will change within the next 24/48 hours. I also seem to have lost the other 20% of photos to the whims of my new SD card and my old digital camera. I am very saddened by this fact.
more photos will be uploaded by other members of the trip to their blogs and websites. Check out Chris's, Kelly's and Craig's blog. I know for a fact Kelly has some pics up already. Perhaps at a later date Andy will also have some pics up, but he is on a small island with a slow connection so it might a while.

miss ya all

Sunday, January 01, 2006

S Novim Godom!!

hi from Dehli..
back in the crazy city and staying put...
so many things to say and show..but it will have to wait until i get back to Okinawa and let my mind sort them out in the quiet of the island life.

all i want to do right now is call my family.. and wish them a happy new year...
that's not happenning right now..
so if i don't call ..just know that i tried

i'm tired
i'm still slightly giddy..but that's mostly 'cause my brain is in overload from all the sensory input that has been going on around me..

three more days in India..
i don't even know how i feel about that anymore..

we spent new years in Kolkata and flew to Dehli at 5:45am...
so guess who didn't sleep tonight?