Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today I was working at the school with the kiddo's.  It was such a good day.  I think working with the kids is so rewarding! Especially when one of them tells you thank you so much because they finally understand it!  It makes me extremely happy.  But extremely tired at the same time.  And today was so hot.  Like hotter than hot.  And sweaty.  I don't know if anyone will fully understand the heat of India unless you experience it.  And I am not sure but it's a definite possibility that monsoon season is right around the corner or something because it has been raining cats and dogs lately.  So you get super sweaty and then it rains.  So it's all fine in the end.  NBD.  Anyways, at play time today we had this great big birthday celebration for a bunch of the kiddo's and it was really fun.  And of course ended in a cake fight.  So immature.  Here are the pictures I have taken today.  Jai Ho.

Mageshwari.  My girl.

Sudha and Reshma. So super cute.

Sudha is the sweetest.  And could be a model someday.  Look at her pose..

Cake fight face.

Birthday kiddo's.  :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The last couple of days.

The last couple of days have been super wonderful.  I have been with the medical crew for both Monday AND Tuesday.  It has been wonderful.  Medical is when we get to work with the leprosy patients and clean and bandage their ulcers and wounds.  It always has a way of turning into some huge spiritual experience for me.  Monday I didn't really get my hands too dirty.  The station I was at just didn't have many customers I guess.  Still though, there was this lady.  I only met her for a few minutes and she was just exactly what I needed.  We were packing up the truck and washing our hands getting ready to go and I went to her to say goodbye and she just showered me in kisses all over my face and thanked me millions of times.  I loved every bit of her.  I think the best part is I think I needed her just as much as she needed me.  Super cool.  Then today we got to go out again to medical! It was so wonderful AGAIN! We have been separated into groups the whole time but today we got to all be together.  I really loved it. The people here are so great.  I got to be the nurse's assistant.  Her name is Navamani and she is a little rough around the edges but we got along so well and by the end she kept telling me how great I was so that made me pretty happy.  So after the patients get their bandages off and their feet washed and oiled, they come to Navamani and I and get the dead skin around their ulcers cut off and cleaned up and then we bandage them up.  It got pretty gory sometimes but it's incredible the things that would normally just be unbearably gross are just part of life here.  I think that's sort of magical.  Anyways, here are some pictures or whatever.  Jai Ho.

Just cutting the crap out of those bandages.

Bandaging it all up.

Special shoes.

This poor guy had some really bad ulcers.  Like it was his entire bottom of his foot as you can see.  It was pretty hard to see but I'm glad I got to make him feel better even if it was just for a minute.

This has nothing to do with anything besides the fact that Mageshwari is incredibly cute and I love her A LOT. 


Ok so Saturday was incredible.  The Taj was incredible.  The people I have met are incredible.  It was wonderful.  I was so sad to leave.  But there are a few things that I left out.  Like the rug factory place that we went to.... I never realized how obsessed I am with rugs.  They were incredible.  (yes, I'm aware of how much I'm using that word, but it's the only one that works...)  They were hand knotted and just the most amazing colors and so soft and so pretty and so intricate.  I might have bought a silk one for my mom.  I think it's probably the best thing ever.  And one day when I have money coming out of my eyeballs I will go back to that place and buy a HUGE one to put in my house.  

This is the little station that they make the carpets at.  Their little hands were incredibly fast.

I wish these photos did the colors any sort of justice.  They were brilliant.


Then we got on the bus again... For like 4 hours... Until it broke down.  (mom and dad don't read this part.  It was pretty sketchy.)  We were in the middle of a pretty rough little town area.  There was one point that this one beggar lady was hitting our bus SO hard with her cup, I thought she would break something.  Then she started trying to open the door and like rocking the bus.  So terrifying.  Then a bunch of men realized that there were a bunch of girls on our bus so they were all lined up trying to show off their muscles and flexing and all that good stuff.. Then they started fighting.  Again, pretty terrifying.  But here's the good part... We had Rajesh and Ben and Blake, our drivers.  (I'm not sure what their real names are but we named them Ben and Blake.  It just seemed to fit.)  And those three made sure we were fine and took such good care of us.  The other good part was that we found a mechanic to do almost an entire engine rebuild in like an hour and a half.  So impressive.  And his tools.... Or lack there of were so funny to me.  I loved it.  

He was awesome.

Then once we were on the road again, we got super pumped because guess what we were going to do... RIDE ELEPHANTS.  It was the best.  I think elephants are wonderful.  So calm and just wonderful.  And I got to hold a monkey which was silly.  She picked in my hair for bugs.  Then she bit one of the girls I'm here with which was not awesome but still a little bit silly.  We all hope she doesn't get rabies.  

Monkey-ing around.

Bruiser and I love elephants!

Booty shot.

So happy again.

Thanks to Derek, we can all see how much I loved that stinking elephant.

Isn't she the sweetest?

Another good day.  :)  Jai Ho. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

A pretty cool weekend I guess..

Well, avid blog readers, I realize it's been a while since I wrote anything on here but it's been a busy little while.  So here's the catch up.  Last week was just another magical week here at Rising Star.  We were busy and super excited for the little vacation we took over the weekend.  So we worked really hard on Wednesday and Thursday and then Friday morning at 3:00 AM we woke up and headed to the airport to fly to Delhi.  Waking up at 3:00 in the morning is not fun in case you were wondering.  But we flew there. I slept.  We landed.  Nothing too eventful.  Except that we found out that Indian "scorched peanut butter" ice cream tastes a lot more like bubble gum... In fact all ice cream here tastes a little like bubble gum.  Which is fun.  Anyways, we arrived in Delhi where we met our tour guide, Rajesh.  He's such a winner.  We loaded on our bus, boldly labeled as "TOURISTS"  and we were on our way.  We headed out through the streets of Delhi to where we got picked up by our fleet of rickshaws.  I wish I knew what our driver's name was because he was also a winner.  Brianna and I named him Randy which I think was very fitting.  He felt like a Randy.  Anyways, Randy took us all through Old Delhi.  Through the streets and we ended up at the spice market which was simply incredible.  My nose was on overload.  My everything was on overload.  It was absolutely overwhelming.  Here are some pictures....

I loved Delhi.  So amazing.  We ate some really delicious Indian food and then headed out on a 7 hour bus ride to Agra.  Yes, 7 hours.  Mind you, we've been awake for like 15 hours already at this point.  LONGEST DAY EVER.  So fun but so long.  I can't even tell you how grateful I am that the hotel we stayed at was so nice.  I took an actual shower.  It was amazing.  Bucket showers are great and all, they just don't have quite the same effect as an actual shower... So needless to say, we slept pretty well that night.  Which is a great thing because we needed to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for another really big day...  I was on my way to meet the most beautiful lady in the world.  :)  We woke up, showered (again in most cases) and got ready to meet the Old Lady, herself.  It was pretty overcast and rainy so when we walked up to the gate it was SO HOT but really cloudy so we were not only wet from a little rain, but then we got sweaty.  I'm getting used to the constant sweat though.  Anyways, I don't know how I'll ever explain how magical the Taj is but this is my attempt.... It's so incredibly magical, I wanted to barf.  I almost cried.  I think it's best to explain with photos so here they are....
Ps- I'm pretty bummed at how awful these pictures turn out when I upload them so.... I'm sorry about that..  I am my father's daughter I guess.

This is at the gate into the Taj Mahal.  You can see her poking her face through..  :)

This is the first view we got of her.

The most majestic thing ever probs.

My budzzzzz.

We are Derek's little rising stars.


Seriously... SO HAPPY. 

Princess Diana took a picture on this same bench.. Ramesh told me I was a princess.  So wonderful.

Princess for a day.

Rajesh and Ramesh.  Yes, their names are almost the same.  And I love them so much, it's weird.  They're so wonderful and they took SUCH good care of us.

Taj toes.

The most beautiful detail.

She's so pretty.

Me and Bruiser just living the dream.  Our lives have lead up to this...

I really like these people.  Too much to handle.

My ladies take such good care of me.

So that was the Taj.  Well for the most part.  There is no way I could ever express how amazing it actually was but that was my attempt.  She treated us well.  Right after we took that last photo there was a complete DOWN POOR.  It was nuts.  Like so much rain all at once.  So we got soaked and it was so much fun but for the safety of my camera I left it under the little alcove thing with Ramesh.  It was a lot of fun though.  So after that we went to this place called Agra fort.  It's like where the emperor was kept in prison by his son.  Lots of such cool history.  I really loved it all.  And hearing it from Ramesh was just the BEST.  I love Ramesh.  While we were at the Taj, I complimented his shoes and he (I thought jokingly) said, "Ok, after this I'll give them to you."  I just laughed and said, "sounds super Ramesh."  So then after we went and changed out of our wet clothes and were eating dinner he pulled me aside and had his beautiful leather shoes in a box.  He gave me his shoes.  His beautiful leather shoes.  I love Ramesh.  Plus he's hilarious and we laughed all day.  It was such a happy day.  And possibly one of the best parts was that I got to shower at the end of the day.  :)  Jai Ho.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Today was Tuesday and I was on duty with the medical team.  So we got to take some of the kiddo's to the dentist for the first time! They were a little bit nervous but they were so brave and we made it through famously.  My little girl that I was paired up with named Gracey Lydia was so brave and I'm so proud of her.  Other than that, our day was pretty uneventful! But I just love spending time with my friends and the kiddo's.  That is that. Jai Ho.

Gracey Lydia being so brave!

My group and the kiddo's.

My cute little Gracey Lydia.  :)

Catch up day.

Well this weekend was crazy and fun and I just haven't really had the time or energy to blog so it's catch up time.  So Saturday morning we woke up early and headed to Mamalapurum.  A beach/ shopping town! Yay for the beach! It was so wonderful.  I bought some hand made leather sandals, and some presents for my family, etc. And we saw some really spectacular ruins.  That was so fun for me.  I loved it all.  There was a really serene feeling around them.  I think a lot of yoga has been done there.  And the beach.  The beach is heaven on earth to me.  I love it all.  I love the smell, the sound, the wet sand in my underpants, getting beat up by the waves.  I just love it all.  The Bay of Bengal treated us well.  We payed like $4 and went to a private beach so there were very few people and it was just perfect.  I was so happy I don't think I said any words for like two hours.  I just sat and smiled.  Then we got to watch a movie with the kiddo's that night which was a big event for all.  It basically just turned into a huge human mattress in the dining hall.  It was so fun.  But we were SO tired by the end of that day.  I slept wonderfully for probably the first time since I've been here.  The next day was Sunday so we woke up early again and headed to churchy.  It is 2 hours away to the nearest chapel (which is really just a basement)  but we picked up a bunch of the kids from the village around us and we headed out! I can't believe how much faith was in that building.  Every single person seemed to just have so much love for the gospel oozing out of them.  I wish so badly I had the time to just sit with them and hear every single one of their stories because every single story was amazing.  They all seemed to just feel like they were so sad before they had the gospel, one man even said he felt like killing himself until he found the light of the gospel.  How wonderful is that?  That's what it's all about! It's so simple! Heavenly Father wants us to be happy! And these people were so happy to have the gospel.  I loved every second of it.  Even when the power in the building kept cutting out.  (it's a common occurrence here.)  It was very humbling and I have so much to learn from these people, it's unreal.  Then we ate pizza.  But I don't really know if you can call it eating.  More like we INHALED pizza.  Monday we were on construction duty.  We have just been building more bathrooms and septic tanks! The septic tanks consist of 6  500 pound cement rings that we have to carry, not roll, into place and lower them into a hole they've dug and lower them in.  Then we have to fill around the rings with dirt.  I've never sweat as much as I do when I'm doing construction.  It's incredible really.  But then afterwords yesterday, we went to the local snake charmer's house.  ( This is for you, Jenny.)  And he had a cobra.  It was 5 feet long.  And he milked it in front of us and then he watered the poison down a little bit and drank it so that the poison has less of an effect on him.  It was unreal.  He would hit the thing so it would get mad at him and strike at him.  It was one of the scariest things I've ever been around.  And I was only like 2 feet away from it.  So nuts.  Anyways, sorry this post is so long.  Here are some pictures of the greatness.  :) Jai Ho.
PS-  Sorry the pictures got out of order and I'm having difficulty fixing it so I am just going to roll with it...
The beginning of the ruins in Mammalapurum.

The watered down snake venom.

Just way too close for comfort.  Showing us the fangs.

After he watered it down and said "Cheers".  Can't be good for you..


Milking the snakey snake.

He got the snake way mad.  Also just terrifying.

The album artwork on music is just phenomenal here. 


So happy to be at the ruins. I really loved it.


Amy and I with our brand new custom made shoes.

The Bay of Bengal treated us well.

Elephants are so wonderful in India.

This is called Lakshmi's butterball or something like that.  They've tied elephants to it to try to pull it down and it just won't budge.  So I took a picture by it of course.

Bravest man alive probs.

He was so big and scary.  And so close to me.  Jenny you would have freaked.  :)