Happy New Year! Etc
So Christmas was a blast and I'm getting ready to head to Thailand for a conference as we speak! Fun times :) I will update more in a few weeks when I get back. Until then, enjoy these Christmas pics.
*Me and friends singing Christmas carols ( we got called up by the band because they saw that we actually knew the words!)
*Riding a camel at a fair on Christmas eve!
* Indian Santa!
*Me and the girls on Christmas morning, opening our presents ( we all got Bend it Like Beckham)

Only 13 Shopping Days left til Christmas!!!
***Disclaimer: If you don't live overseas, this post will be funny, though you probably won't appreciate the wonder of it as much as those of us who do or have lived overseas.***
Not that you'd know that here by the way things look! But anyway, we did have quite an adventure Christmas shopping today. We drove to a nearby city so we could visit "My Dollar Store," the near legendary import store we've been hearing about from friends.
This store is located in a 4 story mall/center, with tons of other shops, most of which are rather over priced. There's jewelry, mens', womens' and kids clothes, music stores, a food court, and of course, the dollar store. Except, it's actually the 99 rupees store, even though it's called the dollar store. This is significant because 99 rupees doesn't equal $1, but about $2.50.
Honestly though, I probably would have paid even more than $2.50 for some of the stuff we found there. It's all stuff that we take for granted in the states, but let me tell you, when you go without these little things for a while, it sure is exciting to see them again! Examples of merchandise we found: fabric softener, Pace Salsa, Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, Mug Root Beer, Pringles, Butterfingers, grits, Suave shampoo, etc, shaving cream, deodorant, Starbuck's Frappacino's (the ones in glass bottles), Jello instant pudding, Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup and a variety of other kinds as well, Capri Sun, and a number of other exciting things. Now, some of these things you can get in our city, but they're way more expensive than 99 rupees; however, most of them are rare finds, which makes this place really exciting. Sadly, 2 things they've had in the past were not there: Dr Pepper and Rotel...tear...
Oh the joys of living overseas! Adventures waiting to be found around every corner :)

This stuff costs an arm and a leg!!!
Monday 12 December 2005, 5:04pm
So I'm sitting on my bed, listening to some Christmas favorites (right now: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree), waiting for the power to come back on so I can use the water heater and take a shower, and trying to think of a way to accurately describe Christmas in South Asia...hmm...I think that, from what I've seen so far, Christmas is basically whatever you make of it. It's not like America, where you couldn't escape the holiday season if you tried. Honestly, if I didn't look at my calendar, I'd forget that it's actually December and only 14 days until Christmas!
Though Christmas fever hasn't taken over my city quite like Diwali did, there are a few little reminders of the holiday that I've spotted. Several small Christmas stores have popped up, selling stuff that in the States, well, I'd never buy cause it's totally gaudy...but somehow, it becomes quite appealing when it's all you've got. The problem is the price--even the smallest things cost a fortune! Example: We wanted a wreath for our door--average price for wreath (and these are the gaudy ones) is between Rs 750-2000, or $18-$50! yikes! But I think we've done pretty well--we got a tiny wreath, a tiny tree, and even a tiny manger scene, and we're making stockings with some friends, so I think it'll all end up being pretty festive.

The other funny thing about the stores is that while they're trying to sell Christmas stuff, it seems that a few other holidays have gotten thrown in the mix as well. I saw Easter eggs at one store, and as you can see from the picture above, another store had Halloween decorations right in the middle of the Christmas. It's hillarious to see a scary hand hanging right there with a bunch of Christmas ornaments, and also interesting to think about differently people here view Christmas, decorations, and so on from the way it's all seen in the States.
One nice thing is that it's actually been kind of cool here lately. Either that or I'm just getting so used to the heat that anything below 80 feels "cool." It has been around 50 in the evenings, and this morning, it was cool enough in our flat for me to put on my favorite sweatshirt, which was very exciting.
Another fun thing was making my mom's famous Christmas cookies this weekend. This is a Christmas tradition back home, so I was very excited that it worked out. The cookies were easy to make (they're kind of like sugar cookies with a nutmeg flavor) but the icing was another story
because it calls for meringue powder (which I discovered is actually powdered eggs). Anyway, it was quite an adventure to find, and when I finally got it, I had to buy a kilo (2.2 lbs)--the recipe calls for 3 tablespoons! The cookies turned out great, but if anybody knows any other uses for meringue powder, let me know...
Well, looks like the power is back on, so I'm going to take a shower while there's hot water--kind of like the saying, make hay while the sun shines, here, do what you gotta do while the power's on or you might be out of luck :)