Kal Ho Naa Ho...
Tonight I watched my firth Bollywood movie, Kal Ho Naa Ho (which means something like tomorrow may or may not be--how perfect for here!). Anyway, it was definitely interesting, and I'll admit, I cried at the end...I'm not so tough when it comes to sappy movies! Check it out if you can (I don't know how available it is in the US).
Our weekend was very good. I got to chat with a good friend from home Friday night, then sleep late on Saturday and cook lunch with the crew here--fun stuff. Saturday night we went out shopping (5 pairs of earrings for less than $1.25--I love shopping here!) and out to eat the The Big Chill, which was pretty good. This morning we went to a national service--quite an experince, covering our heads, attempting to sing in Hindi, listening to people share their stories and sitting up close and personal on the floor for about 3 hours. The amazing thing was that time totally flew by--it really was an awesome experience. After, we headed to lunch and came home and just enjoyed a day of rest (and Kal Ho Naa Ho). Good times.
This week we have language camp, which will be fun because some other friends will be in town with us. Then Saturday we hop on the plane and head down south!!! I'm going to miss the friends I've made here, but I'm excited about getting unpacked and settled in.
Alright, time for bed. I'm out!
[This pic is from last Sunday when I hung out with my friend Nicole and some of her friends from here--so random and wonderful that we got to meet up all the way across the world!]

Salwar Kameez: this is me in one the outfits I had made by the tailor. Well, the tailor made the shirt and I borrowed a shawl to wear as a dupta (scarf) until I get one I like. The pants are actually scrub pants, which are WAY better than the traditional ones (dubbed "hammer pants" for their flaring style..). Anyway, these outfits are fun, although not so flattering on the hips... Posted by Picasa

For Sale: this statue/idol was on display at the market we went to last night (that paper hanging under it is a for sale sign...) Posted by Picasa

Home sweet home! This bottle of Tabasco sauce (on our table at dinner last night) is also from Louisiana--it was made about 20 minutes from my house! Posted by Picasa

Hindi tori tori!
(this means, I know a little Hindi, which makes life an adventure every day!) So this weekend was quite an adventure���we were quite busy but had a fabulous time! Thanks to all of you who were lifting us up Saturday on our tour of the city���we really had a great day and had lots of opportunities to talk to people. Our first adventure of the day was getting dressed���since we were going to temples, we (by we I mean us girls) had to be dressed very conservatively, wearing the traditional Indian Salwar Kameez/Punjabi Suits. This was interesting because I haven���t found a suit yet���they don���t really make ready made stuff for big tall people! But, I���m getting some clothes made this week (which is very fun) and I did have one Indian shirt, so I wore that with my scrub pants and a dupta (scarf) that kind of matched (look at the pictures and judge for yourself!) Anyway, we started our tour at the Baha���i temple, which is shaped like a giant lotus blossom���very pretty. After the temple, we went to the crematory. Very interesting, seeing people prepare the bodies of their loved ones and then place them under huge stacks of wood and burn them. There was also a fountain nearby with water piped in from the Ganges river, since people believe that its water is holy. Our most interesting experience, however, was at the Jain temple. The Jain���s have a number of men throughout India that are naked monks. As in, they don���t ever where clothes. At all. So there���s one in here, and we got to sit and visit with him for about 45 minutes. We had a great conversation with him, although it was definitely funny that he was naked the whole time :) We headed to lunch next���south Indian food! I was very excited because we had LOTS of puri (little fried pieces of bread), which we made back home���soooo good! After lunch we went to a Sikh temple. This was interesting���everyone had to wear a head covering and as we walked into the temple, we saw the book that they worship under a little canopy. After we left the temple, we walked through an area where they were cooking food for all the worshipers, and I got to help roll out roti (flat bread, like a tortilla). Very cool. As you can imagine, this was a pretty long day���we ended up just driving past the Parliament building, and then made one last stop at the India Gate, which is a giant war memorial. This turned out to be my favorite stop of the day because as we approached the gate, this man ran up to me with a little basket and when he opened it up, a cobra popped his head up! I had to pay him 20 rupees (50 cents) to let me take a picture, but it was well worth it! Sunday evening I had another fabulous adventure���my friend Nicole from college has been in India the past 4 months, working on a research project for her master���s degree. She came back through here on her way back to Atlanta, so we got to hang out and have dinner Sunday night���such a wonderful way to end a great weekend!

outside the Sikh temple Posted by Picasa

heading into the Sikh temple (everyone had to have their head covered) Posted by Picasa

conversation with the nake Jain monk... Posted by Picasa

Jain temple Posted by Picasa

major traffic jam! Posted by Picasa

fountain/statue at the crematory (this water is from the Ganges river) Posted by Picasa

Baha'i temple (shaped like a lotus blossom) Posted by Picasa

the girls are ready to go on the tour of the city! (we're all wearing traditional salwar kameez) Posted by Picasa

the India gate Posted by Picasa

Outside of Sikh temple Posted by Picasa

making roti in the Sikh temple Posted by Picasa

Me and the cobra! Posted by Picasa

So we made it! We arrived at the airport around 11 pm (that���s 12:30 pm central time!) and it took us until about 1 am to get all our luggage and get through the lines, etc. But, PTL, all our luggage arrived, we weren���t stopped by customs (which could have taken forever to get through with all the bags we had!), and there were people waiting for us! We loaded up our luggage and made it to our new home (for the next few weeks of training) about 1:30 am.
Friday morning, we had a little orientation time and then headed to lunch with other people from the team here. This was great���good food and a chance to see several people that I���d met back in January. Let me tell you, nothing feels better than seeing familiar faces when you���re several thousands miles from everything you���ve ever known! Friday evening, we headed down to the marked to explore, and then came back to our house and ordered dinner���quite interesting when you have no idea what anything on the menu means (even though it���s in English!). I���m proud to say I called the restaurant and placed our order J
On Saturday we had some down time, which is good, because the time change has been a challenge for us all. We went to lunch with some people from the team here, and also got to have some chai and dessert���pretty good stuff! Last night, we took our first auto rickshaw (imagine one of those little red and yellow plastic cars you have as a kid, only bigger and green and yellow, with a little guy driving it like a motorcycle instead of using his feet) to a single girls��� fellowship. Lots of fun and a good chance to hear more people���s opinions on things here (that���s one thing I���ve already learned���everyone sees everything differently, does things differently, and it���s pretty much ok���you have to take your time and figure out for yourself what is going to work best��安ith food, clothes, language, travel, etc��夷nteresting���).
Sunday afternoon we went to church���very cool, and yet also with tastes of the West (cell phones going off, etc). I didn���t understand much of what was being said, but I had a really good time. Then last night we ate Domino���s (not as good as in the States, but it���s always nice to have something familiar. We also had Subway for lunch). Finally, after an adventurous ride in auto rickshaws we met up with some of our other friends before they head off to their cities today.
Overall, I am very glad to be here. I know that this is where I���m supposed to be, although it is hard to realize that, whoa, I���m really here. I���ve had my up and down moments in these past few days, but my heart���s desire is that my attitude would reflect the TRUTH���that I���ll be willing and obedient and let JOY be my strength. Also, I���ve been reassured and encouraged and humored by several things since I���ve been here:
-I KNOW this is where I���m supposed to be
-We���ve constantly been surprised by things being better than we expected (smells, sounds, etc)
-I flagged down my first auto rickshaw by myself Saturday night, and got him down from 50 rupees to 35! (42 rupees = $1)
-Everyone is very nice and encouraging
-Most Hindi is at least salted with some English, which basically makes you wonder if they���re actually speaking Hindi, or it���s English and you just don���t understand!
-I haven���t gotten sick (yet!) and overall I���m feeling pretty good
-The heat is really not that much worse than Louisiana :)
Well, that���s pretty much it for now���thank you all so much for thinking of me and being so supportive!

[insert cheesy song lyric/quote/etc about saying goodbye...]
Well, I had this really great post all ready to go, but you know how computers are...
Anyway, I'm packed. Just have to take a shower and throw a couple things in my carry on and I'll be all set. I'm ready. These past few days have been too full of too many goodbyes, some easier than others but none fun. Ugh. My "feeler" has been going crazy, along with my inability to pack/plan without stressing out and having panic attack/ freak out moments. But right now I'm feeling pretty good. Tired, but awake, and ready to go to the airport in about 2 hours, and get on the plane in about 4. Hopefully I'll get this to work and then take a shower and have a little quiet time and eat something and go...
I'm trying to remember my brilliant writing that I lost...I talked to my aunt tonight--she and her family just moved from Oregon to California. They always seemed to have it so good--whenever they'd come in, everyone would get so excited and it was always such a big deal. I used to think how great that'd be, to be the fun relative that everyone looks forward to seeing. But talking to her a bit tonight, I thought about where I'm headed now and how I will truly be the farthest away of all family members, for the next few years at least. It hit me that while going away and being welcomed back is nice, there's also a lot of pain and loss in being the one who's gone.
So, is it worth it? I have to admit that in the midst of my last few days of craziness, I've asked myself this. Am I doing the right thing or have I lost my mind? The answer is yes (that I'm doing the right thing, not losing my mind...yet!). This is a big adventure, a challenge, a stretch, and I'm scared, overwhelmed, excited, ready, etc, but I know for the first time in my life with a great deal of certainty that this is it, that this is what I've been called to and I must go, and I want to, which is always a good combination.
So just a few more goodbyes, certainly the hardest, and then the wild ride begins. Well, this part of it at least. I'm hopeful about my luggage making it there safely, and if not, well, I know who's in control, and I know that this is all bigger than me. Now I'm starting to get a little delirious. I hope you all are well and I wish I could have seen everyone, but I'm learning it's ok for things to not always work out the way you plan, because you may get what you need instead of what you wanted, which is always better.
Anyway, I'm out. Be on the lookout for the next post, coming to you straight from South Asia!!!

someone asked me tonight when i was leaving and i told them early wednesday morning. they replied, wow, so you're not counting down in days then, but hours. hello. hours. less than 53. yikes! not that i'm not excited--i'm just not packed! i'm getting to that bad point where i just want to throw whatever is around into the suitcase and not worry about it. we'll see how it ends up...
the beach this weekend was fun. ok, so we spent about 15 minutes on the actual beach (if you can call biloxi the beach!). but we had fun by the pool and shopping and tubing and eating so so so much food. good times with family and friends.
tomorrow is looking like a busy day. people to visit. last minute shopping (including possibly a new camera, since i broke mine in virginia...tear...). paying bills and taking care of last minute details. i've never liked moving, and this has got to be the most intense and crazy moving experience of my life...i have waaaaay too much stuff...and no idea what to do with it all!
well, time is ticking, i'm rambling, and i need to get to bed. i planned to wrap up my email dis list by about 11, and now it's 1:20 am. i've been doing other stuff too, but man, that thing was killer! hopefully it's pretty much done and i can move on to more pressing things like PACKING!!! :)
alright, i'm out! goodnight/goodmorning/
whatever it is wherever you are :)

well, things are starting to get crazy here...i mean, they have been crazy and i just keep realizing it more each day :)
i'm about half way packed and still have a couple more things, but overall i'm feeling good about it. these past few days at home have been challenging, trying to say goodbyes and finalize things, but also really good, so i am VERY thankful.
this weekend we head to the beach, which should be a nice little get away before i head overseas. i still can't wrap my mind around the fact that i'll be on my way 1 week from today! insane!
well, that's all for now...time to get some shopping and visiting done...see you later!
PS: i'm trying to decide which blog/web journal to use, so check out my others and let me know which one you like best!