it's almost 3 am, and i'm still up...darn internet...

what am i doing up so late? obsessively checking my email (for no real reason, i just do that), listening to a new mix i made on itunes of fun dance music, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new ipod, trying to look up iranian dance music online, checking myspace and facebook, and playing with this new celebrity face recognition thing i found--check it out:

i've tried quite a few pictures, and it seems like i most consistently look most like michelle rodriguez (Lost)--random, i know--and candace cameron (Full House), and emma watson (Harry Potter movies), which is pretty cool. however, it also said that i looked like bruce willis, william shatner, and billy idol, so it's not perfect, but definitely fun.

this week has been pretty nuts. actually the past 2 weeks. last week, the roommies and i were temporarily relocated to our supervisors' apartment so we could babysit their daughter while they were away. i say babysit, but she's 13, so that's not really the best way to put it. it was interesting, and a bit weird not being at our house, but we had some fun times, and learned a little about what it will be like to parent a teenager...

monday and tuesday we headed to a nearby hill station on an international student retreat. what a trip--about 70 students from at least 10 countries, sleeping in tents, treking around crazy tourist traps, lots of dancing and singing, nauseatingly scary bus rides, and more. it was wild, but also a lot of fun. i have to say, i really love iranians. i mean, they are a blast to hang out with. they are incredibly friendly and generous, and we had so much fun dancing and singing with them the whole trip. even tonight, a bunch of us got together and ended up singing and cutting up like mad in KFC. fabulous. oh, and did i mention that there were also 3 buddhist monks on the trip, dressed in their orange robes? they're awesome, and everybody wanted a picture with them.

the downside of the retreat was that the cooler weather made me sick again. ugh. but i went to the doctor and have been "taking steam" (a whole post in itself...), so hopefully i'll be back to normal soon.

but i have to admit that i'm starting to wonder, what is normal anyway? i mean, every time i think, "oh, after _____, it'll all go back to normal," i find myself sadly mistaken. not so much disappointed, just wrong, because things here seem to constantly be in a state of change. maybe life has always been that way, and it just seems more pronounced now because i find myself needing something stable/normal/familiar/whatever more here.

that leads me to the biggest event of the week...when we finally saw our supervisors after we got back from the retreat, they hit us with the big news that they're moving to thailand. like, next week. what?!?! i still have not even begun to really process this, but i know there are a mix of emotions waiting to come out in full force: fear, frustration, sadness, confusion, excitement, etc.

i know this is where they need to be, so their whole family can be together (the 2 oldest kids are in boarding school there already), but at the same time, the timing of it all just seems so nuts. things here are getting exciting and i can see God opening cool doors for our team and then WHAM...normal ceases to exist...again.

darn it...i wish i had more answers. i wish i even knew what questions to ask. i wish i didn't have to say goodbye again, especially to people who've been my family for the past year. and yet, at the same time i have this strange sense of peace, of okayness, if that makes sense. i'm sad, and a lot more, but i'm not really freaking out. i wish things didn't have to change, at least not like this, but i also have this confidence that God is in control and He's got good things in store for all of us through this. strange and refreshing...

i'm hoping this trusting Him becomes my new "normal." i could get used to that.

well, that's enough processing for now. it's about 3:30 am and i should get to bed, or get back to my fun with face recognition...i'll leave you with this random pic: me and my friend shaggy feeding a monkey at the retreat. gotta love these nasty little buggers.

so the news of "Brangelina" (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) and their recent descent upon our city has been all the rage lately. for the past week, both papers we subscribe to have featured pictures and stories and all the latest news on their front pages, which i personally am so grateful for because, honestly, how would i survive the day without knowing what they ate for dinner last night???

needless to say, i was a little alarmed this morning when all the north korea news took over the front page of both the Times and the Herald. i mean, i need my daily super star fix, folks! but, fortunately, i saw that the Times had just moved the latest story on the super couple down to the middle of the front page. it seems they took a rickshaw out around town and the Times had gotten an exclusive interview with the driver. the funny thing is that the driver didn't have a clue who was in his rickshaw until someone told him that this couple is as famous around the world as Amitabh Bachan is in India! (this may not be as funny for those of you not familiar with Bollywood...).

i think what's really funny about this picture is that the driver actually used the meter! (the "for hire" sign is upside down). even if he didn't know they were superstars, it's pretty amazing that he didn't quote them some outrageous price just because they're foreigners. guess it goes to show that there are some honest rickshaw drivers out there!

anyway, i'll be sure and keep you posted about any breaking news regarding their stay here in Pune, since i know i won't be escaping it anytime soon...

(disclaimer: just in case you're wondering, i'm being totally sarcastic throughout the bulk of this post...)

i've been reading friends' blogs this afternoon, working on a project for our website ( and CD project. it's fun catching up with everybody, but sometimes i also find myself wanting to do what they're doing, feeling even a bit disappointed because they seem to be doing so much cool stuff. traveling all over. seeing the mountains, cold weather and even snow. learning much more hindi than me. getting to visit other friends and just have adventures that i find myself a bit jealous of...

but when i really think about it, i don't want to be anywhere else. i have to admit, i never imagined i'd be working in the 8th largest city in India, hanging out with college students. i thought i'd live somewhere much more "traditional," like varanasi; or further south, like chennai; or maybe that i'd just spend more of my time here traveling and moving. but fortunately, the choice really wasn't up to me! i mean, it was, but it was more of choice of, do i trust God and follow His lead, or try to make my plans happen? let me tell you, this is another one of those times when i am SO glad that He knows what He's doing, and what i really need!

there are definitely things i don't like about my city, my job, and my life. it's too polluted. students are so fickle and unpredictable. i miss my family and friends, and i wish we were closer to more of my friends here. it rains too much and it never gets really cool. sometimes i feel like i have no direction and just want something more structured. i wish i wasn't here as a single girl, but with my husband.

i could go on, but that's not really the point. what i've realized is that my life is so indescribably better than i could have ever imagined it would be. i've screwed up a lot, and i definitely don't deserve to be as blessed as i am. seriously. it still just amazes me when i really stop and think about it all, the bigger picture of my life and how God's had His hand in it, even since before i was born (Psalm 139). and there are also so many cool/funnny/suprising/insane little things always happening around me that i sometimes just need to remind myself of how good things really are.

here are just a few examples from this week:

-Monday was Dussera (major Hindu holiday)--ate lunch with my friend and her family

- and also Ghandi's birthday, which we celebrated by seeing "Lage Raho Munna Bhai", the new hit movie driven by Ghandigiri, or living like Ghandi

-discovered that Pune has a Mocha, a FABULOUS coffee hangout place--we had great coffee and a fabulous evening of hanging out with friends

-Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are randomly filming their new movie (about Daniel Pearl's kidnapping in Pakistan)

-i've had a several really cool and deep conversations and connections with people this week, all very unexpected

-through the marvel of the internet, i was able to talk to one of my dearest friends the other morning, and i just downloaded the first episode of LOST season 3

i know there's more, but these are just a few cool things. life really is good--i'm just learning that you have to learn how to look at it all the right way. easier said than done, but better than anything else i could imagine. alright, i'm out...LOST is calling my name :)