the past few weeks have been busy (suprise, suprise!), but also full of (mostly) fun stuff, and, of course, lots of random adventures and even a few lessons along the way...

near the beginning of february, we headed off to a nearby town in the hills for a team retreat. it was a lot of fun and the weather was beautiful. we even got to see a bunch of people paragliding over the vallye near the camp where we stayed!

we had a really good group, and we managed to get a lot of work done while having a lot of fun :)

one of the high lights was having a bonfire saturday night and roasing marshmellows. marshmellows are not really common here, so several people had never tried roasted marshmellows before, but once they did, they were hooked.

group pic

Valentine's day was right after the retreat. the 4 of us went to breakfast at our favorite local coffee shop, The Coffee Jar. then several of our guy friends here went all out and got us flowers, chocolate, sparkling grape juice, and took the 4 of us out to dinner! i have to say, it was a lot of fun and i was highly impressed at all their hard work.

later that evening, just before dinner, we headed back to the coffee jar to pose for picture in the paper for an article another friend was writing. that's me all the way on the right.

we've had discussiong groups several times this month, and it's been a mix as far as participation, but really fun overall. exams are starting, though, so it could be an interesting few months...

near the end of February, the 4 of us girls headed to delhi for a conference and some meetings. we decided to be adventurous and take the train there, and we were not disappointed! it was quite a trip.

we had a berth to ourselves, which was nice, and we spent most of the 26 hours talking, reading and making up games to play since we forgot to bring cards!

there were some down sides to taking the train, though...we were a little too close to the bathroom and every now and then a wave of stinkyness would come through our area. there was also a serious roach problem and we spent a good bit of time smacking the nasty little things.

but overall it was fun and we saw some pretty cool sites, such as this stop along the way: raja ki mandi! (i think this mean's "king's market")

we were all really glad to finally arrive in delhi, even with all of it's quirkiness and crazy traffic.

the conference was friday, sat and sunday night, and it was really good. preeti and sophy got to share about what we've been doing in Pune, and we also had a lot of fun hanging out with their families.

sunday night, after the conference finished, we got together with a bunch of friends that were in town and had a girls night--it was great!

then monday our friend kyle came down to visit. we went out for lunch and on the way back got nailed by a water balloon! the festival of Holi was the following weekend and is celebrated by throwing water and colored powder on people. fortunately, we just got hit by water!

that evening, things got a little crazy when we found a mouse in the kitchen of the guest house where we were staying. after quite a bit of craziness, we finally managed to catch it under a trash can.

the guys were going to take him outside and dispose of him, but he managed to escape. however, they did get some bricks to block his way in, so hopefully he won't be back!

overall, it was a fun trip and especially nice to get to hang out with friends we don't see so often (Karen and i with the Wei Wei noodles we found at the market!)

alisha and i came back tuesday, but preeti and sophy stayed an extra week to spend time with their families. we had a lot of stuff to catch up on when we got back, and alisha wasn't feeling so good, so we went to the doctor, which turned into quite an adventure. this is a picture of her doctor, who also happens to be who part of the hospital is named after! he was nice and told her that she'd need to have this procedure done where they put a camera down your throat to look at your stomach. it sounds way crazier than it actually was, though the pics of the inside of her stomach were pretty wild. in the end, he prescribed some medicine and told her to drink carbonated beverages to help untwist her stomach...gotta love medical care overseas!

even after all the maddness at the hospital that morning, our crazy day was just beginning. we had our dicussion group in the afternoon, and then alisha and i hopped in an auto rickshaw to head downtown. however, on our way, 2 guys pulled up beside us on a motorcycle, reached into the rickshaw and grabbed alisha's purse. it happened so fast we hardly knew what was going on. our driver tried to catch them, but they disappeared. we headed back home, quite shaken, and alisha canceled her credit cards. then our friends went with us to the police station and we spent the next 3 hours trying to explain what happened (which included taking the police to the place where the bag was snatched and doing a lot of translating because they mostly spoke marathi). it was not the most fun way to spend an evening since things here take at least 2 or 3 times as long because of bureacracy and out dated facilities and systems (this is a picture of how files are stored at the station...).

but, the next day was holi, the festival of colors, and getting to spend time with friends made things a lot better. actually, it's all made me think a lot, because when the purse was snatched, i felt like more anything else, they stole our sense of security. i just wanted to cry because suddenly everything seemed so scary and crazy and wrong. but the more i thought about it all, the more i realized how blessed i really am because i have so many people here who care about me and my roommates. some of our friends stayed with us at the station and came with us the next day to get the report, and every other person we talked to said that if we needed anything at all, they'd do whatever they could. this really helped me to put things into perspective and realize that while bad things do happen, there's also a lot more good out there to outweigh them, if we'll choose to see things from a bigger perspective than our own.

4 shout outs!:

south asia said...

Wow y'all are up to so much lately! I'm glad you were able to see positivity in the negativity. And I'm totally bummed I missed out on the dance party!

SouthAsiaRocks said...

that stinks about Alisha's purse! Yuck! that's no fun!
Oh a lighter note... it's probably good that you didn't bring playing cards on the train... I've heard that it's illegal to play cards on trains... don't know if that's true or not... but if it is... then it's good you didn't have cards :)
I'm still jealous of your marshmellows :)
Great post! Talk to ya soon!

SouthAsiaRocks said...

(but even if it is illegal...I'm sure they don't inforce it :)

Jessica said...

we didn't realize it was illegal to play cards on the train and we got reprimanded by the authorities.
We found that cards and gambling are inseparable in the SA mindset. But that was our experience--you know you can ask 20 people the same question and you get 20 different answers!