Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Amazing Wedding!

Last night we went to the most amazing wedding ever!!! The groom in this wedding was in our friend Rahul's family. We were expecting a nice wedding, but when we got there we were amazed!! The pic below shows the entry way. This entry way was super long! It took us about 5 minutes of walking to get from the entrance to the wedding area! The orange and red you see are strings of flowers!!! There were millions of flowers hanging up everywhere! When you first walked in there was a huge open room. It was sectioned off into areas with couches and tables. There were fancy fires on stands everywhere to keep you warm. There were all sorts of snacks and drinks available. There was a Costa Coffee stand, a Juice Bar, Soup & Bread Bar and waiters walking all around serving snacks!

The Brides' family is the one that was throwing this wedding. Their family owns a very famous Paan company here and their business is a multi-million dollar business. There was a paan bar set up there too. The pic below is of Shalin (Rahul's younger brother), me, Rahul's aunt and Adam.
There were about 10,000 people invited to this wedding. They said there were probably over 5,000 there last night! Amazing! The pic below is of the main entrance room. On the right side you can see where the little couch areas are (they are behind the pillars). Look at all the flowers!
There was a big orchestra at this wedding. All of the string instruments were electric and there was a synthesizer with them. They were playing famous bollywood songs! It was so cool! This was a huge 4 day wedding. The night before this, they had a very famous bollywood singer performing. It was so cool! The conductor of this orchestra wore lots of shiny and sequined jackets. About every couple of songs he changed jackets! haha! It was awesome!
Now this part was pretty crazy! The bride's side of the family has been planning this wedding for over 5 years. Her father went to an auction about 5 years ago and saw this train at the auction - yes, a train.... (see the pic below). He bought it and has been fixing it up and preparing it for the last 5 years to prepare for this wedding. He even built a real train track underneath the train! They fixed it up to mimic the Palace on Wheels . There were a bunch of different rooms in it with chairs, tables and snacks. It was nice and warm inside too. It was really cool! (I'll have a few inside pics posted on the other blog later - check it out: www.SouthAsiaShefs.blogspot.com ).
Here's a picture of Adam & I with Rahul's mom :)
These people had thought of EVERYTHING! There was an amazing children's area. There was a big stage area full of pillows they could run around on. They had a huge flat-screen TV that had Popeye playing (a very favorite cartoon here) They also had a man that would give you all the candy you wanted!!! You can see the candy area in the pic below :)
They also had an area in the kids section where any kid could get their characterization drawn (I don't know how to spell the other word)... They had a bunch of artists drawing the children. This little girl in the pic below was so funny! She wanted to show me her drawing and the candy in her mouth :)
Here's a pic of Adam, Aashini and I . We had to really bundle Aashini up - it was cold! The area behind us in the pic was the main food eating area. This is where most of the guests ate. They had food from all different areas of the world. They had Chinese food, Mexican food (that really tasted like Mexican food), Middle Eastern Food, Italian Food (with a make-your-own-pasta bar) and Indian Food. They also had a salad area with salads from all over the world.
Here is a picture of the Bride and Groom with the Pundit. You can't really see, but behind them in the picture is a HUGE waterfall! There were tons of pools of water coming from the waterfall. The tops of all of the pools of water were covered in rose petals! The platform that the bride and groom are standing on is a clear platform and you could see the rose petals below them - it was really cool!
There were a lot of important people there from all over the country! A lot of business owners and politicians. The politician in the pic below is very famous. He had quite the entourage with him. He had at least 15 men with guns there to protect him! Crazy!!
The decorations at this wedding were amazing! This one (below) made me laugh. It was at the soup and bread bar. The head is made of a big pumpkin.
I mentioned before that there was an area where most of the guests ate. The close members of both sides of the family ate in another big fancy room. They sat at tables and were served their food. We were invited to eat in this room as well. There was a man (below) providing the musical entertainment for that room. I'm not sure exactly what they were. I think they were terracotta discs that he was beating on - it was really interesting, but the music kinda gets on your nerves after a while, it is a weird sound - haha!
Here's a pic of Rahul's mom and Uncle (standing on the top left) with the bride and groom. I love this pic because it's almost impossible to get the people here to smile for pictures - especially to get the bride to smile on her wedding day (she's supposed to be sad) - but I guess this was a good match because everyone was smiley and happy :)
The bride's family gave gifts to the groom's side of the family. They gave Adam & I one of the gifts... check it out below. I think it's perfume, it has a really unique smell. It's super fancy and weighs at least 5 pounds!
It was an amazing wedding - it was so cool! I have a bunch of pics - so if you want to see more let me know! :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Waddya Want?

OK, so I want to know what you guys want :) WHat kind of things do you want me to blog about? Any cultural questions? - Sharon wanted to know about the dots (or Bindis/tikkas) that people wear on their foreheads... do you guys have any other cultural questions that I should blog about? Any pictures that you want to see? - Here's a pic Annie wanted me to post :)...
So comment and let me know what you want to see :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rahul Came!

Our good friend Rahul came by the Capital!!! Him and his wife are really good friends of ours from College (Go FSU!) and Sem (New Orleans whoo hoo!)... He was on his way to a wedding in the Eastern part of our country and stopped through the Capital for a night :) Here's a pic of him holding Aashini for the first time at his relative's house. Here's a pic of his little cousin and his Aaya (nanny). He was a cutie!
This is Rahul's Auntie :) She was really nice.
We love you Rahul!!! It was awesome getting to see you!!!!! Whoo hoo!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Day in Our Life...

So, many of you have asked what a typical day is like for us.... well.... I can't really answer that question, because there aren't any "typical" days.... everyday is different and tends to have many unexpected surprises... Today was one of those days....
Our friend Deepak comes over once a week to learn stories... (It's usually a different day each week - again, no typical days or weeks).... Deepak always comes over. Sometimes his wife and son come, and sometimes Kamla (family friend) comes.... well, today it was Deepak, Sunita (his wife), Daniel (Deepak & Sunita's son) Kamla, Kamla's Daughter (Mona), Mona's baby, and then two other kids that were somehow related to Kamla...

So.... in case you have lost count, that's 4 adults, 3 toddlers/preschoolers, one infant, plus Me, Adam & Aashini.
Oh -- and the 4 adults & 4 kids all came in ONE rickshaw! (and Sunita is 8 months pregnant!). (Here's a pic of a rickshaw below in case you forgot what they look like :)) So when they got here, I started making the chai... well, I guess the ladies thought I wouldn't make a very good batch of chai, so they took over the kitchen - which was pretty funny (and pretty normal).... they went through all the cabinets and drawers (even though all of the tea ingredients were already on the counter). During this time they were holding Aashini and she let out a little tiny cry so they rushed her to me and told me to hurry and feed her. They can tend to be pretty funny here when babies/kids cry. They don't think they should ever cry. I told them that I just fed her 10 minutes ago but they insisted I feed her again (even though she had now stopped crying).
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Mona's baby Angel was born the day after Aashini and she was a preemie too - so that was pretty cool :) It was funny to see Mona with her baby. She would let out a tiny cry and Mona would rush to feed her. She would finish feeding her and then 5 minutes later she would let out a little cry and she would rush to feed her again... it was pretty funny - she was feeding Angel most of the time she was there!
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The ladies that were here are from a more villagy area of our city, so some of the cultural things that they think and say can be pretty funny to me :) For example... I was wearing short sleeves... they were all wearing heavy sweaters... so they thought I just HAD to be cold. They lectured me and told me that if I wasn't warm, then my milk wouldn't be warm and Aashini would be drinking cold milk and therefore, she would get sick...
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They also told me that I needed to rub oil on Aashini's soft spot every day... She said that the soft spot was the passageway to the brain, and if I did, the oil would go into her brain and make her smart....
There were some other funny things they said, but I can't remember them right now...
At one point Mona asked me if I used diapers. I said, "yes" and then she asked: "daily?"... I said: "yes"... then she goes to tell me that she only uses diapers when she's out of her house and at home they don't use diapers... Believe it our not, that's pretty common - but I'm not so sure how that works...
Now, of course nothing is private here... everything is everyone's business! - that can actually make for some funny stories :) So Mona & Sunita decided that they needed to look through everything in our house. Sunita is usually quiet and stays with Deepak, but today I guess she had more courage with Mona around... So Mona asked to see Aashini's room... well, she sorta has a room... it's more of a guest room that houses all of her stuff right now though.... (Aashini sleeps in our room)... It's a mess right now (and I need to clean it - my parents are coming soon!!)... I told them it was a mess (hoping to deter them from wanting to come inside) but they pushed their way through anyway...
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They started going through every closet, every drawer, every bag... well... everything. THey wanted to know what everything was and how it worked. Since they didn't speak a lick of English that proved to be quie challenging!

Then they wanted to see our bedroom and Aashini's bed... so... we go in... The first thing they see is Aashini's cool mobile... (I'll post a pic on the baby blog soon, it's a New York Yankees mobile :))... They kept asking me if it would turn around... I told them yes but they wanted to know how it worked, so I wound it up and it started spinning... but they kept asking me how it worked - haha! I thought they just wanted to see it work, not know how the mechanical parts of it worked! haha! At this point I was feeling like a tour guide..... "and on your right you will see the TV that I accidently left on" (and yes, they did lecture me about leaving the TV on :))

So, after a crazy day of playing hostess / tour guide, trying to be a part of the story / training time, helping clean up a couple of the kid's "accidents" (thank goodness for marble floors!), and answering a million questions... HALF of our day was finished....

So, to keep this blogpost from being any longer, I'll keep it at HALF of a "typical day" and save the other half for another time :)
(The pic above is of Adam holding Angel. Babies here are born with a lot of hair... they were quite concerned with Aashini's lack of hair once they found out that we hadn't shaved her head - haha!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Animals in the Capital!

So I was reading a friends blog the other day (Anthony & Sharon's) and they had a lot of friends that wanted to see what the squirrels looked like in their area :)... So I thought... why not do a blog post on our squirrels and other animals...
I actually don't know what to call this animal... at first glance it looks like a squirrel... but his back markings make him look like a chipmonk... so I don't know... maybe it's a squirrel-monk....
They sure are cute though :) The lighter colored one is the girl :)
So, my favorite color is Lime Green... they don't have green limes here, so if I said that color name, they would have no idea what I'm talking about... the closest color they have to that here is "parrot green"... We have awesome green parrots here! At this point, this is the best picture I have of one of them... it's through the window of the ICU :)
We have lots of other cool animals - elephants, camels, cobras.... that I'll have to save for another blog post ;) (or you can see elephants in the post below :))

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Retire in Style!

An awesome couple that we're friends with - Jack & Cathy - are retiring... They have lived overseas most of their lives - and are retiring after a whole bunch of years... I can't remember how many... Anyway, we threw them a big party! They love elephants and we thought - there couldn't be a better theme... "Elephants never forget - and we will never forget you!" :) Adam and I hired the elephant - it was pretty cool! - weeks before the party, they came over to our house and showed us all of the elephant packages we could purchase... some of them included some super-fancy dressings on the elephant! The package we got, involved some pretty cool paintings on the elephant!
Jack & Cathy got to be the first ones to ride the elephant :) I love this pic (below)! Cathy is so fun! (But then again, you have to be to live overseas for so long ;) )
Here are Jack & Cathy on the elephant! - I think this pic is cool! It was funny because we called the elephant guys and asked if we need to get permits or anything like that to have the elephant walk around the neighborhood - and believe it or not, we didn't!
The elephant was walking around in the middle of the neighborhood! :) Haha! I love this pic below because you can see a family in the window watching everything going on :) Can you imagine looking out your window and seeing an elephant just a couple of feet from you! haha!
Of course we had to get a pic in front of the elephant :) Aashini didn't get to ride the elephant this time - She'll have to wait for the next elephant opportunity - she wouldn't have enjoyed it anyway - she slept through the whole thing!
After everyone who wanted to got to ride the elephant, we got to feed him. That was really cool! It was amazing to see the elephant curl the bananas or peanuts in his trunk and put them in his mouth - it was so cool!
It was a very fun day! :) Elephants ROCK! :) We love you Jack & Cathy!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2007 Memories :)

Here's some pics from some of the most memorable moments of 2007 :)