Friday, July 27, 2012

where we are

I know many of our friends and family members are anxious to see our living space, but I haven't taken any pics yet because we're still getting set up. Each week we gather more and more for our apartment (so many Rupees gone!), but it doesn't yet feel like a home. I do promise to post as soon as I can.

Since we've arrived, our days have been a whirlwind of staff orientations and frantic planning. I'll write more at length about the academic life at school once I'm settled and teaching -- we are both nervous and excited to meet our students next Wednesday! -- but the rest of this post will be a rambling photo journey from the past week or so...

Many people have seen a similar view on facebook, but here's one more version of what we see from our front patio when it's clear. Technically, it shouldn't be clear yet -- monsoon runs from July-September -- but we've had very little rain (compared to normal). This weather phenomenon doesn't bode well for Indian crops, but it does offer us glimpses of the beauty surrounding us.

This next picture's a bit hard to decipher. I'm standing at the edge of our patio, peeking around the corner. Right under the eave, toward the top-right of the photo, you'll see a monkey! Now, this isn't one of those small, pesky Rhesus monkeys that steals food from humans. This is a Langur, the larger, less-domesticated species that scares Rhesus monkeys. A whole family of Langurs was stationed right outside our house, distracting us from our morning routine. We're supposed to be annoyed at monkeys on campus, but right now I'm just caught up in their beauty and grace as they roam the forests.

This next one photo gives a better idea of what Woodstock normally looks like during monsoon. We took the picture on our walk around the top of the mountain (on the "chukker," as it's called), the afternoon of our one year wedding anniversary! Though it wasn't raining, thick mists had covered the mountainside and given the forests a strange feel, much like being caught in a dream. I love trees, so I couldn't resist snapping this one.

Chris and I participated in a scavenger hunt on Thursday evening, as part of the staff orientation and team-building. The entire staff was divided into teams with teaching staff, support staff, and residential staff (about 7 total) and asked to traipse through the bazaar and explore the theme of consumption. We didn't complete all of the tasks, but here are a few pictures we took along the way...

First, another beautiful shot of the valley...

...a posed shot of us "consuming" a cheap drink: "appies" (strange name for apple juice)...

...a glimpse of some of Mussoorie's poorest people, the garbage-pickers. These families used to live on the side of the roadway, but the town pushed them off that land when roads were repaved. They resettled on the cliff just beneath the road's edge in precariously positioned structures, evidence of the class issues at play in Mussoorie. One of Woodstock's volunteer initiatives is to help bring children from these families to schools for at least half the day so they have some exposure to a more normal childhood.

...our group filming a mini-documentary (filled with fruit puns) about local produce at the bazaar...

...a cool 3Dish mural that speaks to our theme of "consumption"... of our British members gesturing proudly at the English wine shop -- because that's what England's known for, right?

...a Domino's pizza -- in India! wha....?

...enjoying the delicious food at Rice Bowl, a Tibetan place (and hamming it up a bit for the camera)... of many (so many) amazing signs in hilarious English. This whole building made me laugh. It used to be a "Picture Palace" (i.e., movie theater) but now has arcade games and a haunted house. This particular attraction boasts a range of sensations. My favorite: the butt poker. 


  1. Thanks for sharing the pictures and commentary! My favorite shots are the head-on view of the fruit stand, your tree, and the view from your porch. You should find out what kinds of regional twists the Dominos has and report back. :) Tell Chris hello, and good luck with the first day of classes next week!

  2. Thanks, Melanie. We're enjoying your experiences and the pictures as well.

  3. Wow! These pictures are crazy. So glad you seem to be settling in well, even though the change is so drastic. Happy late anniversary! I can't believe it's already been a year. I'm very jealous of all that amazing foliage. Good luck with school!

  4. What a fantastic view from your front patio ... mountains, valley, forests and wildlife. I was wondering, do the Langur monkeys keep you from relaxing and enjoying your patio? Do you have to keep them at bay with your trusty "monkey stick" (umbrella)? :o)

    I love the pictures ~ they're interesting and quite beautiful. My favorite is the tree, enveloped in mist. Wow! Frame it and it would be a beautiful memory of your First Anniversary.

    Best of Luck to you and Chris as you start your new school year ~ I know your students will love you both! Take good care of each other. Much love to you both ~ Mommy

  5. Hi guys! I really enjoyed the blog entries. I think I got the first one, but then didn't know about the next ones until today. I don't think I have been getting them. I re-signed and will look more carefully at my e-mails. What a fabulous adventure! It seems amazing to me that you are there. Just a bit more exotic than Iowa! Good luck on your first days with the students! Loved all the pictures and details. Thanks so much for posting them, Melanie! Love, Candy

  6. Hi,
    Thanks for sending all the wonderful pictures with your comments and explanations. It's a photo diary and so fascinating to read. Good luck meeting your students on Wednesday. Love, Aunt Joan

  7. Thanks for your comments, everyone! We're glad you're enjoying the pictures/descriptions. More to come later this week... Sorry for those having trouble with "following" the blog. I'm not sure why that would be a problem, but I hope it works itself out. :)