Friday, August 31, 2012

after a hiatus

So... it's been a while... Sorry 'bout that. Chris and I have been busy, busy bees since Independence Day, but let me take a quick break from work to fill you in on the happenings. I'll try to stick to bullet points for this one.

--Advisor Night (8/17): Us, 10 tenth-graders, one haunted house, one Pixar flick, and lots of delivery food. That pretty much sums it up. Once a semester, advisors entertain advisees in an "out-of-boarding" situation. (Read: no sad dorm food for one night.) Our students -- or at least one loud boy -- were set on going to the local "haunted house," a ramshackle abandoned structure about 2 miles from campus. So we started our night with a hike, told ghost stories at the house, and then returned to campus for a movie and Domino's/Kelsang's delivery. Our advisees are usually shy, so it was fun to see them in a more relaxed and vibrant mode. They're a good bunch!

Priam, Pranit, and their "ghost" friend.

Exploring the house.

Of course, everyone needed pictures. Shivi said the dead trees really added to the haunted vibe.

A little picture of its disrepair.

Telling ghost stories. Something about monkeys attacking a woman? Guards being murdered? It was hard to tell what was real and what was a legend...

--Staff Hike to Rajpur (8/25). Chris was sick for this one, which was sad. But, bad wife that I am, I ditched him to walk down the mountain into Doon Valley, several thousand feet below. It was a rainy, slippery hike, but a lovely chance to catch up with other staff members and the misty mountainside. Once down in Rajpur, we visited an alum's shop, where I bought some cool coasters made of recycled newspaper. Then we visited a guitar studio and talked to a representative of JOYN India. JOYN (check out their website) helps Rajpur residents sell their hand-crafted wares to stores in the U.S., connecting the craftswomen to markets they might not have access to otherwise. It's just another small, innovative company -- something of a trend in India, a nation whose residents must innovate frequently to work against widespread infrastructure (and other) issues. It was a fabulous day, but I was sleeping by 9:30p.m... exhausted from the walk. The next day my calves and glutes were tender, tender, tender -- but it was worth it.


I can only imagine how beautiful the view would be on a clear day. Even with clouds, it was stunning.

Lots of this cactus-type plant along the walk... Seems a bit out of place.

Our area has seen many landslides lately. 

My view out the window during lunch, until the clouds rolled in.

Part of the JOYN shop.
--Service-Learning Day (8/31). Flash forward through many teaching days, and we had today off from school! WS wanted kids to get out of the classroom and give back to local communities, so everyone was out and about. Chris and I led a group of 12 tenth-graders to Hill Bird School, a small Christian school down the hill from us. Our task: paint one of the cafeteria spaces and plaster part of the doorway. Anyone who knows Chris and I will realize immediately that this is a disaster waiting to happen. We are not the handy type... We had some challenges -- unstable electricity, not enough paint, no running water near us -- but by the end of our time at Hill Bird, we had accomplished our task to the best of our abilities. The highlight of the day actually came at lunch break, when we wandered over to the Hill Bird students and introduced ourselves. Many seemed terrified of us, but eventually we cajoled them into playing some weird form of tag. After a few minutes, some of the older kids were brave enough to shake hands and introduce us. They were charming! We lucked out with our group of tenth-graders too. They were a lot of fun and willing to get messy for the cause. On top of this, they were able to experience their own privilege; the sparse Hill Bird dorm stood in stark contrast to WS's cushy environment. We hope this realization sticks with them.

The beginning of the transformation...

And that's it for now... Thanks for tuning in.
love, mel


  1. Really enjoy reading about your adventures.

  2. Really enjoy reading about your adventures.

  3. Really enjoy reading about your adventures.

  4. Fun ghost stories time!! Did they have any stories that are well known in the area/region, or were they all just completely random?

  5. Thanks for bringing us along on your most recent adventures. It's interesting learning/realizing the various contrasts that you and your students are experiencing....very good lessons to learn.

    I'm so glad you and Chris are embracing and enjoying beautiful India. Thanks again for setting up Skype. It was wonderful seeing and chatting with you. It actually felt like you were sitting with us at our dining room table, chit-chatting about everything. :o) Amazing!

    Have a great week! Much Love to you both ~ Mommy

  6. Thanks for sharing your India adventures. I so look forward to your blog posts!

    Love, Aunt Joan