Wednesday, September 26, 2012

time is not on our side

Much to say and no time to say it -- that's how life goes in India. Therefore, even after nearly a month, we can only offer one paltry entry that summarizes everything. Poorly. Enjoy! ;)

Dalai Lama Fun Time
Though His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited in mid-September, my preparation began much earlier. Woodstock students and staff were encouraged to wear formal national dress for the event, and this time I wanted to go Tibetan. 

With the guidance of some friends, the Wunkers, a few of us travelled down to Clement Town, a Tibetan section of Dehradun. We stopped at a Tibetan temple there, which was beautiful on the outside but seemed closed to visitors that day. 

From afar, with Darcey in the foreground.

Up close and personal.

Some sage advice.

After the temple, we made our way to a tailor, and picked out the fabric for our "chubas," traditional Tibetan outfits. Then, after a quick stop at KFC (yup!), we were back home. About a week later, our outfits were delivered to WS. The end result of the trip: a beautiful and comfortable outfit I can wear on special occasions and for teaching!

All dressed up.
Then, it was the big day. We got all gussied up and headed to the gym. The DL was a rather hilarious figure; he regularly cracked himself up with his own jokes. And his laughter was infectious, spreading through the gym like a wave each time. Though he was rather hard to understand at times, he delivered a heartfelt speech about ethics, arguing that divisions like nationality and race should disappear against the larger human connection we feel with each other. I was particularly interested in his focus on secular ethics, this idea that all humans -- no matter what religion they practice -- are driven to feel compassion. 

We get to experience some pretty cool stuff over here.

Yup, I was pretty far away. But there he is!

Born to Run
Running was a huge part of life at WS during September, mostly because of the "inter-house" competition WS holds between Eagles, Condors, and (the best!) Merlins. Chris and I are both part of the mighty Merlins group, which has lost the competition many years in a row. But not now!

The first installment of the competition happens on the annual "Inter-house XC Day." Classes are shortened, and the whole school treks up to the chakkar, a road on top of the mountain. Running is compulsory for students through grade 10, optional for 11/12. There's some sort of complex points system, and I ran two races (that's dedication!) so I could earn double points for our team.

The stands are full!
Grade 7/8 girls taking off, with staff pulling up the rear.
The day was a mess of whining and sweating, but also full of cheering. It was great fun to shout for my students or fellow Merlins. It reminded me of how much I love to root on people as they challenge themselves. And...... MERLINS ENDED UP WINNING. WHAAAAAT?!?!?!

Our next big running day was just last weekend. The top finishers of the Inter-house runs are pulled onto the XC "team" and run against other schools. We had some great finishes by men, but the women really swept the competition. Below is a snapshot from the medal ceremony -- our Grade 11/12 girls took all three spots! (The one in third is my student, Sarah!)

Amid all these races, I've been trying to keep up my running. I was doing well until last week -- busy, busy, busy! But I'm trying to stick to it because the first annual Mussoorie half-marathon is coming up in early November. Not sure how that will go, but it will certainly have interesting scenery, whether mountains or our lovely bazaar.

Well, I think I've written too much at this point, but I'll do another instalment soon. We head to Delhi on Friday, and we'll have much to share...

love, mel


  1. How blessed you are to witness and hear the Dalai Lama's speech at Woodstock ~ an unforgettable event for sure. Both you and Chris look amazing in your formal national attire.

    I enjoyed reading about the annual "Inter-house Cross Country Day". I cracked a smile when I read that you ran two races to earn double points for your team ~ that's my girl! Brings back Olympia HS Cross Country memories :o) Congratulations Mighty Merlins!

    Good Luck with your training for the November Mussoorie half-marathon. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and text. Enjoy your trip to Delhi.

    Much Love ~ Mommy XO

  2. If while we were growing up in New Canaan, CT someone came up to me and said, "In about 20 years or so, your brother is going to be teaching high school/middle school aged kids in India with his wife, and he will have pictures of himself in something that is not a Tshirt and corduroys." I would have first asked how time travel worked and then second called said person a liar. Can't believe this is where life has taken you guys! The Dalai Lama experience sounds both amazing and kind of hilarious. I like that he cracks himself up. Hope you are having fun on your trip and remain healthy. I'm also glad you have photographic evidence on your lives there since it's kind of unbelievable! We're really proud of you guys back here in the states!
    love, Nicole

  3. Well said, Nicole ~ I'm in total agreement with you. We're very proud indeed! Your comment about the Tshirt & corduroys, cracked me up :o)

  4. Loved the blog Mel! It is so fun to see and hear what you all are doing and how you are doing! I agree with Kathy that you two do look amazing in your formal attire!! And I also agree with Nik that I would not have believed it of Chris either!! Though you might have gotten me to believe a polo shirt and khakis - but that is about as far as I would have imagined!Thanks again, Mel! Hope you're having a great trip!!