Friday, December 26, 2008

The Post I Would Have Posted

S in the days leading up to Christmas

Our India Christmas was delightful.
Turns out that in the Phil and Kathryn Blackburn house Christmas is about food, specifically baking. Seeing as the only thing we'd baked before Christmas Eve's eve in our thermometer-less wonder of an oven (see previous post for a photo of the little darling) was a small pan of brownies, and we'd been shocked in the process (Yeah, no joke, the oven will on occasion send out a little shock), we went down right crazy and started buying all the fixings for a real Christmas dinner. That meant Phil taking his computer on the road Christmas Eve and traveling 50km outside of Delhi to buy a turkey from a Frenchman that runs a farm here (in our typical fashion we were a little late on the turkey decision, and Phil's phone call missed the turkey delivery wagon by 3 hours). We had some set backs. We'd planned to start the thing at 1:30, at 1:15 the electricity went out. They were installing a light post in the park across the street. Apparently the whole world doesn't stop on Christmas. It was better to have an explanation than not. An hour and a half later the electricity came back on. And we were in business.

Turkey, potatoes & gravy, rolls (a little dense, turns out even though it's not the color I'm accustomed to, it IS whole wheat), fresh green salad. Home made apple pie, and some cookies to deliver to friends. Way to go Sunflame Exotica DX!

Our $20 paper tree, not as bad as I'd expected

This year's big item

While we missed everyone, and especially missed being there for Phil's sister Bonnie's homecoming, we enjoyed our little Christmas. It was nice to have the whole thing toned down a bit. Christmas is a national holiday here, but not actually observed by many. There were cheap decorations available to buy in all the markets, but you had to seek them out. The nicer stores catering to westerners had Christmas decorations, but it was all a lot more laid back. It was nice to be able to choose exactly which holiday traditions we wanted to participate in, and focus on our religious worship. Maybe it was partly because I had enough else going on, but Christmas caused much less stress for me than it has in the last couple of years. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


S had a friend over to play. When his mom walked in with him, she said, he's been coughing a lot. I blink a few times. As she's walking out the door, she turns to her kid and says, "If you're going to vomit, tell Kathryn." And then she's gone.

The play date was uneventful, but I was left wondering why I can't be a bit more aggressive without preparation?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Baby N Cried

Santa at the ward Christmas party

My House is no Vacation Destination

So, we moved into our apartment at the beginning of the month... well, we got the keys to our apartment at the beginning of the month. Since then it's been a dusty, dirty, argument filled two weeks. The kind of two weeks that had my mother-in-law writing "it's okay to just give up and come home" emails, and S telling his class about how his house is so dirty that he has special inside shoes to wear.

After the first week my maid got typhoid. Great. So, before you go getting all sorry for her, check out my washing machine (yes, I know this is the third washing machine to make a blogburn appearance):

That my dears, is a semi auto. I didn't know they existed, which I why I mistook the spinner basket for some sort of dryer when we looked at the apartment. No, not a dryer. After you turn on the faucet, fill the tub (on the bottom in the photo), let the machine do it's magic, return, & drain the washer, you move your clothes to the spinner basket and set the spin timer. This removes (I guess) the soap. Then you move the clothes back to the tub, rinse (by filling and draining), you move the clothes back to the spinner and spin again. Then you hang them out to dry.
So yeah, don't be waiting for the Christmas card this year, by the time all the clothes are clean, it might be Valentines.

Here's a few more pictures of our place:

Our newly refurbished kitchen, somehow I don't think everyone had the same vision...

The woodwork that tricked me into agreeing to this place...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Phil managed to get a day and a half off for Thanksgiving, so we figured we'd best be seeing some of this country we're calling home for a bit. We decided to start with Udaipur. The guidebook says it's the most romantic city in India. Romance sounded good. We packed up the boys, took the overnight train... yeah... okay, so no romance.

High and low points:
- Waking up on the train and finding our Ziploc bag/trash bag (filled with carrot peels, dirty diapers, food dropped by N on the train floor), which we'd stashed under the seat the night before, with a hole chewed in the side and it's carrot peel guts strewn about a bit. Rats?
- Walking down the street and being offered elephant rides.
- A peaceful, quiet B&B, 15 minutes from town, where the dirt didn't seem so dirty and we could see blue sky, stars even.
- A boat ride around the lake at sunset (for a few moments, it did almost feel romantic).
- N lost his last pacifier. S responds, "Oh man, now we'll have to figure out what he wants."
- Eating lunch in a decent German bakery with an inescapable view of the cows and dogs foraging on garbage across the street. And we weren't in the wrong part of town, it's just town.
- A very turbulent plane ride back to Delhi. In order: N threw up. Mom threw up. S threw up.

A few pictures:

The view from the balcony off our room.

Anyone for an elephant ride?

You see these irons all over. They put coals in them (as you can see her doing in the background) to heat them up.

We went on a little "hike" near our hotel. She was washing in the lake and drying out the sheets.

Some women who stopped to talk to the boys.
Appetite killing view from the bakery.


I feel strange posting about our weekend without mentioning Mumbai, but I don't have any information that the rest of you don't, nor any insight or understanding. I am saddened and sobered.
As Thanksgiving passed, I was extra thankful for my little family and our safety. Another thing to add to the amazing number of things that I have to be grateful for. Another basic that I take for granted every day. I've been realizing how many of those there are recently.