Thursday, September 20, 2012

What A View

One of the things I really love is cycling and on the crazy streets of New Delhi, this is just not possible, unless I want to serve a more heavenly mission (which Angela says she's not interested in gong with me - must be the grandkids).  So I found a solution.... 

My New Exercise Buddy
One of the challenge we have had is getting adequate exercise while here, and after 4 months of being rather sedate and working in the Mission Office, I'm starting to feel it.  While laying on the couch eating chips is fun, the aches and pains of inactivity are not.  We have tried walking in the streets and "sidewalks", but between the unevenness of both, and the chaotic traffic at all times of the day, it's not very enjoyable.   Overall my new bike provide a similar riding experience as my real bike, with the exception of no wind in my hair, that isn't artificially created by a fan.  I'm hoping it will keep me in good enough shape that I won't embarrass myself when I come back and ride with Bryan, Eric, Brad andW (as Brad says) the "Windrose Peloton". 

Tube Sock Dolls

This past week Angela had a Relief Society activity in which they created Tube Sock dolls.  There were about 10 sisters in attendance.  Knowing that activities always start late, we showed up at around 4:30 pm, about 30 minutes after the start time.  The other sisters were sitting around talking, but as soon as Sister Stevens walked in the door, it was time to start.  Unexpectedly (or now, generally expected), she led the opening song and give a spiritual thought. 

Back to the dolls... I wasn't there, but Angela tried to tell me how these are made (of course a picture is worth "a thousand words"), so I'll save the words.  You start by cutting the sock in a strategic area (this was not revealed to me, so it must be top secret), then you unwind the sock material around a song book, pan or other convenient object.  Once you have it unwound, through the magic of a rubber band and several snips with the scissors, this is what you get.  They're cute, soft and fuzzy and look great on our book case.  Angela can hardly wait to share with the women back home someday. 

The rest of the meeting was taken up playing musical chairs.  Everyone likes to play games, and most often they are children's games.  No pictures were taken, but Angela said they all had fun.  And guess who won???  For all of you that think Angela is laid back and fun loving, you should see her play a mean game of musical chairs...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Instiute in India

One of the pleasures we have each week, is to teach Institute (scripture study for those 18-30 generally).  It's a welcome change from the office work we do all week long.  We teach at the church building that is down the street about 1/3 mile.  We generally walk, dodging cars, auto rickshaws, bikes and lots of other pedistrians.  By the time we get there, we are hot and sweaty and looking forward to a little A/C (that is, if we aren't the first ones there and need to turn it on ourselves). 

Half our Institue Class

We now have 42 people on the rolls, including a few non-members who show up occasionally.  We have about 25 people that attend on any given Wednesday - a combination of young adults, older members and some children.  We take the time to learn everyone's name and make them feel welcome.  Probably half do not speak sufficient English to carry on a conversation with me or Sister Stevens, but they sit and listen.  Because of the language issues, when we teach we are sensitive to "big" or unfamilar words and tend to lecture more than we like because questions are often not understood by many.  There are a few "stars" in the group that speak English well enough and are always willing to pray or read or answer questions.  Overall, everyone likes to read the scriptures.  This past Wednesday, we even had a member read in Hindi.  I didn't understand, but I'm sure the members did.   It helps me appreciate how much difficulty they have with my version of English.   We are studying the New Testament, and Angela and I spend several hours each week preparing the lesson topic.  As is always the case, we learn the most, but hopefully we are imparting some gospel knowledge to this valiant group of saints.   

Our New Apartment

I'm sitting here eating my $10 US equivalent bag of California Pistachios (500 grams or about 1 lb) realizing I have not written in the blog for almost 2 weeks.  As I sit and think about what I can say, I start reading the label.  They are not packaged in California, but in India.  In fact, they aren't even from California.  So much for truth in advertising.  Maybe I'll roast my own next time....

Living Room overlooking "the Hole".  TV in the
other corner not seen
Anyway, we have been in our apartment about 2 weeks, and we went out the other day and finally bought some items to make it feel more like home.  We bought a couple of large area rugs, that will be our donation to the mission, since it will be too expensive to ship them back to the US.  We'll enjoy them while we are here and leave them for the next couple, that I'm sure will appreciate something other than expansive marble floors.  We put a few pictures here to show that we are treated well as far as apartments go.  I might have mentioned that this apartment sits right next to the Mission Home and Mission Office and has 3 bedrooms.  We use one for sleeping, one for storage and one for the computer/printer and stuff. 

Bold colors are common
in India - we like them
For those senior couples thinking about going on a mission, we do have some of the creature comforts of home.  We have satellite TV that we can watch, but all the shows are last year's season of shows that we didn't watch in Houston.  We do get the Mentalist, which is a good diversion at the end of a long day.  I tell Angela that I have seen them all from last year, but other than knowing I have seen it, I never know what's going to happen (it's my own Groundhog's Day - if you've seen the movie)

A few of our finds
(not the clock)
 By India standards it pretty nice.  Now that we aren't totally swamped at the office, we are trying to take some time to make things a little more homey.