Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lazy Day

Ahh. I am so lazy today. I went out dancing at a club last night with friends (something I don't do in the U.S.). It was, surprisingly, pretty fun, despite the fact I almost lost my favorite green corduroy jacket! (Luckily I found it, yay!)

Well, in the U.S., the one or two times I have gone clubbing, it was been... hmm.. I don't know. Slightly irritating, I guess. I don't really like the general club-going populace, I don't like grinding (I am a group dancer!) and I don't like to "meet" people at clubs.

This club, called B2B is in a Country Inn and Suites in Jaipur. It is rather expensive to get in (500 rupees a person, or about $12.59 but you get a little over half that back in drink coupons) and you can only go as a couple. At first, this was annoying because we weren't sure we would have an even amount of people. But inside, the environment was much nicer. No one seemed to be prowling around to "meet" people, everyone was content with their own group of friends, or partner. Dancing was fun, though I was disappointed that there was not as much Hindi pop music as I hoped for.

So after a fun evening of dancing with friends (though I was missing V and wishing he could be here this weekend!) I came home and slept for...

12 hours.

That's right. 12 hours. Whew. I didn't know I have the potential to sleep 12 hours straight, but apparently I did. And no, I didn't drink too much. My stomach is super acidic and that is not helping by all the spicy fried foods of India, so lately I can't really imbibe the alcohol. I was just, sleepy, I guess. Who knows.

So today I woke up at 3 pm (indeed!) and all day I have been lazing around, reading blogs, and not doing the homework which is waiting for me. I have to finish reading a Hindi story called Eidgah, and also write my 5 page weekly journal.

Oh alas, but I don't want to. I am really excited to (hopefully) head to my parents house in the U.S. for christmas, and bring V along. I hope it snows. I want to take him sledding. And eat Christmas cookies. And have a fire in the fireplace in the living room, and relax sipping eggnog. Mmm. Hopefully we will be on our way in two weeks. V has his visa appointment this week, and the U.S. embassy really is a fan of paperwork. For a little two week vacation V have to procure every document in the world. Or something like that.

Hopefully it will all work out fine though... I really hope we can go for a nice vacation....

It's so funny, I was so excited to get back to India, and I am enjoying it, but still, now I am all excited to take a little break and see my friends and family and show V where I grew up.. and eat lots of yummy food. There is certain food I keep thinking about:

1.) Chilean Sandwiches from Downtown Crossing in Boston
2.) Veggie Sushi
3.) Christmas cookies- especially my mom's mocha fudge
4.) Christmas morning pastry.. we call it "slug" but it's real name is 'Cream cheese coffee cake". The tastiest thing ever.
5.) A basic veggie sandwich with lettuce, tomato, avocado, etc. Yum. And a Moe's sub.

Yum! I can't wait. I hope we get to go.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Life of a gori videshi larki in Jaipur

sigh. that's right. siiigh.

so, whats a gori videshi larki, anyways, you ask? Well gori is fair/white, videshi is foreigner and larki is, well girl.

Ok, so you get the idea. I am a white foreign girl in Jaipur. Indeed.

I have been in India since August, and in Jaipur for 3 months now.

And let me say it. UGH. Yes, that is right, ugh. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mean all of India is ugh by any means, or Indians or Indian culture (etc etc etc). In fact I am still a big fan. Especially of the people I am close to... boyfriend, friends, kids at the NGO, etc.

But day-to-day walking down the street in Jaipur is one of the most irritating things ever. So, Indian women here dress in a variety of ways. We have the traditonal mama's in their saris, with gold jewelry, big bindhi on the forehead and some nice chappals (sandals). We have the salwaar kameez types, swinging their duppattas around their necks, and them we have the young ladies who tend to wear a mix of the salwaar kameez look and the t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers get-up.

I generally wear a mix of the jeans with kurtas, duppattas, salwaar suits, etc. Usually I pull my hair back. Mostly I look kind of nondescript and entirely dull and flavorless. I do it on purpose, mainly (and, a bit out of laziness).

But regardless of what I wear, be it full Indian get-up, or full Umrikan shirt n jeans, I get the same stares. Lest we forget, streets in India are pretty much everywhere filled with more males than females. Anywhere I walk, first you get the rubbernecking. If I (a gori videshi larki) make eye-contact with said rubberneckers, this may.... insinuate some interest. Ha! I am just looking around. So the only way to walk is mainly by staring at the ground, not looking at faces, I have become good friends with the pavement on the way to class, its potholes, sandy parts, and bumps...

In addition to the rubberneckers, we have a few different type of yellers. Type A is the shop owner/cycle/auto driver who sees me and thinks "ah ha! a videshi tourist sucker is born every minute! Lets see how much I can charge them for fill in the _____" Type A yellers tend to yell such non-varying phrases such as "madam! come into my shop!" "you neeeeed a ride? come into my auto, madam!" or the ever-favorite smacking of seat followed by "aao" (come). right. I am walking to school. Like I do everyday. And your winning charge of "madam madam!" will really draw me in. Whats up with "madam" anyways? Man I hate that word (whew. deep breath.)

Type B yellers generally include adolescent, teenage boys, young adult (men) and a few bold women/girls. The more benevolent look at me (or any gori videshi larki) as if they have just seen a movie star, and begin waving their hand and shouting "HELLO! HOW-ARE-YOU?" or other such simple English phrases, excited to finally have someone to shout them at besides their school teacher. Older guys ride by and say "Hello!" etc and smile, hoping for a positive response and attempt to make further inane chatter. All such people, with the exception of small cute children in school buses, get ignored with the whole "look at my feet and at like I can't hear" routine. The rule is, never, ever encourage.

Type C yellers are the worst. Always older teenage boys or any age men, they probably watch too much (illegal) imported western porn. Hence, the only time they see gori videshi larkiya is when, well, they are watching foreign people have sex on t.v. As you can imagine, not the best foot to start off on. Thanks porn industry!

Type C yellers are usually on bikes. They like to yell things like "HEY SEXY!" or "WANT A RIDE?". These guys are usually from well off families and seem to think they "know it all". Like the notion that if a white girl takes a ride from you, that means you get to have sex. Or that, white girls have sex with anyone, coz its what they do for fun. Damn. Sexy. Unfortunately, along the way, all of these guys forgot to use their brains and realize that humans are humans, no matter where we live. In that, I have a family, I go to school, etc. No, I am not a sex machine. Sorry to disappoint.

Beyond Type C yellers we get into touchers, which is a whole other breed. There is the "oops! I bumped into you!" guys, the ride-by-on-bike-and-swipe, and then the guys who don't pretend they are not sexually harassing you and just grope you, straight up. (Luckily this has not happened to me, though it did happen recently to someone I know). I generally avoid crowds, because this is where touchers strike... I got a gross pair of sweaty lips planted on the back of my neck once at a parade in Jaipur. wretch.

Now, I am not saying this only happens in Jaipur. I had a whole "oops I bumped into you.. and oops again!" happen in Chennai which resulted in the 40-something guy getting a decent slap from me...

I am always on the alert, I have these dreams of knocking said "Eve-Teaser" of the future (though I think it is all just sexual harassment, not the benign sounding eve-teasing that Indians use for such incidents) off his bike, or slapping,punching, or kicking him where it counts. But of course, type a and b yellers don't deserve violent measures, usually just a scowl or ignoring them works, but type c yellers and touchers... I say slap, kick and punch at will. Well, don't like... you know, send him to the hospital, but embarrass him if possible.

Anyways, thanks for listening. I really needed to rant about this. whew.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Where to begin?

Ah, it's been so long since I posted anything, it's so hard to decide where to start.

Let's see. I'm in Jaipur, India, and have been since the beginning of September. The month of August I spent in Delhi, and also traveled to Dharamshala for some time (with the WB too!)

I have been studying Hindi here and also visiting my wonderful boyfriend in Delhi quite frequently, and he often visits me here, too.

Actually, he just came to visit, and after about one day I unfortunately got sick (AGAIN!) so he stayed extra time and spent most of it taking care of me. Poor guy. I really hate having to rely on people for help too. It always makes me feel bad.

My stomach and I have not been getting along extremely well since I got to India, but I am determined to beat it into submission (or... whatever). When I first got here I kept having weird stomach aches which I think were just from jet lag/nerves, so they went away after awhile. Then I was all chill in Delhi. But since I have gotten to Jaipur I have had... erm.. I think three bouts of the old "delhi belly" (which I never got in Delhi...) and once I had conquered those and seemed well on the mend, I got this strange stomach affliction.

Now, it all started with linzi being not-so-smart. Sure my stomach has been better for a few weeks without incidence (and may I note, my roommate nor anyone else seems to be getting sick while eating the same exact things as me!) but I guess I should not have gotten carried away and thought I could enjoy an evening out with friends, which involved, three weak alcoholic beverages. Now, I don't know IF they were really the cause of the stomach incident, seeing as how it was three weak screwdrivers (from which I did not achieve anything near drunkenness) or if it something else (like my mysterious "IBS" diagnosis from the grand doctors of the USA, which means "yup, yer stumuch hurts n we dunno why. you want sum rolaids?")
but the next day I upon eating I was saluted with a mysterious pain right underneath where my ribcage and sternum meet. Hum. So I waited a day, but the pain was rather not so fun, and if I tried to eat it became horribly worse (thought I did not feel nauseous or have any other normal symptoms of stomachy-badness.) So at about 10 pm my boyfriend V and I decided to visit the doctor.

Now, keep in mind that in Hindi visiting the doctor is "doctor ke paas jaanaa" which literally means "to go NEAR to a doctor". Whenever I think about this particular phrase, I think of the doctor as a guru, and in his essence I may be cured. Well, going to a doctor here is not to much different (at least in my experiences so far) than gaining some doctor-y essence. On this particular evening the doctors visit went like this:

(also note, this visit did not start with taking of temperature, asking about current problems/medication, or asking about any allergies to drugs)

Doctor: "Come sit, tell me whats wrong"
Me: "Since morning I have had this strange pain right here, that gets worse if I try to eat"
Doctor: "right here?" (poke)
Me: "OW! yes."
Doctor: "and you said you have nausea?
Me: "no, I don't have nausea. Just this pain."
Doctor: "aha, ok. I will give you these medicines and you will be completely better."
(proceeds to write out a long list of drugs with various notes about how often to take each one. When finished I have a list of 4 different medicines. And since he is a doctor, it is of course, illegible)
Me: "um, what exactly is wrong with me? I mean, what are all of these medicines for?"
Doctor: (laughs heartily) "That's a silly question!"
Me: (interjecting weakly) "But I want to know what the medicines are for before I take them"
Doctor: (grumpily) "You are having gastritis (I think this is what he said) which is inflammation of the stomach lining. These medicines will make you better. (This was followed by a half-hearted attempt to explain each medication). "Ok, now the first medicine is an injection."

He gave us the list and we went into the lobby (which was luckily very empty) and asked the nurse on duty where to get the medicines. He told us the hospital pharmacy was closed, so we had to take an auto rickshaw, get the medicines, and then come back so he can administer the injection.
When we came back, medicines and disposable syringe in hand, the nurse took me back and had me lie down. Only then did I realize, EEKS, it was not a normal shot but an "IV" shot, meaning.... he was going to stab the syringe into a vein on my hand. He told V to hold me down. GULP. Luckily, after such a dramatic opening, I learned that Mr. Male Nurse was in fact excellent at stabbing people's veins causing only minimal pain. Yippee.

After this I went home and tried to follow my pill regiment (I still don't know what one of the medicines is for!) but the next night it was still bad so we went back and he gave me a few more medicines, and told me only to eat liquid or semi-solid foods. whoo fun.

So that began on Sunday, and today (Wednesday) I am starting to feel mainly better, though
still having a small amount of pain. V stayed with me until today, even though he had to miss some of the classes he teaches. He helped me a lot, made me food, and all that. I feel really bad though, I keep getting sick and having to be taken care of. Sigh. Poor guy. Of course he is a wonderful sweetheart, and gets upset if I thank him for helping me.

So that is the latest story. Maybe I can give you some more stories soon, since I have aquired some free wireless internet from who knows where.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Two days

Two days until I fly outta here for delhi. Hip hip hooray. Now. Back to packing.

Monday, July 23, 2007

today= yay!

well, I just have to say, I'm having a lovely day.

here are some superb things about today:

1.) I got my (fixed) visa from the Indian Embassy, thereby granting me the privilege to go back to India for another year. I just keep carrying it around and looking at my beeyootiful visa. oh visa. so shiny. so colorful. so correct.

2.) In exactly two weeks from today I will be stepping down on Delhi soil to begin said year-long adventure. Oh I cannot wait. I need to get on my packing. I bought a very large suitcase. I am not taking the tags off yet. We will see if I will use that or if its even too big.

3.) I suddenly remembered (ok ok, I must confess, reminded me by recommending me said title) that I was once upon a time considering buying a Bollywood dance workout video. Today I was thinking, what a grand idea, a workout, some smooth dance moves, and fun all in one. So I bought:
This DVD dance workout is bhangra style (think Punjabi's bouncing around with their hands in air) and henceforth is very fun. It's not very complicated in the dance move department, but gives you basic fun moves and, boy, it does make you sweat. After finishing the workout for the first time today, I was thinking "aww, I wanna do it again" which I think is a good sign. I refrained from doing it again though, I don't want to overdo it and then not want to do the video again. Instead I will look forward to doing it tomorrow, and hopefully I will become so sweet on the dance floor. no one can stop me.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

i MADE something!

ok, so I am at my parents house for a month during my wait. And my mom has this sewing machine that I think maybe I tried once or twice when I was a kid, but mainly it was her domain. I never actually used it to make anything. whole.

So, here I am, stuck in Maine-land. And I realized the awesome wallet one of my great friend wendy's mom made for me a couple years ago at Christmas is getting sad and holey. So I was thinking, maybe I should try to make a new wallet? My old wallet is basically a large lined pouch that folds in half and Velcro's shut. On the inside there is a pocket for cards that also Velcro's shut.

So I was thinking, over all I love my wallet but there were a few issues.

Issue 1: Whenever I had to get my money I would have to pull everything out of the pouch, announcing to the world how much (or little) money I was carrying with me.

Issue 2: Same issue with the cards, I would have to take them all out and shuffle through them. Not to mention I have too many. And they are never organized in any order.

So regardless of who's fault this issues are (mine, definitely mine) I decided I would try and take the basic folding pouch ideal (an ideal change/random stuff pouch) and add a little pocket that is bill sized. After that I thought, why not go all the way and make some little pockets for cards too?

So today I cut up some fabric, made the various parts, and this is what I came up with:

Now, I am already thinkings as I write this that I may need to add little flaps over the card/stuff pockets so the cards don't slide out. hmmm. Also I still need to add a button/snap/or velcro closure so I can fold it in half and keep it in my pocket. But here it is, trial wallet number 1.

(oh, and by the way, it cost nothing, all recycled fabric from a trunk in the basement)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

1 Month Exactly...

Until I get on a plane to Delhi.

I am so excited. I decided this month of waiting will be devoted to becoming more healthy. Meaning eating healthy balanced food and trying to get some kind of exercise everyday. So today is day one and so far doing ok. I did 50 crunches (whoo!) and also some yoga to wake up, and plan on going for a bike ride later. Right now I am eating a healthy breakfast, and hopefully I can continue the streak for the rest of the day.

Hopefully, I will be nice and healthy and in control of what I eat (no eating things I am allergic to or have sensitivities to) so when I get to India I can stay healthy and happy and not get sick like last summer (I was sick for about 1.5 months with major stomach issues). This year, my goal is to maintain healthy eating there, while being firm ("No, I REALLY can't eat dairy, even if you insist it will make my stomach ache go away") about my food issues.

If I am all set with this, then I can enjoy my 10 months (atleast!) in India that much more.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blogging Madness!

two blogs in one day? madness!

The past several months, I have been rather hermatose (hermit + comatose).

So, I guess I will finally spill the beans.

I am back on my way to India for at least 10 months!
I am doing a year long Hindi Program. I did the three month version of the program last summer, and this year I hope to achieve fluency. I am really excited and I got a fellowship for the program.
So, Next month I'll be on my way. Stay tuned for updates from India.

Egg Dreams

So I have been a vegetarian since I was 12, when my good friend Anne (no longer a vegetarian, but still a follow of eating healthy and locally) introduced me to the concept. I had never liked meat (amongst a gazillion other things I wouldn't eat, I was the mom's nightmare style picky eater), and I had always loved animals. So one day she told me she became a vegetarian and it was like "whoa! you mean people do that? and I can too?" I was pretty excited. My mom was not so thrilled. "I'm not cooking separate meals for you!"

After all of these years I was pretty used to be being a vegetarian. But I still have lots of stomach issues. I won't bore you with the details. I went to a vareity of Doctors. Mr. By-the-Book doctor proclaimed (after doing fancy tests) that nothing was wrong with me, and it was all in my head. (Gee, thanks). Ms. Happie-Hippie Doctor perscribed me on a no sugar diet to get rid of candidas albicans (or something), also she found lots of food I have sensitivities too (which all have panned out).

Still I didn't exactly follow her advice and my stomach didn't get better. Then about three or four months ago, I began to embrace the truth. Everytime I ate dairy, I felt very ill afterwards, and no lactaid didn't help. It took some forcing (by myself) but I stopped eating dairy, and damn, do I feel better.

So now I am a non-diary imbibing vegetarian.

But back to the title. Egg Dreams.

So I have always had a slight grossed-out reaction to eggs, but always ate them anyways. A few months ago, I purchased what I thought were local cage-free vegetarian fed hen eggs. Then I was making some breakfast and I noticed some hunkachunka pinkie stuff in my egg. Ew. I threw out the pinkie thing, trying not to look. The I went about my business, cracking the two more eggs for the recipe. All of them seemed, well, odd. I looked on the egg carton again. FERTILIZED EGGS it said in large (how did I miss this?) letters acrosssed the top. My stomach dropped and churned about. My intellectual side was reduced to "EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW". I mean, eggs are already goo squeezed from between a very unintelligent bird's legs. They are gross enough unfertilized. But, fertilized? And why, oh why, would you sell such a thing? Do people eat them, ON PURPOSE? Are they for hatching?

Since then, I have not stopped eating eggs, but every time I crack one, I feel a reluctance. And last night, was the culmination of this. Egg Dreams.

I have a dream that I was making some food and cracked an egg. A little fetus was in it, which had a spikey backbone, all curled up. I tried to throw it away without thinking and cracked another one. It had a bigger, more disgusting spiney-back boned fetus inside. In my dream, I ran into the bathroom to be sick.

In the real world, I woke up totally disgusted. eggs. shudder. fetus. shudder. fertilized. shudder.

Am I destined to be a vegan? Well I did just make brownies with EGGS in it, so I guess we will see.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Help me, I'm naked


So, my poor kitty got ringworm a few weeks ago, and since I am poor, I can't really afford the oral antifungal that they suggested.. the alternative treatment?

shave your cat. then bathe him. one a week. apply antifungal cream twice daily, after cleaning with special medicated pads.

"why me?"

oh my poor poor kitty. I just shaved him. He was so good. He keeps looking at me with a pitiful "why?" on his face.
and my cut was kinda lumpy too

Friday, May 25, 2007


each day at 11 I run out and check the mail. When will it come? Will it be in a big envelope? Small? disheveled? ripped? crisp? Will it contain good news, or something that will punch me in the gut, leaving my hands shaking?

each day I look around, it feels frantic, chaotic, squeezing in. When will it change? When will my chaos melt into some kind of harmony. When will it feel like mine, when will it be worth organizing? when will I find home that is home, not temporary-it-can-wait-til-someday-in-the-future, but it can be worth it, now?

each day i think, i need to see him. When can I get there? When can we look each other in the eyes, and say hello, and smile and laugh together? When can we share the same temperature, or the same mosquito buzzing in our ears, or the same crunch of twigs underfoot in the woods? When can I know if he bites his fingernails, or cuts them straight, or if he turns his socks right-side-out, or has a smell to recognize? when can I see how his eyes crinkle when he laughs, or if he fidgets when he's bored, or how he looks when he is mad?

when will life be more about living, then waiting?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Life, These Days.

So I am sure everyone is sitting around wondering "gee, I wonder what ole lindsey is up to these days?". Well, maybe I hope that is what you are thinking.

Mostly I have been hiding out. I don't really know what's going on these days, and my future plans are kind of up in the air. I applied and got accepted to a year long Hindi language program, but I'm on the waiting list for a fellowship. I won't know for another month or so. So MAYBE I am going to India for nine months, maybe not. I'm not very good at this "wait and see" business.

Otherwise, I am excited that I just got a full time job! YAY! HURRAY! Not only that, but it is at a bookstore. This morning was my first day, and I did four hours of training, which seems to go rather decently. Afterwards I had class, then went to an interesting talk on M.A. and PhD people getting jobs outside of Academia Land. The woman who gave the talk, Susan Basalla, was very funny and I enjoyed her talk. I guess she also wrote a book on the subject, called “So What Are You Going To Do With That?”: Finding Careers Outside Academia. I didn't get it (coz I'm poor as dirt at the moment!) but it seemed like she had some useful and practical points.

Also, it was nice to hear other graduate students questions and concerns. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one struggling with the 'Academia culture' but today definitely confirmed that is not the case. It made me feel a little better. Whew.

What else? Well earlier this week my sweet dog Murray got very sick and I had to take him to the vet. Luckily he is feeling much better and got better quickly. Still cost 85 dollars in vet bills though.

Honestly though, I guess I have been struggling lately. I am sick of this cold place, for starts, and I just feel lonely. Added to that is the unknown future of funding, and school in general, plus I have come to realise i maybe be experiencing some dumb anxiety thing called SAD. Social Anxiety Disorder. Sigh. I guess it would it explain my horrible sweats, red face, shaking, and unable to articulate sentences during presentations or talking to those in positions of power that I am afraid don't like me. And of course, it does nothing to improve the situation, it only makes me look more incompetent. I realised this has kind of been a growing issue since my student teaching days when I had a student teaching supervisor/worked with a head teacher who were very negative about me in a very nonconstructive manner. Since then, I have pretty much avoided any and all circumstances that involve me teaching/working with kids where someone can scrutinize me because I feel so nervous and my mind goes blank.

Looking back, I also realized I used to dislike presentations, but never had the same issues I have now. Now, I also get the same feeling of fear, dread, and terror when I have to meet with professors/advisers. My coping method so far is not so good, I just avoid the situations. I see that they are getting worse. Of course they are only certain situations and certain people. But really, I need to find a way to cope. I can't let this get bigger. Since I came to grad school, I have avoided giving any presentation that was not required by grade, and those that did would cause disruption for a few days before and the rest of the day after the presentation.

Lastly, I just want to say, I don't like this label business. Sure, maybe this is an issue I am struggling with. But I hate it when people become their label. "Hi, my name is depression." "Really, I'm chronic back pain, nice to meet you." I don't want to be one of those people ever. But obviously, avoiding situations isn't making it better either. But I like to see it as an issue, and one that is not part of me. Certainly not forever. For example, I know perfectly well that I feel damn confident teaching kids when there is no one hovering overhead, writing down what I am doing or not doing. Also, I feel perfectly fine contributing to class discussions, and yeah sometimes I DO turn red, but mainly, I feel perfectly at ease giving my two cents.

So, I think the first step, is getting myself in a positive environment. Secondly, is figuring out ways to CHILL. (and no, I don't think codeine cough medicine is a good answer. ha)

So anyways, that said, I still know I want to work with kids, and I really hope I can end up working for some cool NGO (or starting one) in India as planned. I also have some other interesting future options as of late. I just need to get on them.

Anyways, I know I don't usually post such things, but I guess... if anyone has an suggestions/comments/advice etc for me, it would be much appreciated.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Adoption and Criminal Behavior

I have been reading this blog at Sepia Mutiny. It's about a guy who was adopted at age 3 from India and at age 25 committed a crime. His mother never finished applying for his citizenship in the U.S. and hence, he is being deported to India.

Does anyone see the huge problem with this and its implications around adoption in the U.S.??? Regardless of the crime he committed (stealing cars) how can he been sent back to a country he left at age 3. It boggles my mind. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Food Experimentation: Americo-Indo-Chinese

lately, I have been having these terrible craving for pineapple stir-fry. Last time I was at the store, I purchased some cans of pineapple chunks in "their own juice" (sounds kind of gross, na?) Every time I open my sparsely populated food cupboard, said cans of pineapple sit there, staring at me, reminding me of my craving. "But, I don't KNOW how to make any kind of pineapple related stir-fry!" I tell the pineapple. Today, I came home from a interview for my research, just thinking of pineapple. So I sized up my friend, and though "there must be a recipe SOMEWHERE in one of these millions of vegetarian cookbooks my mom buys for me at Knight's of Columbus Sales. Or. Maybe in the Hare Krishna cookbook J. bought for me on the side of the road (or was it the subway?) in Boston." So I begin to look. Now mind you, all these cookbooks are foreign to me, the only recipes I used are the ones my friend V. let me copy from his notebook that his mom gave him when he came from India to go to school in the U.S. Those always end up tasty, as long as I don't put in the amount of red chili is asked for. The Hare Krishna cookbook asks for too many ingredients I don't have (apple juice? orange juice, what are these juices... i just have their own juice. bas) After flipping through the other veg cookbooks, I begin to think.. "eh, who trusts these people anyways?"

That's where My Brilliant Plan is born. I close the cookbooks and put them away, back on their rightful, not to be opened shelf about the oven. I take out the rice cooker, throw in some rice, turmeric, cumin seeds, and peas, and leave it to cook. (No, I wasn't sure what would happen, but it seemed like the results would be tasty, regardless.) Next I began looking through my fridge. I found a green pepper (or capsicum, if you prefer), red onions, and a tomato on the verge of not being edible anymore. I cut all three up into large pieces, like you always get at the Chinese restaurants. I found some frozen green beans in the freezer, and some garlic that was sprouting (eh, that doesn't matter, right?) Lastly, I retrieved the can of pineapple chunks, in their own juice.

But, alas! "Where's your protein?" my mom's voice boomed into my head. crap. I don't keep tofu around (and I can never make it taste good anyways). Beans? Ew. Just doesn't go in stir-fry. Ah ha! I took out two eggs, scrambled them, and set them aside.

Whew! What a spread of delicious ingredients. But now I had to tackle the next issue. Sauce. How will I make a tasty sauce? My eyes flicked up to the cookbooks, but.. eh.. no. I make Indian food all the time. My spice dabba is just sitting there, filled with delicious indian spices. I decide to wing it.

I take out my pan, throw in a little oil, some cumin seeds, amchur (mango powder), a little more turmeric for color, a bit of red chili for zing, and a dash of the magic spice from when the cat knocked over the spice dabba and all the spices got mixed together inside.

As this started to heat up, I threw in the cut up veggies, frozen green beans, and garlic (I waited to put the garlic in because I didn't want it to brown). I dumped in the pineapple and its own juice. After stirring a bit, I poured in a cup of water and let it cook for a bit, adding the ripe tomatoes near the end so they wouldn't mush too much.

Using the sniff method, I determined a little more spice was needed. I went for amchur because I wanted a tangy-sweet but light sauce and added a bit more turmeric (hey, I hear it's good for your brain!) for color, a sprinkle of salt and a spoonful of sugar to keep it light but interesting. I let it simmer for awhile, and added in the scrambled egg. By the time a good amount of water had evaporated, (leaving behind a hopefully tasty sauce) the rice cooker had finished cooking my Lindsey-pulao.

I opened the lid and Wow! That rice sure was yellow! So maybe a little less turmeric would be needed next time.

I gave myself a helping of rice, and loaded it up with the stir-fry, making sure to spoon on some sauce. Snapped a photo, and took a bite..

Mmmm. Pretty good. And I got to enjoy a tasty Americo-(for me)-Indo-(for all my borrowing from my Indian cooking knowledge, some of the only cooking knowledge I have)-Chinese-(for my attempts at forging some chinese food).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

school chale hum

here is an interesting "social" message videos... here is an interesting one... this is it's description on

192 million children between 6-14 years of age across 1.1 million places in India are not going to school.
This film for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Universilisation of Elementary Education) addresses the needs of these children.
The film catches the moment when children all across India from Kashmir to Kerala wake up in the morning and run to go to school.
Directed by: Kanika and Bala, Bharatbala Productions (BBP) for the Ministry of Human Resource Development, India.

and here is the video:

I need to see what the Indian government is actually doing to get kids in school... besides making videos... hmmm

anyways.. something to think about.

after finding this, I checked out the other videos by bbpfilms, which all seem to be these videos designed to pull at people emotionally.. it's interesting.. videos like this about the U.S. always make me roll my eyes, but about India, I always get a little pulled in, even though I know it is..umm... let's see,how to say? designed to make us think a certain way... for example, this video, is all about technology, and shows how building huge fancy buildings and factories is the way to go. It's called "I am India"

Sunday, February 04, 2007

...aur zindagi chal rahi hai

(oh bla dee oh bla da, life goes on!)

well. I made it! I officially survived qualifying exams. I got a phd pass with one rewrite! WOW! I was so shocked reading it I could not believe it. I was so prepared to get a masters pass. No one seemed to feel I was capable! But hey, I did it. I am so excited. I have so many ideas for my research, and I applied for the academic year Hindi program... hopefully, I can do all that, finish my classes and do the research.

For my research, I want to write an ethnography. I want it to be a mixture of "academic" research AND applied research, bucking the norms of anthropology. The concept of academic vs. professional can be a theme to be challenged.

For the subject, I would like to do an ethnography of a small group of street children (or possibly children who beg, though the two may overlap) in an urban setting. I am thinking of Reddy's 'With Respect to Sex' as a sort of example for a well-written ethnography, she made contact with a certain group of hijras, got to know them, and then was able to enter and understand their world in a new way... I have looked up information on works on street children in India. I have found a few sociology pieces on the "problems" with street children, but I didn't find anything in the way of ethnographic research.

That's why I could see this project as two pieces. First, it could be a straight up culture-of-street-children piece, meant to see the world through their daily experience. Second, this could a.) provide valuable information for those trying to work with/reach street children and/or b.) could involve working with children who are in contact with organizations, and examining how this interaction is changing/affecting their lives.

Additionally, perhaps studying others views of street children, their reactions and views about them, could prove an interesting aspect..but that would probably be going overboard on one research project. Mostly I would want to pick a group of street children living in a close-group in a specific location, that hopefully have had or have ongoing contact with some sort of organization designed to help "improve" their lives in someway. So I could understand their lives and ways of living, and how that intersects with the organizations.

Ok, ok. I'm being repetitve now. I'm just excited by my ideas. I hear there may be IRB, etc issues with working with or studying children, but I guess I will just have to inquire to that and find out.

So that means, for remaining time in grad school I need to a.) do this Hindi program and become as good in Hindi as I can, b.) take classes that incorporate public affairs so I can learn about NGOs, etc for my eventual goal of establishing and NGO c.) take as many applied anthro courses as I can, and start working with and in between the "academic" side and "professional" side. and d.) defy all the norms, and challenge all the assumptions about what it means to be an anthropologist!

WHOO. It's a long days work.