Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas FUN!

Seriously, I can't stop laughing about this picture! We are at a big mall and I was pretty excited about the Christmas decorations! Then we saw the Santa... creepy mask and all...These I have seen before, but the elves... wow! These guy came up and asked us in very low voices, "Hey... what country you from?"
Ryan and I were amazed by the fact that they were employing actual dwarfs as the elves... but, you know, anything goes in over here! We got our laughing quota for the day...

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's all about expectations...

I am one of those people who gets easily excited, but I can also get extremely disappointed... I know my Ryan thinks that my life is an endless roller coaster, but I am thankful that he is willing to ride along with me. One of the first times I think he realized this was when right before we were married, we went along with my family to Silver Dollar City in Branson. It was the Christmas season, and it had been years since I had been there, and to think of all the Christmas sights alongside some of the greatest people in the world, I was so excited! We get to where you turn in the park and wonder why there is not a line of cars as usual. Then we see the big lit up sign posting the sad news... "Closed for Today". I tried to hold it in, but I couldn't. Big crocodile tears slipped down my cheeks and I felt like my whole Christmas season would be ruined. Ryan, I am sure, was thinking, "What I am getting myself into?!" ... but he was nice to me even though it was clear everyone else was OK with plan B except for me. Everything turned out ok when we planned another night in Branson and we went the next day, but at that point I realized I need to learn how to deal with disappointment better.

 I am learning that there are ways to keep expectations low, but that does not mean that you are not looking forward to anything. Before I thought that if I had low expectations, for sure they would be fulfilled, but what fun is it if I never get to possess the excitement of the expectation? Yesterday we had a school holiday, and we wanted to do something fun. About 30 minutes drive from our house, I had seen a new big mall and a Big Bazaar, which I like to think of as India's answer to Wal-mart. And if anyone knows me, they know I love a little shopping trip! Ryan and I wanted to go, so we figured out the public transport out there that saved us several dollars from a private auto. I was pumped to shop at Big Bazaar! I told Ryan on the way there that if it was closed, I would not cry! I set my expectation high that it would be fun, and also high that if it was closed, we would find something even more fun to do instead! We get to the Mall and realize that even though it is a BIG mall... three stories, the only things in it are a movie theater,  a food court with Indian food and ice cream, the Big Bazaar, and two open shops. Everything else is empty, never been open before. It seems so weird to open a mall before it is full of shops, but no one asked me how you should open a mall! I see the Big Bazaar sign, and look in and realize that it is not even completed yet! They are still putting together shelves and painting the walls and there is no merchandise at all! The guards outside said it will open in two weeks, so I have that to look forward to... but just like I had told Ryan, I did not get upset! We just rolled with it and laughed that we went all the way out here just to find out we were two weeks early! So we opted for an Indian coffee and then a Hindi movie, which made for good language practice and a fun date!

6 Things I learned in a Punjabi Village

1. Turbans don't have to match your outfit, but since many people have more than 7, it is possible!

2. They are the ULTIMATE food pushers! ALL day LONG!

3. Girls at a Nursing hostel were as giggly as group of junior high girls at a sleepover! (I was the first American they had talked to... they all want me to get them a job in America! There were about 40 in one small room! Ryan called them an Army when they walked out following me!)

4. Even when they don't have extra money, they are always willing to offer food to anyone around at mealtime.

5. Hair is really important. Sikh's don't cut their hair, and everyman has a big beard, and in the early morning, it is down out of their turbans and if you go walking early, you might catch a glimpse of a guy brushing out his LONG, slightly stringy never been cut hair! But even the Christians who do cut their hair make sure their hair is nice and oiled.

6. When they start singing praise songs to Jesus, plan on being there another few hours!

ALSO, there are ALWAYS LOTS OF Smiles and Laughs to go around!

Chili- South Asain Style!

Chili has always been a necessity at my house... as soon as there is even the tiniest chilly breeze, Daddy would gather up all the ingredients and with a cheerful smile, we would chop up all the vegetables and thaw some meat.  Being in South Asia, meat is harder to find and so, i have found ways to substitute. When I lived here before, my roommate and I tried many different ways and here is a picture of the ingredients and a how-to!

The beans here are not from a can, so you must soak them overnight... then cook them in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes. Cut up your onions, bell peppers, and tomatos. In Hindi they are, Pyaz, Shimla Mirch, and Tomater. Then the secret ingredient is beef bullion. This should come from America... they don't make it here! Mix that into hot water and then add Nutrela. This is dried Soy granules. They soak up the bullion and take on the taste of what you soak them in, so they taste somewhat like beef! In a big frying pan, cook the granules and the vegetables. Add the beans, some tomato sauce and some Chili seasoning.  I also get my chili seasoning packets from America, so the chili seems to taste a little more like home. I am sure if i played around with it, I could find the right spices here. This is the land of spice! Hope this little how-to makes you smile! Blessings!