Thursday, February 24, 2011
Just outside our walls, the foundation for the next new highrise-city is being prepared. Digging and pumping and drilling all day long.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Yesterday, after hanging the laundry, I neglected to lock up immediately and BR trotted onto the balcony. I saw him right away and called out to him to get back indoors and (for once) he rushed to obey.
"Whew," he said, "I almost died."
Thursday, February 17, 2011
There are visitors coming through the Mother House all year long. It is closed only one day of the week, but even on that day it is open to the public for the 6am daily mass which means that the nuns and novices who live there are rarely alone. It also means that each day several sisters are appointed to "door-duty" and their task is to sit at the entrance and be available for help, whether the requests come from tourists or those in need.
In all ways, the Mother House is a very busy place and, unlike the romantic vision I had in my mind, it is not tucked away in some neighborhood with lanes too narrow for cars nor at the edge of a slum as I had imagined.
There is not that much to see inside. Some come for the early morning (or special Friday afternoon) Mass, but Mother Teresa's tomb is the main attraction for visitors (a few photos of that here and here). In addition, there is a small (though impressive) exhibition on the life of Blessed Teresa and the history of the MC. Visitors can also take a peek into Mother Teresa's bedroom that holds her bed, a desk and chair and just a few books and a photo or two.
As you can see from the photos, the House is on a main thoroughfare and that means that it is noisy. Much noisier than I would have ever guessed when I saw photos of the chapel before coming here. Sometimes it is impossible to hear the priest (although the regulars know to pause the Mass when a streetcar goes by!). It is right smack in the middle of things, in the center of the city. It makes sense, then, that the Sisters keep a strict schedule and close their doors for several hours in the middle of the day. They guard their time and in general seem to spend plenty of it in quiet or communal prayer.
Until coming here, I had never really thought how Mother Teresa's notoriety during her lifetime had an effect on all the Sisters who came later. Along with all of the other challenges of religious life and service, the sisters enjoy very little privacy at home and have to endure the scrutiny and stares of the visiting public--even as novices!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
L.: "Mommy, I'm getting a little worried. In Denver, I used to be really creative, but here I hardly do any crafts at all!"
Me: "Well, honey, it's harder now. We didn't bring a lot of supplies with us this year so unless you find more ideas of things to do with just pencil and paper and scissors..."
So she did:
Sunday, February 13, 2011
An R.O.U.S., of course.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Stephanie has two small children of her own and just this evening, BR told me that her three year-old son is one of his "bestest friends" (along with Geneva, P-roc, eloiseandmargot and Wyatt, in case you wanted the list).
Stephanie and her husband Paul have been here for almost a year and they have shown us the ropes a bit and introduced us to other folks, too. Some of them also have kids (yay, playmates!).
Paul and Jeremy have hit it off, with a common love of outdoor activities, the Northwest (oops, redundant), and pretending they're old men--I mean, smoking their pipes.
Friday, February 11, 2011
The first is a fat pig born in Asia!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
I have had to accept the fact that India will no doubt continue to feel very foreign to me until the day we fly back to the US.
Today, while the kids and Jeremy stayed home and out of the heat, I joined in a walking tour of North Kolkata, where the lanes are too narrow for cars and there is little that is new there. That means it is quieter there, less congested and the air is cooler because the buildings are so close together and don't absorb so much of the sun's heat. Best of all, the air is noticeably cleaner without all of the exhaust fumes from passing cars to clog it up.
It just so happened that today was Saraswati Puja and many folks had the day off. It is traditional to dress to the nines and there are shrines to the goddess all over the city. In general, I avoid taking photos of people without their consent, so you'll just have to believe me that it was more colorful out there today, and that the ladies, especially, were more lovely than ever in their finest saris.
There was a moment today after I came around a corner. I don't know what it was, but standing there in the middle of that little street I found myself thinking, for the first time, "This is India. I am finally here." Obviously, something there seemed to fit with some idea I must have about India, although I can't say what it was.
The moment didn't last and tomorrow or the next day I will go back to my regular feeling of being out of place in this strange place. But it was nice anyway to have a good day in Kolkata.