Tuesday, March 29, 2011

for the fellow homeschoolers

We've been having all kinds of fun looking up animals on the Kids National Geographic website.  We only just discovered the have country profiles page with a little selection of facts, photos, maps and a brief video.  Here is the one for India, if you are interested, none for Malaysia or Austria (too bad), but they do have Germany and the US

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

trail of (very incriminating) evidence

i wonder who used my camera without permission...?

someone's feet...

someone's bedroom...

more feet...


Saturday, March 26, 2011

a walk

J. and I took a walk outside the walls of our complex the other day.  There are cultivated fields just outside.  

If you follow the water, you reach an area of "houses," a neighborhood, of sorts.

Misc.: food edition

There are so many vegetables here that I don't recognize.  Lots and lots of varieties of "saag" which means, "leafy vegetable" from what I gather.  I would post about them, but like I said, I have no idea what they are called in English so I wouldn't know what to write.


the side of a package of bread (I don't know about you, but I refuse to eat bread that is anything less than 38% moisture):


I like it when food is served on a banana leaf and the drinks in those little clay cups. The cups are used in the same way Americans would use paper cups: one use and then chuck it in the rubbish (or, preferrably, smash it against the sidewalk).  I understand that devout Hindus would never dream of sharing a cup or bottle with anyone and on Holi a server showed up at my elbow with a fresh clay cup immediately after I gave a sip to BR from mine.  He poured the drink into the new empty cup and then handed it over to me (as if it was a given and that I would have expected nothing less). 

Street vendors often serve their food on plates or in bowls fashioned from dried banana leaves.  Talk about environmentally-friendly.

We love it when the food is served in clay bowls, on a banana leaf-covered clay plate, and with a drink in a clay cup:


The kids still miss cheese. We all do. We plan to go cheese crazy while in Germany.  Also, we hear there are more than 1,500 varieties of sausage there.  L. has been dreaming of hot dogs...


they like to put masala (mixed spices) into everything here. even Pepsi  (yuck).  But it tastes really good in chai.


We live at the edge of one of Kolkata's Chinatowns.  It is a community of Hakka, nomads from China.  Many have opened restaurants and we can get to that area by bicycle-rickshaw which makes for an extra fun meal.


Disappointingly (for their parents), the kids' palates have never adapted to Indian cuisine.  They can't wait to get back home so they can get back to eating "regular" food.  They look forward to cucumbers that taste, as they say, "normal."  Apparently the ones here don't live up to their standards (see video from a couple of weeks ago, ahem). 
Speaking of coming home: we have less than a week left in Kolkata.  Hard to believe...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

he is 4!

We celebrated a couple of days late (once Daddy got back from a trip) and after some chocolate cake at home, we went to our favorite amusement park, Nicco Park. 

BR insisted on bringing his backpack along since his friend E. had his.  It didn't even matter to BR that his own was empty.

It was E.'s first time to Nicco Park and, despite L.'s best coaching, some of the rides might have been a little too much for him (note the tense look on his face in the video clip above).  Poor little guy.

It was the hottest day we have had so far, but luckily we discovered a water ride that cooled us off.  Anyway, it's not like a little heat was going to stop us from having "silly faces" contests.

Most important, BR had a great time and felt that his birthday party was the "most special-est."  He sure looks happy, doesn't he?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


On a regular day, the courtyard of our complex looks like this:

Very empty and tidy and no one is allowed to get near the little ponds and there are fish and frogs swimming around in them.  And don't even think about putting a chair on the immaculate lawn.

But this past weekend, India celebrated Holi, the festival of colors.  Maybe you've seen it in photos or in the movie Outsourced. 

Saturday was pretty tame, just a few water fights, a bonfire and a few (excruciating) hours of live music (at top volume) at night.

But that was just the warm up.  Sunday was the real deal, people smear or throwing brightly-colored dyes all over each other, they shoot each other with water guns, spray hoses, or just dump entire buckets over people's heads.  There was plenty of food and dance and music performers and, best of all, we all got to swim in the fish ponds for hours and hours and hours. 


We loved it.  L. was ecstatic to find a few frogs still swimming around in the pond!

Five hours of swimming in purple water kind of wears a kid out, though.

I only had the camera with me for a short while because I was so nervous it would get ruined (remember the buckets of colored water dumped on people's heads?  Yeah, well, I received and gave out my fair share of those), but that means I have NO pictures of our friends who came to visit Kolkata for the weekend.  Jen and Jer worked together at DG and she is now living in Delhi for two years with her fiance Glen.  The kids were huge fans although it took them awhile to get their names straight ("Which one is Glenifer again, Mom?").

We pretty much loved everything about Holi.  It was awesome.  We still have pinkish purplish patches on our hair and skin, so we fit in around town.  I think we need to find a way to import this holiday back in the US.  Fire dance and all:

Friday, March 18, 2011


There are many Kolkata sights that we recommend.  The Victoria Memorial, the Indian Museum, the Botanic Gardens...but, unfortunately, not the Aquarium.  It only cost Rs. 3 to visit (about 7 cents), and it looks like not much more than that was invested in each tank.  Poor, poor exotic fishies.


(this guy was our favorite)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

it must be Lent...

...because we caught BR peeing off the balcony on Sunday night.  Then L. told me that while they were playing at a (very devout Sikh) neighbor's home yesterday, her sister casually requested a beer.

Why am I surprised?  This is the year of penance and shame after all. 

(For the record, A. refers to all soft drinks as "beers," and J. and I have a Very Strict Rule only to give the kids hard liquor.  Well, at least until they're 10.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

yup, he's still (terrible) 3.

We made up a new joke today: "Why did BR cross the street?"

"Because his mother told him not to."