Sunday, March 30, 2008


I've spent a good part of the afternoon thinking about a quote I read today.

"Well-behaved women seldom make history."
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

My instant reaction:
  • I'm boringly well-behaved so I won't be making much history
  • I've never wanted to make history anyway
  • Why would anything in my life be worthy of history, even if I acted out
After a bit more reflection on the misbehaving Britney's, Lindsey's and Paris' who are making the news today I decided if that's what it took to make history I was glad I didn't have it.

A few hours later it hit me, these misbehaving girls are making the news today in a world that glamorizes scandal and flash, but are they really making history? Will someone 500 years from now look back at our generation and ponder how these types of women changed the world? I hope not, I hope that instead they will look back and see pioneering woman who broke through the glass ceiling, woman who started micro-lending funds providing opportunities for woman in developing nations to start their own businesses, and woman who taught and raised a future generation who went out into the world and made it a better place.

Still, I think there is some truth in the statement that in order to be remembered by history a person (man or woman) has to step away from the norms of life. He or she can't sit by quietly and let the world happen to them, instead she has to stand up when others are sitting down and speak up when others are sitting quietly.

I also believe that you don't have to be world famous to make history. Exceptional lives lived today can influence a generation of children and grandchildren. After all where would I be if dad hadn't thumbed his nose at the doctors who told him he'd never walk or have children.

I think the quote resonated with me today because I've spent a lot of time during the past month, or even the past couple of years debating the path my life has taken. I didn't imagine I'd work for a company with only 3 women, 2 of whom never leave Lausanne. I didn't imagine I'd find myself the only woman (well except for the occasional wife/girlfriend who come and go) living in a compound in the middle of Delhi with a group of smart, talented men, or that'd I'd have to stand up and shout a bit more than is comfortable just to be heard above the general chatter.

If anything I thought I'd be more like the ladies I met Tuesday morning whose husbands are here are on work assignments. The ladies get together as a support network to help them navigate the challenges of living in a foreign country. I looked forward to talking to a group of women, but it quickly became apparent that I was a bit of an oddball - the only one there who was working. How did I, the girl who was never comfortable talking to a group of men, become more comfortable with my male dominated work group than with a group of woman?

I've veered off course, and to be honest I have no answer, I just know, it's been a reflective Sunday in Delhi and what good is a blog if you can't pound out a good rant once in a while.
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Friday, March 28, 2008


I've struggled now for 5 weeks to explain what it is like here in Delhi. But last night I think I stumbled upon something that works. At advice of a friend I've been reading "Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure" written by an Australian woman about her time here. The book itself is hilarious, but even more so if you are going through similar culture shocks as you are reading it.

I believe she defined India better than I will every be able to:

India is beyond statement, for anything you say, the opposite is also true. It's rich and poor, spiritual and material, cruel and kind, angry but peaceful, ugly and beautiful and smart but stupid. It's all the extremes. India defies understanding, and for once, for me, that's okay.

She continues, and in a short paragraph brilliantly expresses how I feel after my experiences not just here, but after the last couple of years living abroad:

In Australia, in my small pocket of my own isolated country, I felt like I understood my world and myself, but now, I'm actually embracing not knowing and I'm questioning much of what I thought I did know. I kind of like being confused, wrestling with contradictions, and not having to wrap up issues in a minute before a commercial break. While the journalist in me is still curious about the world, I'm still not really missing the way my old job confined my perceptions of life. My confinement here is different - I'm trapped by heat and by a never-ending series of juxtapositions. India is in some ways like a fun house hall of mirrors where I can see both sides of each contradiction sharply and there's no easy escape to understanding.

I hope as my adventures continue that I will continue to question who I am and my purpose and place in the world. I believe that constant re-examination will help me become a better human. Pin It

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tuk Tuk

We affectionately call the auto-rickshaw's tuk tuk's which is kind of what they sound like. I think they are an interesting mode of transportation, they are cheap and small, don't take much fuel and since they are open they don't need air conditioning. They are, however, slow, and since there are no seat belts or doors, they might not be the safest form of transport around.

I've haven't had an uneventful tuk tuk ride yet. My first one ended when my driver dropped me off no where near where I asked to go and insisted I was where I should be. Next ride, I'd just headed for home when the driver pulled over to take a call (yes, even the tuk tuk drivers have cell phones here) next thing I knew he was pulling over another drive to take me home because he had to go get his son. Of course, when the second driver dropped me off he tried to tell me I owed him more than I negotiated with the first driver.

But my most recent trip is the best. I was coming home from church and had called a friend to tell him I was on my way. The tuk tuk stopped at a light and next thing I know there was a kid to the side of me trying to sell me a book, an old lady behind him trying to sell me toys, and, best of all, a kid to my right side selling me car window shades (what he thought I'd do with a car shade since I was riding in a tuk tuk I'll never know.) But the fun was just beginning, next thing I know the driver has pulled over, no where near where I was headed, and jumped out. This, of course, made me a bit nervous so I looked out the window to see what he was doing.....

He stopped to pee at the side of the tuk tuk. Once he'd taken care of business he jumped back in and away we went. I had a hard time not laughing the rest of the trip, and since it was a nice sunny day, a nice sunny song popped into my head, Just a Ride by Jem, I spent the rest of the trip humming along:

Life, it's ever so strange
It's so full of change
Think that you've worked it out
then BANG
Right out of the blue
Something happens to you
To throw you off course
and then you

Yeah you breakdown
Well don't you breakdown
Listen to me

It's just a ride, it's just a ride
no need to run, no need to hide
It'll take you round and round
Sometimes you're up
sometimes you're down
It's just a ride, it's just a ride
don't be scared
don't hide your eyes
It may feel so real inside
but don't forget it's just a ride

Here's hoping your next ride is as fun as mine

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Saturday, March 22, 2008


Happy Holi!

While for me this weekend is Easter (Happy Easter everyone) for the people in India this weekend is Holi, a festival to celebrate the coming of spring. Holi is celebrated most visibly through colored powder or water which is thrown at or rubbed on anyone you meet. When I started to see the bags of colored powder show up in the stores, I thought it must be dye for easter eggs, momentarily forgetting that most people here wouldn't celebrate Easter. I finally got the entire scoop on the holiday when I was warned by a local co-worker to stay in Friday afternoon/evening and the rest of the weekend as the kids and young at heart love Holi-ing naive foreigners.

I didn't know if I'd get to experience the holiday as boss arrived yesterday along with his wife, and I assumed it would be a mostly working weekend. Luckily they were up for at least risking a walk outside to see what we'd find. We all put old or dark clothes on and agreed to meet at a local coffee shop. I headed out and soon was surrounded by 8 teenage boys who left me quite green (and felt up by one of them - they were a bit high as one of the main Holi treats/drinks has a cannabis like herb in it) luckily I wasn't left with a strategic handprint, but he did try. I arrived at the coffee shop to see my boss and his wife much more colorful than me, turns out they'd stumbled into a local who took them to the neighborhood celebration. Once L, the last co-worker in town joined us (still color free, how he did that I'll never know) we set off for the celebration. It reminded me a bit of a fourth of July BBQ, but with people who were a lot happier/crazy/stoned than you would see in good old Aurora. L finally got a bit of color, we enjoyed a drink (just diet coke for me, mom, I swear) and watched the celebration for awhile.

After the party we grabbed lunch (at a new Indian place I hadn't tried yet - yum!) Then headed home, we nearly made it home safely, but a car full of crazy teenagers drove by and EGGED my bosses wife! They somehow missed me thankfully.

Now I'm home trying to clean up - but from the looks of things, I'm going to be a bit green around the edges for a few days. Here are a few photos so you can share in the adventure:

L finally got some color!

I've spent the entire day with the perfect song in my head, Cyndi Lauper's True Colors, while I love the more recent Eva Cassidy cover, the original is hard to beat.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008


We were discussing cultural differences today and I asked a friend today if they had high school reunions in Greece (they do, but only after they started seeing them in American TV shows and movies.) I couldn't help but reminisce about my teenage years and how smart I thought I was, I really thought I had things figured out. I had a plan for my life - and boy am I glad I was wrong. I didn't know enough then to even imagine some of the experiences I've had since.

Bono and the guys got it right:

The more you see the less you know
The less you find out as you go
I knew much more then than I do now

City of Blinding Lights

Here I am, 15 years out of high school and my life plan extends to the end of May when I leave Delhi and have no idea where I'll go next. My 18 year old self couldn't handle the uncertainty, it's a good thing I don't know enough anymore to worry.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oldie with a Twist

It's no secret I think the country, folk and alt country genres are a few of the places left where you can actually hear people singing live - without the computers that twist and turn voices. This is why I listen to more and more of this type of music all of the time. I stumbled across a tour video collaboration from two of my favorite groups right now: Sugarland and Little Big Town (with Jake Owen thrown in as a bonus.)

They've taken a great old song and added some amazing harmonies, I'm playing it on repeat this morning.

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Road Trip

This weekend it was finally time for our road trip to the Taj Mahal - while we did take a minivan and not an elephant on the trip, at nearly 4 hours each way it felt at times as if we were traveling the old fashioned way.

We shared the road with every type of vehicle you can think of: cars, the Indian version of semi-trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, people, and more.....

The Taj was completely worth the 8 total hours I spent in the back seat of the van fighting car sickness. It is astounding in its sheer beauty and then you realize what it must have taken to create it over 400 years ago and then you realize that in this crazy place they've been able to maintain it so well, it is nearly unbelievable. I've seen some amazing sights in this world, but the Taj is one of the best.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

'til You Leave

Last night I had a great conversation with one of my co-workers here in Delhi. He's spent a lot of time in India and really loves it. Delhi is so different from every place else I've experienced I've struggled to explain it to friends and family. It's different and exciting which I love, it's dirty and smelly which I hate and the poverty here breaks my heart. Talking to him helped me realize that I need to take the time while I'm here to experience this country and its people, today I took a first step in that new goal. When the pedi-cabs started following behind me trying to get my business, instead of saying I don't need to go far I'll walk, today I jumped up on the bike and let the driver give me a lift. It was a blast, my feet weren't as dirty when I arrived home and I felt like my $1.25 helped a guy who was trying to earn an honest living.

As I talked to M last night about life in India and making the most of the time here, a phrase from a Tim McGraw song kept repeating in my head:

I stood at the crosswords
Took a long look at me
Sometimes you don't know where you're from 'til you leave

While I've always been proud to be a small town girl and can't imagine anyplace but Aurora being my hometown. I know my experiences in the past couple of years living abroad have made me appreciate that part of my life and the lessons I learned there so much more than I ever could have without leaving the familiar behind for a time.

My path through life isn't for everyone, but I know it has been the right one for me. I hope that the song's chorus comes true for me too at some point:

And I've been out there searching
For a place where I belong
And on my way I heard my song
Let it sing me home

I don't know that Aurora will ever be home for me again, but I'll find a place someday where I can feel the unconditional love and sense of belonging that I had as a child in Aurora.
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Thursday, March 13, 2008


I was on the iTunes store yesterday and noticed that the number one song was Hallelujah, which seemed curious until I did a little research and discovered someone on American Idol sang the song last week. I couldn't help but think of the people who were discovering the Jeff Buckley version for the first time. Were they like me and listened to it over and over, pouring over the melodies and the words, wondering what was on his mind when he recorded it and wondering what else he could have given to the world had he lived longer. And did they wonder about Leonard Cohen and what was in his mind as he wrote the lyrics and how on earth he found the haunting melody? Did they search iTunes to find all the other versions of the song, and find that some, like the kd lang version approach the power of the Buckley version but nothing is it's equal? What did they think about the the versions by John Cale, and Rufus Wainwright?

I've spent hours trying to figure out exactly what Leonard Cohen was thinking when he wrote the song, could he have known the endless number of times this song would be played? Could Jeff Buckley have known when he stepped up to the mic to record the song the gift he was leaving behind?

I love the entire song, but there is one line I can't stop thinking about:

"It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah"

How much more frequent and fervent are my prayers when I am feel cold and broken. Why is it so much harder to praise god when things are going well in my life. No one wants to hear grumbling and unhappiness all of the time, how could Heavenly Father be any different, wouldn't he appreciate a shout out when things are great?

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Free and Easy

After two weeks in Delhi I've finally seen more of the city than the apartment and the local market; with a little time on my hands this weekend and access to a car and driver I got out and saw a few sites (and found a salon for a mani/pedi - I have my priorities straight!)

We first visited the Lotus Temple, not quite the type of temple I'm used to, but it was beautiful. They had us remove our shoes about 100 yards before we got to the temple, which resulted in very black feet (thus the need later that day to find a salon!)

On our way to the Lotus Temple we passed another temple/church where people were lined up to go to their regular service. The line was enormous! These people had to have been waiting 3-4 hours each. It was a beautiful line, all of the women were in their best sari's with all the beautiful colors. It's quite a change from my normal world where we all tend to dress in shades of black and gray.

After our visit to the Lotus temple, we went to Lodi Gardens where there are wonderful walking paths and the remains of 3 temples. The gardens are is not far from our apartments and the hub-bub of the city, but even in the middle of this crazy city they felt peaceful.

In the spirit of getting out and exploring the world, today's lyric comes from one of my favorite road warriors, Dierks Bentley, his songs seem define the part of me that wants to be on the road to the next adventure. This song helps me to remember to stop and enjoy life's journey every day and not to let myself get caught up thinking that life will start or be perfect when "something" or "someone" comes along.


Free and Easy on the Road I Go

Got the sun shinin' on me like a big spotlight
So I know everything is gonna be alright

Ain't no tellin' where the wind might blow
Free and easy down the road I go
Livin' life like a Sunday stroll
Free and easy down the road I go

If you only get to go around one time
I'm gonna sit back and try to enjoy the ride

I could make a million or wind up broke
Free and easy down the road I go
Can't take it with you when you go so
Free and easy down the road I go
Someday I know it's gonna take me home so
Free and easy down the road I go

......................................................................................................................................................................... Pin It

Thursday, March 6, 2008


I was working last evening from my apartment in Delhi apartment with the iPod on shuffle and a song that was big in the US last year, but that I'd never really bothered to listen to after I downloaded it came on, something in the lyrics grabbed me (nothing unusual in that) and I found myself starting the song over again several times to make everything out.

Soon I found myself googling the lyrics so I could make everything out and while I love the message of the entire song, I found myself struck by a phrase in the middle of the song:

She never stays the same for long
Assuming she'll get it wrong

The song talks about a girl who is willing to change everything about herself to try and find someone who will love her and stay with her. While I can't quite relate to the overall message of the song, this single phrase stuck with me and kept me up wondering about my own constant need for change. Am I running from something, to something, trying to out run something or just running so I don't have to stop and think
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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Day Off

My first free day in Delhi - I did some laundry, relaxed, finished unpacking, wandered up to the local market for a little lunch and finally took a couple of photos of my apartment. It isn't luxury living, but it's very comfortable for a few months. Pin It

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Indian Dispatches

After over 40 hours of travel I finally arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday. I feel like it's been work, work, work, rush, rush, rush the entire time I've been here. I haven't even had a chance to take a photo, but maybe tomorrow.

I haven't found the words to describe this place (what little of it I've seen) it's so different, and yet so similar to all I've know. You walk into a grocery store and while it is the size of a large hallway you can find many of the products I am used to buying in the US (disposable clorox wipes, Skippy Peanut Butter, etc.) The tiny size means the things are stacked from floor to ceiling and it feels like there are more people working than there are shopping. There are no carts or baskets, instead a worker follows you around collecting your selections. An interesting way to shop.

We spent a few hours today at a market, where traditional stores, drug stores, grocery stores and tailors are mixed in with the occasional Body Shop or Benetton. Khan Market is near the embassy district, so they are at least use to seeing foreigners and we didn't get as many looks as usual. Even after spending the last couple of years in Rio, I can tell me time here will be a real eye opener, it just doesn't compare to any thing else I've experienced.

There is a part in front of our apartment and I've been trying to get up and walk each morning, one morning this week my iPod seemed to be in a country kind of mood. While the country music seemed a bit out of place in the middle of India, as usual the music seems to just fit my life.


Tift Merritt - Another Country

Falling is like brand new rain,
Places I have never been,
I thought these things would come to me.
Love is another country, and I want to go

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