Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Catching up on Bangalore

Alright. So. Bangalore. Not a lot of sightseeing happened in Bangalore and not a lot of pictures were taken. Maybe you understand that when you're in a new city or country every few days, it can get wearying. Bangalore was a good city to just chill in, though, because as Joyce said, there's not tons to see there. My actual sightseeing was essentially limited to what I saw during my neighborhood walks as I looked for internet access, and a night-time drive-by of the major sights on my first night.

I spent most of my time hanging out with the Sams - Joyce, h
usband Georgy, and daughters Simi (short for Simone who's 10) and Rahael (rhymes with Raquel, she's 16 months) - and their families. Simi is an absolute doll. She's a very sweet, good girl who seems like she's a huge help with her little sister. She and I played games, talked about where she'd like to travel to one day, and I taught her and her cousins how to shuffle cards to make a bridge. Rahael is a cutie and a bit of a troublemaker, that one. (Joyce says so herself. :-) ) I suppose all kids that age can be, but she still manages to win you over with her cuteness. She can even say my name, which isn't the easiest for kids to say, but although she could say it, she mostly just called me Aunty (in Indian culture, kids are taught to call adults either Aunty or Uncle as a term of respect; their first name is never used). On Christmas Day we went to church in the morning and then to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. How very Jewish American of us lol! The rest of the day was spent lolling around, playing games, and visiting with family.

The day after Christmas was m
ore of the same except for one thing. The Sams had a wedding to go to in the evening and I was expecting a package from my parents that day. After much hand-wringing and delay due to weather on the US east coast, we decided to just go pick up the package from the local facility rather than risk it not being delivered before I left for Mysore. My parents had said that they were just sending "something small," so imagine my surprise when I saw a HUGE box. I couldn't think what could possibly be in that box, but the Sams gave me some privacy to open it and I went at it. Inside the box were LOTS of wrapped gifts, cards, and (something I spotted right away) a tin that I just knew would contain Christmas cookies. (For the record - it did! Chocolate chip. Yum! Thanks, Grandma!) I was getting a little sad and teary as I opened and read, thinking about how much I missed my family. But I was laughing, too. As I read one card about a snowman who ate too many burritos, I knew it was from my brother Eric and was literally laughing out loud when I turned out to be right. Besides the cards and cookies, there was also gum, mints, mini Oreo cookies, Take 5 (my fav candy bar), a combo French press/coffee mug, coffee and creamer (my parents had been listening when I said that Nescafe instant coffee wasn't cutting it and I really missed regular ol' American coffee). All of these things were much appreciated - small and edible travels well! - but two things were even better. The first was that new pictures were enclosed that I could add to my collection. The second was a card from ToadMama. It's kind of personal, so I won't go into what she said, but it was very touching and sweet.

I guess there was a third thing, too. Through my laughter and tears, I opened a package to find a Barbie doll. Huh?! I thought, "why in the world would my parents send me this?!" It was then that I realized th
at not all of the gifts were for me, some of them were for the Sams. Thank god, because I was really starting to wonder how I was gonna fit it all in my pack! I cleaned up my face and went out to the living room to tell the Sams that they were gonna have to wait to leave for the wedding because they had gifts to open. I got to play Santa and that was SO much fun. They don't really do Santa and presents here (at least not with this particular family), so it was a real treat. The girls got a couple of toys each - Simi was WAY excited about the Crayola crayons; they are either too expensive or not available in India. Joyce and Georgy got a digital picture frame keychain, Christmas tree ornaments, and a whole bunch of edible types of things that also aren't available here - Hershey's chocolate, maple syrup, peanut butter, tattoo band-aids, Pez, that kind of thing. Georgy was doing the opening and he kept saying "There's still more in here!" He and Joyce were kind of overwhelmed because it was unexpected, but they thought it was really cool. In fact, when more family arrived so the whole clan could go to the wedding, they got to see each and every thing that Joyce and Georgy had received. Then, when they returned, they said they were still so surprised by the gifts and they'd been talking about it and telling everyone all night long!

That's pretty much Bangalore in a nutshell. The next day, 27 December, I left for Mysore. And that just about brings me
current with my posts - finally!


  1. Jeez, now you made ME cry. (-:

    Simi and Rahael are adorable. Just look at all of that hair on Rahael's head! I'm so glad the gift box was a success. As soon as we realized we would know your whereabouts for Christmas, we went into action. Grandma baked cookies immediately. Amy put the kids to work making their greetings. Folks started addressing cards. Mawsie helped me shop for toys, and insisted on contributing to the gifts, too. All the effort was worth it to get you and the Sams some love from us on, or at least close to, Christmas!

  2. Glad you liked the cookies, since you missed out on the bag of goodies that everyone else got. (I also tried choc.covered pretzels this year)Love You !!!

  3. Oh man! I missed out on the chocolate covered pretzels?! Boo! :-)