what's gotten india?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

nag tibba.

last weekend we all headed off to climb nag tibba. a peak a few hours drive from here around 10,000ft... dechen usually loves being outside and she's not too heavy yet so we figured this may be our one chance for a trip like this in a long time.

drew, josie and nova... just a little different than the hills of the turtle mountains

two shepherds at the top... they couldn't figure out why we were out here

an old, 2-storey temple in a village on the final day

ornate carvings at the village store

our campsite in the field of daisies

dechen sure was excited to squeeze the goats

this was our first time out camping with dechen, and after 3 days and 2 nights we've realized that our nice-compact tent is now too small.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


after a few quiet weeks our house is now full again... we're slowly taking over this place with manitobans... our friend nova has been here for 3 weeks now, working as an artist in residence doing lots of clay workshops with students and staff. here's a picture of chris and nova in this amazing tree on the path up the mountain from school.

josie and drew have been here for a couple weeks now... after being sweated out in the mid 40 degree temperatures of delhi they've been doing lots of wanderings around mussoorie and the area... they just left this afternoon to spend a few days in a remote mountain village... i'm sure they'll have lots of stories to tell when they return.

on one of their first days up here we had a huge rainstorm which is super rare at this time of year, but in the wake of the storm the snow peaks were pretty amazing.
here dechen is helping out with the weaving at the leprosy mission... all of the people were amazed by how much she had grown since the last visit.

not too impressed with eating prunes... i guess she's waiting for the fresh mangoes

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Going Dutch

It has been a couple of wonderful months with visits from both sets of grandparents. It worked out that Tom and Mitch were on the same flight as Dechen and I to Amsterdam and they were able to hand me off to my parents. It was full of mixed emotions with teary farewells and hellos from both sets of grandparents. Here's a picture of my parents meeting Dechen for the first time at the airport.

The 2 weeks in the Netherlands was filled with family, meeting Dutch aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents and great-grandparents, and of course my sister and her boy, Spencer. For the most part Spencer and Dechen got along well, they both enjoy being outside, but Dechen needs a couple more months and then she can keep up with Spencer.

Here's a picture of Dechen with her grandpa on his birthday. I think that she was the best present that I could have brought him.

It was great having so many people around that wanted to hold Dechen. Here are some pictures of Dechen with some of her favourite people.
Great Grandpa and Grandma van den Ham

Aunty Kim

One of the highlights of the trip was spending a sister day in Amsterdam. It was a cold day but we managed to eat enough fries with mayo to keep us warm and hung out in the Van Gogh muesum until the rain passed. As the directionly challenged sisters, we did get lost once, but managed to enjoy a cup of coffee on an outdoor terrace until we found out where we were on the map.
Some of the other adventures that we encountered were visiting Amsterdam with Tante Petra, Danny, Els and my parents and going on a canal tour and eating excellent food a pub. Going for long walks in Koog an de Zaan and seeing working windmills and sampling wonderful Gouda cheeses. Visiting Den Haag to apply for a visa for Dechen (which we got successfully) and having the time to walk the beaches of the North Sea. Travelling to Zwolle to meet up with Famile Baan, my host family in 2001 when I did a study abroad program and feeling like I never left. Walking around the old fishing port of Volendam and watching my dad feed Dechen ice-cream for the first time, much to my disapproval. Visiting a sheep farm on Easter with Om Henk and Tante Joke as well as Spencer, Kim and my parents. And having countless cups of strong coffee with family and just sitting around visiting and feeling at home.

It was good to be away, but always good to be back at home in India. We are waiting eagerly for our next visitors to arrive.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

while the girls were away.

christina and dechen took off for the netherlands for two weeks of stroop-waffles, family and heineken... that left me to an empty-lonely house, so the only way to cope was getting into the hills for some hiking. myself and two woodstock colleagues headed up to harkidun, around a 7 hour drive north of here and spent a few days wandering. it was great to get away, to see the amazing villages and we even got hit with a snow storm!

titu with harkidun in the background

carvings on top of a temple

another ornately carved temple

kutty and titu on the trail back under fresh snow

the village of gangar, where we were snowed in two winters ago with greg

the girls are home now, pretty amazing how much that little one grew in two weeks!

i also wrote an article for our school website on our trip, the link is http://woodstockschool.in/News/Spring2010/April/100405.htm

Friday, March 12, 2010

glimpses of the past weeks

The weather has slowly been warming up making it feel like spring. Fresh strawberries dot the fruit stands, rhodendons are blooming all over the hillside, new green leaves are pushing the old dry brown leaves off and the monkeys are rampet in my garden. Here are some snapshots of the past couple of with Grandpa and Grandma Guenther.

Green goodness


shiny useful objects

wolly warm tibetan sweaters

bright blue eyes

next door neighours

drying laundry daily

yellow dress from my childhood that my grandma van den ham made

time with grandma

sleeping with grandpa

knitted toque from a dear friend

afternoon stroll
being a star with the girls (her namesake is the girl on the right...)

a view from flag hill

In Mussoorie you can pay to get your baby/toddler pushed around the steep bazaar roads by one of these men. If you pay them enough I am sure that they would babysit for a couple of hours too when you do your shopping... well we did pay him a couple of rupees for this picture but we didn't use his services. I am not sure what made me more nervous the condition of the stroller or having a stranger pushing my baby on 22 degree hills with no seatbeat.
Well, the grandparents will off visiting the Taj Mahal in a week and then a they will be accompanying me and Dechen to the Netherlands for more Grandparent time with the van den Hams.

Life is full and good.