Saturday, March 31, 2012

Boeuf Bourguignon

A few years ago there was that really popular movie out about Julia Child.  I loved the movie.  Read the book.  It was ok. Read Julia's Memior.  LOVED it.  In fact, I have had a minor obsession with watching her video's on youtube over the past year.

This one has been my most recent obsession.  Yesterday, I took the plunge and made it.

By the end of dinner I was licking my plate.  Face-in-bowl-licking.  Extremely dignified.  As always.

It was really that good.  And so easy to make. 

I am thinking fish next...any ideas where I might find swordfish? 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tea and Books

There are three terms in the Japanese school year.  The first term begins in April and goes until the July, the second from September to December, and the third from January to March.  We have just finished the school year.

There are two week breaks between the second and third and third and first terms and a six(ish) week break between the second and third.   We are in the break between school years right now.  This break could not have come at a better time.

Last week we had an incredible trip across Japan with visiting family.  Before that I had a terrible cold.  Before that I was doing on online class in addition to work, before that we were in India.  It's been a whirlwind the past few months.

And now...I can breathe.

I am drinking lots of tea (this amazing German fruit tea-so good) and reading lots of books.  Things I feel are good for the soul. 

I also hope to finish writing about India and move onto writing about other adventures.  Photo editing and adventure writing-here I come!

Here is a delicious picture for fun-a salmon salad that Karl made for me a few weeks ago.  (Am I a lucky lady or what!?)

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm Still Here


Here we are.  So much for the “get the India experience on the blog by the end of January” goal. 

So much for the end of February….and March.

But here I am.

I am one of those people that is constantly setting goals for myself.  You should see my planner notebook…it gets ridiculous.  (Am I the only person that writes down something I have already completed just to simply have the satisfaction of crossing something off immediately?...I didn’t think so. )

So the goal about blogging about my experience in India in a timely fashion did not happen.  Life happened.  Other things got in the way.  Like online classes, horrible colds, and trips. 

But here I am.

So…where was I?

Oh yes.  Chevuru…

The memories of working in Chevuru have all to quickly begun to amalgamate into a lump of nostalgia.  The smiles of the children resonate in my memory.  I have forgotten how weary my body felt from the work and shock of travel. 

When we arrived in Chevuru to the tears and smiles of the people, I had no idea what to expect.  I knew we were there to work.  And work we did.

Our work fell into two categories:

1)    Helping to build physical homes for people.  This meant you were doing one of the following: mixing cement, pouring cement, or passing cement (or sometimes bricks).   That was it.  Pure grunt work, baby.  It was great.  

2)    The second type of work found us in the village whenever we were not sweating profusely and covered with cement dust…usually in the form of small children.  We played with them.  Talked with them.  Visited their homes and families.  Took photos.  Smiled.  Laughed.  Loved.

The four of us volunteers spread ourselves as thinly as possible throughout the village, attempting in vain to oblige every invitation for chai.  The evenings were crowded by smiling faces with a unquenchable thirst for our company.  One such evening we were invited to teach an English lesson in a small building next to the protestant church.

The village children crammed into the one room school house lit by a single long fluorescent light affixed to a wall. The stark blue light reached as far as it could, but still left the far corners of the room unlit.  Nobody cared.  Their bright eyes shone through the dimly lit room, eagerly awaiting entertainment.

We played some games.  The children soaked them up like sponges. 

When we finished, we each took turns speaking to the children, encouraging them to study hard in school.  Although their English level is relatively good, Ravi translated into their native Telugu.  It was heartening to see how eagerly they listened to our messages. 

And though we were exhausted every evening we left the village, we were always excited to return the next day.  

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One Year Passed

March 11, 2012

One year passed. 

The bassoonist swayed lyrically to and fro as his part soared from his instrument.  The texture he created deftly joined the other timbres of the orchestra, creating a most intricate musical lace.  Each individual voice perfectly matched and blended.  

The orchestra breathed together.  They created an aural ecstasy that swelled through the air in waves of crescendos and decrescendos.  But despite the perfection and bliss of the music itself, I was particularly moved by the perfect silences. 

The second movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony is one of the most sublime pieces of music ever written.  Emotions course through piece to the climax, not in a tremendous swell of the entire orchestra as in the final movement of the symphony, but rather in gentle, tender silences amidst a quartet of strings.

As I sat in the auditorium, bathing in the aural bliss of the Prague Philharmonic last Saturday, I could not help but let my mind wander back…back to a year ago this very weekend.

A year ago, this weekend found Karl and I cuddled up in our apartment permanently attached to the internet talking to family and friends.  Desperately reading the news.  The massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster had just occurred.   

As I listened to the orchestra, I reflected on the past year.  How quickly time has passed.  Mozart, Beethoven, and Dvorak accompanied my thoughts…creating a kind of tangibility to my feelings.  The delights of Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony reminded me of the beauty of the Japanese spring.  That despite the tragedies of those events, Japan still sprung into a stunningly beautiful season-full of blossoms. 

The people of Japan have remained strong and hopeful.  One year passed finds the disaster areas well on their way to recovery.  And still, we remember those lost and those who, loved ones, lives. 

In the perfect silence, we remember, reflect, rebuild.
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