Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Many Happy Returns of the Day

This is a statement of Birthday Wishes used here in India. It also appears that you start calling to wish the recipient "Many Happy Returns of the Day" at the beginning of the day in question.

What does that mean?? Be the first to call at 12:00:01 in the morning!!! nice.

Tracy surprised me this year with an overnight stay at a very nice local hotel called The Ista.

Our housekeeper and cook actually stayed overnight with the kids and low and behold no one was injured and everyone got along!! I think we may have to try this again and again they say three times is a trend!!

Tracy and wandered around the northern edge of Bangalore did a little shopping but mostly we finally got to have some alone time with just us (which is rare here), and it was the best birthday present ever!!

We went to a great Thai restaurant called Rim Namm and had a great dinner and returned to our room for a great night sleep and it was not interrupted by a small child in the middle of the night!! On Sunday we met some friends for the traditional Indian Sunday brunch, food, drink, drink,food, drink, dessert...it was great.

Then on the actual Birthday we had a joint party with our neighbors the Millers. It turns out Wade shares the same B-Day as me and we had a BBQ, Indian Buffet and a great time. Angela's Mom and Dad and her sister are here visiting for a couple of weeks and they came and we had fun catching up on the goings on back home. Of course what would a B-Day celebration be with some German influence of Petra and her Hookah!!

I received some fabulous presents, new sun glasses from Saravana, new running shoes which I am actually using to run from Tracy and her Mom and Dad, Kay bought me coffee and M&M's, Billy a new book and Jimmy a case of Bud, what great kids!!!

The cake was cut, the champagne toast made and another successful B-Day.

Thank you Tracy for the great B-Day weekend.

I love you!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tom's birthday! 9/24:)

Hi there
Tomorrow is Tom's birthday. Send him all our love, well wishes and good thoughts as he heads into another year as a fabulous partner, father, son, brother and friend.
Be sure to tell him how much you miss him and how much you love him!!
T. J.K.B.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Kodagu or more commonly known, Coorg is a place quite different from the rest of southern India. It was a small kingdom which then became a state after independence and now is a district in the southern part of Karnataka. It is rich in vegetation and produces wonderful coffee, cardamon, pepper, ginger and paddy. If that is not enough to entice you to visit , Coorg has won international acclaim for its flora and more importantly fauna causing it to be one of the most important hot spots of biodiversity in Asia, I am not making that up.

(On a side note this is perhaps the first time in my life that I am able to use both Flora and Fauna in the same sentence and have a proper context as well.)

We set off on a very busy Friday afternoon with the newest member of the Loudamericans travelling fun show our friend Ajay. Ajay is related to us through my sister Brigid's friend whom Ajay was a college roommate. Having a great deal in common with him we have been planning a get away for month's and finally the journey began. We were sorry to not have Ajay's Mom and Dad join us however rain and airport delays caused Ajay's Dad to have to cancel.

Ajay behind the wheel, the vehicle loaded down with all conceivable types of junk plus banana's a dvd player and cold beer for our arrival off we went. Traffic out of Bangalore was intense, as was the rain, however we persevered. 6.5 hours later at the bottom of a extremely muddy road in the middle of the jungle Ajay announced "we have reached". Reached what I thought as we slowly climbed the muddy road opened a gate and proceeded to the car park which upon reaching was actually someones driveway. Several minutes later the rumbling of an old jeep could be heard over the joyful screams of the three youngest loudamericans whom were in search of a way out of the car.

Ganesh the driver loaded our gear and again we were off. The 3 kilometers from bottom to top were to quote Billy Murphy " weally weally bumpy". The trip was worth the drive for when we reached the top there was Honey Valley. The guest house/Hotel is situated in the bottom of a bowl surrounded by trees, mountains, forest.

Honey Valley is home to a wonderful family, the Chengappas. Suresh and Susheela are wonderful hosts and provide a comfortable and very clean place to stay. The food is wonderful and the Coorg pork is not to be missed! Their main form on income up until the early 90's was bee farming. Suresh had as many as one million bee's producing honey until 1994 when the Thai sac brood attack killed all of his bee's overnight.( The Thai sac brood attack is far too brutal in nature for me to go into any details).

We had a wonderful dinner a couple of well deserved cold beers and retired for the night.

The following day was beautiful and we headed out to see a waterfall and to play in the river and get as wet as we possibly could even though three of us tried our best to keep the other three dry, it was a losing battle. Trekking is a favorite past time of may Indian's and Honey Valley provides access to may treks through the Kodagu Hills.

So after lunch and naps for no one we took a trek up into the hills. We needed to be mindful of the kids being there was a panther in the area and it had already took three of Sureshes dogs. ( I neglected to tell Tracy this little tidbit of information).

We meet three clothes designer who were also from B"lore and had a nice dinner with them. Kay spent most of the time discussing fashion and face painting while Jimmy and Billy showed off their power ranger moves. The day was long and the kids crashed except Billy who some times has a hard time going to sleep. We have found that he likes to read before he goes to sleep ( see photo) and after a few chapters of Power Rangers, he to crashed. Tracy, Ajay and myself had an after dinner glass of wine and retired as well. There was quite a bit of commotion around 3:00 in the morning, jackals howling, dogs barking, a panther perhaps?

Early the next day we were off to see Elephants, a Tibetan Monastery and maybe a bird sanctuary.The trip back down was according to Billy " weally weally bumpy". We set out to reach the Elephant camp by 9:30 to see them wash and feed the Elephants and arrived as the last one was heading back into the jungle, drat. We had breakfast and got back on the road to the Monastery.

The Gold Monastery is beautiful. There are several students living there and the place is immaculate. The colors and artistry is amazing and the three Statues inside are breath taking. We spent some time wondering around amidst the peace and quite until that was disrupted by you know who.

Back in the car everyone finally fell asleep so we continued straight back to Bangalore.

The trip with Ajay ranks in the top two we have taken while here and fortunately he feels the same so we are busy contemplating the next excursion....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Great Minnesota Get Together

Earlier this week, Tracy informed me that since there are several family's living in Bangalore from Minnesota (6 people total to be exact) and since we were missing so many important events at home ... I needed to organize a party using the State fair as the excuse...like we need one.

So upon consulting with my co-hort in crime Wade we set off to plan a "party on a stick".

With the State fair ranking 101 (or much lower) on the list of the 100 things we like to do, the task seemed a bit large. After all, Tracy's usual response to "do you want to go to the State Fair?" is usually met with "over my dead body...".

However after a couple of Kingfishers I got to thinking what would go good with beer,State Fair, beer, CORN DOGS. I called Wade and told him what I had in mind and his first response was, " That's what I was thinking" I said are you drinking beer too? Which he replied "of course"... great minds...after that it was somewhat easy.

I mean, come on, the State Fair needs a Beer Garden, All the Milk you can drink, CORN DOGS,

cookies on a stick, french fries in a cup , apple pie, and of course a Beer Garden. And the Band Stand ( IPOD Stand). How hard could these be to find in India?!

We had about 25 kids and 10 or so family's with Minnesota roots along with our German friends Gerald and Petra who for the day were from New Ulm...they even brought German sausage on a stick!!

There was also a Cotton Candy maker (machine and person), a professional face painter (with Kay doing her apprenticeship for face painting), Minnesota State Flags as well as wrist bands, lots of Gopher and Vikings tshirts and the usual sort of junk associated with the Midway.

The State Fair this year has risen substantially into the list of things I would do!

The newest exhibit this year and the winner of the most inappropriate State Fair Booth was the Arabian/Turkesh tobacco pipe called a Hookah!

No State fair could be complete without the Open Mic/Talent show which was won this year by a group on kids doing an awesome rendition of High school Musical!!! They even found the website to learn the dance moves.

Applications for booth space at the 2008 State Fair can be sent to:http://www.loudamericans.blogspot.com/

Beer Garden and Corn Dog booth on a best bribe basis ...

For more info and another perspective, catch up with our favorite neighbors at http://www.wacmiller.blogspot.com/

Cheers to the great MN get together!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yippee!!! Wa Hoo!!! Incredible!!!

Today we got the BEST news in the whole world! Our friends Duane, Leanne and Cooper (see Australia Cmas blog) just found out their new son Joon Kee is WAITING for them in Seoul. He is 5 1/2 months old and from the looks of the picture a genius, cute, happy cuddly baby!!

Duane, Leanne and Cooper have been waiting a LONG LONG 3 1/2 years for this little guy. Living proof to NEVER give up on your dreams. When the time is right and perfect, they do come true:)

When we booked our tickets to Seoul for New Years, we were joking that we our trip would only be complete if met them there while they were picking up their new baby. Now... That's not too far from reality!

BUT... Hold all the best thoughts that Joon Kee comes home quickly healthy and with safe travels. We hold that the'll be home for Cmas to meet all of his long awaiting family and friends.

What a terrific day!!


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Family,Summer and the occasional Birthday

In the course of things being gone from home for a period of one to two years in your youth is a greatly anticipated and highly sought after event, however as one grows older the anticipation wanes and the going away is not the anticipated event , returning home takes the front seat.

When we began publishing our blog we thought wow what a great way for our family and friends to be able to keep up with our adventure and know what we are doing. This has worked out for the most part great. However one thing we did not realise was that our family would not be able to tell us as easily what they were up to and therefore we have missed them and their adventure details.

The general everyday details of what is going on, who is mad at who and all the things that go into the family routines we miss. There have been a great deal of milestones as well ,Birthdays, first days of schools kindergarten to college, lost and found teeth , not to mention my sister whom shall remain nameless celebrated the big 40 and the upcoming nuptials of my cousin.

There have been the sad parts of life as well such as funerals,medical issues and the other events that bring family's closer and make you realize how lucky we are to have family.

So as we say goodbye to summer and welcome Fall, greatest time of the year, in Minnesota,

let us celebrate the harvest with the knowledge that we all have the greatest Family. We miss you all and think of you often and are looking forward to the first Murphy- Hickey family reunion in Soeul!!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Y2K Alive in Bangalore

Remember back to New Years Eve 1999. What will happen at mid-night? Will my computer crash, will we run out of water,food,gas? Will the power go and leave us in the dark?
We best buy a generator, gallons of water all the can food at the store and fill up the cars,clean the shot gun and get ready for an all out battle with the neighbors for food, water and heat, after all Minnesota in January it is balmy!

well we all know how that one turned out.

Now that training is coming into good use here in Bangalore or I should say in India in general.
Hording as defined by Webster's:
horde /hɔrd, hoʊrd/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[hawrd, hohrd] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, hord·ed, hord·ing.
a large group, multitude, number, etc.; a mass or crowd: a horde of tourists.
a tribe or troop of Asian nomads.
any nomadic group.
a moving pack or swarm of animals: A horde of mosquitoes invaded the camp. –verb (used without object)
to gather in a horde: The prisoners horded together in the compound.
[Origin: 1545–55; earlier also hord, horda ≪ Czech, Pol horda < Ukrainian dial. gordá, Ukrainian ordá, ORuss (orig. in Zolotaya orda the Golden Horde), via Mongolian or directly < Turkic ordu

The following is the definition added by yours truly,
6. Walk into any grocery type store see an item of food, mostly canned but not limited to cans, made in the US , mostly used to make Mexican food, but not limited to that, and buy all of the ,except one, and tell you neighbors about the "find" you made at the store and watch them all stampede to get in on the deal only to find out there is only one left:)!!

The have them over so they can see all the cool stuff you found and you can gloat over you success.

It is important to only invite people over who do not have a spare key to your house.