Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holidays in India - the same but different

Celebrating holidays in India over the last 2 years has proven to be similar yet different.

Similar in the sense that we gather with those closest to us, our family (if they are visiting) and friends, and do our best to uphold the traditions from home. Turkey, mashed potato's, pumpkin pie, the works. We think of all the people we are thankful in our lives and take time to reflect on how blessed we are to have each other, our health and our prosperity.

Different in the sense that we go on Christmas camel rides, chase our turkey's down the bazaar, cook the food in a toaster oven and celebrate in a warm tropical climate (many Thanksgiving/Christmas dinners were proceeded by a dip in the pool).

This year was no different. We had planned to meet up at The Only Place with 40-60 of our closest friends (same) but had to cancel due to the tragedy in Mumbai (different - but not that different than 911). We quickly flexed our plans (same) and ended up with 20-30 of our favorite people at Debesh's house with take out Thanksgiving dinner (different).

We also headed out to St Marks Cathedral for the annual Christmas Bazaar. Food stands, crafts, Santa, carols and Christmas ornaments to buy (same as church bazaars around the world) were accompanied by camel rides, dosa, chutney and 80 degree weather (different).

Are we feeling appropriately festive this season?? Yes and No. Yes in the fact that the kids haven't stopped talking about Santa, what's he going to bring, what they want, what he might want, etc... (same) No in the fact that we have to explain that while Santa will find us on our Christmas holiday in New Zealand (different), he is only bringing a very few very small gifts.

Its also a bitter sweet season for us in the fact that its our last holiday season in Bangalore. After 2 previous holiday seasons and 2 1/2 years of our lives, we are looking at coming home in early 2009. We are in that predeparture time frame of "this might be the last time we eat at xxx's restaurant" or "go to Cosmos mall" or "see yyy before they move back to the US/UK/Mumbai/Brazil" etc (sad). While we are VERY excited to see all our family and friends back home (and get back into our OWN house- happy!!) we are VERY sad to be leaving people that we are blessed to call our "family away from family". When we left MN 2 1/2 yr's ago, we KNEW we'd see everyone again, it was just a matter of time. We are trying to remind ourselves of that with our friends here. We WILL see them again, it just might be a very very long time and will definitely be in different circumstances:)

So, in the next few weeks/months, enjoy our posts of life in Bangalore as 5 loud americans (happy/sad). Soon we'll be posting about our life in Minneapolis as 5 loud americans (happy/sad).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Gotcha Day KAY!!!

Well, its Kay's day:) No need to tell her, she knows. She was prancing around all day like she was just crowned Ms India or some such thing.

5 years ago today, we boarded a plane from Seoul Korea to bring Ms Kay - the pook-a-rook home to become a forever part of our family. She screamed the whole way. (an early indicator that we would soon be known as the Loud Americans). After a fairly loud and stressful trip, we landed up in chilly MN. Jimmy promptly introduced himself has her big brother and gave her a tour of the house. He then proceeded to try and feed her a bottle. She was not happy.

But, all's well that ends well. She became progressively happier with us (and Jimmy) and soon carved out a place for us in her heart.

To celebrate Kay chosing us as her family, we had chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles with all our friends. The day officially came to a close with dinner at our favorite (and the only) Korean restaraunt in town. The kids ate like we never feed them, all their favorites - Jap Chae, Kim Bop, Bi Bim Bop, Bulgulgi, etc... It was a feast!!

So, here's to you - Kay Marie Jeon Murphy - We Love You!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I couldnt have said it better myself

I have a steady string of blogs that I keep up on, when I find one that resonates, I feel compelled to share it. So... these are NOT my words, I am not that eloquent nor insightful. But, I do believe in these statements and sentiments... Given that our time here is running short, it has made me hyper aware of the time we DO have left. I am trying to absorb a lifetime of experiences each day....

So, in other words, I couldnt have said it better myself...

From - Where are the Fischers?!

"Why does India hold such powerful sway over people? Why do some foreigners come to this country, with all its squalor…garbage, poverty, strangeness, dust, and find beauty? How can anyone, by Western standards, claim to “love India?” On a personal level, why do we find India both completely, frustratingly exasperating and intoxicatingly wonderful?

I think it is directly related to this concept of being AWAKE, of being present, attuned, attentive to the very moment. It is difficult to be complacent here. Everything, the horrific and the lovely, can be seen. Nothing is hidden. As a friend has said, the highs are higher here and the lows are much lower!

I awake to sound and smell; the pungent taste of the air. We drive and are constantly shifted. I stand still on a swirling street and purposely notice others posed in stillness. A visit to the shops finds empty shelves, or twelve of everything I do not need to buy. A bus has driven off the edge of the earth and 35 people are dead. The T.V. blares out ads for bubble gum and noodles and washing machines, while the woman down the road beats her clothing on a rock. An elephant is accidentally electrocuted by power lines slung too low in a jungle village. My driver who makes the equivalent of $200 per month and has just recovered from some personal and financial losses takes out a loan for a $500 television. There is money here…a lot or a little depending upon your position in society, your karma, your luck… There is passion here…for family, duty, intelligence, God, freedom and at the same time, a lack of freedom. There is brutal hardship here. Corruption here. Laughter here. Some people cannot imagine how India functions, how anyone can claim that India is the world’s next “superpower….” I’ve heard it said by more than one person upset by the seeming disconnection and lack of outrage at the absence of infrastructure that “Indians don’t care about their own country.” I am sometimes as puzzled as anyone…not understanding…exasperated or even angry but I have to say that my experience has shown me that the opposite is true. The problems are immense and some may be insurmountable but it seems there are plenty of people willing to try climbing that mountain, anyway. "

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wyatt John Miller

For all of you avid Loudamerican readers you will remember the blog titled: We will miss you
dated April 25th 2008,

In this blog the author made the comment what happens in India stays in India,is that true?

Well not true! We were referring to Wade , Angela and Caden:

We are happy to (finally) announce the arrival of Wyatt John Miller!!!

Born: November 13, 2008
Time: 5:36am
Weight: 8 pounds, 11 ounces
Length: 21 1/2 inches

All are well, and we wish the same for you and yours.

Congrats and tons of love and happiness coming your way from,


ps. He looks like Caden

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Jimmy's first drum solo

The lessons began in January of 2008. Every Thursday evening without fail Jimmy would be picked up in the 'little" van and driven 5 kilometers down the road to a secluded sound proof room. The instructor would hand over the sticks and Jimmy would learn the ins and outs of his beloved drums.

There were times when we thought "OH my God what have we done???", and there still are.

Jimmy instantly knew the exact location of each drum on his " stage" how to tune them, fix them and some people even made comments. "Wow is he good." "Look at how he holds those sticks, awesome". Mom and Dad keep right on paying for lessons the rupees were flowing like water. But can he play a song? "Oh yes Ma'am"? What song can he play? "It is a solo Ma'am". (we never did get clarity on this and it seemed that they were going to let our 7 year old "loose" on stage with drums and no plan. We were nervous, very nervous.....

So without further ado here is Jimmy's first live drum performance coinciding with our first posted video, God help us. (I think we have many years of smoky bars and back stage auditions ahead of us. Please note that he was the only kid in the recital that got hoots and hollers. He was pretty energetic and very engaged....) youtube - Jimmy's 1st drum solo if you can search the internet

Monday, November 03, 2008

Jimmy came home from school today

with a badge that says Prefect
I looked it up and it means:
Prefect (from the Latin praefectus, perfect participle of praeficere: "make in front", i.e., put in charge) is a magisterial title of varying definition.
A prefect's office, department, or area of control is called a prefecture, but in various post-Roman cases there is a prefect without a prefecture or vice versa. The words "prefect" and "prefecture" are also used, more or less conventionally, to render analogous words in other languages, especially Romance languages.

Jimmy says he is the second monitor

He is not a maorning person:)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Halloween

Halaween, Holaween, or however your 7 year old decides to spells it.
The days leading up to Halloween are perhaps some of the most stressful days of parenting. The numerous costume changes, super hero affiliations that change like the wind a s well as the unending questions regarding monsters, costumes and what size trick or treat basket/bag should we use all add up " God and I am glad that is over".

The three kids were fairly in tune with each other as what to go as. Jimmy a mummy, Kay Cinderella and Billy Lightening McQueen. Then Mommy began the 2 hour mummy making event and immediately both Billy and Kay had to be ghost's. The mummy making is a separate blog which may or may not see the light of day. In summary we used the wrong size shirt and getting the thing off Jimmy was, well, a disaster. The sewing skills of Tracy were put to the test and indeed the costume held together. The ghosts could not be talked into being Charlie Brown style, you know with holes all over the costume sort of like Swiss cheese.

Trick or treating was wielded like a spear by Mom and Dad all week insuring early to bed, eating complete meals and playing nicely with others and then finally Friday October 31st,2008
The day began at 7:08 am with Jimmy running into our room and screaming scary noises at the top of his lungs!! The costumes were then hung in the " clubhouse" so we could ask 2,910 times " can we put our costumes on now?" which received the same response " wait till Mommy gets home! Finally at 4:28 pm the adorning of the costumes began. It was quite crazy several changes and the final ended Jimmy a mummy, Kay from ghosts to Cinderella back to ghost and finally Cinderella but I am not wearing my crown!, Billy from ghost to Lightening McQueen and my new lighting McQueen red shoes and my orange pumken halaween socks because I like them there comfty. Off to the Palm Meadows Halloween parade and costume judging.
There were around a 100 kids of all ages dressed in everything from vamp to vampire. We hered them into 4 different age groups and they paraded down main street past the judges down to the amneinites center where food and beverage awaited and the judging began. I am proud to say that in the 4-8 age group Tracy and Jimmy were toppers!! Jimmy received a book tiltled " "The Arabian Princess". Just what a 7 yr old boy always wanted.

Then, off to trick or treating! The kids literally ran from house to house. The good news is, only about every 5th house here celebrates Halloween so while we covered a lot of ground and got some good exercise, we werent too sugarred up.

After about 1 1/2 hrs of this mayham, we landed at Heihn's for their big Halaween bash. They had witches brew, candy, cupcakes, pigs in a blanket, etc... They also had a fog machine, tombstones and scary music all were the hit of the party. The usual crowd was there (see Diwali entry). Everyone had a great time:)

So, another year, another Halloween. They are already planning their costumes for next year.
God help us.

Finally a Holaween Poem from Jimmy Murphy

Beware of the other mosters like these scall, Jackalanter, ghost.

The Holaween Bat
It scarys at night.
and scarys people to.
Beware of this BAT.
At night.
It turns into a vampire
at twelve a clock.