Saturday, August 18, 2012

Getting Into the Patriotic Spirit

Cheering for the USA in the Olympics was easy to do as long as we stayed around other Americans-Living-Abroad.

But the fact that we are not in the company of many Americans on a daily basis stood out just days after the Olympics ended, as we got to experience our first Independence Day in our country (it was this country's 65th Independence Day). 

Everywhere you looked--EVERYWHERE--you saw the country's flag.

We thought we had seen a lot of flags on Republic Day in the Winter, but this week we saw even more flags. The weather was a lot hotter than on Republic Day, too, so we just lived our normal daily lives (everything was still open and we did not shoot off fireworks--again, apparently fireworks are less for national holidays than religious ones here),

Rebekah had a party at school, 

We had a party at home,

And we added our money to the flag economy of our country.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Olympic Spirit


Due to the surprising efficiency of the satellite dish service here in South Asia, we are now connected to the great time-waster of television. And we were connected in time for the last 1 1/2 weeks of the Olympics.

Rebekah was so cute, wanting to try every sport she saw:
gymnastics, swimming, shot put, etc. 

We kept telling her that when she got to be a big girl, she could be in the Olympics.

But the one "sport" that caught her attention (James declared it a non-sport) more than any other was Rhythmic Gymnastics.

She dressed up in her shiniest clothes, got a ribbon on a drumstick, and danced away.

 Satellite TV FYI:
  • We do not get any direct channels from America, so while we do see random shows from the USA (The Mentalist, Justified, NCIS: LA, i.e.), we do not get current season's episodes
  • We get a ton of movie channels, but all of the violence and adult content are cut out, so some 2-hour movies from the USA are only an hour long.
  • The ESPN and CNN we do get are from foreign studios, so we do not get the same news (or perspective on the news) you get in the USA. 
  • We get Al Jazeera's English news channel, which is surprisingly unbiased in its reporting. 
  • We have every channel available through our service, and we pay around $8 per month.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

First Theater Experience

Not sure if it is due to the price of labor, or if they all just operate at a loss, but one of the perks of living in South Asia is the movie theaters. Even in our smallish town of 1.5 million people, we have two very nice theaters that play local movies as well as Hollywood blockbusters. We have seen more movies in 10 months in South Asia than we did in 10 years in the USA.


When the most expensive tickets you can buy (yes, they have tiers of tickets) are $3, we felt no hesitation in buying a ticket for our 3-year-old a couple months ago to see Madagascar 3. She had not even seen the first two, but at that price, it did not matter.

The movie was in 3-D, as many are, and after repeated attempts to keep the glasses on in the movie, we finally just let her and her friend watch it without the glasses. I guess they did not mind the blurry scenes.

So, Rebekah experiences another First here in South Asia.

South Asian Movie Theater FYI:
  • The top-tier tickets, at $3, are for full recliners with small tables and cup holders. 
  • Seats are assigned, so if you buy the ticket early, you are guaranteed a great time.
  • Every movie has an intermission, so no "holding it" or missing part of the movie for bathroom breaks.
  • You NEED the bathroom break/intermission, because a 900 ml drink (think "half of a two-liter") and huge tub of popcorn are a little over $2.
  • If you order food during the intermission, a waiter will bring it to your seat.
  • You will likely be frisked and anything resembling food will be confiscated (including gum), but at the price of drinks and snacks, who needs to sneak in candy?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Dehradun and Mussoorie

We have been able to make some good friends wherever we have gone here in South Asia. While learning language in June, we spent a ton of time with our friends Arun and Tina, who helped us practice all of the grammar we were learning.

They are engaged to be married, and were a lot of fun not only to learn the language with, but also just to talk about the differences between South Asians and Americans. We are thankful for our time with them.

We also made a short trip from Dehradun, where our language school was located, to Mussoorie, another of the "hill stations" in South Asia (hill stations were founded by the British to get some relief, both medical and otherwise, from the sometimes sweltering climate of South Asia).

We were able to relax a little in some cooler weather and eat breakfast at a roadside stall with some excellent American-like waffles and pancakes.

Of course Rebekah did not sit still very long, but chose to dance for anyone willing to watch.

We took a nice walk in the forests, saw a lot of trees, and a few monkeys.

And we were able to visit and share a great home-cooked meal with our old language teacher and his wife, who lived above our apartment for almost two months last winter, in their home.