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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Goa head

Sunset over Goa…and look at the Goa pages. They should now be pretty complete with our travelogue of the visit. After another silly week at school, those hours on the beach just keep looking better and better. Oh well, when the going gets tough, I just throw on one of the Goa shirts I bought and pretend I’m back there!

On a completely different note, I am sad to report that, since the previous post about spams on the blog was written, I have had to add 7 new drugs to the no-write list. The most recent was glucophage, which I know puts a big dent in peoples’ topics for conversation. (But Viagra is still OK to bring up, as Uncle Rob checked earlier)

Goa home

The Stutz Family in GoaAfter a full week of sun, sand, and sweet relaxation, we are back in Bombay. As mom unpacks to the snap-crackle-pop of post-Diwali firecrackers going off all around the apartment, the rest of us sigh in contentment.

There will certainly be more info posted on the goings on of this previous week, but I suppose a one-sentence synopsis is in order. To begin, however, a disclaimer – I have ever been a big fan of the sit-on-the-beach-and-do-nothing vacation.

Even with that caveat, I have no hesitation in stating for the record that this was probably the most smooth running, relaxing, fun, and mental-health-restoring holiday that we have ever taken.

The location was superb, the hotel was great (not ritzy, but exactly what we wanted), the pace relaxed, and the prices right. What a great time we had doing absolutely nothing (of course that’s not true, but unlike other trips to areas where there was a lot to see and do, this one was dedicated to the hedonistic pleasures of just relaxing, swimming, eating, drinking, and spending time as a family).

Susan wrote up a letter outlining our week; it is posted here at what will (eventually) become the webpage about the trip.

Goa way

We’re wrapping up the end of the week and looking forward to our Goa vacation. Everyone is very ready for a break: the kids are pooped after all the craziness around school, Susan is coming down with a nasty cold, and Dave is just plain ready to relax. One of the nice things about a holiday like this is that we are abandoning all electronic devices except the camera. No phones, no computer, no internet – just the beach and an old Portuguese fishing village. So don’t expect any updates for a week or so; and then we’ll have plenty to share after our return!

Be-Be

BB the turtleAnd here she is, our second pet. Given almost the same name as the original gecko we caught outside, Be-Be ended up in our lives as kind of an afterthought. The kids had been pestering Susan about getting an animal, but she wasn’t budging (although I hope to persuade her about a cat some day).

Stella, our housekeeper, happened to be in the room during one of these conversations and she told Alea that she could get her a turtle the next time she went back to her village, as they were all over there. Well, we didn’t think much more about it until the day that we can home from school and found her swimming in a big plastic bowl in the kitchen (Be-Be, not Stella).

Susan ran out and got a fish tank and some rocks, and Be-Be has inhabited a corner of Alea’s room since then. We started her off on a diet of carrot slices, rice, and chopped veggies, but she has since moved up to chomping on any bugs we can find for her. It is a source of great amusement for the kids (just as the gladiator shows probably were for those little Roman children) to watch her chase bugs around that are twice her size, trying to take a bite out of them before they escape. Susan loves to watch Be-Be for signs of ‘surfing,’ which is when she climbs up on a rock and sticks her arms and legs out to catch the heat.

Happy Halloween!

Stutz family at Halloween 2007So here it is, one day after our Diwali shindig, and we had the big Halloween get together. (You can bet the kids are just going nuts at school with all the parties, candy, days off, and break coming up.) We had a trick or treating night at our apartment building, and all staff kids were invited to go up and down the stairs, knocking on all the doors and getting tons of candy. There were even ‘adult treats’ being cracked open in one of the apartments.

A few more pictures of the evening are posted here.

Breck and Alea did pretty well, and held their own in the trading sessions that followed. I was pretty excited to see that someone had even gotten ahold of Reese’s somehow, and so I made sure to ‘encourage’ them to trade for those!!

Susan the pirate picked up the same cold that Breck and Alea had, and so she stayed for a bit as the pirate greeting the kids, but then she did make her way around to give holiday greetings to all. She was not feeling any better this morning, but still decided to come in to school, but was not sure if she would make it all day. (I find it amusing that our driver has the day off on Thursdays, and that is the day of the week that everyone in our family has been the sickest!) Hopefully she’ll be feeling better by this weekend!

Happy Diwali!

Stutz Family at DiwaliDiwali is the biggest holiday celebrated all over India. We were ‘encouraged’ to wear Indian clothes for our celebration at school and so here we all are!

Diwali is known throughout the country as the “Festival of Lights,” so you can forgive me for confusing it with the Adam Sandler Hannukah song. Put on your sari, it’s time for Diwali. Go eat some chutney, and celebrate Diwali – that sort of thing.

The school held a big celebration and assembly, and you can see some pictures from it here. The city itself has been rocking and rolling to the booms of fireworks for the last week or so, and will get even louder as the next week wears on. However, we will (sigh) be relaxing on the beaches of Goa, and so will probably miss out on most of the big noise.

However, in case there is ever any question about it, a few ‘responsible adults’ (as dictated by the package inserts) including me climbed onto our roof the other night and tested some Indian fireworks: DO NOT HOLD RAMBO BRAND FIRECRACKERS IN YOUR HAND WHEN YOU LIGHT THEM!!

In case you were wondering…

Back in Bombay

Dave at Week Without WallsReturned from the Week without Walls trip on Friday afternoon and got lots of hot and sweaty hugs from the kids (and mom too, although she wasn’t quite as hot and sweaty at that point). The whole week itself was far too full of stuff to detail here, but I’m sure the webpage will be up at some point (and I’ll put a link to it).

Link added Nov 2…

We went to the Jogeshwari bazaar area yesterday to look for a dining room table. The one supplied with the apartment is round, and we find ourselves tipping it over whenever someone leans against it, so we decided that we wanted to get a rectangular one. The aspect of life in India that we seem to find the most frustrating is the traffic. It took us 45 minutes each way to get out to that part of town (which really should be about 10-15 minutes with a normal road pattern). Once we got out there, we wandered around just a little, but then realized that – although it seems like a great place to have something custom made – we are not quite ready to dedicate the time required to have that done (at least not with the kids along). So we packed back up and went back into the traffic again. When we got back home, the kids played with their friends all afternoon, mom and dad ran some errands for the upcoming Halloween week, and there was peace all around.

Got pollo?

Breck stayed home sick yesterday. He had a snotty nose and hacking cough. It is the kind of sick that has him coughing up phlegm every so often and having to spit it out. Of course, he has to let us know about it each time it happens. The colloquial term for this stuff in Honduras was pollo, which means chicken. Maybe because its chewy texture is that of nice, tenderly-cooked chicken? In any case, we liked the term and that’s what we use around the house, so we had a day full of Breck moping around and then suddenly yelling out, “Mom! I’ve got pollo!!”

Because we have a housekeeper (Stella), we felt ok leaving him at home with the TV ready to go. We figured that he’d sleep in, eat something, maybe watch a movie in the late morning. He called me at about 8:30 to let me know that he’d finished watching tv and was still waiting for Stella to arrive. Looked like it was going to be a loooong day in front of him! It all turned out ok though, as Susan left around noon (no afternoon classes today) and went home to be with him. I had soccer practice for the kids I’m helping coach after school, and report cards are due, so I had to stick around a bit to get all that done. By the time I got home, it sure seemed like Breck was feeling fine. There was still a bit of a drippy nose, but he had the lightsabers out and was pretty much flipping cartwheels in the living room. Gee, I guess that “work long hours” advice really is the way to go!

A new page to enjoy went up, too – see some pictures from our first visit downtown.

The saga begins…

So Uncle Rob wrote me a nasty email the other day saying “You ought to list everything that you show on the front of the webpage. What’s wrong bonehead, haven’t you ever heard of a blog?” Or words to that effect. So we’ll give it a try. No guarantees on how often it’ll be updated, but at least I’ll try to get links in to our most recent stuff and all.

I don’t understand it, though. I thought the cool thing about the web was that you could see things – you know, pictures, videos – cool stuff. Who wants to sit around and read a bunch of text? Well, apparently Uncle Rob does.

So what is the story so far? Our family, after living for four years in Belgrade, Serbia (actually, Dave lived there 4 years, while Susan and the kids went back to the states after 3, but that is a long enough story to preclude it’s being retold or explained here), moved to Bombay (Mumbai) India in the fall of 2007. The parents are both teachers – Susan is doing 1st grade this year, and Dave has middle school math and technology – who are riding the international circuit – and their two kids are in 3rd (Breck) and 5th (Alea) grade.

We’ve had a family webpage for 10 years (8 at the present domain name), with one of the more voluminous areas being the travel pictures we post. When we came to India, we started right up showing people what our life was like.

We’ve spent the first two months settling in, and I guess that is what got Dave’s brother Rob all bent out of shape. We’d posted a number of pages with the things that we’d seen, but apparently not well enough organized to keep him happy. Here then, in the order that we did them, are the pages that already appear on the India webpage. Sorry for the late start, but I’ll try to keep things more to your liking from now on. Satisfied now?

Our first pages were built on letters that we wrote to family and friends about out first impressions. Interestingly enough, we called them “First view of life in India” and “Second view of life in India.” I forgot to warn you about the strong literary streak running through my blood, didn’t I? Then the kids and I discovered a gecko on the roof, so we shared info about “Our first pet.” Guess I’ll have to put something up now about our second pet, seeings how we’ve got one now. But you’ll have to wait…

After we got settled in a bit we made a trip downtown shopping at Chor Bazaar (the reason I’m not writing too much about these is that I’m playing catch-up ball, and the info is already located on the pages themselves. We then took a weekend trip to Lonavala, which was where all this fussin hoopla started, because it was there that we visited the Karla caves – named after my sister (and after Susan’s too, but hers is with a C not a K).

We were here in time to see the Ganesh immersion festival, attend an arts and crafts fair, and hike around Matheran. There is a lot more scheduled to happen, including a trip to Goa at the beginning of November, so hopefully this will keep Uncle Rob satisfied.