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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Oktoberfest ’14

Our party this year had a dedicated guest list – our men’s softball team. The Gurus showed up in force for Oktoberfest, celebrating the night away in fine style!

Diwali celebration

The Stutz's at Diwali 2010Last night we carved Halloween pumpkins, and today we are celebrating the festival of lights (no, not the same one Adam Sandler sang about. I already wrote about that a few years ago…).

We have a big Diwali assembly, and so everyone dresses up. Susan loved this particular shade of pink on an outfit she saw, and so asked our maid to have a sari sewn from fabric of that color. Costing literally five dollars, this is her first official sari, and boy does she look good in it!

Of course, wrapping something like that is an acquired skill, so we had to wait until we were at school and some of the ladies here could help her, but now she is all good to go!

Anyways, this is what we wear today, until we get changed for the Halloween party, and then tomorrow it is lederhosen for Oktoberfest, and on Monday we put on our hiking duds for Week Without Walls. Like I said, a busy few days!

Bombay Oktoberfest 2010 teaser trailer

Free verse Friday – Oktoberfest ’09

Photo by Martin Reinsmoen

Photo by Martin Reinsmoen

With apologies to Nat King Cole and other singers of “O Tannenbaum”

Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest
It’s fast approaching this way
Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest
A time for all to come play

Good times do always there abound:
Beer, schnitzel, brats, and oompah sounds

Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest
Come eat and drink on Saturday

Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest
I’ll have my little hat on
Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest
I’ll wear fake lederhosen

Though German pictures all will show,
Alas, few women here have dirndls

Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest
Despite our clothes we’ll have fun.

Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest
This year we’ve got kazoos
Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest
We’ll have the hookah too

On Kiara’s vast rooftop expanse
We’ll drink and do the chicken dance

Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest
I hope we don’t get rained out

Oktoberfest 2009 teaser trailer

Oh boy – time for the new Oktoberfest advertisement! Here’s the first one of the season:


(No, that’s not a picture of Oktoberfest)

In the past week, after our return from Goa, things have been moving at a lightning pace.

At school, we’re getting ready for the week without walls trips coming up next Monday, organizing community service projects with local NGOs, preparing for a family fun day in December, getting Mathcounts up and running, and writing report cards (due tomorrow).

At home, our single female platy (fish) had babies, so now there are orange fry to go with the black (mollies) and clear (guppies) ones in the tank. There was another festival this past week in town – that is where the picture is from. If you want to read more about it, check out the blog of a teacher that we knew in Belgrade who moved to Chennai, India this year…

But the real theme of the weekend was Oktoberfest. Saturday night was our big shindig – check out the online invitation. We partied and drank and talked and did the chicken dance until the wee hours. Some things that were new that went well this year: India sauerkraut is great and the homemade pretzels were a hit! And something that I wanted to get but could not find in Mumbai (to get over the summer for next year?) – kazoos for kazooing along with the oom-pah-pah music!

And that’s all I’m going to say about that. After all – what happens at Oktoberfest stays at Oktoberfest!! Plus we didn’t bring our camera up, so we’ll have to see what incriminating photos our party guests took.

Today it was all about a week without walls meeting and rooftop birthday party. It is great to see parents hanging out, with all the kids running around, drinking beer left over from the night before. Great times!

A four day weekend

Always a cause for celebration. We were so darn excited about the break – we packed ourselves off and headed to the beaches of Goa. It was a pretty funny sight at five o’clock in the morning in the airport: it seemed to us that 80% of the school’s population was doing the exact same thing as we were. Since local airlines, in their infinite wisdom, only schedule departures for Goa at 4 in the afternoon and 5 in the morning, we were all on the same flights together.

But Goa has quite a number of different areas and different beaches, and so we all split up and went our separate ways – with the Stutz family going back to Anjuna beach and the hotel we had so enjoyed before. We had told a couple who are new to Mumbai about the place we went last year, and they ended up staying there as well. Alea was a little worried about spending her vacation with her math teacher right next door, but we ended up having a lot of fun with them. We hung out with them for breakfasts, showed them around the beach a bit, ate dinner with them two nights, played in the water with the Mrs., and even had some laughs about the “Come look my shop” racket on the beach.

Alea actually had the roughest time out of all of us, though. In one morning, she forgot her glasses, bonked her chin and bit her tongue, got a fat lip from dad smacking her (accidentally!), and cut her foot open on some sharp rocks. She was a real trooper, however, and we all had some serious fun jumping into waves and body surfing. Breck had a super time petting all the cows and kittens he could find, and came up with some good beach-sitting humor (What kind of spice do the Eskimos like? Chilies!!).

We ran into some other teachers at a cafe Saturday afternoon, and they got a big kick out of all the bargaining I was doing for some shirts. In fact, I got an email from one of the guys this morning: There are 8 Goan woman standing outside waiting for you. They told security that they will sell you a shirt for 80 rs.” I told him that he can laugh all he wants, but now I have my “vacation shirts” for the next five years!!

We’ll certainly post up more pictures and descriptions when we get around to it. We have lots on the plate this week, as we get things ready for Oktoberfest this Saturday. We have one more normal week, then Alea and I take off for week without walls, and then we have another week off for Diwali break, during which we’ll head to Udaipur. Just to keep things all in perspective – that means the middle school has classes for exactly 9 days the entire month of October!

And yes, I know the Cubbies got swept. Just be quiet.


Oktoberfest 2007Was a blast! We had a great crew of people show up, and we ate, drank, and danced the night away. Breck and some buddies were the ‘no shirt club,’ keeping things under control in the apartment, and Alea and her friends were very excitedly dancing to all the songs. It will absolutely become a Bombay tradition as we go forward from here. I have to run this morning for a week in Matheran, but will post a picture of the yummy keg we were able to get. Auf wiedersehen…

Week’s end

Breck's Crazy Hair!!Whew. This week went out like a lion. It has been crazy, crazy, crazy around school as everyone in the middle and high school prepares for the “Week Without Walls” that kicks off next Monday. I’ll be traveling with the 6th graders to Matheran for 5 days of team- and class-building activities. They are super excited about going, and I’m getting more so by the day.

Unfortunately on the home front, Alea has had to stay home the past 2 days with the same yucky cough thing that Breck had last week. She’s really bummed, because today was Crazy Hair day at the Elementary School and she was part of the group that organized and designed the day. Luckily, Breck was there to pick up the Stutz family participatory slack!

But at least we all have Oktoberfest to look forward to. My list of things to do after school is pretty super long…

One of my colleagues told a little story about an occurrence in class, and it seems like a great way to end the week. Because kids read this, we’ll replace bad language with little stars!!

It is quite an experience to be teaching with a bunch of kids for whom the English language, in all its beauty and nuance, is not their mother tongue. (Keep in mind this event happened in a class full of innocent elementary school kids – not the high schoolers!) Apparently the teacher made a mistake and said, “Shoot!” in class. One little girl gasped and said, “That’s a bad word!” To which another boy replied, “No, Shoot is ok to say, but S**T is a bad word.” Some other kid perked up and goes, “My dad says that G**D****T is much worse than that.” And the sweet little angel across the room pipes up, “But my brother said that F**K was the worst word of all.” Poor teacher had to wait a few moments, hand over giggling mouth, before retaking control of the situation.

Just a little flavor of the week, from all of us to all of you.

Eid Mubarak

Eid celebrationWell the kids are in bed, but the fireworks are just starting to go off all over. It is Eid, the end of a month of fasting for Mulsims, and our neighbors downstairs are gearing up for a big party tonight. I wonder how that will compare with the Oktoberfest party we are planning for next Saturday? Many of the drivers at school are Muslim, and most have been fasting, so the afternoon rides home – when they’re feeling the effects of a full day with no food – have not been for the faint of heart!

It is pretty interesting to live in a place where all these different festivals coexist so well. The Ganesh season just wrapped up and there is another Hindu festival happening now too (with however many hundreds of god there are, it is no surprise that there always seems to be a party going on). And the Christians have… Halloween right around the corner!! (let’s see how many hackles get raised with that comment!)

Elementary soccer teamHad the big elementary school soccer tournament today – last day of coaching for me (yay!). We went 2-0-1, but the team we tied won on goal differential. Oh well, it was a fun day in the sun. The tough part about it was that Breck wanted to be on the team, but there were only 12 allowed (and 63 went out). Kind of a rough deal to have to make cuts in grades 1 through 3.

Anyways, after swimming with the kids, we all spent a quiet afternoon getting ready for Monday. We will be going to an Eid celebration tomorrow too, so will be interested in seeing how that goes.