I asked one of the chowkidars the other day to bring me back some chili peppers when he went to the bazaar. I spent a long time trying to explain that I didn’t want the bell peppers he had brought last time, I wanted chili peppers. I described that they were long and skinny, not round and fat and that they were smaller than the other ones. He came back with five bell peppers that were almost as big as golf balls…
Tonight after we had supper together as a team, the kids were jumping on the trampoline while the adults were on our neighbors’ patio, chatting and finishing their dessert. The kids starting saying Mr. J, trying to get one of the guys to go jump with them. When he ignored them, they started chanting Mark Mark (all 8 of them made it pretty loud). He didn’t give in, so they tried to get A in on the action, but he declined as well. Finally they started chanting “Old Men, Old Men, Old Men”, in reference to the two older guys in attendance! Needless to say, everyone chuckled…maybe not the ‘old men’ so much, but it was pretty funny.
Angel khAla walked around all morning while working in the house with a dish towel on her head…over her scarf…I have no idea why, but I couldn’t take her seriously at.all.
Little t is infatuated with putting a scarf on. He is always finding them and asking me to put them on his head and then he walks around the house quite proudly. His father is not so thrilled. Yesterday we caught him watching a movie with a scarf on his head…he had found it on the chair and put it on himself.
A rumor was started a few years ago that God turned a woman into a cat because she didn’t say her prayers and watched a popular soap-operaish show instead. People (even educated people who work for us) were convinced that it was true. They began asking our British team-mates if they had seen the cat and what she looked like. The whole town was believing this craziness until the woman (who at the time lived in the big city 4 hours away) returned and made an appearance in town (as a human obviously).
A got many approving looks and comments from the police at the airport in the capital city as we walked through. Apparently they assumed that the Finnish woman and her four children traveling with us were his other family…
Little t was quite proud of himself when he opened the container of bullion cubes a few days ago. After promptly popping one in his mouth and sucking on it for a few minutes, he wasn’t smiling.
Our local administrator is a very nice and very interesting man…though somewhat of a mystery. He does all of the finance and administration quite capably. He tested as being strong in Science when he graduated from high school and is now studying Biology at the university in town (though he doesn’t like it…because of the system it is the only thing he can go to school for…). But his real love and passion seems to be interior design…especially curtains. He has a thing for designing and making curtains. It is no surprise then that the curtains behind his desk in the office are…a work of art. He is quite proud of them. One day he was being rather difficult and Em, our rather strong and mischievous British teammate was having a hard time getting him to comply with the work that needed to be done for the day. As a last ditch effort to get his rear in gear, Em said, “Al, if you don’t get this done by the deadline of noon today, I am going to cut your curtains in half.” She said he went pale, then got a little teary and excused himself to the bathroom. The report was turned in by noon and he breathed a sigh of relief as his curtains remained in one piece!
During language school in the capital city, our favorite language teacher was a constant source of entertainment for us. He was very into all things western and was always asking advice on ‘cool’ words to use, etc. One day he used the word tramp in relation to a lady in a story he was telling. It didn’t really sink it until it had happened more than once and we realized that an intervention had to happen! When we brought it up to him that it probably wasn’t the best word to use when talking about women, we also asked where he had heard that word. One of the language lessons used the story of Lady and the Tramp and he had assumed that the word was fair game!
Here, velvet is the fabric of choice. The bazaar is full of shops that are full of bolts of velvet in every color and sparkle imaginable. Yesterday, I bought some new fabric to get a few new summer dresses made. My current ones are all old and very thick and boiling summer weather is right around the corner. Angel khAla got excited when she saw the bags with the fabric sticking out…until she saw that they were cotton. She said in a very disappointed voice, ‘oh, it’s just cotton.’ Once again I have let someone down that I refuse to jump on the velvet train…especially in the summer, I just can’t do it.
When we were in Lal (our previous location) life was not exactly luxurious. Upon arriving in the Philippines for vacation, one of the first things I did was go to get my hair cut. The woman who was cutting my hair was horrified at it’s poor condition and gave many recommendations of what I should do to take better care of it (expensive shampoos, intensive conditioning sessions twice a week, just the right temperature of water, etc.). I couldn’t help but laugh as I considered my location and the craziness of what she was suggesting. Little did she know, my hair was lucky if it got washed once a week…especially in the winter!
When we came back from the capital a few weeks ago, we were reminded of how horrible the airport scene is there. It is so much hassle, numerous security checks and getting in and out with all of your luggage, etc. As we parked and began to unload for the final time in order to make the ½ mile long walk to the airport building, I mentally prepared myself. I had the 22 pound child to carry, a diaper bag across my shoulder, a backpack and a small roller to pull. I had myself almost psyched up when I heard a small voice. It was 4 1/2 year old Charlotte declaring that “she didn’t feel like carrying her backpack and I would need to carry it for her.” I have to be honest that I laughed out loud. I told her that I had a lot to carry and she would have to take care of it. Again, she insisted that it was my job. I basically told her tough luck and her mom carried it for her in the end.
Little t has discovered he is a boy. We don’t make a big deal out of it, just call it what it is and then move his hands. He does get a very very cute little grin on his face accompanied by a sweet little giggle every time he makes this discovery. It is adorable now, though I know it won’t be sooner than later…
The ‘head’ local guy in the project that A works for just had his 9th baby…that plus the 2 kids he has adopted from his brother who was killed make an impressive 11 kids! A had a somewhat rough day with him in the office last week and decided that a peace offering was in order. A had the great idea that we I should make them all supper and then he would deliver it to their house… HA-HA-HA!!! That is like making food for 30 people because you make at least two servings per person when you have guests…I about died when I found out that his plan was not a joke. And then begged and pleaded with him to reconsider the insanity. After I walked him through the unbelievably ridiculous lengths that I would have to go to in order to make food for that many people…and DELIVER.IT.TO.THEM…he agreed that baking them a cake would be just fine for the occasion.
A few weeks ago Little t came down with a nasty cough/cold thing. The next day the first thing I said to Angel KhAla when she came to work was that she should not kiss Little t because I didn’t want her carrying his germs back to her little one at home and getting her sick. She said, ‘Oh don’t worry Zara has been sick for a few days!” and then gave Little t her customary morning smack on the lips…the mystery bug was no longer a mystery.