Lily, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed doing a glass-painting project. She and Heidi worked on these crafts while Erin sat with her whole arm extended, waiting for her henna to dry.
After seeing how prettily Erin’s henna-decorated hand turned out, Lily and Heidi wanted to have it done, too.
Brides decorate their hands and arms, I believe, but nowadays it’s becoming more common for women and girls to do it just because they want to.
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In other news, we have begun making plans for our trip up north to see the Taj Mahal near the end of May. Dawn’s dad will join us in two weeks, which we’re really looking forward to! He will go up to the Taj with us.
Dawn visited a travel agent (ask me how long it took to explain to our driver what a travel agent is) and discovered that Agra (the city where the Taj Mahal is located) is a long, long ways away. Too far to drive, apparently, and it’s recommended that we fly. We thought it would be fun to take a train, but were told that it would take 36 hours to get there on the express train, which is a daunting thought.
We have also succumbed to sickness. Lily felt miserable on Thursday, and woke up with a fever of 102.7 on Friday. I happened to mention to Sahjee at breakfast that Lily had a fever, and my goodness, he sprang into action. Chandra Shake-uh came out of the kitchen and declared that Lily was not to eat any foods that contained oil until she was well. He explained that she couldn’t have any ice-cream for a week (we have a Friday night tradition of eating ice-cream), and that she must be fed only warm, soft and loose foods, such as oatmeal. Since then we’ve been receiving oatmeal, toast, and cream-of-wheat for meals. Sahjee also presents Lily with a steaming hot cup of water at each meal, and insists she drink it.
Sahjee disappeared and consulted Mani (our driver), and before I knew it Mani was up in our apartment looking at Lily and feeling her forehead. (Remember, Mani is the one who appeared with the plant medicine for Byron’s ear). I believe that Mani must be a resident health expert. When I showed him the Motrin bottle that I had given Lily a dose from only moments before, he seemed content that I was taking care of my daughter properly. But everyone thought that we ought to take Lily to the hospital. Oh please. It’s just a fever!
By lunchtime, Erin started coming down with the miserableness, and I had two girls draped over me on the couch, moaning and telling me that they felt absolutely miserable. It was a long afternoon. At least Heidi feels okay!
I’ve gone through a whole bottle of children’s Motrin in 3 days, and am now wondering what on earth I was thinking when I brought only two bottles with me to India!
I was a little worried that Lily might have malaria, as she is covered with mosquito bites. She also ran that fever of 102.7 all day long (every 5 hours, when the Motrin wore off, her fever would shoot back up again), while Erin hasn’t run a high fever. Sahjee called a doctor and put me on the line around suppertime, and upon discussion with him, I guess my girls only have a virus. The doctor didn’t seem to think it was malaria, but I couldn’t understand him well enough to know WHY he didn’t think it was malaria.
We skipped church on Saturday, as we weren’t sure what condition the girls would be in after being sick all day Friday. Fortunately, the girls felt much better, but we stayed home anyway as a precautionary measure.
We had a delightful family church service in our apartment. The girls got very excited about it, and immediately threw themselves into planning the Sabbath School and church services. Erin was the “organizer,” Lily was the “secretary,” Heidi was the “Call to Worship Queen,” Daddy was the “pastor,” and Mommy was the “audience.” (At least that is what the bulletin said, which was presented upon a sofa cushion to Mama and Daddy as they entered the living room/sanctuary. Praise service was complete with instruments (pot&pan cymbals from the kitchen, pot&pan drums, and a noise-maker tambourine (two paper plates taped together with Cheerios stuffed between). One wonders what our neighbors think. Erin and Lily told stories, Daddy preached, and Heidi “read” several Bible verses. Special musics abounded. And Mama videotaped!
We’ve been getting medical advice from Chandra Shake-uh everytime he sees us. Lily took a shower Sat. morning, for example, and came to breakfast with wet hair. “Aaaa!” exclaimed Chandra-shake-uh, and he quickly grabbed a dishtowel and vigorously dried Lily’s hair. He explained that children with fevers must not bathe for one week, because they’ll get cold. Then he served a cantaloupe juice for breakfast, and carefully gave Byron and I chilled juice, but the girls’ juice was at room temperature, “for fever,” Chandra shake-uh explained. Erin and Lily each got their cup of steaming hot water to drink during the meal, also.
This afternoon Chandra Shake-uh dropped in on us and told us that the children were not to go outside, as it’s 107 degrees out there, and children with fevers shouldn’t get too hot. Byron took a short walk with Heidi, and came back pretty quickly.
I can understand, now, why people do things in the evening here during the summer. 107 is brutal, and that didn’t include the heat index (i.e., what it feels like with the added humidity). And May is supposed to be the hottest month of the year here. It’s only May 3rd. Help!
We’ve been to the largest mall in India. It’s definitely the largest mall I’ve ever been in, and I don’t want to go there again. It’s here in Chennai, called the Spencer Plaza, and it’s the tallest, most sprawling massive mall. Not only is it awfully easy to get lost in the twisting turning hallways inside, I was accosted by every shopkeeper from every shop, who seemed to think that I absolutely MUST be interested in their shop, and won’t I just come in for a moment and see the lovely things they have for sale? I felt as if I was walking around at a county fair, with carnival hawkers all vying for my attention. Also, there were no prices posted anywhere, which makes me pretty sure that I’m not getting a very good price when I ask how much something is.
I also have to tell you about one evening we experienced here that made us feel like we’re at home. About 6:30 p.m., Dawn and the girls headed out for Spencer’s grocery store (we seem to go there at least every other day), and as we walked, we met up with Chandra Shake-uh who was returning from the market, then one of our night watchmen bicycled by. Then we ran into Sahjee who was purchasing fruit at a fruitstand. Of course we couldn’t pass any of these people without excited waves and greetings. Then we saw our friend the jasmine-flower lady, who we always greet with waves and smiles. Then we saw the other jasmine-flower lady, who always waves at us. We are starting to feel like we belong to the neighborhood!
Dawn is now trying to keep up with the laundry herself, as it’s been bombed by the birds numerous times, and I’m having trouble getting the bird poop stains out. It’s quite infuriating. (When I do the laundry, I hang it where the birds can’t get it.)
Thanks to all of you wonderful people who are reading our blog and emailing us. After all, it would be no fun to write it if no one was reading it, and of course, being the writer, I adore feedback!
Before I sign off, let me challenge you to try a recipe that Nadiya (Mahalak-shmi’s English-speaking sister in law) gave to me.
Carrot ice-cream (Indian style)
- 2 carrots
- 1 liter milk (boil this until it’s ½ liter, about 30 minutes)
- 100 grams sugar
Grate the carrot, then boil it for 2 minutes. Then grind up in food processor. Add sugar to milk when milk is nearly done boiling down to a half liter. When milk is done, grind carrot and milk in grinder/food processor. Put in small cups, sprinkle cashews on top. Put in freezer for one hour.
*Note: Can use cucumber instead of carrot (!). If you want mango ice-cream, don’t boil the mangos. Chop them and add when milked has cooked down to ½ liter. Follow recipe directions from there.