Friday, December 15, 2017

Wedding #2

Well, eight days past, and we were attending Wedding #2.  

The only instructions we were given were "wear a dress," the name of the hall and that it was located behind a certain mall.  So...Kylie and I drove to the mall, about 25 minutes away from our house, and I hired a taxi to let me follow him there in my car.

So glad we did.  We drove another 5 minutes until we reached this obscure hall.

We went early to hang out with the bride's family.  We knew we couldn't stay long because of a previous engagement.

Well, the "wear a dress," comment, I think was really, "She's wearing a dress."  
Both are pretty similar in this language, maybe one letter difference.  
Anyway, SHE (the bride) was wearing a dress, and Kylie and I were definitely wearing the wrong thing!  Apparently, we were supposed to wear our national dress again.

When they arrived, they walked slowly down the red carpet with music blaring and people hollering and trilling their voice, similar to what you would hear at a Mexican fiesta.

They walk all the way to the stage, and they just stand there with the music still blaring and the people still screaming. 

Most of the time at these wedding events, the bride does not smile.  She is not to appear too joyous about leaving her family.  In fact, her mother, whom I sat with at each of these events, was wearing all black.

Yes, Kylie and I definitely needed a few more shiny things on.

This is what dancing looks like here.  There is never pairing off.  It's always one or two big lines.
There are two different dances that I know of.  The one in this picture is indicative of people up north.  They dance holding hands with shoulders and arms touching; shoulders moving up and down; the other is more local, and instead of holding hands, everyone is connected by their pinky fingers.

Kylie is in the white-ish dress with the black sweater on the right side of the line.

This picture was just to describe the chaos a little bit more.

I can never describe to you the volume of the music.  It is quite unbearable.

And in every "hall," there is a little store where you can buy your own snacks, drinks, or toys.  Most of the kids were buying balloons and running around with them.  Before the red carpet was rolled up, the kids were running around the flower stands along the red carpet, and a couple of their balloons took down some of the flower stands.

No one says anything.  They just take it as part of the chaos.

All the while, the bride and groom just sit, unsmiling, on the stage.

Sadly, before the cake came out, Kylie and I had to leave.  When I tried to excuse myself, I was told that we had to take a picture with the bride first.  I was so embarrassed because of my clothes, but I went anyway.

Time to go shopping before Wedding #3!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Wedding #1

My neighbors have 6 children.  The three older boys are married, and two have children.  The younger three are daughters: 19 year old twins, and an 11 year old.

We spend a lot of time over there drinking tea, practicing language, laughing, eating, and watching TV (Bollywood soap operas dubbed over in the local language).

To our surprise, while we were away in August, one of the twins accepted a marriage proposal.  It seems that she has had quite a few, but she has turned them all down because she wanted to go to college first.  But apparently she met the right guy who changed her mind. 

I was under the impression that she was introduced to him, but after further investigation, it seems they met at an English class.  There are so many families who do not allow their daughters to marry outside of the family, so this was unique.

We got the scoop (the best we could) on all the "weddings" that were going to take place. 

The first one was at their family's house in the village on September 7.  And we were told to wear traditional dresses.

Her aunt and sister-in-law (below) were getting ready, along with a lot of girls.  It was a busy night at our house, so only Kylie went went me, and she joined in with all the ladies, watching them all get ready.

This is the bride-to-be. 


 This is her twin sister.

This is taken across the room from me in the room where many kept coming and were waiting.  The door on the far right is where the girls are getting ready.

More people kept coming. 

Look at all the shoes outside.

Eventually, the floor had no more sitting room left.

All of a sudden, a lady points and shows me the bride walking into the adjacent room with her aunt. 

They close the door behind them.  

The mother is left in the room with us (that's her on the upper far left).

 That was it. 

When she came out, she went to sit down, wearing the gold she had just been given as a dowry.

Apparently, the local mullah was in the room with the groom and some men from his family.  I don't think any men from her side came.

From what I understand, the mullah asked her three times if she wanted to marry him, and she said 'yes' three times, and that was it (besides getting the dowry).

After she sat down, immediately, a group of ladies from the kitchen that I had never seen before started serving everyone sodas and baklava.

It was a mad house with everyone reaching and grabbing.

I was told that these ladies were females from the groom's side of the family.  It was funny watching the ladies on her side check out the ladies on his side.

No one smiled.

 After refreshments, the bride was taken back in the adjacent room, held hands with the groom for the first time, and everybody and their mama tried to cram in there to get pictures of them.

You can even see her aunt in this picture taking a selfie, standing beside the groom.

Someone took my camera for me in there, and caught a rare picture of them where no one was crowded around them.

After some time, when I told the mother of the bride (my neighbor) that we were leaving, she insisted we get a picture first.  So Kylie, me and some other neighbors who are Americans, all crammed in the room for a picture.

The bride came home with her mom that night, and he went back to his house, where he lives with his sisters.  I didn't know (and still don't know) if this night made their marriage "official" or not, because there were still two events to go.

I'm told that after the third event, she will go live in his house with him and his sisters.  His parents live in Europe.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

First Day of School

Schools start pretty late here, but of course, not as last as December.  This is just me trying to catch up on blogs.

I showed you Keira's new school.  Caleb and Karis attend the same one they did last year.  And Kylie is trying on-line school for the first time.  It was supposed to give her opportunity to get ready for college in a non-rote environment (most subjects here are taught on the basis of memorization, not gaining knowledge or understanding) and still give me freedom to study language. 

However, we chose a challenging curriculum, and she can't keep up with the pace, even working 7-8 hours a day.  Another challenge is the lack of power in the winter.  

Our power goes off around 8am (if it actually is on during the night), and it doesn't come on again until somewhere between 3pm and 5pm.  The internet can stay charged by a battery till around 3pm, but her computer battery starts dying before that.  (Not to mention, it's really cold in our house).

Many days, we head to a coffee shop, and we stay there, plugged in until it's time to go get Keira from school.  After that, we come home for a late lunch and her computer remains charged until power comes back on.

It's not quite the "dance" I want to do every day, but it will have to do until power gets better, which will be around March or April.

A few weeks after school started, Keira turned 5.  We had ordered a few things for her from America that arrived JUST before the airports shut down.  Unfortunately, the gifts from her grandparents' were stuck in a warehouse, waiting for a way to get in.  Someone smart solved the problem, and two months later, during the first week of December, she had another mini-birthday celebration.

On the actual day of her birthday, Kylie made her a giant cookie cake, and our language helper and his wife bought this one for her, pictured below.  It says, "Happy Birthday, I baby."  

When we went to eat at our language helper's house the first time last year, he had a television station on for his younger son.  The station is, in fact, called "IBABY."  It plays nursery rhymes, the alphabet song, counting songs, kids silly songs, etc. all in English, all day long.  Many children here learn English from this channel.

Ever since, our teacher saw Keira enjoying this channel, he has called her "I Baby."

She doesn't seem to mind.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Last Day of Summer

The Saturday before school started on Sunday, Doug, Caleb, and Karis went on a trip with some people to a lake about three hours from here.  Kylie had to teach dance, and since we weren't sure about everything involved, we didn't let Keira go, so I stayed with her.

Doug had a good partner for kayaking.  Karis.

They took a break for lunch across the lake.

 Some of them went for a swim.  (This is Karis and Caleb).

They had a great day.  Karis said it was her favorite day in this country so far.

I'd say that's a good way to end the summer.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hot summer & Climbing

It was definitely a hot summer.

Some of our friends went to UK for the summer, and when they came back, this is what the candles in their house looked like.


A week before school started, we were invited by some friends to go climbing at a rock wall at a local park.  We arrived at 8am, and after hooking the ropes up, the wall was already too hot to touch.  

So, after our friends took all the ropes down, we drove across town to another park where the climbing wall at this particular park has its front in the shade in the morning.

Her first go.  Pretty good.

Then, Karis.

And then Kylie.  She definitely has the legs for it!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Trip up North

Two weekends before school started, our language helper invited us and another family to an ancient city up north.

First, we went to a waterfall.  Seems nice and quiet, right?

Well, not so much.  There were loads of people there because it was a holiday, and I guess everyone goes toward water on a warm holiday.

So, we didn't stay long.  We went some place to eat.
They LOVE to use as many bowls as EVERY restaurant!

Then, we drove outside the city to a clear, cold, underground well-fed body of water.  Kylie and Caleb decided to call it "Mermaid Lagoon."  Karis stayed home, so she missed out on naming it.

No girls were swimming.

 So Kylie just waded with me.

 She REALLY wanted to get in, and I didn't care, so off she went with the boys.

That's her, fully clothed, at the back of the cliff-jumping line.

 She wasn't the only one fully clothed.  This man waded in, and the air filled his pants.

So much air that he was able to float.

 After a few hours, we had a picnic beside the water before we headed home.

 It was a great relaxing way to end the summer officially.