Sunday, November 24, 2013

Greetings from India!

I'm in India. Yep. Been here for 7 days now. I'm visiting my best friend Pamela. She moved here a year ago to marry Ryan, a Christian Anglo-Indian known by his friends as "the American." We're going to celebrate an American Thanksgiving on Thursday. Wednesday we are going to the Taj Mahal. I am so excited. That's an understatement. It is so wonderful here. Everything is so bright and colorful, there are so many people, the smells, the sounds...every morning the fruit seller goes through the neighborhood singing (in Hindi) "I have mangoes, get your mangos, I have bananas, try these bananas..."

The shopping is fantastic. I have acquired an almost ungodly collection of beautiful bangles in a lovely box. Not to mention the fashion! The women here really know how to be beautiful and practical and express their personality all at the same time. Take the "suit." In America, a woman's suit is a drab black or gray blazer and pants or a skirt - either trying to get as close to a man's suit as possible or putting a vaguely feminine spin on it. In India, the suit is inherently feminine. Three pieces: comfy flowy salwar pants, or figure-flattering skinny trousers, on top of that a wide variety of frilly, flowing, flattering, brilliantly colored and richly embellished long tops - that manage to both show off your figure and somehow leave room to serve as maternity wear later - and to top it all off, the longest most luxurious scarf-shawl things called choli - that serve alternately as accessories, neckwarmers, hats, towels, shoulder wraps, and even napkins in a pinch. Completely stylish and practical. I really don't want to go back to wearing western clothes after all this. Life in America is going to feel so drab.

On to the food. Everything is bursting with flavor. What's funny is that Ryan likes a lot of Western food so we've been doing a lot of American fast food chains - Subway, KFC, Dominoes, McDonald's...and the funny thing is, it's all got its own Indian twist. For instance nobody really eats beef here so the "burgers" are defined not by the patty but by the fact they are served on a bun. So I ordered a chicken masala hamburger at Mcdonalds. Also a lot of people are vegetarians so like at Subway, they have all these variety of bean patties and falafel-like thingies that add protein to the sandwiches. Indians love flavor so take all the foods you are used to from these places and intensify them - KFC chicken is spicy, fries at McDonald's are now called "shake shake fries" and served with a bag and a packet of spices. Wierdest food so far? Cookies with cumin in them. Just...weird.

Well I have plenty more to say but I am tired. Also I want to write you with real pix instead of these snaps from Ryan's phone.

More to come!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nine Things I Did This Summer

Every summer, as long as I can remember, I thought up a list of summer goals, great things I'd like to do with all that extra time I didn't have to spend studying. These were big things like build a shed, reorganize my room, write a book, read Miller's Church History(all 1091 pages). And at the end of every summer I'd go back to school defeated, lucky if I managed to cross even one item off the list. One thing about people with ADHD: We start waaay more than we finish. It's depressing.

So for the summer of 2013, I decided to do something different. I was totally over the obsession with productivity and the inevitable sense of failure. So I thought, what if I set no goals? What if I just made a point to write down every accomplishment, after it was completed? Oddly enough, it was more motivating than the goals list - it made me want to finish things instead of starting other things. It also gave me a space to celebrate what was going on in my life instead of stressing out trying to plan it. It was a great summer. 

Without further ado, the list:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bovinova, and assorted goings-on

I'm taking banjo lessons now. Clawhammer style. Like the Carolina Chocolate Drops. And David Holt. Yay.

My dad's spent three out of the past four weeks in the hospital. He's had four brain surgeries, two of which involved removing part of his skull.

In April, I went to the Azalea Ball, and danced the Carolina Promenade with a bunch of impeccably-dressed and -mannered homeschooled teenagers.

I also joined a church. Kaleidoscope multi-ethnic fellowship. It's weird, feels kind of like a marriage or something.  After decades of restlessness in Spartanburg, this free spirit finally tied the knot with a single body of believers. But my heart was with these people, and God is among them and in them, and everything just...clicked. Plus the food is AMAZING. :-)

In May, I finished another semester of grad school. It's getting harder and harder to keep going, so much LIFE to live in my non-working hours, plus it's tough to stare at a computer screen all day only to come home and stare at yet another computer screen for another few hours.

I also went to Bovinova. It was AWESOME. There was lots of meat, music and hooping and Tim TV. I might possibly be Tim TV's biggest fan ever. I picked up one of his blue dreadlocks that got separated from his head, possibly by a flaming jumprope, one of three hoops he had spinning at once, or a glass scrap after he laid in a bed of glass while a whole circus troupe balanced on his belly. I'm going to put it in a locket or something. I also got "adopted" by the video crew, made new friends, learned to spin poi, and ate emu, mussel, whole-roasted cow, paella, rum cake and other delicacies. Oh and did I mention Tim TV was there?

Tim TV getting cozy on a bed of glass.
He did this whole routine while singing a Tom Waits song. #starstruck
Oh and I bought a knife at Bovinova that I took with me to the hospital. There in the ICU I fashioned a pillow for my father out of a swimming noodle. That made him very happy.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Fridayful of friends, music, and sake

Friday night was one of those serendipitous evenings that just make you happy to be alive. It didn't start out so good. I had been practicing for a month to get ready for my second open mic night at the Coffee Bar. Last time the Ballad of the Polka Dot Lizard seemed to go over really well. The entire coffee shop went silent for the duration of my song. But, last time I had all these friends complain because they didn't know about it, so I just decided to cover all the bases this time and make a facebook event. I invited like, a hundred people. I was going to bust out the toy piano and do the Ballad of Katy Bee.

Well, I get there at 6:30 and can't find a parking space close to the Coffee Bar so I lug my guitar and toy piano from a block away. When I get inside there is no "stage area" at the front, just tables. I knew something was wrong, and sure enough, it was cancelled. Why? Because they share a PA system with the Hub City Bookshop and that night the bookshop was having a reading. "Lady Parts."

Friday, January 25, 2013


I decided something this week. As you know I like to dance. A lot. I don't do it so people can watch me, I don't do it to get attention. That's not to say I don't like attention. Of course it's nice when people appreciate your moves, or at least your guts. But seriously, I would be just as happy dancing in a corner, or in the dark where nobody can see me. In fact I often do just that. It's about the music, and being in it, really in it. But sometimes there's no music. Sometimes it's about how I'm feeling, and sometimes, it's about God.

dancing in a play age 12
I have about three very clear memories of dancing in public as a child. It always followed the same pattern - I just started moving to the music, I couldn't help it, my feet were going crazy, then people started to turn and pay attention, then they were pulling me up onto the stage, or out into the front, and people were snapping pictures or videos and smiling and asking me if I took lessons, or was "a professional." No, I'm not a professional, I'm just a kid who likes to dance. Why are you all looking at me? 
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