major progress, and a vacation for me!

here is a composite photo of our progress to date. I’d venture that we are 75% there!

We have made major progress. This should not be surprising, as I have not posted in 3 weeks, much to the chagrin of friends and family back in the US. Sorry. I am terrible at keeping up on these blogs. This is largely due to what some may view as laziness, but that I see as a by-product of sheer exhaustion at the end of each long day, and then at the end of each long week (I work six days a week here). I usually find the energy to order food from the restaurant down the street (they deliver), take a shower, and veg out. Sometimes I go out with friends or find myself entertaining guests as well. None of these activities involve me sitting down at my computer, processing a bunch of jpgs, writing about my experiences…you get the picture. Basically, being present has interfered with my ability to blog!

stunning peacock done by a special new student and friend, Gayatri Oberoi

peacock tail detail

Work on the mosaic is awesome. While I still have a hardworking and loyal crew of middle school and high school kids (and even a few younger ones!), we have grown our team to include teachers, staff members and school moms (the dads were invited but none showed up, I guess they have to support those families somehow). These days, I work throughout the day with these individuals to get a little bit more done with each session.

Japan, France and Scotland unite!

no Indian mosaic is complete without the Taj Mahal…

P.E. teachers have requested that sport be represented…they did the football themselves!

palm lines drawn from the hand of yours truly

sharp dressed Asian boy

Today was my last day of mosaicking before the Diwali break. That means that I am looking at 10 entire days of no mosaic, no school, and no work! Making it even an even sweeter deal is the fact that my sweetie is arriving in the morning from Delhi (he touched down in Mumbai last week, spent about 24 hours with me and then flitted back out of my reality bubble to go ride mountain bikes in the Himalaya.) along with dear friend and fellow San Diegan Andrea! I am so happy and excited for this interlude in my mad mosaic world. I have never “needed a vacation” so badly as I do now, I swear.

Diwali is the festival of lights. Or, as one slightly cynical friend here says, “the festival of noise and pollution”. I will go with the first one even though the second description is pretty hilarious. It is a huge holiday for the Hindu faith and in addition to firecrackers, lots of lights, candles and continuously burning oil lamps, it is a time of gift giving, generosity and the eating of sweets. Sound familiar?

There are awesome lights going up all over the place. I bought a couple of little gems at a local market and am celebrating Diwali in my own small way in my flat each night with my beautiful cloth tulip lamps bedazzled with mirror bits.

We, however, will be going down to Kerala (at the southern tip of India) for some quiet, rural fun (and maybe some firecrackers too). I need to be somewhere that I can’t hear honking and the grinding of bulldozers for a few days.

after much deliberation, I went for the cute cloth one in the middle, in this color as well as one in pink and red!

Let me see…highlights of the past weeks would include: an all night work party with friends and colleagues at the mosaic, a visit to a dirty and touristy elephanta island with Ryan and new Canadian friends, the eating of lots of delicious food (mostly paneer), shopping my buns off any chance I get, and mosaicking about 9 hours a day, six days a week. Oh yeah, I was in the press too, which I have been told is not easy to do (for free) here. That was pretty cool.

The best of the best: at the all night work party we held last weekend.

Navrati festival

I love this sign because not only is it pretty, it tells me I am in the peaceful, civil confines of the womens’ car of the local train…

Since my life is basically lived in the premises of the school, I am glad and eternally grateful that I like the project and the people I work with. I now have a team of school moms that I have trained in the art of mosaic work and who come each day to help complete the project. Without them, I would be royally screwed in a major way. If any of my moms are reading this, THANK YOU! You are making this project actually happen!

hi mom! It’s only a flesh wound!

lotus with disco background

Basically, this mosaic project is one of the most awesome, and at the same time, most difficult projects I have undertaken in my career. Awesome because of the people involved, the support system at the school, and the way the project is turning out (and the fact that I am in INDIA) Difficult because of the level of technical details and the limited time frame that we have. However, I feel good at this stopping point that we will be able to finish without compromise on quality, within our time frame. And that feels good.

See you on the other side of my long awaited vacation!

xo,

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