Thursday, September 30, 2010

Heading Home - September 29

We were able to get a very short nap in before heading to the airport at 11:00 for our 1:00 am flight. Earlier Girija waved goodbye to New Delhi through our hotel window.

She did great on the flight. She ate a bite and then fell asleep all of the way to Amsterdam. We played and walked her around the airport during our four hour layover. On our flight back to Dallas she got a little fussy at the beginning and then quickly fell asleep for the remainder of the trip.

Everything went well through customs and we had a warm welcoming committee waiting to shower her with gifts and affection. She smiled, laughed and quickly won everyone's hearts.

She has been adjusting well to her new life in Texas. She keeps our living room floor littered with toys, our dining room floor speckled with food crumbs & our hearts filled with joy.

This is the end of one short and life changing journey and the beginning of another one filled with skinned knees, laughs, temper tantrums, birthday parties, graduations, artwork for the refrigerator, broken hearts, first jobs & never ending joy.

A Day of Shopping - September 28

Since we had a free day before our flight back to Dallas we decided to take advantage of it and go to the coolest shop in New Delhi, The Central Cottage Industries Emporium. I could spend a ton of money in this place. They have some of the most beautiful handmade items. Everything from clothes, fabrics, wood carvings, marble carvings, paintings, toys & furniture.

We picked up some cool hand carved elephants.

Somehow they carved an elephant inside of an elephant.

I also picked up some beautiful Mithila paintings. This unique artistic tradition has its origin in the ancient kingdom of Mithila. Nowdays, this art form is identified with Madhubani District in the State of Bihar and hence is also known as Madhubani Painting.

Practiced exclusively by women, the pictures are made by them on walls and floors of their traditional homes on auspicious and festive occasions. Since the late sixties, this art form has encompassed the medium of eco-friendly hand made paper.

Devotional in theme, these paintings depict scenes from the ancient Epics and Legends and are rich with Vedic and Tantrik symbolism. They are, in fact, simplistic manifestation of the philisophical heights achieved by Indian civilization. Tatoo, also called Godna, is a very distinct form of Mithila Art. Traditionally people get their body tattooed in the belief that it enables them to meet their kith and kin in heaven.

I found some goodies for the kids.

And some tapestries for the living room.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back to the Embassy, on the Roof & Celebrations - September 27

The girls went with Rajeev back to the American Embassy to take care of paperwork while I went up on the roof of the hotel to take some pictures of the city. Rajeev said this is the most modernized portion of New Delhi. From what I've seen I have to agree with him even though it's hard to believe looking at the buildings.

I went to the front of the hotel to people watch and to wait for everyone to return. The doorman kept asking me to take his portrait and wanted me to mail him some prints. I snapped a few and he wrote down his address for me.

The girls showed up soon after with the good news that the missing paperwork was sent over and we have the green light to travel back to the states with Girija. We went back to the room to celebrate & rest so we could have a celebratory dinner with Rajeev later that evening. Girija was happy with the news too.

Rajeev took us to a place similar to Dave n' Busters. Girija got to play on her first playground.

We also found out she loves french fries.

Rajeev bought us all a popular Indian desert. It's basically a mixture of rice, sugar & milk. We got to see another side of Girija this evening. The hyped up on sugar side. She was screaming and belly laughing all the way home. Note to self: don't feed her sugar on the plane ride home.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lunch with Rajeev & Back to New Delhi - September 26

We were able to relax at the hotel and play with Girija before heading over to have lunch with Rajeev and his wife. Girija is adjusting well. She loves having a lap full of toys and has enjoyed all of the affection she is getting.

We stopped for a few quick shots by the doorman.

And a shot of Christi & her mom in their Saris.

Papu picked us up at 11:30 and took us to Rajeev's place.

Here is a shot of Grija not wanting to go for another car ride.

Rajeev has a beautiful home. We visited, ate a delicious home cooked meal & rested for an hour before having to get on the road for the 4.5 hour drive to New Delhi.

Lunch is served.

Rejeev and his beautiful wife.

Rajeev is an amazing man. He adopted one of his daughter's from Nepal. She is now 28 and helps run an orphanage they opened in Nepal three years ago. His goal was to create an orphanage that felt like a home. Most orphanages he workes with have caregivers that treat it like a job. Many do the minimum required to fill that job. He showed us video of the building he just finished renovating for the kids. All of the kids have their own bed, there are tons of bedrooms so they don't all have to sleep together. They have a large kitchen with a permanent house mom & house dad looking over everything. The outside has a walled in garden so the kids can play outside in safety. They have a warm staff that puts the welfare of the kids first. They teach the kids & get them out of the orphanage so they can experience life. If you are looking for a good place to donate this orphanage would be the ideal place:

We arrived back at the hotel around 6:30, had dinner & played with Girija in the room. She smiles constantly and loving all of the attention.

Tomorrow it's back to the Embassy to see if we can get all of the paperwork worked out.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Agra & the Taj Mahal - September 25

We got up early, ate a bite at the hotel restaurant and hit the road for Agra to see the Taj Mahal. We drove south into a downtown area that would have looked like any typical downtown area in the States with high rise buildings. That is if you ignored the cattle in the streets and the shacks along the road. It was nice to see some modern buildings. Girija instantly fell asleep and slept until about the last hour of the trip. She woke up and soon started getting sick from the car ride. Not surprised since this was her second time in a car. After spitting up her stomach settled down & was calm the rest of the drive.

On the road to Agra we avoided the typical livestock,


and camels.

It's never a dull moment driving in India.

We made it to Agra around 1:00, got settled in the hotel & had a bite to eat before heading over to the Taj Mahal to take a tour. The Taj is an amazing place. They began construction in 1632, a year after the emperor Shah Jahan's wife Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to their fourteenth child. The principal mausoleum was completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished five years later. The outer buildings are constructed of red sandstone and were inlaid with simi-precious stones and white marble.

Cathey and Girija.

Christi and Girija.