We had a sophomore go with us who loves photography (and he has a VERY nice camera). He took some great pictures that I'll put up in a couple of different posts. I'd like to claim them, BUT it was all him. Good job Erik!!
Before we left Vellore we toured an amazing Indian fortress. It was built long ago using huge stones that are perfectly placed together. The temple that you see behind us is quite old (about 1,000 years). Many Hindu temples are painted using bright colors. I like this one the best becuase it is intricately carved and in the color of the stone used.
One of the work projects was constructing this traditional Indian home. The students helped carry bricks, mix cement, and pass the palm branches up to the workers. (Really the mason and villagers did most of the work!) This will be very useful for holding small group meetings and/or classes in. It will eventually be painted green and was named the "ICS Green house." It was neat to see them build the frame and tie the branches to the supports. They left the sides open and it is very cool in there. Even though we don't do a lot of the work, Jayapaul says we are the stimulus for making things happen--i.e. they have to think of new projects for us to do!!
I love going to this particular village home. Every year the man passes out roses that he sells. (You can see one in Ana's hair) They smell terrific and are a touching gesture as it is usually one day's profit. This family lives in traditional homes which is clay/mud walls with a grass roof. Many paint their homes a blue or green, but this family choose brown. The textures in the walls make them very beautiful--a perfect background for a photo! I took tons of pictures of Ana hoping I would get one good one! I have yet to see the ones the students took.
Analia got to do some NEW, VERY FUN things in India. She got to drive the car and motor bike(with help). Uncle Senthil was very patient with her and let her get away with murder--we will be back to normal today!! She got to play with lots of animals. She especially liked the puppy and the rabbits. But, they also had geese, chickens, sheep, and cows. She would go around looking for that puppy (quickly learned that word). When she found him, he would often pull at her dress or jump up. She didn't like this at first, but toughened up later. Analia loved to be "decorated" by the high schoolers. There were some beautiful flowers there and for once she let things be put in her hair. While we were waiting for the high schoolers to finish their shopping an "auto" driver (small blue taxi) drove up. Having nothing better to do, he let her sit in the driver's seat as well as in the back. Then he turned it on and let her drive around the small parking lot!! I was grateful for the distraction. Waiting is not one of her strengths! Also, (not pictured) She got to play the drums in church. I was horrfied, but she thought it was great. Of course, she kept playing after the song was over! I think the greatest thing was just the chance to be "free." You learn a lot about what they like when they choose. Ana loves rocks, picking them up, making piles, and throwing them!! She likes to pick up handfuls of dirt and make piles of that. She loves stairs. She got quite good at going up and down by herself!! She had favorite high school students to swing with, walk with, and have them carry her. I'd never seen her have a preference before. I think she had a great time and am glad she could do these fun activites that aren't possible in Singapore!
Matt came home Monday night and said something about his office having lots of balloons in it, BUT I had no idea until I looked on Facebook. Some of the Junior class took a lot of time and hot air to fill up his office--it's NOT a small space!! Go class of 2010!
The landscaping at the hotel was beautiful--we really enjoyed the blue sky!
Ana's new trick was to blow bubbles--taught by the cousins!
Here's Lexington and Kensington in front of our hotel.
This is Patong Beach--about a block from the hotel.
These are the birds nest caves. Chinese consider these a delicacy. These also gives you an idea of how beautiful the water is!
Because everyone had been to Singapore before we decided to go to Thailand for four days, three nights. We had an uneventful flight, and after some tough bargaining managed to get a van to our hotel. On the way Matt scheduled the family to do the Phi Phi island day tour the next morning (leaving at 7:45). Therefore, everybody went straight to bed. The breakfast was nice. They had waffles, bacon, fried potatoes, fruit, yogurt, as well as many Asian favorites. After the family left Analia and I went for a walk making many new friends along the way. We then went swimming, got cleaned up and went out for Subway. We had a great nap in the afternoon before everyone got back. They all really enjoyed the snorkeling, food, and great views. We ate Italian pizza for dinner--YUMMM!!
The next day Matt, Mike, and Fred went golfing. They had a good time but ended up walking all 18 holes which is hard work in the blazing Thai sun. Once they got back, the girls went out to shop. We went swimming and out to dinner.
On Thursday we went swimming all morning and had to sit around and wait for our van back to the airport for three hours. The hotel lobby wasn't air conditioned so it got a little hot. Plus, Analia had a great fascination with the fountains and wanted to jump in! At the airport we enjoyed some Dunkin Donuts (not available in Singapore) and jumped on the plane. We also got to cut a very long line because of Analia. We stood in line for about 20 minutes whereas weeks before I had stood in line for an hour. Yeah Ana!!