Friday, July 8, 2011

Sleep, School Days and Weddings

I am very happy to report I got a decent night's sleep last night!  What a difference it makes.  I went to bed around midnight, got up at 2, tried to plug my computer in and got the stew shocked out of me. It literally knocked me over.  All I kept thinking was if I get myself electrocuted my parents are going to be yelling "I told you so!" After that, I tentatively plugged it back in and went back to sleep.  Sayed, the cook, fixed an awesome French toast and this morning I was actually hungry. After that - I went back to sleep again for an hour.  I felt great today as a result!
L-R.  No clue (he just jumped in and smiled, our two IT guys, the cook, and Saleem (who does general help)
The shower also was fixed today so no more bucket baths.  Went to work and the students were fabulous today.  They are getting over shyness and today we had great dialogue. I had done a pre-assessment with them and am so glad I did.  I really needed to see what their language and writing levels were and made a few modifications as a result. They seem much more relaxed today.  Had a few issues using the internet and students getting signed on to the wiki due to some power outages last night, but we are making do.  I cannot even begin to say what a help Saku is to me.  She organizes everything and I can't help but feel guilty that she does all the crazy running around for me.  If I try to do it, everyone goes bonkers as "madame" (me) should let someone else do it.  That is all going to take some getting used to. I have just about convinced all the students to call me Cathy instead of that or ma'am.  Today in class, I also got my first view of a lovely rainfall (flooded the streets but it cooled things down considerably).  Monsoon has started so I hope there will be a few more showers, but even a fairly mild rainfall can cause some significant street flooding.
L-R:  Nazia, Mahvida and Jia.  My class is really a fun group!
I don't know how well this shows it but we drove through some fairly high water and this was a good 3 hours after the rain.

I learned a few new words today.  Acha (sp) pronounce Ah-Cha means good.  When I said it to the cook-he beamed.  Bas (Bahs) means enough. Sayed would keep feeding me until I popped if given an opportunity.  I've told the students every day they have to teach me a few new words so they have taken it to heart. They are also determined to take me shopping and do the bargaining for me. They said I could pass for someone from the northern territories if I  put on a scarf and keep my mouth shut. Otherwise, we would not get a good deal.

Tonight I had a real treat.  One of my students (Roma Khan) invited me to her cousin's wedding. I called Maryam Aslam and she told me what to do and made suggestions as one usually gives a small gift of cash to the bride and groom.  My biggest problem was finding an  envelope but I asked my New Zealand friend Simon Testa to see if he can make Sayed understand what I need.  He found the perfect thing and so I am happy.

So, I got to wear my one super spangle outfit and go see a traditional wedding. They actually have 3 ceremonies. This was second of those ceremonies called the Mehndi which is the henna ceremony. First young female relatives bring in a large tray with the traditional henna to place in front of the dais where the bride and groom sit. The groom is brought in under a dupatta (scarf) held over his head by  male friends. Here is a major difference-in our country the bridesmaids all wear the same outfits. Here it is the guys.  They are given fabric by the groom to have their shalwar kameez made and gold scarves.  There are drummers and a lot of dancing. Then the bride comes in the same way escorted by female friends holding the red dupatta. More dancing, a henna ceremony where friends and family drape the bride and groom with garlands of  marigolds and jasmine, put henna on them, then feed them sweets. This is all followed up by a large feast and then, like most weddings-the party breaks up. I met Roma's fiance there and they brought me home. My mouth hurts from smiling and laughing!  It was truly a fun  and memorable evening.
The dais is decorated in flowers.

The henna tray being brought in.

Henna Tray
Wedding Drummers
The bride and groom with friends
The male friends in their matching Shalwar Kameez dancing.
My hostess, Roma Kahn, who was very kind and introduced me to everyone.

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