300 Square Feet

A dispatch from 32°13'4" N, 76°19'3" E

I have heard that the universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate, and we might imagine a distant future in which the night sky is empty of stars, everything having become so distant from each other. It’s a depressing thought, but it also puts our current relative cramped conditions in perspective. We can see millions of stars, and we can calculate our place in space.

Space and proximity are relative, and as a family we are coming to understand this more than ever. We are currently living in a cozy one room apartment that measures approximately 300 square feet. For a family of four, that doesn’t leave much elbow room. We have a small kitchen with a little fridge, a two burner stove, and a compact oven that reminds me of something sold in toy stores and called “My First” something or other. We have an attached bathroom with a water heater good for a single shower. And then we have the room.

The room is where we do our living—sleeping, eating, reading, studying, playing, etc. It contains two twin beds pushed together, in which Darcie, Reese, and I sleep, and a mattress that we lay on the floor at night for Sylvia. There is also a desk which serves as study space, dining table, and general art area. Another small table houses electronics chargers, toys, and various everyday objects that tend to stay out. We have two chairs and a stool and a light bulb. And that’s the room. Continue reading “300 Square Feet”

The Bend in the Fog

A dispatch from 31°6'17" N, 77°10'24" E

We are entering our eighth hour on a six hour drive to Shimla, a nearby mountain town, old British colonial hill station, and the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The road over has been rough. Sometimes it seems like many of the connecting roads and highways are either in a sate of disrepair or repair, but never anything in between. It’s a never-ending chase for a usable mountain road.

At about 8000 feet, Shimla sits at a higher elevation than Dharamshala’s 5000 feet, and as we ascend we feel it. For the first time, the girls and I break out our winter jackets. But it’s not just cold. It’s rainy. The temperature seems to be hovering slightly above freezing to withhold a beautiful snowfall, but the rain and clouds are obscuring the majestic views that I assume must be lurking out there. Continue reading “The Bend in the Fog”

Luckily I Wear Boxers

A dispatch from 32°9'41" N, 75°41'44" E

Now that we’ve settled into our long term home in Dharamshala, we spend most of our time focused on mundane routines of daily life. Some days I find myself chatting with the produce vendor while loading my plastic basket with vegetables. Some days I find myself working through math problems and essay writing with the girls while hanging laundry to dry. And some days I find myself standing thigh-deep in a cold river wearing nothing but my boxers trying to make my way through a waterfall to an eighteen foot ladder and up into a dark cave.

Not most days, but some times. Continue reading “Luckily I Wear Boxers”

A Little Bit of Goa

As part of our move from Jaipur to Dharamshala, we spent a few days in Goa, relaxing at the beach. Goa is a small western state with miles and miles of beautiful beaches along the Arabian Sea. The area was under Portuguese rule for about 450 years until it officially became part of India in 1962.

But Goa is a place best experienced and seen, so I’ll stop typing and share the photos.

Beach selfie in South Goa

The Beach

We stayed in South Goa where the beaches are quieter.

First hop into the Arabian Sea

Continue reading “A Little Bit of Goa”

The Kid Problem

Our homestay family

Saying Goodbye to Jaipur

We are once again on the move, packing everything we have into a few suitcases. The first phase of our time here is done. We are moving from Jaipur back to Dharamshala. With a little stop in Goa for a few days at the beach.

Dinner with Sandeep

There is a physical cost to all of this. We just drove into Delhi where the air pollution is causing a public health disaster. I’m pretty sure the kids are sleep deprived. Darcie likes to remind me that I almost allowed our children to be eaten by a water snake. And who knows what the mental impacts will be on these two kids having to spend so much time with their parents. Being on the move and disconnected from a familiar home base is difficult and dangerous.

Hopefully though, in end when all of our experiences and exposures are placed on the scales things will tip in favor of the things we have gained, not the things we have lost. We are all learning, and while much of it bounces off the calcified chunk in my head, Sylvia and Reese’s brains are much more open, not just to new information but to new ways of thinking. Continue reading “The Kid Problem”