Friday, November 6, 2009


Peace Corps!
March 2010!

Let's do this!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Update: received a call from Peace Corps a day ago. They have decided that I am not competitive enough so they gave my spot away to someone else. (damn...) She says that hopefully I can leave during the January/February 2010 round. Cross fingers. In the mean time, we'll have to make our own adventures at home... oh and find a job.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

story of my life and engrish fail...

saw this comic in the indian newspaper... story of my life.

some other things i forgot to post:
like pizza hut pizza. it looks delicious because it was delicious.
umm... so mcdonalds delivers here... awkward...

i didnt know there were that many ways to describe eating a mango... or any action for that matter
i felt bad for this penguin...

and some engrish fail:

saw a pair of these the other day. totally fitting for this season. maybe i should find where i could score a pair... GO BLUE

ok that should do for now.

i dont know what im doing in taiwan. haha, just waiting around for a flight out of here back to the states i guess...

Monday, September 7, 2009

the conclusion of an adventure and return to civilization (?)

in taiwan! currently sitting in a starbucks right across from taipei 101 (oh what a view!)... will be updating posts all day today and tomorrow so yay! (oh and that video i promised is up and posted on facebook so check it out!! -

updating progress: everything has been up-to-date. read ahead!

anyway, when getting back to new delhi, we did some touring and shopping as well as some cultural experiencing such as wearing kuptas for the guys and sarees for the girls, eating on the floor and with your right hand (minus pointing finger) only, and some traditional dancing.

the monkeys in our neighborhood, as promised. they move around a lot and dont like flashes so couldnt take a better picture. oh and this is our neighborhood deli?/grocery store? the owner is super chill... by the way, if you look carefully, there are racks of eggs sitting on the counter. they dont refrigerate eggs in india. not at the market, not at home. at first i was like, uhh dont they go bad? but they dont! it's so weird! so why do we have to refrigerate our eggs then?!

we visited a famous hindu temple site called chuttarpur mandir... (the statue is of a monkey god. awesome!)

we also went to see agra fort and the taj mahal. so at agra fort, i totally got in as a native indian. when asked where i was from, i just said ladakh, a province in the northwest - though if i said somewhere in the northeast, that wouldve worked too because people there totally look chinese. but anyway, the price for an indian was 10 rupees, and foreigner was 300 so obvi i wanted to pass for an indian. the dark skin totally helped...
the architecture was amazing ... and then we went to, tah-dah, the taj mahal. it was much more beautiful in person. there's something grand and magical aand indescribable about the taj mahal. everyone must visit it sometime in their lifetime, maybe honeymoon? silly poses of course.

we also went to the lotus temple, which was cool. architecture aside, the inside of the temple had awesome acoustics so when chanting, it just sounds like heaven.

tangent! clouds!
doesnt it look like a dog or hand-puppet dog and a baby deer?

and this one looks like the abominable snow man!

another adventure was going to see a futbol match. bare in mind, this is my first time ever seeing a futbol match so that's kinda cool. interesting how my first futbol match is not in the states or some known-for-their-futbol-team country like brazil or the UK but india. on the way there, we saw this awkward trunk thing ... not sure how to describe it or what's inside. anyway, granted india's futbol team isnt all that great, but the game was really good, thanks to the energy of the crowd and the awesome and suspense of the game itself. it was india vs syria and the score was syria 0 india 1 until the last 3 seconds when syria scored. then it went into overtime and noone scored again. then they did the kickoffs and that was really intense, but in the end, india won!!! woohoo!!! sorry the pics arent that great. they didnt allow cameras inside so had to take them with my phone instead (what a stupid rule)

4 more randoms...
1. so mcdonalds is actually quite good here. they dont have beef or pork so everything is chicken. their big mac equivalent is called the maharaja mac, which was quite tasty.
2. tax in india is 14%. ridiculous!!
3. i played cricket for the first time... what a complicated game. it's like baseball for geniuses.
4. road-side tea is amazing. so there are 2 things you could possibly hear about indian roadside tea: it's either the most delicious tea youll ever taste, or you'll end up dying from cholera or something terrible. luckily it was not the latter. for 4 rupees, or $0.08, you get a glass of delicious milk tea. totally worth the 8 cents.

and finally, on the day before i had to leave india, vikram calls and says he's free to hang out! yay! though thinking back, i dont understand why i didnt take a picture with him. but anyway, we had lunch (which was really really good. up until now, i havent really had dry foods. most of the stuff were in sauce or curry. the 'dry' chicken was to die for.) then we hung out with some of his friends. he took me around where he lived and then we went to another friend's place to pregame. now this fifth of vodka (750ml) of 75 proof liquor was 190 rupees... aka $4. if a fifth of vodka were 4 US dollars back in the states, i think every college student would die of happiness. unbelievable. we went to a restaurant / bar afterward and that concluded my visit with vikram. =)

ok that should be good for now.
adventures in taiwan (again) maybe?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

rural adventures part 2

just to let everyone know, i have safely returned from rural india with:
1. more hair
2. less weight (uhh, so i seriously eat 3+ meals a day because the food here is phenomenal but i still lost ~5kgs aka 10 pounds or so... curious...)
3. mosquito bites that amount to teenage pimples all over my body
4. an appreciation for electricity, internet access, and phone access, hot water, clean water, and toilet paper
5. less gifts for you guys (i gave them away to these kids at an orphanage but it's ok, i will find something else...)
and lastly, 6. the concept of "jugar, jugar" - aka no more type A Justin... (IST is so prevalent here. So if you thought BPT or APT was bad, let me introduce to you IST - indian stretchable time. if BPT and APT had a baby, IST would be it. pretty much a test of patience and flexibility, which i have finally succeeded in not succumbing to frustration.)

so the second place we visited was lokshala, jharkhand. we were invited by an organization headed by a fellow wolverine. he did his post doc at uofm way back when and now he teaches biochem at some medical school in india and he's one of the main people in charge of this volunteering area. but anyway, it's hard to describe the village - it has electricity so it's not like terribly rural but it's still a pretty rural place. the electricity ends at around 10pm every night so early rest! or meetings and work in the dark. anyway, upon arrival, they hired help to carry our luggages (even though it really wasnt necessary) but it was still a cool sight. i am super amazed at these hired help because these luggage were pretty heavy. each head-load could be up to like 40-50kgs (100lbs) which is a lot of weight to put on your head and they were able to walk it some distance, balanced and all that.

some pictures of the area:
so this area has a problem with keeping water since it runs off so they built man-made lakes to store the water for irrigation and everything else. depicted here is a small lake that is used to water the crops, do laundry, and shower (i wonder if soap water is good for crops).
a beautiful alley way. there's something tremendously wonderful about these villages. their simplicity is captivating. and the surrounding natural landscape is breathtaking. you wouldnt think this is india if i didnt tell you it is.
so these villages were a lot cleaner than the ones back at gaya - there's no human feces everywhere but there still is cow feces. better at least.
a local craft shop that we visited. their 'sarees' (sp?) are beautiful. they also make sarees for sail. it takes about 30 hours of hard labor to finish one piece and they sell it for like $10-20, which is like nothing. for the man-labor they put in each article of clothing, they should be making a fortune.
some kids observing us. adorable.
our living quarters. as you can see, mosquito nets everywhere. except they were useless. jharkhand mosquitos are way worse than new delhi or gaya mosquitos. those pale in comparison to the deadliness of these monsters. you're itchy for about an hour after the bite but the worse part comes in the middle of the night when the venom starts acting up and you just want to chop off your arms and legs. even now, i have local infections at every bite. mega not awesome!
our common room, which is very cozy and homely. i want my home to be like this... oh and our parrot (?)

so we came here for 2 things: teaching at schools again and cultural exchange. most of the schools were in terrible shape, lacking in school supplies and books. some lacking in teachers (since it's hard to entice teachers to come to such rural an area). and some were so crowded, it's hard to imagine how one can ever learn. there was this one classroom that could probably seat 30-40 comfortably but it sat over 100 students. and since there was no electricity, there was no lights on the ceiling, nor fans. it was dark and stuffy even with the windows and door open. what a terrible learning environment...

this one room building is an entire public school for an entire village. under-funded much?
but the kids were awesome and i think they enjoyed our time there as much as we enjoyed it. i think we ended up teaching at 5 different schools (even though we really shouldve just stayed at one) but nonetheless, it was a touching experience.
doesnt that look delicious? because it was...

then for the second part of the trip, we just enjoyed our time there - milking cows, painting walls, sewing (she said of the entire group, i was her best student - awesome!!), and making daily appliances... like a broom! haha

and of course, we had to do yoga. or why else would we come to india? haha

yeah so that pretty much somes up this part of the trip. lots of little stories but cant remember right now...

OH! and peace corps wrote me. i have been finally medically and dentally cleared. so now all that is left is an invitation for placement, which will happen sometime in september or october... hopefully. cant wait, awesome!!

i will return to new york post september 20th so get ready to hang out with me!