You brighten my day..

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Eggs!!

As promised, the centrepiece for Easter is ready!!!! Here is how it looks :

The wreath made of twigs and twine were purchased. Also this coloured coir for the centre. All I had to do was boil the eggs and paint them. The nest was ready in no time!!!
Also pictured below are Easter Bunnies made by Anna at school.

Looks like we have got into the Spirit of Easter!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter Basket!!!

This will be our first Easter here at Lohr!!!  Easter in India is generally not celebrated on a grand scale like X'mas. No goodies, decorations, of late Easter eggs have come into the picture. Easter is more to do with church services beginning from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday!! As kids, Easter also was associated with the culmination of annual exams in school.

                  What has struck me here in Lohr is, that, just like Christmas, people get into the festive mood and decorate lovely decorations around town and in their homes. Germans are very very creative and you can go gaga over the stuff they make. To also make it easier, you have plenty of hobby stores around towns. One can spend hours together in such stores, looking and admiring and then wondering whether you have the creative streak in you.

The walks around town got me too into the festive mood. I thought I would start with something small, the idea of eggs in a basket seemed quite right. I already had a cane basket. All I needed were a few eggs and some grass for the perfect basket. During my visit to OBI on saturday I spotted plastic eggs on sale. A pack of 10 eggs costed 3 euro. With the eggs purchased, I got some look alike grass from E-centre.

            Palm Sunday saw me and the kids painting the eggs with childlike glee and here is the result!!!

I already had fevicryl acrylic and metalic paints with me. We used a combination of both. Boiled eggs too can be painted in a similar fashion. Right now this basket sits on my coffee table. I have in mind an Easter centrepiece for the table. Once done, it will follow in my next post.
Till Then,
With Love from Lohr.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Time to Exercise....

I have finally begun my walks. A question from a good friend got me thinking (whether I was expecting a third child), but at that moment I was embarrassed. The past 5 months has seen the development of a paunch so huge, that I have begun to feel conscious about it.

              Till I moved, the need to exercise never arose. My profession helped me to maintain a lean figure. The instituion I worked for had three flights of stairs(which I called The Mount of Calvary!!!!). All my lectures were on the last floor, which meant I had very good exercise of climbing stairs. Also lecturing to a class of 90 boys for 4-5 hours a day was no joke at all. The continous process of lecturing out aloud automatically flattened my belly. Also since Statistics was the subject I taught,I had to work out a lot of problems on the board which in turn gave me slender arms. So, there it was, work and my body got along very well.

Moving to Lohr during winter meant an adjustment to the cold and bye bye to walks. With the temperature improving, I started last week with a 1.5 km walk and have slowly increased it to 3 kms. Boy, am I proud of myself. Vinay is surprised with this sudden new feeling of consciousness that I have developed. I am not wanting a super model's figure. All I want is a flat belly, not only to look good, but also to remain healthy.

            As I go on my walks, I picture the pretty kurtis at Westside and elegant sarees at Nallis beckoning me..... For now, they are the motivation for me to walk daily!!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Snow White and Me

When it was known that we would be moving to Lohr, I was curious to know about the place I would be going to. On Googling Lohr, I was astonished to read this in Wikipedia "Lohr is said to be Snow White’s possible birthplace".  I thought to myself, did she really live? I would still like to think of Snow White as a fairytale. 

                  Legend has it that, once upon a time in the castle of Lohr, there lived a widowed Count, whose beautiful daughter was not popular with the stepmother, because the "mirror, mirror, on the wall" refused to recognise this lady as " the fairest of them all". The castle of  Lohr is now the Spessart Museum and this "speaking mirror" continues to hang inside. The museum gives a fascinating insight into the poverty-stricken and rather unromantic way of life of earlier times, when glass - making played an important role.

             It was last week during one of my walks with Anna, that I captured the shots of the enchanting castle against the blue sky!! And as I am busy clicking, Anna points out to the woods and tells me, that this is where Snow White escaped to from her wicked Stepmother. 

I do not know whether it was pure coincidence or what? The day after our walk and these lovely shots, as I was doing the dishes, Anna squeals with delight that Walt Disney's Snow White was on TV. As I could here the dwarfs marching home and singing along, after a hard days work at the mine, I am tempted to plonk on the sofa and delight in this magical fairytale along with my daughter. And before you know it, there I am, with my apron still on, revelling in the story of the "mirror, mirror on the wall". As it was planned earlier that we would be going out, on arriving home,my very much amused husband,  finds his wife with an apron, and the kids engrossed with the witches apple and teary eyed dwarfs. Oh Please, let us see the kiss from the prince I beg. Grumbling about the delay, we are left alone with our magical tale................ Somehow, the child in me, refuses to grow........

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring at Home

All around me I hear people talking, Spring is round the corner. Not that I didn't like the winter and snow. Sheets of white look good for sometime, after a while, the longing for sights of green and colour slowly arise. You can sense the arrival of spring with the pretty flowers displayed in shops. The new shoots on trees, plants gaining life, the burst of blooms, these are the sights I am eagerly waiting for. In anticipation, I thought I would get the feel at home, here are the pictures......

Tulips sitting pretty on my coffee table!

Flowers indeed brighten your home and day!!  Enjoy!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

Vinay's dream has finally come true!! A home theatre he has finally bought. Many years he has spent on researching, reviewing, roaming around and deciding what to buy. I wonder, how come he didn't take that long to decide about me. Like a faithful partner, I have tagged alongside him, shop to shop, trying to find the right system. I never enjoyed these outings though. After listening to a demo, he would ask me which system sounded better.  Honestly, I could never make out the difference. To me all sounded the same. He would get angry with this reply of mine and say that I am not interested. Seriously, I liked my Sony system at home and Rohit Barker never sounded better.

                    Once we knew we would be moving to Germany, with childlike delight Vinay tells me that he would buy a system here. By now he had also learnt not to ask me the "Question". His decision made, we finally bring his dream home. Unlike India, we do not have men delivering our goods and setting it up for us. Over here we have to do everything ourselves. With excitement, my man opens the boxes and begins the job of assembling.   Pretty soon we realise that it does not fit into our unit and so the furniture is moved around to accomodate his dream. Being quite late and irritated at seeing the mess that was being created, I choose to retire to bed.(My help was not required for the assembling). But Gosh, can I sleep? With all the noise coming from the living room till early morning, it turned out to be a sleepless night. Feeling like a zombie, on waking up, I was even more horrified to see my coffee table being used as a TV stand and horrible wires jutting out from everywhere. He now sheepishly tells me, we need another stand. And I thought we were done with furniture buying and setting up of the house. To make me feel better, Vinay tells me I can use the former place for any kind of creativity that I want. Sounding good, my mind starts racing immediately. In 5 minutes, I knew what I would be doing with that space!!!

With the kids in an activity centre, our hunt for a stand begins. What shouldn't have taken long, takes much more time. Zeroing on one, we head back home. He now has to assemble the stand and I have all the household chores waiting to be done. The effects of a sleepless night catching up on me I once again tell that Our Sony box was good enough. Vinay shakes his head in utter disbelief. I am now exhausted, worried looking at the hall, (since we were to have guests the following day) and cannot think straight. As my friend Sheryl said, men and their toys. It is so very true. Just like little boys, they cannot wait to unwrap the present and start assembling it up like a LEGO set. It doesn't matter if they have to forego sleep, they will go to any lengths to achieve their goal, which in my man's case was to get the home theatre playing. What is it with men and their gadgets? To me the purpose of a car is to take me from a point to a destination. The purpose of a sound system is to listen to good music. I am not worried about the sub woofer, bass and so on. I do not understand these dynamics. We women are wired not to understand anyway. As John Gray wrote : Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus!!!

    With these thoughts in mind, I drag myself to bed, this time unaware of the noises coming from the hall. A restful night, I awake to a neat hall, the theatre set up, and Vinay knocked out from this world. I am  pleased at the result, careful not to wake him up. I know that when he gets up, he will be waiting to show me the theatrical effect!! I think it is time to make some pop corn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally a peek into my creative zone......................... An indoor garden of orchids!!!!!!!! The home theatre turned out to be expensive after all ( I am grinning!!!!!!!!!!!).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Snowy Lohr!!!

Having enjoyed Glorious sunshine for the past week, I am greeted with sights of white in the morning!! Yes it has snowed, and even before I could brush my teeth, I grabbed the camera and got a few shots. Here is a visual treat to all my friends!! Enjoy Lohr in Snow!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sweet Music to my ears.........

My relationship with my violin began 22 years ago. While in Grade 7, I remember the announcement being made at school during the morning assembly. A violin tutor would be coming to school, interested students could join. That evening I told mommy that I wanted to learn to play the violin. There was one problem though. I was already learning the guitar, why violin?? Mommy then tells me I have to continue with the guitar classes. I still do not know why I wanted to leave the guitar. By the next day I was pleading with mommy dearest to fill the form and sign. Taking her time to think, she finally gave her approval. I was on my way to becoming a violinist.

                    Time now to meet my master. His name was Oliver Salisbury Neethi. Quite a quaint name. We called him Neethi Sir. The first time I saw him, I was taken aback. Here was quite an old man, wearing clean and well ironed trousers and shirt, both pure white. Quite soft spoken, he looked not to be stern. With six of us in a batch, our classes began full swing.

I slowly began to realise Neethi Sir was not what I envisioned to be. While he and his violin made sweet music together, he expected us, his pupils to to do the same. Slouching, slanting fingers, improper position of the bow was never tolerated. It was all about the posture and right method of holding the instrument. A piece of music would be played and replayed until we got it right. The moment he would be standing next to me during our lessons, playing vigourously, was a sign that I was playing off-key. If rectification was not done, it would tick him off immediately. Practise, Practise was his mantra, but I was too lazy. Many a reminder did he give me, I would practise a bit, to please him.

           Slowly, I was introduced to Mr Lobo's choir, orchestras, made a lot of friends(who I still remember), all playing some instrument or the other. I always looked forward to the Choir practises, which meant hard work and lots and lots of practise. The unison of voices and instruments together, for hymns like Hallelujah always gave me the goose bumps. Weddings, Christmas, Easter, Annual days, Orchestras, name it...we all got together and made sweet music.  Alas, our classes had to come to an abrupt end with the sudden demise of our beloved Sir. The choirs continued, but it never felt the same without him.

Post marriage, my violin took a back seat. The kids came along, responsibility grew, the violin was forgotten, lying inside my cupboard, nestled in its case. Vinay would ask me to play for him, but I always hesitated, saying I never played alone, always in a crowd. For 10 long years, my violin and I made no music.

           Having come to Germany, the land of great composers, where classical music is a legacy, my hunt for a tutor began. Having found one, Mr John Walkoviak( an American, who also is quite old and reminds me of Neethi Sir), I began my classes again. Mr John, asks me to play for him. I am nervous and ask him to play along with me. No, he replies. He chooses the simplest scale for me and with a beating heart, I begin. He is surprised with the movement of the bow and says "Gut"(Good). I remember Neethi Sir for all the times he held my hand and made me play in the right position. Another scale I am made to play, and now he says" You must have had an excellent teacher". I now see Neethi Sir smiling from above and pleased. His next question takes me by surprise "Would you be interested in joining an ensemble??". An ensemble is an orchestra. Old memories come rushing back, with a smile on my lips, I say "Yes, Mr John, I would love to". My violin and I would love to make sweet music again!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Our Car is here....

She is finally here, our car, an Opel Zafira.  And boy, am I relieved. After months of searching high and low for the perfect car, ( you see, expats cannot afford a new car in Germany, unless you are a Managing Director or something!!! , which means you need to get the best out of an used car), she finally is in her new home. I wonder who drove her before, what stories have revolved around her, what memories, was it painful to let her go???

      As I look at her, I remember our first car, a Maruti Alto, which, we had to sell off. I tried my level best to keep her, but it just didn't seem to work out. We had to leave, and our return being unsure, there was no way of keeping her behind, lying idle in some garage. So it was with a heavy heart, that I bade her goodbye.

I still recall the excitement, the thrill we experienced when buying our Alto. With two kids, and a lot of hassling with the Bengaluru auto drivers to reach anywhere, the car was an answer to my prayers, a dream come true. Only problem though was, I didnt know how to drive and had assumed that I never would.  Me, who took half an hour to cross busy roads, would never drive, or that's what I declared. This declaration meant, I needed a driver to get me anywhere and who else could that be, my hubby dearest. It took a years coaxing for me to finally enrol myself to a driving class. Classes completed, the dynamics of gear changing, reversing, clutch and accelerator understood.....passed the test, yet, my heart would be in my mouth while driving. It was then, that Vinay came to my rescue. He faithfully sat beside me for a month, while I drove to work, would watch me reverse and park, and then would take the bus to work. I do not know whether it was for good or bad, but, he never got the car back. With the confidence I got, the car became more of mine.  There was no looking back.With a new feeling of independence, I could go where I please, with the kids seated behind.

       In due course, I slowly started taking along friends, colleagues, students, neighbours, .....the car was never empty. We never had an audio system, but no problem, there was always the three of us crooning to Mama Mia, Dancing Queen, ........There was also this time, when the kids would start fighting, yelling and kicking each other (luckily here, they are forced to strap themselves).  Repeated reminders and gentle talk never seemed to work, which then made me keep a small cane stick on the dashboard. Was that a great idea or what??? Much to the amusement of other motorists, here was a crazy female driver, with a stick in hand, driving away to glory. When I think of those moments, I now laugh, but the idea did work and soon the stick dissappeared!!

Those were the days, and so many memories of my dear Alto. I wonder who is driving it now, will the person be having as much fun as we did? I know, we will be making new moments and memories with our Opel, and are so looking forward to it.
Till then,
With Love from Lohr!!!



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Colours of Orange....

Arriving at Lohr in the month of November, we were greeted by sights of orange, red and yellow everywhere. It was the season of Autumn and not having experienced Autumn before, it indeed was a splendid treat to our eyes. Thought its late, thought I would share this treat with you.


Monday, March 1, 2010

The Move

My first post, titled, "The Move". If it were not for the move, this blog would not have been created in the first place. Yes, I was a woman, a contented woman who was living with her family in her dream home and even better, with a dream job I loved so very much!!! Little did I know that my world would turn topsy turvy with the move.

      Having lived in Bangalore for the past 10 years, I had taken it for granted that we would not be leaving the place, ever. So, when my husband Vinay's company, decides to give him a transfer, (of course, he used to keep talking about it, but I never took it seriously), it did take me by surprise. So there it was, we would be moving to Lohr, Germany for a period of three years, leaving family, friends and all so many other things behind.

The next four months saw me leaving my job( I was teaching Statistics to Grade 11 and 12), bidding adieu to my family, friends and also some of my favourite things, for instance,the car which I had enjoyed driving to the fullest on the streets of Bangalore, searching tenants for my dream home,(mind you I was one fussy landlady who would not hand over her home to any Tom, Dick or Harry) and the most tiring job of all, packing all our belongings and finding a place to leave them behind. Thanks to my sister, all the boxes sit pretty in her attic.

    On the 5th of November, amidst tears, chaos and last minute madness, we were on board the Lufthansa, finally headed to Lohr. I didnt know what the future held for me. My heart ached for the family and life I left behind. Here I was, heading to a strange land, a land where everything was alien to me.... people, language culture, cuisine, the list goes on.

As I sit down and begin this blog today, it will be four months since we begun our lives in Lohr. We indeed have had ups and downs, laughter and tears, the feeling of wanting to return has waned off, the grieving process over. I am slowly learning the language, made new friends, changed our cuisine accordingly, and am beginning to explore the land of fairy tales and drown in its culture!!! The purpose of creating this blog is to pen in my thoughts occasionally and also give my friends a peek into the place I now call home!!!