In 2012, I’m praying for wisdom for a career change. Part of me misses the classroom and meaningful interaction with children. Part of me is still deeply in love with curriculum design and the PYP, but there’s also that creative being emerging that simply wants to lock herself in her room, and get lost in her writing, cooking, and photography. Time stops when I write. I’m not sure if this is part of my workaholic withdrawals or I simply want to learn new things to get my brain cells going and prevent Alzheimer’s. All I know right now I want to explore learning something new.

So today, after chatting with people about web design, I decided to make a go at learning HTML. I’m thinking of taking a course nearby, but I have yet to get the course details and cost. In the meantime, I’ve stumbled upon Quackit’s HTML tutorial, which I am thoroughly enjoying. I will take it a day at a time, and see where this takes me. Exciting!

How about you? What do you want to learn in 2012?

Today is a wonderful day and it’s not over yet! It’s the Saturday before school starts and we just had our parent orientation. I entered the school and each floor was adorned with a rangoli!

On the seventh floor

on the second floor

in the lobby

Rangolis are a traditional Indian art form. They’re usually created out of colored sand, rice or flowers. In the past, they were used to welcome Hindu deities. But in our school they’re used to welcome guests and mark auspicious occasions like today.

The school I work in is not just your run-of-the-mill international school. It’s a wonderful community bustling with inquiring minds and parents who are eager to partner in their children’s education. I felt warm inside as I saw familiar smiles and exchanged summer vacation stories.

I’m really excited for Monday, the first day of school. I’m excited to see students again and the sparkle in their eyes. And as I said, my day isn’t over yet. I had a celebratory lunch with Kinneri and a wonderful dinner with BR and family. But more on that in my next entries.

For now, I just want to the time to stop and thank G. Thank you for giving the school a wonderful leader who inspires me. I’m sure he will also inspire other teachers and students. Thank you, G for plugging me in a warm, open and positive community. I am looking forward to the school year ahead, and I’m glad that you’re marking this occasion with rangolis!

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How to start this story?

B said he liked mahi-mahi, so I found a baked citrus mahi-mahi recipe. I made a list of the ingredients we needed to buy in Walmart and once we got there I started picking up the pineapple and the orange then off we were to the frozen food section. Bah. No mahi mahi. But I did see flounder! And you know me. I like trying new things. So we pulled the pack out of the freezer and the next day, without doing research, and without ever trying flounder, I replaced the mahi mahi in the mahi mahi recipe with flounder!

I snapped photos every step of the way and I loved them because of the colors and contrasts. The baked veggies and fruits were oozing with sweet juices that bathed my tongue. But the flounder. It touched my tounge and, Aaaargh. Mushy, flaky, wet. It disintegrated every time I tried to hold it up on my fork. I tried it again. I felt like vomiting but down it went my esophagus. And down went my fork.

We had three more flounder fillets in the freezer and I was determined to try again. I will not give up! I will conquer this flounder!

B consulted his friend Joe, and Joe yelped, You’re not supposed to bake flounder! You’re supposed to wrap it in foil and broil it! He also passed on a recipe that involved olive oil, onions and mushrooms.

So the next day, I followed the ritual of defrosting. Marinating. I even splashed a cap of NY white wine just to add some kind of joie de vivre to this whole second process bit, but…guess what? B and I thought we had foil and, of course, we didn’t have foil. He was willing to go to Walmart and grab a pack but I suggested that we just try broiling without the foil. I did this very carefully and slowly so as not to overcook the flounder. But as soon as I pulled it out of the oven, there it was. Mushy. Flaky. I wasn’t sure if it was cooked or raw.

I let a warm piece sit on my tongue only to be polite to myself. Then I let another piece sit on my tongue and imagined a fish corpse. Then I passed on the rest to B who had it for lunch the next day.

I floundered with flounder. Please take that butcher knife and cut me into pieces!

So why am I telling this story?

Perhaps, sometimes, even if it’s hard for me to admit, I’m always striving for excellence. Excellence at work. Excellence in the kitchen. Excellence in my writing.

I have high standards with the tasks I think that I can excel in so I shoot for stars, which I know I’ll never reach. But it’s the journey isn’t it?, self talk as I frown upon my reflection on the kitchen window.

B, I’m not going to cook flounder again!

But time oh time, how time heals wounds. It has been three weeks since my flounder faux pas. I’ve forgiven myself. It’s time to move on. Time to raise my head high and strap on that apron. And try a flounder recipe next time I happen to spy upon a packet, which won’t be awhile because as far as I know, it’s not available in Mumbai.

In the meantime, here are some quotes I will meditate on to help me through my emotional flounder annihilation–

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~Elbert Hubbard

While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior. ~Henry C. Link

The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything. ~Edward Phelps

If a mistake is not a stepping stone, it is a mistake. ~Eli Siegel

Making a different mistake every day is not only acceptable, it is the definition of progress. ~Robert Brault

Last year, my friends Chris and Joey visited me in Mumbai and we traveled to Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur. They are respectively known as the blue, yellow and pink city.

Here are some highlights from that trip–

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I love leftovers,
and the mundane.

Big blue skies,
old city walks
rolling hills

kissing face
sunburst, lights
flickering on the pavement
as eyes dance.

Smells staining
forks clicking
as leftovers
simmer on tongue

until tastes,
fade away.