special occasion


It’s Holi today. Ear-splitting Hindi music beckoned from downstairs. Unwashed, I tied my hair back, slicked coconut oil on my skin on and wrapped my camera in kitchen plastic.

Trek trek trek. Six floors downstairs. Unarmed. No powder nor gun. Just a camera. Cling wrapped.

“Miss Sacha!” Children screamed. They water sprayed me. Pelted water balloons. Slathered powder on my face. All in the spirit of fun.

Holi, festival of colors, signifies triumph of good over evil. More color wars. Pelting pelting pelting. The evil that pervades. Rainbow colors used as weapons.

Tradition attaches colors to meaning. Red is purity. Matrimony. Pink meaning nothing I can find.

Holi (for me) ended with a sweet milk drink, peppered with cardamom and pistachios.

But from my sixth floor cave, hours after a hot shower, the music plays on. To the beat of the color war.

Pelt pelt pelt.

I’ve been working in international schools for the past eleven years and International Day is always my favorite special event. Yes, I know that we have to get beyond flags, food and festivals, and focus on culture, diversity and other concepts. But still! I don’t mind being thematic even for just one day! I love traveling to classrooms that represent various countries. I love tasting diverse flavors. I love the colorful costumes, fun games and awesome dances. I love it when parents help out and participate! Hope you enjoy viewing these photos as much as I do! 🙂

Students representing South Africa!

The path to Sri Lanka

Love it when parents help!

South Korean fans inspired by their flag's colors

Indian artifacts!

More Indian artifacts

R's child representing Sri Lanka

Can't get enough of Indian artifacts!

Posing by the Hall of Fame stars in Seema's class which respresented the US of A

Cherries are a common fruit in Norway

It’s Indian Republic Day today. There were speeches, songs and at one point, an ear-splitting shrill voice attempting to sing in my neighborhood. Children also released orange, green and white balloons, perhaps as a symbol of freedom from the former colonial rule. I also come from a colonized country and I know that with any type of freedom, for it to work for an individual or country, you need a deep sense of care and responsibility. You’re on your way, India. One day, one step at a time. Happy Republic Day to everyone and keep persevering! 🙂

The highlight of my fourth of July weekend was getting to know B’s mom — Linda. Selfless, yup, selfless is the first word that pops into my mind when I think of how she opened her door to her home and welcomed us with maple cookies. (And milk for B.)

Linda with her granddaughter, Naomi

Her hospitality knew no bounds. She lent me Christian books, whipped up a taco salad, brought us to church, and during the long weekend we visited her parents. She also gave up her role as a player to patiently teach me pinochle, a game more confusing than pusoy dos!

Linda, Frank (her father) and B

Linda resides in Croghan, a village in the northern part of New York State. Very near Canada. Have you ever watched Pleasantville? That’s what Croghan reminds of with its low rise turn of the century buildings, ice cream and candy shops.

Linda, B and I strolled down to the ruins of an old lumber mill. I have since discovered that in the 1800’s and 1900’s, Croghan’s main industries included logging, lumbering and tanneries. The abandoned lumber mill was breathtaking.

Later that evening, Linda drove us to her daughter Laurie’s home, where there was a Fourth of July shindig.

Paul discusses the art of roasting a marshmallow

The next day, she tirelessly led the way to Tug Hill Winery. I was quite surprised that no one was there during the fourth of July. In Asia, a place like Tug Hill would be full of visitors during a holiday. Perhaps it was a blessing because we had the whole place to ourselves.

We ended our fourth of July weekend with a toast.

But honestly, that weekend was waaaaaay toooooo short. I have a feeling that Linda is the mom many children dream of having. I’m imagining her cooking and baking cookies and reading picture books. She knows her children and B has only good things to say about her. (And he’s possessive over her too!) I also have a strong feeling that she never takes credit for the good she’s done. In my heart, I can see that her main goal in life is to please the Lord.

Before the weekend ended, me and Linda talked about traveling on my next visit. Perhaps we’ll start with Upstate New York.

Time to fix your passport, Linda :-D.

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