Saturday, January 30, 2010


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Hills are ALIVE

As I hung my laundry on the line yesterday afternoon, a group of girls caught me paying a lively tribute to the vocal stylings of the great Julie Andrews. You may laugh, but minus Mr. Von Trap and his expansive Austrian estate, my current situation draws a curious and comical resemblance to the treasured classic, The Sound of Music.I seem to be the odd addition to the convent and the willing butt of the sisters jokes! Although I do not share Maria's taste for tweed jumpers, I certainly do look the part of a country girl...with an Indian twist of course!! My bright yellow knit cardigan is complimented by an awesomely bad 80's spaceship t-shirt...and a bindi. Come to think of it, I should direct a Bollywood style rendition of the musical...staring the Presentation Convent Sisters and myself!

This past weekend I started teaching English and Art and I also joined an Indian Ultimate Frisbee team! In March, there is a huge tournament, FLY BABA, in which Ultimate teams from all over southern India compete for the coveted cheese platter prize! Who knew Indians loved Ultimate? And CHEESE!? And blasted Lil' Wayne and Backstreet Boys in their internet cafes?! HaHa

Yesterday and today I taught a few English classes and two drawing classes. As a fun drawing exercise to loosen up, I had the girls do blind line contour drawings (drawing a subject without looking at the paper or lifting the pencil from the page). The results end up resembling funny Picasso style drawings. I told the girls to fill in their drawings with color and pattern, (Carey Moran style) and to also give their beautiful drawing a name. One girl named hers "ROCKY," and another, "SWEETY". More than half the class named theirs "PAT," after my dear mother! The tiniest girl in the room named her drawing "MAL." I hadn't felt so honored since little Gracie Todd of Denver named her pink haired troll after me. Complete with a bejeweled belly button!

I wish I could put up images of these girls. When I can, I will! These girls are SO precious. Good thing they aren't fluent in English, or the gig would be up. They would know for sure that I am a total idiot. However, I am certain that being a total goof surpasses the limits of language. As I stood in front of the class today, chalk in hand, I noticed how easy it is to be deceived. To fall prey to the idea that I am the one with all the knowledge. Despite my older age and education thus far, I know that in these rooms of girls, I am not the possessor of the most valuable knowledge. That does hinge on what you value. But there is an immense childlike faith and joy....and exuberance that I know nothing about. I know the world isn't changed when I teach a roomfull of girls to say, T-O-M-A-T-O. I am starting to see that the world will be changed by our ability to be teachable. To learn from the poor, the struggling...the young. To stop pegging them as poor, or without. But to see them as owners of precious knowledge beyond knowledge. Just a thought.

As I left class, a little ten year old girl was swatting away King Louis and his rascal troupe of monkey pals. The monkey's roam the halls and hang out on window sills, soaking up the school lessons. The monkeys and the girls are not the only ones eager for an education however! The COWS also mozie through the corridors! I laughed myself sick after sweet Sister Lucy recounted her gripping tale of slipping on a cow pie in the hall! We are surely cut from the same cloth, as she found it every bit as funny as I did....after she had cleaned herself off of course.

Also, I should note, that the food here is delicious! After a few days of feeding me only peanut butter, toast and boiled vegetables, the sisters insisted that I try the corriander chutney. Tasting it was both the worst and most delicious decision I have ever made! It certainly was no herb chutney. It was an atomic blast!! If you need to cleanse the sinuses, holler at Presentation Sisters. They know whats up. However, they will make you wear a all good Indian girls "wear bindi's and eat rice!" I am on my way, but I have to lose my Wayfarer's first!

Just after dinner this evening, I was perusing the hallways, examining the collection of hundreds of books and biblical commentaries. And what did I find in the bottom corner of the last dusty shelf? A treasure trove of romance novels and a rather large blue edition of "The Graduate." I don't know whats more amusing, the sister's rather extensive collection of passionate novels, or the fact that I am already through the first of the series. Haha. Hey, it seemed like a more entertaining choice than "Gone With the Wind."

Til next time! Much much love

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Hello from India!! So apparently there are more than a few Mallory's traveling in India! Every variation of mallory-in-india was already being used as a blog web address! I would like to know where these Mallory's are and how the heck we can join up! I'll bring the chai. So I gave up on the practical web address idea. I got creative and halfway copied the title of a recent movie. It made sense at the time. Haha

My travel here was fine...apart from me tripping a crew of German teens in the Frankfurt airport in a desperate and ultimately successful sprint to my gate. Oh and the certain lagoon creature that works for Luftansa Airlines who made me check my backpack, which missed my flight to India. But it arrived a day later!!
After two hot days in Chennai, I took a night bus to Kodaikanal...on which I ripped my pants and drooled on an old unsuspecting Indian woman. Whoops. The bus ride here was gorgeous. I was pretty much wide awake for the entire ride. Jetlag. At around 3:30 in the morning, I saw hundreds of people walking alongside the road, apparently going to the hindu temples for morning prayer and then to work. Dang. We drove through tea fields....with palm trees and misty mountains in the background. Beautiful. Driving up into the mountains was a real sight. We turned a corner and there was a huge monkey chillin on the curb. I felt like I was driving through the junglebook!! Just call me mogley cause this is serious jungle!

I was getting extremely anxious as we were driving into Kodaikanal. There were moments on the plane and in Chennai where I just wanted to be on the next flight home. On paper I believe that the things that shake you are the things that are most worthwhile. It's not just a theory now. Good thing.I have found that I am not above culture shock and homesickness. Walking through Chennai was ...gutwrenching. You see pictures of poverty, but walking in it.... I almost wanted to shut down.

When I walked into the convent I immediately felt releaved. Two Sisters put a room together for me and brought me tea. I will put up some photo's of this place when I can. Its amazing to me. I start teaching next week, as the girls are out of school for the Pongol holiday. (Harvest festival) As I was walking from my room to the school office to use the internet, an entourage of monkeys descended on the convents tin roofs and then all just sat to watch me walk by! These things are not curious george cute monkeys....they are little monkey beasts. They get into the convent and reak havok!! The sisters chase them around and beat them with sticks! I haven't seen it yet, but am sure looking forward to it.

The past two days I have been roaming around, exploring... and getting to know the Sisters. I have been going through some serious busyness withdrawls. Its like my mind is unexhaustable. I guess I have been convinced that the power and transformation lies in what i accomplish here. What I DO. I watched the sun rise this morning in my little sunroom and I cracked open the bible to this verse...

"Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things, while I was still searching but not finding-This only have I found: God has made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes." ecclesiastes 7:28

I feel like busyness almost runs in my veins. It keeps me "searching, but not finding." This morning I thought...God, who am I without busyness? The American lifestyle even? Scheming to make progress...headway. What is my faith without it? I know now that God wants me to slow down. Get it out of my system and be quiet for awhile.

Thats it for now....Sister Jothi wants me to come to tea...and comb my hair. Haha...point taken.

Much love!!!