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


  1. malsy, glad to hear you used my blind line contour idea!! try quick drawings next time, they are really fun too. i really hope you win that cheese platter. the entire kufrin side of the fam would be most proud! it's too bad you have to ditch the wayfayers for a bindi but when in rome...i love and miss you!! so glad you're having fun!
    love, C

  2. Mal,
    I LOVE your journal. You have such a great writing voice! I can just see you wearing your bindi and singing away at the Convent... you sound like you're having a great time, and soaking up so much of the cultural experience. I can't wait to hear what happens next.
    lots of love,
    Keely (aka Lady Watchit to you)

  3. Mal,

    Please keep posting. You are a great story teller. I only wish I knew what a Bindi was. I shall wiki it and find out.


  4. Love reading your accounts of your experiences. Commical, educational, inspiring. Just like you! :)