Monthly Archives: November 2013

India Insights

Sorry! I just realized this didn’t actually post on Thursday. I’ll add more later!


After spending two days in India there are a few things I’ve picked up on and want to share with you. I have so many stories and things to tell everyone, but not enough time yet!!!

  • IF they give you a utensil for eating, it’s a spoon. Nothing else.
  • Everything here is deliciously spicy, breakfast and pasta included. But, I haven’t had to use my antacids yet.
  • They celebrate human life more than any culture I’ve ever seen, but safety is not intuitive for them. For example, kids don’t sit in car seats and are often on the front of motorcycles. Women don’t have to wear helmets on motorcycles, only men. If you’re sitting in the backseat of a car you won’t be able to find the seat belt because they don’t use them. You don’t need an open space to light off fireworks and there’s no distance away you need to stand after they’re lit.
  • Leggings ARE pants here. And are traditional attire along with tunics. It’s so comfortable.
  • Everyone gets gifts and money at weddings, not just the bride and groom. I might crash more Indian weddings.
  • It’s not socially acceptable for women to show their legs, only their mid-drifts.
  • They believe the darker your henna gets the more your finance or husband loves you. Apparently my KISA is obsessed with me as it got super dark immediately.
  • The rumors about them not using toilet paper here is accurate, even in the homes. I’m only left to assume the stereotype of what they wipe with.
  • Men here are incredible dancers and love to dance. At the wedding festivities there have been about a 10:1 ratio of men to women dancing.
  • All religions intermingle.
  • They don’t believe in cruelty of animals or really that they should be domesticated, so it’s normal to see cows, dogs, monkeys, etc. everywhere roaming the streets.
  • Arranged marriages are quite common and typically over half of all marriages are arranged. Sometimes they allow a courting time before the marriage so that they’re not an absolute stranger. And even if it’s a “love marriage” you never live together before the wedding.
  • The elderly people here are the happiest people I’ve ever met. They all smile with their eyes as well as their mouths and are full of love. It leads me to believe they’ve led very fulfilled lives.
  • Working for the government is THE place to work. If you work for the government you get special housing included (and they all live in the same community), a car, and your kids go to special government schools.
  • Many people here are vegetarians and it took me until someone pointed out to me that there wasn’t any meat in the food. The food’s so good it would be easy to be a vegetarian here.
  • At election time it’s normal for people to ride around on bikes pulling big stereos that are playing out “advertisements” for their politician. And it’s very loud to make sure everyone in the houses can hear it.
  • They speak H-Henglish. That slang in most countries mean the people don’t know or understand English. In India it’s the opposite – most of their classes are in English so they’re very fluent. What I mean by H-Henglish is that they speak a Hybrid Hindi English. I can get the jist of most conversations because they’ll randomly use English word or expressions, specifically numbers, left, right, straight, U-turn, stroller, OK, thanks (which is interesting that they use thanks instead of cheers since they were a British colony).
  • GPS isn’t common in India and men are ok with asking for directions. In fact, they do a lot. People commonly don’t know street names (evidentially it wasn’t really until Google Maps that many had proper names), so when trying to get somewhere unfamiliar you may need to ask for directions a few times. And, since there are so many people in India at all times of the day and night, you always have people to ask. Plus they’re so courteous and never make it seem like you’re bothering them.
  • India could possibly take over the world in a decade if they get a better organized government. The reason I say this is that there’s a big gap between the lower class and a middle class. Just to give you an example, it’s common for people in the middle class to have drivers or house-keepers from the lower class because they work so cheaply. There are 1.2 billion people in India and the middle class is very well educated. If the government put more money towards the lower class to allow and ensure for schooling, they would be more qualified for jobs to remove that gap in class. And, having 1.2 billion educated people in your country, with people who are very open to getting jobs overseas, they could be unstoppable.


A political advertisement

A political advertisement

Gifts for guests at the wedding.
Gifts for guests at the wedding.

The aftermath of my henna.

The aftermath of my henna.

Sacred cow

Sacred cow


Avicii – Hey Brother

I don’t listen to mainstream radio, so this song may already be big, but I just discovered it a couple of weeks ago. The farm girl side of me likes the country undertones, but the hipster side of me loves the dance beat. Enjoy!!

Good Samaritan

I called 9-1-1 for the first time in my life on Sunday. Thank goodness they continuously reiterate that number in your mind starting when you’re 3 because in the heat of the moment I was lucky to remember my own name.

Black Sand Beach

Black Sand Beach

On Sunday my friend Lauren was in town for work. I told her about a beach I’d heard of in Sausalito that had black sand and we decided to check it out. The beach is located in a beautiful area with cliffs overlooking the bay and long, windy one-way road to get there. As we left (we drove separately) I was driving (still on a one-way road) and there was an old, historic, dilapidated fort on my left. As I was coming to it I saw what looked like something falling off the roof of the fort. I couldn’t tell right away if it was a person or someone just throwing a coat down, but I pulled over. As soon as I opened my car door I could hear a kid screaming. Without thinking about it I grabbed my phone out of the console and started running in that direction. Another man beat me there and he was standing over a child that was very obviously in pain and bleeding from his chin. I volunteered to dial 9-1-1 and started dialing before I even got agreement from him. This man’s sig other came over while I was calling, who was thankfully a former EMT, and shortly thereafter the child’s mother. The mother wanted to move the son and the EMT lady and I both in unison shouted, “NO!” unsure of what kind of injuries the boy could have since he was obviously in pain. As the San Francisco emergency responders transferred me to Sausalito I ran back to my car to grab my big beach towel, realizing the kid was shivering.

The Sausalito emergency responders asked a bunch of questions about the fall as they dispatched their crew. Within 10 minutes they had a park ranger, followed by two fire trucks, an ambulance, and two emergency rescue vehicles were on the scene. They were quick to put the boy in a neck brace and make sure he could move all his limbs. They cut up his shirt and pants to make sure nothing was broken. By the time they left they were hopeful he was more scared than hurt and would probably just need stitches in his chin.

After I left I called Dubs, since she lives in Sausalito, to replay the event for her and tell her she was in good hands with the Sausalito medic team. We joked about me being a Good Samaritan and being in the right place at the right time.

When I got home there was a man in my parking garage that started walking towards my car when I pulled in. I sat in the car for an extra minute as I watched him to see what he needed. I got out of my car and he quickly introduced himself and his apartment number. He explained that his car was dead and was hoping I could give him a jump. Naturally I moved my car over to his, happy to help, and his car started on the first try. I guess I was in the right place at the right time…twice. Or else the universe is trying to tell me something about becoming a superhero.

Addicted to Endorphins

Since my marathon I’ve been more active than I ever could have imagined…probably even more active than I was when I was training. We got a gym at work a few weeks ago and one of my coworkers, Lupe, graciously offered to be Mansi and my personal trainer. Now, Lupe is about 5’ nothing and solid muscle. She’s done cross-fit for a few years and the work has definitely paid off, especially as she tells us about the ridiculous workouts they do each night and they don’t seem to faze her. Naturally Mansi and I took her up on her offer, naively realizing what we were getting ourselves into. (I should mention that I say this as my shoulders hurt so bad from the 55 push-ups she made us do last night that I didn’t even want to shampoo my hair because it required lifting my arms over my head. And by push-up, she literally made us go down until our chest hit the ground and then push ourselves back up. Oh, and that’s in addition to 10 minutes of intense jumping rope and biking, 4 minutes of planks, and 4 minutes of 20# kettle ball swings.)

Resistance running on the gym roof at Bridal Bootcamp

Resistance running on the gym roof at Bridal Bootcamp

In addition to Lupe’s Doom of Hell 2-3 days/week, I also have Bridal Bootcamp one day a week with my personal trainer, Natalie, from my marathon training. Our bootcamp group consists of two other regular girls and one or two that drop in once in a while. Natalie likes to kick our butts and make me sweat more in 50 minutes than I did running the marathon. (I now finally understand the need for the towels at the gym and why headbands were cool in the 80’s. Have you ever gotten tears of sweat in your eyes? It hurts like hell!)

And, most surprisingly, I’ve started running again. Yep. I never thought I’d make that kind of public announcement again in my life, but I’m actually finding that…I…like…running. (I can’t say it out loud yet, I can only type it.) I’ve gone on a couple of runs with my KISA, including a scenic trail run, a ridiculous all-uphill trail run with Dubs, and a six mile run in the park on Sunday. And after each run I didn’t feel insanely fatigued and I had endorphins. Weird, right? I guess more sane of distances can be enjoyable.


Being a Teenager

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my cousin, Sophia, who is 13. She has an incredible artistic gift, things come easy for her, she’s very social, and is absolutely gorgeous (which fortunately and unfortunately she doesn’t realize the extent). I’ve started numerous blog postings for her to relay my unsolicited advice about being a teenager. Unlike most blog postings where I write it, post it, and then worry about what I said later, I’m taking my time with hers. I’m not really sure if she’ll actually read it (she’s unfortunately already becoming a stereotypical teenager and doesn’t care to spend her time with her cool 30 year old cousin, psh!), but being only 11 years removed from being a teenager I feel it’s my duty to educate her on what to expect the next 6 years and make sure she knows she has an adult, outside of her parents, to come to.

I haven’t finished my outline yet, but I’m going to break it up into different postings with different categories for each one. If you have any advice you’d like to dispense, please comment below or reach out to me. I’d love to include it since not everyone went to school in rural Wisconsin and had my same experiences.

TBT #4

October 17, 2010 – 4:01 pm

I’ve decided to go on my honeymoon. Yes, I do realize I’m not married or planning to get married for a long time, but I’m still going to go. I’ve decided since I was young that I wanted to go to Australia for my honeymoon. I’ve informed every guy I’ve dated of this to prepare them. Since I’m tired of wasting my life away waiting for the prince to sweep me off my feet I’ve decided it’s time to go. So, I will be going some time this winter/spring-ish. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be going with anyone, but I’m comfortable traveling there by myself. And, since my boss is an Aussie I don’t have to worry about the Australian accent driving me wild and moving there to follow some lust. And I can buy cheap Ugg boots for all my friends.
I need another Coach purse like a need a hole in my head. You know that lady that’s supposed to sit on your shoulder and remind you that you don’t need those things? Mine has born a Helen Keller of the world. So, I bought two Coach purses. And a new white corduroy skirt. And black skinny capris. And a khaki trench coat. And a purple dress. And a black belted jersey dress. And 3 sequins tank tops. And a new skinny belt. Thank goodness I don’t use my credit cards or Helen would have to get a part time job.
I have a weakness for men in uniform. Or suits. Or even cowboy hats and boots. I’m not sure if they just seem that much more confident in uniform or what it is, but it makes me weak in the knees. Two weeks ago during my training we had a guy come in that is an ABS employee and is getting ready to be deployed: fatigues, shaved head, and all. I had to stop training to gather myself. Seriously. And, to the incredibly handsome, unmarried man in the suit on the bus to Avis this past week: I did notice you teasingly mocking me as I was tapping my foot to the music by whistling to it…and then smiled at me when I looked up at you. I couldn’t smile back because you knocked the wind out of me. If you were in regular street clothes I could have flirted back, but that suit made me lose control of myself. You should think about that before you try to flirt with young, innocent girls on the bus. Wish me luck in the upcoming weeks as I have to train two more groups of men in cowboy hats and boots. This job will be the death of me!
I love babies. Every time I see one smile at me my ovaries sing out in joy. Then they remember that I’m not married and have taken a yearlong vow of celibacy. So, to help my ovaries (and my mother) not give up hope I’ve given myself a timeline of age 35. Meaning, if I haven’t found a man that I want to make babies with I will make them myself. I work for an artificial insemination company. I know how it works. And, maybe then I can get an Italian or Latino donor daddy so that my kids have nice skin and are bilingual.

Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na ROBIN!

As I mentioned in a previous post, my KISA wanted to be Batman for Halloween, so I naturally had to go as Robin, or Robyn as I say. I hate cheap looking costumes, so I elected to make my own costume for Halloween. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but it looked how I imagined. The only hang-ups I had was the skirt – I didn’t have a pattern for any part of the costume, so I just cut a shape that looked like a skirt and proceeded to sew it…and then spent even more time trimming it and making it look even. Also, I decided it was necessary to line the shirt since it was see-through, but then learned the fabric store was out of that exact color. So, the inside is lined differently, but no one can tell. This was the finished product:


photo 1photo 2

1. Scarf: Gap; Sweater: Lands End Canvas; Tee: Gap Factory; Jeans: Levi’s; Belt: Banana Republic Factory; Boots: Aldo

2. Sweater: Gap Factory; Tee: Zara; Jeans: Levi’s; Shoes: Kenneth Cole

My Superhero Powers

I decided it was necessary to dress up as a superhero for Halloween because I have superhero powers. Ok, so it was because my KISA said he wanted to be Batman and, being a girl, I wanted to have a complementary costume – Robin (or Robyn as I say since it’s a girl). But, I still have superhero powers:

  1. I faint at the sight of blood. And by faint, I don’t mean I get queasy – I literally fall to the ground if I’m not already trying to get down there, knowing I’m woozy and don’t want to crack my head. Now, you’re probably thinking, “That isn’t really a super power”. Oh, but it is. If we’re ever attacked by bad guys and we all have to go to war, I’m the most likely to live. I faint because my blood pressure drops abruptly. This will make me appear dead to the bad guys (along with my pulse being faint) and, if I really am hurt, the low blood pressure it will help my wounds by avoiding bleeding to death. It is pretty superhuman.
  2. I can tell when I’m about to get a cold before I show any symptoms. A couple years ago I had a pretty terrible experience of having vertigo for two weeks. Well, everyone knows that with superheroes they have something that affects their health and then gives them super powers, like Spiderman, The Flash, etc. (Ok, so that’s not always the case, but it is one of the scenarios.) Well, ever since my vertigo my ears have been super sensitive. Now, when I ride in a car and try to read, or do anything besides hang my head out the window, and start to feel nauseous, I know I’m about to get a cold within in the next 48 hours. The next morning I’ll have a sore throat or be stuffy, and then it starts. Now, this is a super power because if ever the bad guys put an airborne sickness out there, I’ll be the first to know and can therefore work to reverse it.
  3. I have the ability to look like someone else by just pulling my hair back. Yes, this one surprised me as well. You know those sock buns that are cool? Well, I think they’re cool and I wear my hair in them sometimes. Every single time I wear my hair in a bun to work I have at least one person whom I already know introduce themselves to me. Seriously. It happened again today. This will be helpful when I need to change my identity when I need to escape the bad guys.

At the end of this Halloween evening, I’m going to share with you all a comic I created…featuring me. Ok, it’s not meant to be good…maybe just more amusing. Enjoy! Oh, and Happy Halloween!!

Robyn & Mansi