Monday, 27 July 2015

Monsoon Musings from Mussoorie

Monsoon Musings

Apparently I had a blog once, but then we had a baby! It's fair to say that since Charlie has been on the scene, I've not been that prolific! Still, as he is currently in his English residence, and I have returned to Hindustan, I once again have the time to write a new blog post! Here is a photo of him and his Mum swimming in the pool on holiday.

Looking pool: The boy and Kirsten: ED BEAVAN
Right now we are in the midst of the monsoon. As I write I can just make out the outline of a tree about ten metres away - it is very misty and quite bleak. Usually from our house we can see out over a valley to the other side of Mussoorie, but not during monsoon. Instead, the eerie mist hangs all around. Occasionally, the mist clears and there are short bright spells. But for most of the time we are living in the clouds, which means things get very damp, and you often arrive at school soaking wet because of the rain. For most of this time I wear an anorak and waterproof trousers as I go around, while an umbrella is essential. Although this isn't the most sartorially stylish of attires, I'd rather be a geek and stay dry! Scorpions and leeches are also unwelcome visitors in the house! On the plus side, the vegetation is lush and green during monsoon, with some beautiful flowers out.

Below are some great photos of the monsoon by Martin Cadee, who is currently visiting Woodstock.

A misty Mussoorie monsoon scene: MARTIN CADEE
Looking down from Woodstock towards St George's College: MARTIN CADEE
Woodstock School main gate shrouded in mist: MARTIN CADEE
Amrika! (This is how some Indians say America)

We had a great time visiting Kirsten's brother and family in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the US of A, over the summer. It's the first time I'd been to the middle of America having visited both New York and California previously. Minneapolis is a very cool city with a laid back vibe, while we also spent a great week having a family reunion with Kirsten's parents and other brother, two aunts and uncle, up at a cabin by a lake in a place called Blackduck.

Here in no particular order are one Englishman's observations on this trip:

1) America is big. There is so much space. Every shop or restaurant has a car park, which in England would have been developed into housing.
2) This is because everyone drives everywhere. You really do need a car to do most things in the US.
3) That said, the public transportation system in the Twin Cities which includes the light rail is very good, as well as the numerous bike paths. Bus drivers were also very generous to me and kept giving me free tickets when they heard I was from "out of country" (and also because I kept messing up the touchcard payment system!).
4) A baseball game is like theatre! There is always something going on up on the big screen, as well as the game itself. The vendors walk up and down the aisle selling snacks. Opposing fans sit together (couldn't happen at a football - soccer - match in the UK - there would be a riot!).
5) A walk off homer - when you win with a home run on the last ball of the game. This happened at the game I was at, Twins beat St Louis Cardinals 2-1. Much celebration ensued.
6) Singing the national anthem before the game was quite an unusual thing for me.
7) The Mall of America in the Twin Cities is quite large. It's a shopping mall with a rollercoaster in the middle!
8) Food is delicious in the US and the portions are quite big, which was good as I needed fattening up!
9) Football (I mean soccer) is on the up! More than 10,000 people were at the Minnesota United match we went to. The women just won the FIFA Women's World Cup!
10) Minnesota has a lot of lakes, around 10,000 to be precise. Lake Blackduck was beautiful, and the skies were huge.
11) Americans do not say swell! Despite this, I had a swell time there!!
12) Americans sometimes seem a bit curt. This is not rudeness. Sure. Yeah. OK. You know what I'm saying Abe and Jeremiah!
At the HUGE Minnesota Twins baseball stadium with my bro-in-law Mark: MARK BRADBY
Family reunion in the cabin at Blackduck: MARK BRADBY

Big sky at lake Blackduck: ED BEAVAN

Thanks to the Class of 2018!

I completed my first full year of teaching last academic year at Woodstock, which was another reason I did not blog very much! Although it was a challenging year, I had a great time teaching four sections of Grade 9 history and one class of Global Perspectives. I would like to thank all of my students for making it such a great year, I will miss you all. Roll on 2015/16...