Tag Archives: india

The Joy of Doing Nothing…but Giving Thanks

I’m finding myself in a fairly familiar, regular place this peaceful Saturday evening: in Kohinoor 553, at the Garrett’s home.  We have collectively agreed/decided/fulfilled the plan to do nothing today… a first, since Dax and I returned from Iowa in January-an honestly probably many weeks before that.

This spring has been full of so many thoughts I never thought I’d be addressing in my first year of teaching…. Thoughts on how to get the kids to remember to call me Mrs Garrett next year (not Mrs Dax or Mrs Coach as many of the younger ones guessed initially), how to legally change my name in two countries (not to mention my passport eventually), where to live as our school expands to two campuses, how to best maximize the time on spring break to source wedding fabric, where to teach-as 30% of our physical building is shutting down by May 5 and I’ll finish the year without an art room, how to grow with Dax and strengthen the relationships we have with both our families, where we’ll honeymoon, wedding planning from abroad, how to travel to the states with a wedding dress and not go too crazy on the delicious Iowa summer food so I can still fit into it, thoughts on how to cherish every moment spent relaxing together, how to find a relaxing moment to spend together…

The list could go on and on… and it does in my mind… to more personal things… more school things… my head and heart have been quite busy… But I am so thankful to say that I am content in all of this. Of course Dax is helping me through much of this… I have said many times now that certainly my time in India would not be the same without him (duh) but also, I don’t think my coping with India and learning to grow and develop here would have been the same specifically…

However he is not the only one… My parents back in Iowa have coped with my emotional roller coaster… Smiling and telling me they love me when I burst into tears on skype for simply missing them as any 24-yr old would half way around the world, keeping me up to date on extended family… Helping line up logistics for the wedding.. Making phone calls and helping get everything set up for the big day this summer….My sister dedicated her entire spring break to trying out Pinterest recipes and crafts for the ceremony and reception and she’s even writing a song. My brother has spent time talking on the phone with me.. checking in when it’s been too long.. doing that brother thing that makes me smile…

And of course…. they are not the only ones.

Back to the start of this post. Sitting and enjoying a relaxing Saturday night in the Garrett home has become tradition. Althea, Donford, and Aiyesha have been absolutely amazing through this entire season. They’ve spent long hot hours searching for fabrics, included me in special family events, literally fed and housed me a large majority of the past few months (really can’t emphasize enough the amazing cooking that comes from their kitchen and the mattress slumber parties that happen in the living room as a family).  They know what tea I like to drink and my favorite ice cream. They’ve taken care of me when I was really sick-literally layed in their house for days and they nursed me back to health.  They’ve rounded up countless emails for our invitation list, and provided most importantly a loving, supportive environment and family to be part of.  Aiyesha has been an amazing sister-in-law, proudly telling kids at school and stepping in to help with design ideas and wedding reception possibilities.  Words can’t express full the peace this family has covered me with. Because of their generous care…. I have been able to focus on the pressing needs of the day to day with considerably less stress. I spend so much time at their home now, it’s such a relief, such an escape and such a relaxing place to just be. They have opened their home and their hearts to me… in a way that moves me to awestruck gratitude.

I’ve had several conversations lately with Jayshree, the other art teacher at school. It’s been a hectic time at school too with the art exhibition getting organized, hung, and run… She is always telling me she’s so amazed by how blessed my life has been this year… One day she told me I had big luck this year: finding a great job, finding an amazing man, finding a good family… I told her it wasn’t any measure of big luck that has put me where I am today… It’s a big God who has a plan for me, loves me, and encourages me with blessings every day.

Thanks for reading through this massive post. It’s been a while since I really let it rip on writing, but this is very typical rambling/unending blog writing here… There are just some things that are too important to cut out or briefly sum up…..

As always… thankful to simply be blessed beyond belief.


Yesterday we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Our church decided to celebrate by showcasing the various artistic talents within our community.  These are the paintings I made for this service along with a little written reflection on the meaning … Continue reading


Bought my wedding dress fabric here today!

Bought my wedding dress fabric here today!After repeated trips to both Dax’s tailor store in Juhu and a variety of fabric sources in Bandra, Khar, and Crawford market… today we narrowed in on plans for the guys clothes (Dax, both dads, and the groomsmen) and went back to buy my favorite dress fabric of all found on day one of searching! All the Indian embroidery work fabric, off-white satin, and lining for less than $100! There are times (after many frustrating and exhausting hours of searching, haggling, and purusing) that I really do love the thrill of living here in India… I also picked up some teal satin to have my “practice” dress made- to make sure the measurements work, the cut looks how we like, and the tailor has things squared away on design and plan for my dress… Give it a month and it should be ready to wear! Good day indeed.


In the midst of surviving (and some moments I’d venture to claim thriving) in my first year of teaching… I put together this slideshow of the year’s explorations and adventures in Art to show at an elementary assembly at school to publicize the upcoming art exhibition we’ll be having at ASB in April.  It’s a good reminder of everything that went well this year-as I’m really in the process of reflecting how to improve and change for the next go around with some of these projects and units.  It’s been a darn good year 🙂

lovely day

After being sick all week with Bombay belly (a complete emptying of all that was within me, followed by weakness, followed by slowly restoring strength)…. I was so thankful to have such a peaceful, enjoyable Saturday with Dax in Mumbai simply enjoying the weather, conversation, visiting friends, and resting our bodies for another week ahead. The weekend started off to a fun surprising start with yet another textile exhibtion rolling into Bandra. I tell you these shows come and go- set up, tear down as if they were never there… Bought a few pillow cases, scarves, a skirt/dress, shirt, purse… all for less than $20!  Even got to see a few live demos from Indian artists and drooled with envy as Dax took advantage of the Rajistani food…

Today I took my camera out with me.. and took a few snapshots of my favorite things along the walk to lunch… Bizarre and beautiful little details in nature… colors… sunshine… I started the morning with house cleaning and a body balance class… had black dal and rice for lunch with Dax at one of our favorite local restaurants, had some really good conversations through the day about future plans..  wedding.. honeymoon.. etc…  and ended the day with a great visit with the Weehunts who are back in Mumbai for a few weeks.  Thankful for weekends.. Thankful for this Saturday.



After School Activity: Screenprinting

Screenprinting has sort of become “my thing” over the last 3-4 years.  I studied printmaking in college, and enjoyed this particular process… but what I love more than creating is sharing it with students… Screenprinting took me back to South America for a summer of teaching workshops to students who were just learning to walk, learning to be teachers at university, or learning how to enjoy retirement…In my last year at UNI I was invited to teach workshops in area schools, taught my cousin’s 4H group, and helped area youth creat screenprinted Tibetan inspired prayer flags for the arrival of the Dalai Lama to our campus in the spring of 2010.


Now, I’ve found a way to bring “my thing” to India as well. I have been teaching an after school activity for the elementary kiddos at ASB for the past two months and as deeply as I sighed when I committed my Friday afternoons to an extra hour of teaching, I must say I am loving this group and wanted to share some highlights from last week’s session. The kids have learned about hte process of creating a design then making a screen with that design. They have made solo prints, collage prints-using each others’ designs as well, and (their favorite part) screenprinted their very own t-shirt. I love watching them work together and “discover” new ideas (ie: printing on a new area of a shirt, turning a design, changing colors etc..)

so many reasons to give thanks

… an extra day in February, my first ASB UnPlugged conference + presentation, a life filled with great friends, restored health, Dax making me smile in new ways every day, trimester 2 narratives complete, getting back to the gym, thankful for safety on the roads in Mumbai and intruiged by imagining the story behind each rickshaw driver I encounter, awesome strawberry peach froyo, great stuff happening in art classes…

And I’m thankful to have a relatively peaceful upcoming weekend with time to Skype with family and update you properly on many of the above mentioned happenings.. but for now.. I’ll leave you with a photo that never ceases to make my day in India: buying food wrapped in recycled newspaper bags.. In this case, one dozen eggs to go 🙂