New Years Eve 2017 began with an activity in the cultural hall of the new stake center.
It is traditional that the youth sing and dance.
Sudhira's birthday is also January 1st.
We had dinner with the Raju Neelapu family.
We usually play a game after dinner. This was a hot game of "Phase 10".
Here is an unusual factoid:
The store we frequent to mail courier envelopes to the Service Center is called "STD Xerox".
So, we go to the STD Store to mail stuff...
In India, when you go to a baby shower, the Indians bring gifts and well-wishes to the mother.
They also have traditional Hindu blessings with flowers, fruits and rice, as well as lots of bangles for the new mom so that the new baby will hear the sounds of the bangles and know his or her mother when born. This shower was for Sister Bushi.
NOTE: Sister Bushi gave birth to a healthy girl on Sunday 29 Jan 2017. A beautiful baby...
One day we walked over to the park we walk at and saw the bricklayers working on the three-story park restrooms and shed. They don't worry much about how the brick looks because they will cover it up with a concrete plaster so the brick is all hidden.
A friend, Esther, opened up a beauty parlor in her home. We were invited to attend.
Sister Newton cut the opening ribbon and received some eyebrow work.
Dr. Seuss is everywhere--even India
While visiting the Rising Star Outreach campus in Tamil Nadu in November, we found this walk-behind tractor attached to a trailer with a seat and load area. Very useful!
Raju took us shopping at the wholesale market; we purchased blankets, bedsheets and pillows for the Pushkara Recovery Center (they call it a "De-Addiction Center"). It was so crowded we had to hire a bicycle rickshaw to transport our goods back to Raju's car.
We also went to the lumber and woodworking wholesale market to get some small blocks made for a Family Home Evening game.
On 13 Jan 2017 we went to an "Exhibition", sort of a mix of replicas of famous world sites and a county fair.
Here we went to New York, Egypt and the base of the Roman Coliseum...
We even made it to France
to the Taj Mahal...
Kissing in PUBLIC!
Such a taboo thing in India!!!
People's mouths dropped open in amazement!
The rides looked pretty fun!!
We found a colorful tree on the way out of the Exhibition site.
The celebration of Pongal--a harvest celebration like Thanksgiving--has many traditions.
Among the traditions is for people to dress in colorful attire, make noise with drums and Indian flutes, and decorate cows to attract attention and beg for money. This troupe was outside our apartment building on 14 Jan 2017.
Darla was able to make three loaves of banana bread using our tiny combination microwave and convection oven.
It tasted GREAT!
On P-Day closest to Pongal--Hindu Harvest Festival--we joined the Elders to celebrate. Most Indians wear their best native clothing, visit family and eat lots, just like we do at Thanksgiving.
Darla wore her new kurta that she purchased at a bazaar sale in Bangalore several months ago. Larry wore his white dhoti with a white, green and red sash that was a gift from a friend who is a member of the Pondicherry Legislature--Mr. N. Dahahavelou .
Then we all went out to lunch for a fantastic ethnic Indian meal at the Green Tree restaurant in Rajahmundry.
Wow! It was great--we had large prawns in curry sauce, sweet and sour chicken curry, and chicken, prawns and mutton mixed fried rice, plus garlic nan bread.
Darla has been ironing hundreds of white shirts for Larry to wear. It is part of the missionary uniform every day. There are not many clothes driers available in India, so they must dry on a hangar in our drier room. Larry learned how to iron a simple short-sleeved white shirt, and to appreciate the work that goes into it even more!
Darla made some shrimp parmesan pasta ...OH MY GOSH!!!
It was like an oasis of home-food in a desert of curry and rice!
Later in the month on a Sunday we had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, green beans, and a cucumber, bell peppers and onion salad, plus home-made-from-scratch rolls!! Waahhhhooooooo
The second wedding in our new Stake Center...
Shaik-Kishore Wedding 19 Jan 2017
Sunday, 22 Jan 2017 the last member of the Kollu family, Shankar, was baptised.
It is now complete!
They hope to go to the Hong Kong Temple soon to be sealed.
Here is the whole family with the Elders (Elder Touthang L and Elder Kommalapati R) who did the final teaching and baptism of Sister Kollu and Shankar.
We all went to dinner at a very nice restaurant that night to celebrate.
Almost everyone from the Kollu family was with us--grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins...