Thursday, August 31, 2017

Photos from Kirsi's Field Trip to India House

Last Friday, Kirsi took a field trip with "Delhi Out and About" class to India Gate and President's House. Their purpose was to discuss the history and architecture of the buildings.

Here are her photos, which she took with the iPad that is provided by the school.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Grade 6 Kirsi - School and Soccer

Kirsi - Grade 6

Kirsi on our stairwell on her first day of Grade 6!
Kirsi is loving AES (link to AES Middle School). She's made good friends and is at home on the campus.

Kirsi has joined the ASIAC (American Schools in India Activities Conference) soccer team. She'll compete against teams from The American School of Bombay and The American International School - Chennai.

This is a group of Grade 6-8 girls of which she is one of the youngest. She's feeling very at home on the pitch though (kudos Coach Jean from Yorktown). She's scored goals in the first couple of scrimmages and that has helped to make her feel more comfortable and confident out there. She comes back soaking in sweat due to the humidity.

She may also enter drama for this session (there are 3 sessions every year). She's debating joining drama but her family all thinks she should as she fools us quite often due to her acting abilities.

Because of her experience in French Immersion, she chose to take Spanish. She could have chosen Mandarin instead but her French should help her learn Spanish quickly.

While she took flute in Yorkton (and guitar), she has switched to clarinet (Derwin's MS and HS instrument) so that she can stay in Spanish. She had some challenges with the schedule but she seems very happy with the outcomes.

The Exploratory for this session is "Delhi Out and About," which is the history and culture of our host city, Delhi. Friday, they took a field trip to India Gate and President's House to study the architecture of the buildings. Later, the course will switch to Health and then Art. Humanities is a combination of Social Studies and English.

1 - Science
2 - Math
3 - Physical Education
4 - Humanities
5 - Band
6 - Exploratory
7 - Spanish
8 - Humanities

She has her own iPad, which she can bring home every night. She is finding that she has more homework now that she is in Grade 6. We also paid for lunch for her. Despite being gluten sensitive, she's finding enough to eat at lunch as most of the Indian food is gluten free.

Overall, she gives AES an "A+"!
Kris's Middle School Schedule

Grade 4 Aidan - School and Soccer

Aidan and Grade 4

Aidan on our stairwell on his first day of Grade 4!
Aidan is loving school, his teacher, and having his own iPad in school. You can see his blog here.

Aidan has chosen soccer and baseball for his after school iPop activities (iPop stands for Power of Passion). Activities start this week. Baseball is new to Aidan so it will be interesting to see how he enjoys that sport.

At recess, the popular game is 4-Square, which he really enjoys. We've watched a few YouTube videos on 4-Square strategy.

He is happy to have Mrs. Peters for his teacher as well. You can see their class blog here.

His best friends are from England, Australia, and Malaysia but he quite likes everyone in the class. It seems like a nice group with few, if any, troublemakers.
Aidan's Classmates

Aidan chose Spanish for his World Language class. He could have went with French but he is too advanced for the beginner French here after having been in French Immersion.

Another highlight for Aidan are the delicious lunches that the school offers. We, of course, pay a fee for lunch but it's great value. All food is made from scratch and is very healthy. Anyone who knows Aidan knows how much he can eat so he's living large. Plus, he doesn't have to pack a lunch, just a snack and water.

Overall, he gives AES an "A+"!

Aidan's Schedule

AES' Elementary School Lunch for a Week

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Raksha Bandhan, Badgers on Meth, Church, Selfies, Uber, and Shopping

Happy Raksha Bandhan!!!!!

Happy Raksha Bandhan everyone!

This is really a beautiful celebration of brothers and sisters - and something I wish that Kirsi and Aidan would take more to heart. This is the perfect example of how different religions can learn from one another.

Kirsi and Aidan are sweet kids but when they fight with each other they're like vicious badgers on meth.

According to Wikipedia:
Raksha Bandhan, or simply Rakhi is a Hindu festival, celebrated in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, notably India and Nepal.[2] Raksha bandhan means "bond of protection". It is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month of Shravana, which typically falls in Gregorian calendar month of August.[3][4]The festival celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters.
 It is also popularly used to celebrate any brother-sister type of relationship between men and women who may or may not be biologically related. On Raksha Bandhan, a sister ties a rakhi (sacred thread) on her brother's wrist with a prayer for his prosperity and happiness.[5][6] This symbolizes the sister's love. The brother gives her a token gift and a promise to protect her.

We took our first Uber ride and attempted to attend St. Dominic's church today. You know, the one just off of Poorvi Marg.

The church was packed, both main level and upstairs. It was nice to see so many youth. The churches that we attended in Canada had a sea of grey hair. Here, there were youth - and people - of all ages.

Most of the people were Indian but there was a large number of Africans and a few of European decent.

We did not stay as there were no seats and the heat and humidity had us all sweating hard, Derwin especially.

So, we pulled out the Uber app for our second Uber of the day and headed to Ambience Mall, the Space for a Million Smiles.


I love Uber. After we enter our destination, it displays the driver's name, his license plate number, and how long it'll take him to be there. They show his location on a map.

Once you're in the cab, you can track where you are on the map. In case of emergency, there's an emergency button right there. The app will track the cost so there's no haggling or arguments.

On the Way to the Mall

The dichotomy of our trip to the mall and our experience in the mall is incredible.

Here's the mall:

The Traffic

I forgot how close the drivers will get their cars to each other. Literally, the vehicles can get as close to 6 inches to each other.

It's a remarkable feat of driving. There is no such thing  as the Super Dave Safety Length rule in India.


The Selfie culture, or taking Lonelies as I like to call them, is alive and well here. There are no shortage of people making duck lips at their cell phones.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Uber, Staff, Shopping, & Lattes



AES Staff 2017-2018
This week, all the returning teachers came back and everyone has been fantastic.

They're a group of people from the U. S. A., Canada, Spain, U. K., Colombia, Russia, France, China, Japan, Bangladesh, and India. I'm sure that I'm missing some countries as well. There's too many staff to get to know every one.

As one new staff member told me last night at the Street Food Festival hosted on campus, "they don't hire wusses." It's a very social, competent, and personable group of educators.

Being Hired  

We see being hired here as a blessing.

But the process was interesting. I had interviewed with a couple of schools who saw my wanting to change roles from HS Principal to a Tech role as a demotion. Some could not get over the fact that I wanted to "step down." Perhaps some interviewing admin were threatened. I cannot say for certain but it seemed to hurt me in a couple of interviews.
AES High School

Not so with AES. They saw that my experience as Principal as a positive and that it would be helpful in my role as HS Tech Coordinator. In fact, two of their new Elementary School (ES) Learning Coaches were Principals in the U. S.

No insecurities here.

Campus Life

It's a mini-city here!

We have a medical facility on campus with nurses and a doctor. If we have any health concerns, it's a 2 minute walk or a phone call after hours. They take good care of us and drive the fear of God in to us when it comes to rabies and monkeys/cats/dogs. They are very proactive with vaccinations and health warnings.

The pool can be used at any time except when they're cleaning it (every night at 7:00-8:00). I'm going to check out the gym where we can work out 24/7. I have no excuses not to get in shape now!

The cafeteria is unreal. The food is all made from scratch and is delicious. For 90 rupees ($1.76 Cdn) at lunch, I get a plate full of healthy, delicous Indian food.

Then there's the Tiger's Den, which is a little coffee shop/snack shop. Dana can get her latte every morning except on Sundays. They're 120 rupees or $2.35.

Kirsi and Aidan

...have been having a great time. They're very comfortable on campus and have lots of friends. They all go from one friend's apartment to another or spend time at the playground. Both love spending time in the pool and have adjusted very well.

School starts on Tuesday for them both. Aidan has a 15 minute, individual meeting with his teacher and the rest of the day is a holiday. His first full day is on Wednesday.


Our YouTube videos have Indian commercials, which are great to watch. I never watched North American YouTube commercials but I watch these because they're so different. If only I understood Hindi.

Tall-Tree Organics

Every Tuesday, we get boxes of organic produce for 3000 rupees from Tall Tree.

They're a cooperative that is training local farmers in organic farming methods, marketing, and business.

So, we get fresh, organic produce (for a little more, granted) and help to support a good initiative that helps others.

App & Delivery Culture

Delhi has an App and delivery culture. You can order almost anything online and have it delivered.

Uber is huge here. They're used more than the taxis as they're cheaper and no haggling. They're drivers are rated so it's more trustworthy. Plus you can track exactly where all their cars are, including the one you are in.

I get a text message when something is shipped by any of the above. My most recent one was this morning and read:
"[order item] has been dispatched and will be delivered by Grab rider Sunil Ramsanehi" and continued with his phone number and a link to track the order."

Our Hands with Kirsi's Travel Bracelets

Phuket - Be Nice or Get Out

The second part of our December break was spent in a little AirBnB 3m from the beach in Phuket, Thailand. The majority of our time was spe...