"Keep working on a plan. Make no little plans. Make the biggest you can think of, and spend the rest of your life carrying it out." Harry S. Truman

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural Celebration in Hyderabad

Last night, Democrats Abroad threw an inaugural celebration with live coverage from the US at a local restaurant. Anyone was invited, regardless of citizenship or political inclination ( I like that). So, even half a world away, we were able to partake in the joy and beauty of that moment. A large majority of the women present (including myself) wore saris, which I found quite symbolic : expatriates from all cultures and countries (the US, of course, but also India, the UK, France, Denmark, Spain, and others I forget) coming together, with the women, and some men, wearing the dress of their host country. What a beautiful message !

I brought back a small poster :

And here I am, with friends:

And look at all these beautiful saris...

Thank you, Obama, for your powerful and inspiring inaugural speech. And good luck to you and your administration. Now, the hard work begins...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Amadi in Italy

Please, visit Valentina Acava Mmaka's blog, Kabiliana, for an uplifting and fun report on the workshop that several children attended, in Italy, to celebrate Amadi's Snowman. 
Thank you so much, Valentina ! I really enjoyed looking at all the pictures, and drawings, and reading the letters that the children wrote to Amadi.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Where in The World is Amadi?

It's been a while since I published pictures of children reading the book. I have quite a few in my files, so will catch up with that. 

Please, meet Emily B...

and Elliot G...
... from Pennsylvania, USA. Thank you Emily and Elliot. I hope you enjoyed Amadi's story. And special thanks to your auntie Kristin - a fellow writer and expatriate living in Shanghai - for sending me these pictures.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I've discovered Wii Fit

This is quite a departure from my usual posts, but I'm having so much fun, I thought I'd share that here. Whoever invented the Wii Fit is a genius. Let's see how long this keeps me motivated, of course. Anything to do with exercise (which doesn't involve dancing) rarely holds my interest for long. I'm just not a sporty person at all. Never was. Hated Physical Education at school, and was always below average in any kind of competition. But of course, as years pile up on me, and make my body shrink and go all flabby, I know I have to do something. The great thing about the Wii, as opposed to any workout machine, is the interactive aspect of it. Not only are you not alone, but someone talks to you - today, as I was doing the run, I had my daughter's avatar preceding me (loved that) even though she was already at school - and your progress are chartered, and celebrated... Yep, love the thing. Of course, I could get all that  by going to the gym, but that's precisely the beauty of it. I don't have to go to the gym, I can stay right at home.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's a new year !

Warm wishes to everyone for this new year 2009 !

I'm back from a short trip to Delhi, suffering from a nasty cold. Temperatures in the Indian capital felt Siberian, especially for someone who is happiest in warm weather, but I finally made it to Old Delhi..., and now that I've taken a glimpse of it, I hope I'll be able to return to spend more time in all its alleys and back alleys. 

We also visited the Red Fort, on a very foggy morning.

Unfortunately, not much of the ancient magnificence is left. We were accompanied by an Indian friend who kept complaining that the Indian government doesn't do anything to preserve its extraordinary heritage. Of course, the place was largely ruined by the British, after the 1857 uprising (they actually turned the King's palace into their mess) but as William Dalrymple mentions in his fascinating "City of Djinns", the very ugly English barracks seem better maintained than the old palaces built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. (And no, I did not take any picture of the ugly barracks. Just trust me: they are truly hideous. Then again, who has ever seen beautiful army barracks?)

And now, I'm back in Hyderabad, and cold, congested sinuses and sore throat notwithstanding, the usual course of life resumes. Those who know me, or read me, already know that I don't like new year resolutions. I don't like the "organizeness" of it. Still, goal setting is usually a good way to at least launch oneself in the right direction. So, the directions I wish to take this year are :

- walk a couple of times a week in the morning. Last year, I mentioned needing to move my butt a bit more, and I have to admit that I didn't really until the end of 2008. So, I need to pursue this effort (and it IS an effort!).

- Work on my nanowrimo manuscript, and hopefully, complete it, whether it means taking it into a completely new direction or not. Ideally, I would like to complete a novel manuscript, this year.

-Complete the couple of picture book projects that are slowly taking shape in my files.

- Send more stories out, and/or send them to more publishers. I'm not good at keeping up with this part of the business. 

And, last but not least, continue to work on enjoying the moment more. I'm making progress, slowly, but then again, I'm a slow kind of person. Who cares? What matters is to get somewhere, and to learn while on the journey, and I think I'm doing that.

Happy New Year ! May your wishes come true, whether you are a list maker or not.