Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Teej is a Nepali festival where women celebrate in honor of their husbands and in the hope of a long and happy married life.
At umbrella it is celebrated by all the women in the houses, including volunteers.
We all wore Sari's, had mehndi done (that's the henna drawing they do on your hand) and went for a night out at the local cafe. It was kinda like going to a wedding of someone you don't know with a couple of friends. Us volunteers stuck together, Some of the didi's played the role of the crazy drunk aunts, And everyone was all awkward and polite with the people you didn't really know. Now there wasn't any alcohol served, but we noticed the women going into the bathroom in groups. I had my suspicions about a bottle of Roxy (nepali moonshine) being passed around. Add to that the language barrier and great fun was had by all.
I think what i liked like most about Teej was how it gave myself and the house mother something to talk about,
The Gauri Shankar house mother is great at what she does. Herself and her husband run the house. I think she has the more active role. Being a mom to 36 pre-teen and teenagers can't be easy. She kinda intimidates me. The fact that I hear her talking about me and laughing alot doesn't help. I'm sure it's all
In good humor, but I have NO idea what's she's saying. I just hear "sister" alot, and I'm pretty sure she's talking about me.
So anyways, she is the one that told me about Teej, what it was and how I needed to get a sari. She tailored it for me, and had one if the didi's take me shopping for a petticoat. Again she laughed at me when I said I'd wear shorts underneath. "hahahaha, No Sister, get a petticoat". In hindsight, that advice was very wise.
Me buying, and wearing traditional clothing was also exciting for the girls. After they heard I was going to buy and wear a sari they asked me about it everyday until I bought it. When I bought it I made sure I brought it right over to show them. They liked it:)
And the day I wore
It one of the older girls in the house dressed me, while about half a dozen watched. Good thing I'm not shy!
"Sister show!" one girl said as she lifted up her shirt a little. Oh god, this isn't good. I had worn the shirt I was going to wear with the sari, specifically, because I knew that there would be an audience. Know I had worn my thickest granny painties for when I had to take off my pants and put on the petticoat and had been really quick about it. So what is this show and tell thing?
After she repeated herself and kept lifting her shirt to show off the tiniest bit of belly I realized they all wanted to point and gawk at my white stomach. The skin they see; ankles and arms, has gotten tanned, but my belly is still white as winter. So i lifted my shirt, just a little, to the sound of giggles and laughter and "sister, you sooooo white"
Apparently it just doesn't get old. I kinda feel like a circus freak, but at least I know they find it attractive, so I'm not too self conscious about it. It's weird, in north America, we sell self tanners and here, there are hundreds of products to lighten your skin.

I also had one of the girls do my makeup. I had no idea what to expect, but knew they'd like doing it, and could probably do it better than me. I bought an eyeliner at the local beauty shop. They only sell one, it's liquid and it's black. I handed over the eyeliner and my mascara, and let them do whatever they wanted. The same girl that dressed me did it. She is our Fashionista I think. She also did all the mehndi. The final result was a very cleopatra look. I put on my pink lipgloss and was ready to go. One of the girls says to me "red lipstick sister?".
Now I think i was pretty open to everything, but I do have to draw the line somewhere. Red lipstick is my line.

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