Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mysore Palace

While in the state of Karnataka, my GSE team and I will make a two day trip to Mysore. We'll surely visit this palace, commissioned in 1897 and completed in 1912. It was the residence of the former royal family of Mysore, the Maharaja and his family.

The Kingdom of Mysore was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty from 1399 until the independence of India in 1947. The Wodeyar kings built a palace in Mysore in the 14th century, but this palace was partially damaged by a lightning strike in 1638. It was repaired and expanded, but fell into neglect by the late 18th century. Demolished in 1793, a new palace was rebuilt in 1803. This palace was destroyed in a fire in 1897 during the wedding of Princess Jayalakshmanni.

The then regent of Mysore, Maharani Kempa Nanjammani Vani Vilasa Sannidhana, commissioned a British architect, Henry Irwin, to build yet another palace in its place. It was rebuilt and completed in 1912 in an "Indo-Saracenic" style, blending Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic architecture styles.

17 days left . . . .

Friday, January 30, 2009

"Luck by Chance" movie trailer

What would it take to be a star in a Bollywood movie in India?
Watch this trailer and catch a glimpse into the Indian film industry - Enjoy!

GSE team "photo-shoot" at Walker sculpture garden

Outdoor sculpture picture: Leif Hagen, Mike Blommel, Jae Wiese, Adrienne Dorn and Joanie Cunningham.

On the cloudy, snow predicted afternoon of Saturday, January 3, 2009, Michael Proebstle, a professional photographer and fellow Eagan Rotarian, met us for our team "photo-shoot." Thanks for the group and individual pictures inside and outside group shot, Michael!!

Only 18 more days . . . .

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Veer Zaara" movie from 2004

Another traditional Bollywood movie oozing with costumery, jewelry, dance, music . . .

Badri, our GSE coordinator in Bangalore

Badri Prasad Boggaram has been planning our one month stay in Bangalore along with his GSE hosting committee. He's a very kind, engaging fellow who seems to be working very hard to ensure a rewarding time for my GSE team and me once we arrive in south India in the state of Karnataka.
He and his younger brother run a second generation, family-owned, incense manufacturing company together. Badri also owns his own coffee plantation. Cool! He informed me that there are no "Starbucks" nor "Caribou" coffee shops in Bangalore but many other coffee locales. He's been coaching me on some new Kannada language vocabulary in our email exchange.
1. Hege ideeri? > How are you?
2. Bahala olleyadu vandanegalu. > Very well, thank you.
3. Nimma hesaru enu? > What's your name?
4. Nannu hesaru Leif > My name is Leif. (Rhymes with SAFE)
5. Idu dubaari. > This is expensive.

Counting down now from 19 days . . .

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Team meeting #5 - "Bad Waitress" restaurant

On Thursday evening, December 18, I met the team at the "Bad Waitress" restaurant in uptown Minneapolis. Mike Blommel hopped onto the team after Heidi's departure. He graciously agreed to take over the compiling and coordinating of our team presentation. Tim Kudalis joined us so he could see our progress. Adrienne advocated for her idea of a task deadline spreadsheet which she created for the team.
20 days left until boarding passes . . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy "belated" 60th Indian Republic Day!

Happy "belated" 60th Republic Day! 

The Indian Republic Day is a national holiday to mark the acceptance of the Constitution of India from the British on January 26, 1950. 

Fresh new Bollywood lead actor?

There's a handsome guy in a fancy Indian outfit! He'd be ready to party in Bengaluru with it. 
Actually, Hari Pallempati, my neighbor across the street from Hyderabad, India, lent me the "get up" for a dinner party. I've been waiting for a call from a Bollywood film agent looking for a fresh, new, lead actor but . . . . .

Our GSE team logo

Our GSE logo, initially designed by Eagan Rotarian, Judy Vicars, was later revised by former team member, Heidi Schmidt.   Notice the Minneapolis skyline on the logo's top edge and St. Paul on the logo's bottom edge.  Bangalore is now also known as "Bengaluru" in the regional Kannada language. Just as Mumbai was formerly called "Bombay" by the British, Chennai was known earlier as "Madras" during British colonial times.
Just 21 more days and counting down . . . 

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Chandi Chowk to China" movie trailer

India and China collide in this colorful Bollywood movie . . . .
Have fun!

Team meeting #4 - Bombay Bisto in downtown Mpls

On Wednesday evening, December 3, Joanie, Heidi, Adrienne and I enjoyed another scrumptious dinner, this time at Bombay Bistro in downtown Minneapolis.  Jae was home fighting a cold. 
We continued working on our agenda items: group presentation development, gift selections, business cards, etc.  
Check out the Elephant god "Genesh" statue!
How many days? 22!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"New Delhi Nights" at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

On Thursday evening, November 20, Jae, Joanie, Adrienne and I met at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for the "India > public places - private spaces" exhibit. Heidi was sick and couldn't meet us. We didn't have a formal meeting but I did hand out a task deadline timeline to them. Giddy up!
We looked first at the permanent Indian art collection and then moved on to the special India exhibit, a very contemporary mix of photographs.  We watched an India video on "Bollywood" and rugby followed by special live Indian dancing.  Our evening ended with discussion over Mango martinis!
Skal!  Cheers!  'A votre sante'!  Prost!
23 days . . . . . . 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Team meeting #3 - Gandhi Mahal restaurant

On Saturday evening, November 15, I met my team members at the Gandhi Mahal restaurant in Minneapolis. We continued our discussions of our various tasks to complete and talked about our developing team logo.
More yummy Indian food; I'm going to like India!

24 more days until Indian food for every meal!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ganesha, hindu elephant god

Ganesha god, aka Ganesa, Ganesh, Ganapati, Vinayaka or Pillaiyar, is one of the best known and most widely worshipped gods in the Hindu religion.

I wonder if they'll have any beautifully carved wooden Ganesha statues that one could buy to display atop one's office file cabinets . . . . . .

Target family day at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

On Sunday, November 9, we went as a family to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for their special "Art Masala" India day.
Kajsa and Britta visited the kids' "hands-on" station where they held an elephant "Ganesha" god and Shiva god. The art museum woman explained several bells, gods and various art pieces to them (and us).
25 more days until . . . . .

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Devdas" movie trailer

Watch this trailer of a dramatic, epic Indian film loaded with fabulous costumes, dancing, music and cultural nuggets!
Enjoy this clip!

Tea and treats with our New Dehli neighbors

In early November, our neighbors down the street, Sudarshan and Preeti Sood, invited Anne, the girls and me over for tea and treats.  Besides offering us tasty treats, they are wonderful hosts and well-traveled, interesting friends.  We enjoyed an informative discussion about India.
Just 26 more days until departure to "Bengaluru". . . . .   

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Slumdog Millionaire" movie received Golden Globe awards!

Click on this link to the Golden Globe awards for "Slumdog Millionaire," a movie about a boy from the slums of Mumbai who competes on Indian television's version of the show, "Who wants to be a millionaire?!"  Congratulations on the 4 awards!
Listen to the Indian accents of the movie's female lead actress, Freida Pinto, and one of India's most famous male actors named Shahrukh Khan . . . .

Team meeting #2 - Indian dinner at Leif's house

On Saturday, November 1, some church friends, Raja and Caroline David, prepared a delicious, south Indian dinner at my house for my team. Many different dishes with various spices and table decorations from our neighbors from Hyderabad, India highlighted the meal together. Guten Appetit!
Our planning meetings have begun to
center around selecting team "uniforms," developing a logo and group presentation, discussing immunization and visa requirements, choosing host family gifts, etc. Mike didn't join us as the team alternate for this event.
Only 27 more days until flight departure . . . February 17 > off we go!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rotary 2009 - 2010 president & theme

Here you have the 2009-2010 Rotary International theme logo, "The future of Rotary is in your hands."
You also see a picture of the newly announced 2009 - 2010 Rotary international president, John Kenny. He's a Rotarian from Grangemouth, Central, Scotland. As the first international president ever from Scotland and only the fifth from the British Isles, he has a big job ahead of him.
The 2009 - 1010 Rotary core values:
1. Service
2. Fellowship
3. Diversity
4. Integrity
5. Leadership
Congratulations newly elected Rotary international president John Kenny!!

First team meeting, October 19 - Leif's house

At our first meeting, Tim Kudalis, our District 5950 GSE chair, and Mary Daniels, the GSE team leader for the team which went to Finland in June, 2008, joined us. They reviewed the GSE purpose, rules and expectations along with giving us some trip tips and suggestions.
I prepared the blue, 3-ring India binders with information on Rotary, the GSE program, a map of India, etc.
Each of us will have eight different homestays with local Rotarian families from various Rotary clubs during our stay in southern India.
MN bound for Bengaluru . . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

GSE team leader, 4 team members & one alternate

In October, I was selected as the Rotary GSE team leader. We will spend one month in the Bangalore area located in the state of Karnataka in south India. My Rotary GSE team met at my house on Sunday, October 19, for the first meeting and group picture.

In picture from left: Adrienne, Leif Hagen, Jae Wiese, Heidi Schmidt, Joanie Cunningham and Mike Blommel.

Jae Wiese works as a Dakota County probation officer, Joanie Cunningham works as an IT consultant for Target Corporation, Heidi Schmidt works as an executive assistant for a real estate development company, Adrienne works as a development person for "The Cedar" and Michael Blommel works as an IT consultant for an international software company.

What is Rotary International's GSE?

So, what is GSE? Group study exchange started in 1965 and is a signature program of Rotary International. It is a unique social, cultural and vocational "exchange" between the 1.2 million Rotarians in Rotary's 532 districts in 200 plus countries worldwide. To date, nearly 60,000 people have participated in GSE around the globe!
First, it's a district-to-district pairing. Incoming District Governors develop relationships with each other and agree to host an exchange.
Second, each GSE team is led by a Rotarian who competes for the honor. Each GSE team is comprised of four non-Rotarians, young professionals or business persons between the ages of 25 and 40.
Third, travel expenses are paid by Rotary International and the District. Rotarians in the host district provide meals, lodging, and group travel within their district. GSE is a first-hand immersion experience of the host country's culture, vocations, traditions, etc. C'est formidable!