Friday, July 30, 2010

final entry, see you later!

Here I sit, next to a stuffed suitcase. Intoxicated, but sober enough to catch my spelling mistakes and probably not drunk enough to deal with the fact that this is my last night here in Bangalore.

I am rather disappointed in myself for not having done a better job of updating this blog. I know that some, maybe many, friends out there were counting on entries and stories and pictures galore. I am sorry to have let you down. The possibly good news is that I am thankful for all y'all's positive feedback and I am determined to blog as much as ever once I get home and maybe get some free time... maybe.

I've heard many times that ThoughtWorks can become your life. And I always refused to believe it. I had my own life, my own friends, my own direction, my own ambitions. It's been six weeks since I've stubbornly and skeptically boarded a plane, confident that I could handle whatever ThoughtWorks threw at me. And now, even I know I am still Rose Fan, my own person, ThoughtWorks has become a part of me too. TWU has confirmed my suspicions that being a "ThoughtWorker" is different from being an "Accenturer" or an "IBMer" because ThoughtWorks is a culture, a movement, an initiative towards something that is beyond just technology or Agile or consulting, something greater and more important to us as a society. I've never been around so many different people who've all been so passionate and so accepting and so different - it's quite wonderful. I think about all those conversations I had about omg should I become a paralegal or a business analyst for this crazy company just a few months ago, and now I finally, finally know I made the right decision.

These past six weeks have also taught me a lot about others - maybe a little too much, but these things are important to understand. It's also taught me a lot about myself. What I'm good at, what I'm not. What I should strive towards and be grateful for. What is decency, what is motivation, what is humility and acceptance.

The Angels Orphanage website is now live. We still have to fix a bunch of CSS and content details, but the gist of it is there:

I'm so excited to come home. And I am deeply sad to leave. It's been a wonderful experience here, one that I will never forget in my years to come.

Thanks for reading this blog. If you'd like to know the URL to my other one, just ask.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Just spent about an hour writing what was probably the greatest entry known to mankind about last weekend's Delhi/Agra trip. Then my laptop freaaaaaked out and in the process deleted all of my careful verbal handiwork.

It's 3:02 AM. I am going to sleep.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Angels Orphanage

In addition to training to project simulation, some ThoughtWorks University-ers have been volunteering our time on a side project for an orphanage named Angels Orphanage. We're building a website for the orphanage using a programming language called Ruby on Rails, which apparently is much less painful than Java and the Spring platform which we've been using for our project simulation. I wish I could explain more, but as a BA that's about all I can say about the technical side of things without making stuff up.

We'd been working on the site for a few weeks before we got the chance this past Monday evening to actually pay a visit to the orphanage and meet the folks for whom we were building the website. Although I spent most of my time interviewing and gathering information for the website from Angels Orphanages' primary caretaker, a lovely woman named Sabina, I was lucky enough to spend some time in the company of the children as well.

When we first walked in, about 60 or so children, most of whom were very young, were sitting in neat rows on the ground. They were quiet and peering at us with big curious eyes, but you could tell they were an excited bunch to begin with...what kind of children aren't? My suspicions were confirmed as soon as we started introducing ourselves and playing with the orphans. They were an incredibly joyous group of kids. Everything we did, from teaching them fist bumps to dancing and singing to taking pictures was met by excited giggles and eager hands. The girls especially loved taking pictures on my camera - not of themselves, but rather of each other and of me, which was both amusing and puzzling.

I loved my trip to Angels Orphanage. Seeing the children's faces really made me more motivated than ever to build a great website for them, one that will bring as much value to them as possible. And on a personal level, hanging out with in such a happy, unconditionally loving environment - even if it was just for a few hours - really instilled a sense of gratitude in me for all the things I have been blessed with. 

I learned that it costs 500 rupees to support a child for a month. That covers his or her tuition, food, clothing, medical needs, everything. 500 rupees translates to roughly $11 USD. It's how much I will probably pay for my dinner tonight, which really puts things into perspective.

Although Angels Orphanage cannot accept donations in anything other than rupees at the moment, it is possible to send money through ThoughtWorks. If you are interested, please let me know and I'll set up contact information. I'll also post a link to the website as soon as we deploy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mascal Madness

I've just gotten settled back into my room from a glorious (hot hot hot ridiculous hot) weekend spent in Agra and Delhi. It's weird trying to recollect and compose my thoughts from Mascal when I've just come from seeing the Taj Mahal, but I suppose that's what I get for seriously slacking on the updates - my apologies. 

And now, onwards!

Mascal Bangalore. Google it and most of what you'll get are blogs from other TWUers, many of whom talk about how most of their Google searches return other TWU blogs (so meta! so crazy). It's hard to really describe...Mascal's definitely not a city or a town and I'm hesitant to even call it a village because I am pretty sure I could count the number of "villagers" I saw on my fingers and my toes. For all intents and purposes, Mascal is a remote and astonishingly beautiful campsite where TWU XVII spent what we all agree was one of the best weekends here so far in India.

Our trip got off to somewhat of a ridiculous start. For some reason unbeknownst to anyone on the face of this planet, we decided to meet in front of our B1 office at 5:50 AM. Well, 5:50 AM rolled on by, and I was the only one at our meeting place, wondering if this was somebody's idea of a cruel, cruel joke. Turns out everyone else just sucked at getting up and after an hour and a half of mass confusion/calling/cracker amassing, we managed to sort things out and get on our buses.

The ride there was all sorts of epic. Although Mascal is only about 45 kilometers outside of Bangalore, we probably spent a good third of our ride being thrown about an epileptic bus as slowly around us the roads turned into dirt paths, the scenery grew increasingly Lord of the Rings-esque, and the fumes of fresh fiery cowpie seeped into our hair, clothes, and souls. We got dropped off at the top of a mountain and started making the trek through plots of land and dirt paths:


We eventually reached our destination by the lake. Honestly, the view is probably worth coming out there for in the first place - I'd never been anywhere that was so purely remote and breathtakingly beautiful. My pictures simply don't do any justice:

Above: Mordor

After a quick lunch, we split up into teams and began our outdoorsy adventures! First up: raft-building and navigation!

The construction was the easy part - we basically made a triangle out of our tires and strung it together within a wooden frame. Rowing, however, was a different story. It probably took us an hour and a half to get to where we needed to, and at times it was hard to tell if we were even making progress, the going was that slow. We tried everything - singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart", synchronizing our oars, whispering prayers to various deities (O K, so that was just me) until we gave up and about half of us slid into the water and started propelling with our legs from behind the raft. This worked well and served as a great workout (maybe a little too great, considering how sore I was the next day).

Next up was rappelling! Also known as being tied to a rock and dangled off the side of a cliff with nothing holding you except a skinny Indian man and a whole lotta faith!

 Above: Toby (from England!) and me, waiting our turn and drying off from our raft-propelling gig.

I admit I was pretty nervous at first, but it wasn't all that bad! The only unnerving part came at about the middle of the descent, where the angle of the rock made it impossible to keep my feet attached to the wall and I had to lower myself from midair to the ground. The whole "trip" probably took about five minutes.

After a stillwater kayak paddle across the river (you have no idea how much I appreciated the elegant sleek buoyancy of a kayak after our rafting experience...), we hiked back to our campsite for lunch, followed by some team games and swimming/relaxing in the afternoon. The rain started at about 5 and didn't let up for most of the night, so about half of the group went back home and the remaining half ducked under our tents and settled in for a relatively ridiculous night of Old Monkey Mafia, singing around the "campfire", and exciting adventures out in the rain, on my part.

I woke up bright and early the next morning, brushed my teeth in the great outdoors (a very cool experience, try it sometime), and went out for an early-morning kayak trip with a friend. There are some things that are so "duh" amazing that they don't warrant a description, and kayaking at 7 in the morning in the middle of a beautiful lake in nowheretown, rural India is definitely one of them. That was probably my favorite part of the entire trip.

The only thing I haven't missed about Mascal are the bathrooms, which were basically tents propped up over holes. There's something oddly empowering and comforting about ditching the comforts of modern plumbing and doing your thing in the great outdoors. But one night of bonding with Mother Nature is good enough for me, I think.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Turn around...

We've only just completed three of project sim at our B2 office, and I already feel like I've been there forever (in a good way!) Here's a typical day, for all you folks at home who've been pesteringImeanasking me.

We kick off the day by getting on a bus that comes right outside the B1 office/our apartment complex at 8:15 in the morning. The bus ride takes about 15 or 20 minutes, during which time I always make sure to count the number of cows I see on the streets. Tuesday was 6, Wednesday 3, and today I only saw one!

Above: View from our TWU party bus, it's relatively exciting.

Side note: O K, I always knew cows were considered sacred in India, and I'd heard distant rumors and stories about how I'd see many of them here before I came here. But I did not expect cows to hang out in highways or roam around town as they please or sit in the middle of intersections and watch cars and motorcyclists maneuver around them for twenty minutes. I am starting to feel like I am in some sort of alternate crazy Katamari Damancy world, seeing cows just appear everywhere like it's no big deal.

When we arrive at the B2 office, we grab breakfast on the partially-finished, ridiculously-red rooftop of the building. I've settled into a breakfast routine of "masala" omelet (onions, tomatoes, s&p, SPICY chile, yum!) and a PB&J sandwich.

After breakfast, we usually do a group stand-up where we go over what we did yesterday, what our plans are for the day, and discuss any concerns or issues that are relevant to us as a team. The rest of the day is spent doing "BA" things - mainly supporting developers, continuing to gather requirements, and generally staying on top/ahead of schedule for iterations. Although I enjoy what I'm doing, I'm also having to adjust to the lack of structure here during project sim - whereas our first week (and even our second, to some extent) were conveniently blocked into neat 90-minute sessions of this or that, now the only concrete item on our "schedule" is the application we need to deliver for R1. It's quite unnerving, not having that sort of set-in-stone schedule I've been used to following for as long as I can remember.

Our days end around 6:30 (we're staying later than usual to make up for the missed day on Monday, which means full speed ahead for this weekend's camping trip, woohoo!), when we do a group wrap-up (similar to the morning's stand up) and then board the bus again, all invariably spent from all our successes and frustrations and conversations throughout the day. The days really are draining. Not just mentally, but physically as well. By the time I'm on the 45-minute bus ride home (same distance as the 15-minute ride in the morning...) some days I can barely muster up the energy to put on a mixtape, open a window, and stare outside...

Above: motorcyclists in traffic, picture taken from the bus on the way home

Traffic here is incredibly frustrating. It's not uncommon to be stuck at one intersection for 10 minutes. And if that wasn't crazy enough, the entire time other drivers are honking at you, cows are amblin' by causing trouble for everyone, and TWUers are belting out "Total Eclipse of the Heart" from the back of the bus like our lives depend on it. 

It's 11:37.. I'm bent on getting eight hours of shut-eye, so I'm going to end here and try to squeeze in an update before camping on Saturday. Much love.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Seven Star Hotel?!

Above: the view over breakfast.

This morning, I trekked out to Leela Palace with a couple of TWUers in search of food. Well, we got food, and then some!

I'd been to Leela once before, but it'd been dark and we'd only gone downstairs to the club. I remember not being too impressed by this so-called "seven star" hotel at the time. The service was great and the club was nice enough, probably on par with some of the ones you'd see in downtown Chicago, but it wasn't anything to call home about (and the tequila shots were too salty, bleh).

This time though, we went on a nice morning, and oh, my god. I'll let the photos speak for themselves:

It reminded me of a Vegas hotel, but whereas Vegas hotels are basically flashy, crowd-pleasing mock-ups of nice places that exist elsewhere, Leela seemed a lot older and quieter. At one point during lunch on the patio, my coworker Molly thought she'd seen a peacock in the garden, but it turned out to be a cleaning lady's sari, lol. (But honestly it wouldn't have been surprising if a peacock (or a unicorn...) had appeared, this hotel was that ridiculous.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pecha Kucha, plain white Ts, and pirated goodness.

Above: Patriotic Chi-town TWUers celebrating Fourth of July in front of our office. 1 is for America! 2 is for...fob.

Last week, one of our trainers spoke to us about a form of presentation called Pecha Kucha ("peh-cha koo-cha"), which means "the art of conversation" in Japanese. A Pecha Kucha presentation is focused on a relatively narrow subject and consists of 20 slides, displayed for 20 seconds each (for a total presentation time of slightly under seven minutes). We are encouraged to interact with our audience, use our body language, and choose whatever topic we feel most passionate in order to create the most insightful, informative, and concise presentations that we can.

All this sounded pretty cool, or at least I thought it did as I put the sticker with my name on it for week two - a safe enough buffer to have time to brainstorm & prepare, but not so late in the game that I'd run into the chance of someone else using my subject. But then fate (or a fan) screwed me over and my sticker got knocked on the the time someone found it, all the slots except for week 1 ones were taken...of course.


Today, I went out onto 100 Foot Road in search of a few plain t-shirts to replace the ones I'd ruined in the wash (a long, unnecessary story). I'd seen Levi's, Lee, and United Colors of Benetton stores along 100 Ft Rd many times before, so I figured I'd easily be able to find just a plain white T or two, but as it turned out, not a single one of them carried a plain shirt. Everything was sparkled or printed or said "If you think money doesn't matter, you obviously don't shop." The closest thing I could find was a medium-sized (that's another thing, sometimes the clothes will just have one size and customers have to deal) turquoise tank-kinda-thing at Benetton which cost roughly $35 I left empty-handed and dejected and ranting the whole way back to my Brazilian friend about how the U.S. practically makes an art out of crafting the perfect plain t-shirt (American Apparel, anyone?) and about how Levi's sets false expectations with its white-tee clad models on their billboards.


Just now, a bunch of us ordered pizza and watched "The A-Team" at the office. Terrible movie - I fell asleep despite all the explosions and "plot twists" and closeups of Jessica Biel's lips. We may or may not have also purchased what may or may not be a completely illegal and pirated copy of Twilight: Eclipse.

Above: teehee
We watched the first 5-ish minutes of it just to see if it would work/if it was actually Eclipse. The opening credits were for some grisly Michael Bay movie, but then I recognized that the first scene was Eclipse...weird. Anyway, can't wait to kick back and watch this, although I need to find someone who appreciates the stupid acting/bad script with me, it's no fun watching bad movies by yourself.


And just for good measure, here's yet another Old Airport Road crossing video, I think it's slightly more exciting than the first one.

Too tired to string this post together, so I'm going to leave it as is in its completely unconnected manner! To quote Reginald, I don't play by your rules, society!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What a week!

Apologies for the lull in updates!

Our first week here in Bangalore felt pretty much like a vacation, but this week we made like Mulan and got down to some serious business...analysis. I'm fairly sure I'm not allowed to disclose our actual project at length, but what I can say is that we are expected to deliver a functioning application by the end of our four weeks of project sim, and that the pressure is definitely on...! *cue nervous laughter*

Work aside, it was still a fun week. Checked out a few new restaurants like Mainland China and Herbs & Spices (where we watched the Brazil vs Holland game), went back to Medici to fulfill my steak craving, enjoyed a rather rowdy TWU dinner/pub quiz on Wednesday, and continued with the delightful process of getting to know my fellow TWUers better and better each day.

This weekend, TWU XVII was supposed to go on an overnight camping trip. When I first heard about it I admit I wasn't exactly thrilled - sleeping in a tent when I can barely get in 1 REM cycle in a bed? Being exposed to the great outdoors just as I'm recovering from the latest blitz attack of mosquito bites? No Wi-Fi/showers/late night cookie-eating festivals in the kitchen? Nothxbai! It took me a few days to get off my high horse and shake the focus off all these relatively trivial discomforts (the cookie thing took a while to overcome), but by the time I became infected by TWUers' contagious excitement about s'mores and water games and sleeping under the stars!!...the trip was postponed, lol. To next weekend.

Then, Friday (yesterday) afternoon, we got an e-mailing telling us that a nationwide political strike is causing all offices across India to shut down this coming Monday, and that as a result, TWers are expected to work on Saturday. My first thought: awesome, strike/day off! My second thought: shoot, it's not actually a day off. In fact, it's a day on during the one day we need to have a day off so we can go camping...d'oh! Nobody really knows what the plan is at the moment...I'll keep you guys posted on how this one plays out. Fingers crossed for s'mores!

We're going to Commercial Street (for real this time) today. I'm both pumped and a bit apprehensive about going back there... pumped for all the cool wares & gifts I hope to buy, apprehensive about whether or not I can handle the massive throngs of staring, yelling, beckoning vendors. I Google'd "haggling tips in India" and apparently the best way of getting the price you want is by having a game face of sorts and always pretending you're marginally indifferent/disinterested in the item, which gives you the upper hand. Unfortunately, I don't have a game face. Or if I do, it's just a nervous smile exposing a piece of spinach caught in my teeth. I'll definitely take pictures and share what I do buy, but here's to hoping that I don't get ripped off too much...

P.S. If the time/date seem weird, it's because I just changed account settings to India time, which is 9.5 (??) hours ahead of central time. (Don't worry, this blog hasn't become a time-warp zone. You are not in the future...only I am!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This and that

Above: the only picture I took today...just a random cool-lookin house near the Corner House ice cream shoppe on 12 and Main, where our team treated ourselves after a long, toilsome day...

Today was our first day of splitting up into our roles (jobs, technically!) and starting to work on our project simulation task. We started off the morning with a lot of brainstorming and productive conversation, but I felt like the deeper we delved into the task at hand, the more anxious and less productive we became as a team. There were just so many unknowns and we only had a handful of tools at our disposal to make sense of a huge project. It was definitely a frustrating day and for the first time, I find myself dreading going back to our conference room a bit...

On a completely different note, I have been trying out all combinations of sleep-retaining tactics. Any Arrested Development fans out there who remember the prison scene with Kitty and Gob should know what I'm talking about ("Glasses on! Hair down! Oh god...lights off!"). Last night I tried fan on, eyemask on. Went to bed at 1, woke up at 6. The previous night, AC on, eyemask off. 6 hours of shut-eye. Tonight, I'm going to try fan on, earplugs in. I'm usually kind of nervous about sleeping with earplugs for fear of missing my alarm but it's honestly been so long since I've actually woken to my alarm that I stopped caring.

Another thing here kind of sucks right now: laundry. I spent pretty much half of Sunday morning grappling with our apartment's washing machine. Every time I pressed down on a button, it would crack under my fingertip and sometimes the pieces would just fall into a hole. It. Was. Awful. I managed to get it done eventually after making many a call and soliciting the help of my gracious roommmate, but it was such an ordeal that I am considering forking over the 35 rupees/garment to have everything done by maid service next time...

 Above: My Sunday morning
At one point, I managed to stain one of my favorite white shirts somehow with weird red splotches. I was pretty upset, but then I ran downstairs to the little market in our basement and bought some bleach and was able to remove it. A small victory, huzzah!

I also took an inventory of the clothes I brought, and this is what it came out to:

The good news is, this is conducive to avoiding laundry by shopping a lot...

Another silly: while in Mysore, after touring the epic awesome-encrusted palace, my friend Sam and I both needed to go to the bathroom, so we left the perimeter of the park and paid three rupees each to use the "nice" bathroom. Afterward, we wandered around the chaotic market square, where vendors packed all sorts of elaborate bobbles and gizmos and diamond sparkle beauteous sandals into their stalls and yelled at us to buy their goods ("please, master!"). I stopped once and only once to look at a chess set, but it wasn't really anything special so I told the vendor it wasn't what I was looking for and walked away. About ten minutes later, we left the square and headed to the parking lot, when we heard someone yelling behind us...I turned around and saw chess guy running after us, waving a couple of travel chess sets in his hands and shouting at us to buy them.

"Please! Excuse me! Just look! 300 rupees!"
"No thanks." (We keep walking)
"Please! It is good for travel! Just for people like you miss, travelers!"
"No." (Still walking. By this time I am ignoring him completely, and Sam is politely declining as the man nudges him with the chess set)

This continued for a few minutes until he stopped following us and just yelled at us from afar ("200 rupees!") until we couldn't hear him any longer :/ I think I felt equally amused, harassed, and well, kind of bad for the guy. Can't say he didn't try.

And, just to bring some closure to this completely non-sequitur post, here's some footage taken on our party bus. I filmed the rickshaw ride we went on today but am way too lazy to deal with YouTube's antics right now, perhaps that will be a task for tomorrow.

Most random post ever, but I don't mind, I don't mind.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Above: entrance to a temple at Mysore Palace.

So a friend and fellow TWUer, Ankit, talked me into signing up for the Mysore trip, and boy am I glad he did.

According to Wikipedia, Mysore is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka and serves as a cultural and historical centerpiece of India. It's located about 90 miles away from Bangalore, so we hired a driver and took the Indian equivalent of a party bus to get there...

About two hours into the first leg of our trip, we stopped at "GRS Fantasy Park", a small area off the side of the main road, for breakfast under some pavillions. I wasn't feeling particularly well so I didn't eat much, but the park was really lovely and we even spotted a couple of monkeys who seemed to have honed their food-snatching skills...

(I lol'ed so hard at that sign.)

Next, we saw Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace, which is actually still in Bangalore. Tipu Sultan, aka the "Tiger of Mysore", was the de factor ruler of the Mysore Kingdom during the late 1700's. He fought against the British, erected all sorts of churches and establishments, and basically seemed like he was a BAMF.

Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any pictures or videos inside the actual palace. Most of the walls (protected from the sunlight by these green bamboo sheets) were covered with huge, intricate murals depicting battles against the British, all with Tipu Sultan riding a giant white horse and looking like a baller among his faithful troops.

We stopped for lunch at another Royal Orchid hotel, where I had the best vanilla ice cream of my life, before hopping back into the party bus with our tour guide and driving up a mountain to get an incredible view of the city:

We also stopped and saw another Nandi sculpture...if I remember correctly, this is the second largest one in India (the one in Bangalore was fourth-largest). Instead of being "rinsed" with water, this Nandi was covered with tributary gifts in the form of honeysuckle chains, ornate beads, and silver coins.

By the time we got to the Mysore palace, I was already thoroughly exhausted. Again, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the palace, but I don't know that any would really do it justice anyway. Every inch of every panel of every wall of every enormous room was covered in gold or silver or wood of some sort, imported from all over the world and painstakingly carved, arranged, or painted in an overwhelmingly beautiful way. I found a few pictures from Google Images to give you an idea of what it was like in there...

...yeah. I started to feel like I was in a dream sequence, walking through each of these ridiculous rooms. And if that's not extravagant enough, the outside of the palace is actually covered with 100K lightbulbs that light up on special evenings. We didn't get a chance to see them being lit up, but you can imagine how glorious it must be... (or you can Google Image Mysore Palace)

We got back to the Diamond District at around 10 PM, thanks to traffic, and then a friend and I embarked on an epic journey in search of KFC. Indian food is wonderful, but it can seriously overload your tongue/taste sensors, and fried chicken was the perfect compliment to the US/Ghana game.

Today will be devoted to laundry and work, but hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in a trip out to Commercial Street to buy some scarves/gifts/leggings...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Two posts in one

Training sessions are always exhausting, but yesterday's in particular was mentally draining. We kicked off the morning with the Lego game, which I'd played before as a part of the interview process for ThoughtWorks. I'd enjoyed it then, so I came into the game with a pretty laid back attitude, confident that our team would do well because we had another TWUer who'd played before as well. Our first iteration went smoothly - we had been appropriately conservative with our sign-ups and were the only team that had all our stories approved by our "client" - and at that point, I was arbitrarily (RPS) assigned the role of Project Manager within our team in addition to being the only BA.

Shit metaphorically hit the fan during the second iteration. We signed up for a lot of stories. In retrospect, it was still feasible, but we didn't address the issue of how we would compile it all together in the last minute and I became very nervous. The second round began, and suddenly, questions were being solely at me instead of to the client - questions about decisions that we should've all been making together or asking the client. It didn't help that we were all trying to attach our individual pieces onto the Lego "torso" and that our creation kept falling apart while all this was happening. In fact, I think that's what elevated my panic the most - that in the midst of trying to meet the demands and answer the questions of my frenzied teammates, the very thing we were creating was literally disassembling before our eyes and at our fingertips.

After a pretty demoralizing retrospective, we started on round 3. We set some rules, like the fact that only one pair of hands was allowed on the creation at any point, and that we needed to engage the client and ask her questions/put pressure on her to make some of the decisions instead of guessing by ourselves/making me decide. We pulled through in the end and met all our stories, but I was pretty surprised and a little disappointed in myself for having basically freaked out when things didn't go right and in turn, freaking others on my team out as well. I received some very helpful feedback and definitely walked away from that session with a lot of new insight, though, which I suppose is the moral of the story here - you don't know how well you work under pressure and stress with others until you're attaching the sixth Lego leg of your creation with 8 seconds left on the clock...

I definitely needed a drink after all that, so that evening we headed out to Barbecue Nation, a relatively well-known buffet-style restaurant chain that features live grilling right at each table. Check out this video of us crossing Old Airport Road, this is how we get around town and it's always terribly exciting/frightening:

And some pictures a Barbecue Nation:

Overall, the restaurant was great. My Pina Colada was a little too heavy/frothy to go well with all the meats, which was a shame, but the delicious mud pie dessert more than made up for it. Remember that scene in Matilda where the misbehaved boy has to eat an entire delicious gooey chocolate cake? I started to feel a bit like him about halfway through this cake, it was that intense, man.

So yeah, that was all yesterday's adventuring. I spent tonight at the office eating chicken biryani and catching up on pre-course work with a few fellow TWUers. It's weird/awesome, you'd think we'd all get sick of each other from training, but we all manage to congregate at night and continue to enjoy each other's company.

The outside (sort of) part of our Bangalore office, where we enjoyed our meal.

This came in an aluminum foil-esque bag and weighed approximately three pounds. I got through maybe two cups of it before my stomach could take no more...but it was thoroughly delicious.

Duda (from Brazil) and Toby (from England...I call him "To-bay!") working on assembling a Ruby discussion for tomorrow's open space.

There's a Saturday trip out to Mysore coming up, and part of me wants to go, but another part of me just wants to stay in and sleep and do laundry and write e-mails and get over this nasty cough. Hope you enjoyed this XXL entry!