This blog is produced by the Shep Family... we post letters and photos that Kyle sends us from time to time...

A resident of Chennai is called a Chennaiite. As of 2001, Chennai city had a population of 4.34 million, while the total metropolitan population was 7.04 million. The estimated metropolitan population in 2006 is 4.5 million.In 2001, the population density in the city was 63,926 per mi, making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The average literacy rate is 80.14%, much higher than the national average of 64.5%. The city has the fourth highest population of slum dwellers among major cities in India, with about 820,000 people (18.6% of its population) living in slum conditions. In 2005, the crime rate in the city was 313.3 per 100,000 people, accounting for 6.2% of all crimes reported in major cities in India. The number of crimes in the city showed a significant increase of 61.8% from 2004.

The majority of the population in Chennai are Tamilians. Tamil is the primary language spoken in Chennai. English is widely spoken especially in business, education and white collar professions.

According to the 2001 census, Hindus constitute about 81.27% of the city's population, and Muslims (9.37%), Christians (7.63%) and Jains (1.05%) are other major religious groups

Chennai is a major centre for music, art and culture in India.[77] The city is known for its classical dance shows and Hindu temples. Every December, Chennai holds a five-week long Music Season celebrating the 1927 opening of the Madras Music Academy

Among Chennai's festivals, Pongal is celebrated over five days in January, is the most important. Almost all major religious festivals such as Deepavali, Eid and Christmas are celebrated in Chennai. Tamil cuisine in Chennai includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Many of the city's restaurants offer light meals or tiffin, which usually include rice-based dishes like pongal, dosa, idli and vadai,


Chennai has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate. The city lies on the thermal equator and is also on the coast, which prevents extreme variation in seasonal temperature. The weather is hot and humid, for most of the year. The hottest part of the year is late May to early June, known locally as Agni Nakshatram ("fire star") or as Kathiri Veyyil,[32] with maximum temperatures around 38–42 °C (100–108 °F). The coolest part of the year is January, with minimum temperatures around 18–20 °C (64–68 °F). The lowest temperature recorded is 15.8 °C (60.4 °F) and highest 45 °C (113 °F). The average annual rainfall is about 51 in. The city gets most of its seasonal rainfall from the north-east monsoon winds, from mid-October to mid-December. Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal sometimes hit the city. The highest annual rainfall recorded is 2,570 mm (101 in) in 2005.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

A few weeks in

Thanks for your email, I was kind of hoping that I would receive more this week. It's weird to think that Michael is leaving now, and that's cool that nonmembers came. I'm excited for him.

It IS nice to teach the restored gospel. The best part is when investigators start the lesson with "Okay, I'll listen to the message but I'm concerned that there are so many churches, how do I know which is the true church?" Easy. Actually, english here isn't that great. For the most part we have to work really hard to find people who know more than Hi, Bye, and How are you? And once we find people with a humble english vocabulary we have to make sure they actually comprehend what we say. It's working out fine though.

So, we had another baptism this sunday. Her name is Shirley and she is the daughter of a convert who has been a member for a few months now. Their family is awesome, and Prashanti (Shirley's mother) has a mother who makes us really good food. So good. Shirley is the first baptism I've gotten that is based wholly on the work of Elder Addagabottu and I, so it's really rewarding. She really is an awesome person, very knowledgeable.

Regarding food, I've been eating LOTS of rice, and lots of spice. I've handled the food really well, and I like a lot of the things, while I hardly dislike anything, although there are some things that I regret eating for the next 15 minutes or so. For breakfast and dinner I mostly eat cereal and raman noodles. Also, I survive mostly on Maaza and biscuits. So, Maaza is this awesome mango drink that I get whenever possible. Remember that Great Britain colonized India, and they left an influence that still affects what sweets are liked now. Biscuits are like a combo of crackers and cookies. I'm addicted. You can get a package of 15 for 10 rupees, so like 70 cookies for $1, I bet Marie is excited right now. Haha.

For Thanksgiving I ate: cereal, some biscuits, toast and jame, and drank Maaza. Very special. I don't know if I told you, but although it's not impossible to get beef, it's uncommon. However, there are some good places to get beef biryani, which is just roast beef and rice. It's good, and comforting to eat sometimes. Which reminds me, I really miss music. I don't know if this is innapropriate, but I'm singing songs that pop into my head (which is every 10 minutes.)

As far as normal day to day, we are keeping very busy with appointments and the members and recent converts are AWESOME at helping us out. Naresh (baptized 1.5 weeks ago, has followed us around and helped us every day. Almost every lesson is with a member present, and their permission to translate English to Telegu is so valuable when a point needs to be made.

This week please:
1. Tell me how much my camera would cost in America.
2. Get Beth to write me an email.
3. Tell the Thompson family (not Matt's) thanks for the letter.
4. Let everyone in the ward know that I'm safe from terrorists, but hardly safe from the traffic here. Anyways, I'll probably make it home alive.

Other things...
Umm, the cost of pants here: 200-300 rupees... so like 5 bucks for a pair of quality dress pants, which are even washable. Tailoring is extremely cheap also. So wow. Shirts are like 100-150, 2 to 3 dollars. Ridiculous much? I may come home with lots of clothes.

I'm still losing weight, I'm two loops down from when I was working at Verizon and it's loose. I'm working out every day and we ride bikes everywhere, so it's been really beneficial for my health. I've done ab workouts every day, and you can start to see lines now. Watch out, I may come home even better looking than when I left (if that's possible.)

That's all I can think of to say. More pictures on the way.

I love you so much, Elder Kyle Shep

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