Thursday, July 29, 2010

India: 22nd Thankful Thursday: Saving Strangers (and Family)

Hmm. That may not be the best title because it could imply that you or I are saving others. This week, "Saving Strangers and Family" refers to others coming to our rescue.

Last Thursday morning, MST, I left India to come home. 77 hours later, I pulled in the SLC airport, after being bumped off two flights in Delhi, being rerouted through London, and staying overnight in Chicago. It was a long journey.

But, I learned just as much, if not more, about myself during those days than I did during six weeks in India. I am grateful. I am also grateful for the people I met during those hours who buoyed me up and helped me get through it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

India: 21st Thankful Thursday: Lessons Learned

Today I leave India to go back home! The past six weeks have been crazy and wonderful, but I'm so grateful and happy that I can leave here on a high/good note.

Some things I'm grateful to have learned:

--I can do hard things.
--I can disassemble my western constructs and try to see the way the gears in the people's heads here work.
--My body is an amazing feat of creation. It mostly adjusted to the heat and humidity, to the point where I think I'll be more uncomfortable in my home's climate.
--It is possible to chew and swallow raw garlic, more particularly seven cloves right after each other. It is also possible that an Indian garlic clove that is a third the size of an American garlic clove can be three times as potent as the latter.
--I can be flexible and adjust plans as needed.
--I can laugh at myself. More particularly because of myself.
--I can live and work with people I've never met before in a foreign environment.
--I can return anger with objectivity. Thank goodness I learned this from Dad before I came here.
--I don't panic easily. Even when a mouse is sniffing my backpack. Even when I open my suitcase and see a mouse bury further down in it. Even when I later open the suitcase outside and tentatively dump everything out expecting to find a dead mouse (I never did find it. Just a bunch of mouse feces.)
--People can choose to be happy wherever they are, in whatever circumstances they are in.
--Beauty can be found anywhere.
--I may not be the one to see the results of what I've done here. But I'm grateful Subhash has said my work has made a difference. I'm grateful to know I've helped lay the groundwork for what he is going to continue building.

THIS WEEK: What lessons have you learned from a particular experience you have had?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

India: 20th Thankful Thursday: Technology and Teammates

We've had on-and-off internet connection the past few days. I didn't bring my computer. I am glad I didn't bring my computer because I've gotten a lot of personal contemplation time. But I've also learned that I need to seize opportunities when people aren't using their computers and ask to use them.

That makes posting here consistently nearly impossible.

I'm grateful for computers because I can communicate so much. I'm grateful for the internet for the same reason. I'm grateful for teammates who allow me to use their stuff.

THIS WEEK: Name a technology you're grateful for, and people who enable you to use them.

India:An Indian Evangelical prayer meeting and Salar Jung Museum Trip 2

My Grandma and Grandpa left on Monday to enter the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC). They will be serving in Germany. My Monday morning I was able to call and talk to them for 15 minutes. It meant so much. They will be gone for 18 months, and I might leave on my mission before they get back. I’m praying for one of my flights to be delayed on my way home so we can cross paths in the Dallas airport. I want to hug them very, very much.
Update 12/9/10: Not only did my flight get delayed, it took 77 hours to get home when originally it was supposed to be 24ish hours.  One of the lessons I learned from that incredibly valuable experience: do not ever pray for flight delays.  

I went to an HIV/AIDs clinic with some teammates. The clinic was started by Dr. S some seven years ago in his home. When they were having 700 people a month go through their living room, he relocated the clinic to an apartment. When they outgrew that, they expanded to the second half of the complex. He is one of the most gentle, caring people I’ve ever met. After a tour, he invited us to their staff prayer meeting, “only 10 to 15 minutes long.”

India: Homesickness, the zoo, and a "Talk, --Not"

The following was written July 11, edited on July 14th.

The past week has been particularly difficult. I think the pollution, noise, and lowish team moral are taking their toll. It is getting harder to truly smile, it's tougher to positively visualize, and I'm thinking more and more about home. I told Mom I keep telling myself I'm going to go camping with my family in woods by a stream, and we can give each other shoulder rubs and head massages.

Mom gave me another positive affirmation to repeat to myself: I can do anything for 10 more days.

And even though I'll be happy to get home, I'm feeling panicky about what I still want to do. I feel like time is slipping through my fingers so fast I'm scrambling to hold onto handfuls. It was a hard realization at church today that it would probably be the last time I would see most of those people.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

India: Pancakes, a strike, paddies and a garden

Monday evening I was put in charge of making pancakes for dinner. If you have never had cinnamon banana pancakes, treat yourself to one, two, or maybe even three. You can use whatever pancake mix you have handy, but add cinnamon (I add so much the batter looks brown, but that's with a "less potent" preground type), and chopped banana (the more the better). They taste so good, and the banana almost melts.

I took my pancake and drizzled it with honey, smeared on some peanut butter, grabbed a chilled Choco Danone milk from the fridge (tastes like liquid chocolate pudding), sat a chair by our back door, and ate while listening to monsoon rain and thunder, feeling whifts of wet hit my feet. I sat still long enough I was able to feel the breezes glide over my arms and face.

Treat yourself to a moment like that. I hope you receive a rainstorm soon. I'll send positive energy your way. :)

India: 19th Thankful Thursday: Dad's driving skills

Today I almost died. Imagine being in an huge bus, pelting down (paved) roads, with the driver gunning the engine to pass every slow[er] poke in his way. At one point, he was trying to pass some rickshaw truck with another truck coming our way, and somehow our bus made it between the two.

My dad is the best driver I've ever ridden with. He gets to places quickly and deliberately. No zooming in and out. He looks ahead and plans ahead. He's aware of other drivers and often anticipates what they do. I'm grateful. I feel safe when he drives.

THIS WEEK: Name a skill someone else possesses that blesses your life.

PS My mom is a good driver too. :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

India: Trains, a wedding, cattle truck, and deviled eggs

Good grief. It's been forever since I last posted. I started writing this post a few days ago. I've been able to take some video with N.'s nifty gadget, and hope she will help me download them on here soon.

Last Friday I got up at 6:15 am, and by 9 am, was riding a train to a village two and a half hours away. It could not have been a more pleasant day to travel. We had cloud cover, the humidity was relatively low, and the air was cool. The train was an experience. I'm pretty sure the brown stuff on the floor next to my left foot should have been in a toilet. Five beggars came: a woman held out a blind man's hand for him, a young girl came down the main aisle doing flips (she got the most money), an old woman whose right foot had a lump the size of a baseball on it, and a man who dragged himself, sitting upright, across the floor. The best part was sitting across from a young muslim man. He was excited to communicate with us, and did so through hand gestures and writing because he was deaf and couldn't speak well. His family was opposite us across the aisle, and his young sister was particularly excited to read our names after we'd written them down.