It’s India. Deal with it.
Good morning from Bangalore! We’ve recently realized that we have less than a month left here (what?!), and in honor of that halfway mark have decided to do our best to send out another update.
The last time we posted was about a week in, and our feelings then were very different than they are now. We tried to stay positive that first week but honestly, it was rough. It’s not so much the distance as it is that everything is just so different here. The food and the smells and the bathrooms and the gestures…the streets and the schools and the language and the ecosystems. There is so much to be aware of as we tackle our days and also so much we still have yet to learn. And with that, the first week and a half or so was very hard. We did a lot of standing around and awaiting instruction from the teachers. We ate a lot of new things. We met a lot of new people. For Aubrey, the hardest part was figuring out where there was a need, because often times it felt there wasn’t any. After all, Asha Kiran Special Needs School is ranked #1 in Karnataka and #3 in all of India. In many ways, we have much more to learn from them than they do from us. For Sarah, the difficulty was in working with the children. She had a ton of experience in this area coming in, but her techniques were seemingly falling short, and she had a lot to learn about working with the kids in this culture and with these specific and unique needs. That being said, we made it. It was challenging and not without doubt, but we learned how to work well here. Today, it feels like home. We have made relationships with many of the kids, found our places and our own individual niches where we can contribute, and have grown to like, and actually love, Southern Indian food. Our weekday schedule is more regular now, and consists of…
- 6:30 am wake up
- 7:30 am breakfast
- 8:15 am school morning assembly
- 10:15 am tea break with our fellow teachers
- 1:15 pm school gets out; lunch with the hostel kids
- 2:00 pm tutor four pre-school boys
- 3:00 pm rest/break
- 4:00 pm play outside with hostel kids / tea time
- 5:30 pm rest/break
- 7:00 pm devotional (twice a week)
- 7:30 pm dinner
And shortly after dinner and conversation with Prem and Rita (our host “parents”) we are very ready to shower and hit the hay. Our Saturdays tend to vary more, but Sundays consist of church in the morning and sometimes some sort of outing. Our days are full, but in the best possible way, and are often filled with various surprises and changes to the schedule. For instance, we took a day trip to Mysore (where we rode an elephant!), got to take part in the Last Working Day of June, and visited an indoor recreational center with some of the older kids — practicing our hand at “football”.
This week, however, was quite different. Sarah and I boarded a 16 hour train on Tuesday and arrived around 6 am Wednesday morning in Goa! We spent 3 days touring North Goa and enjoying conversation with some of the locals of South Goa–which, by the way, is gorgeous (pictures below). It was an adventure with some of our biggest highs of the trip (meeting locals, walking the beaches, ordering the freshest crab of our lives…) and some of our lowest lows (being harassed for pictures, having our hairbrushes melt from the unreal heat, and ending up on a very strange tour bus…), and it was an experience of a lifetime. That’s what we have honestly found here in India: so many contradicting experiences of love and laughter and kindness, and discomfort and fatigue and frustration. Rita told us about a friend she had stay with her a couple months back, who in times of discomfort would write poems of her feelings and experiences–always ending with the line: It’s India. Deal with it. Needless to say, we have come to steal and copyright this line from said friend. And it has worked beautifully. We are here, in India, and with that comes the highs–and the lows, the flying ants–and the adorable baby pigs, the excruciating humidity–and the melt-in-your-mouth crab. This is India, and this is even more importantly God working both through us and in us. Of that much, we are sure.
We have another week of school coming up here, and then are headed to New Delhi for the weekend with plans to visit the Taj Mahal! Other than that, our weeks should be pretty much school-based from here on out. That means lesson plans, time tables, art classes, and dance parties. And a whole lot of Jesus.
Thank you for keeping up with us, and prayers for the ability and willingness to go even deeper (both with the people and with our faith) are more than appreciated. Sending love from 8,000 miles away!
Auntie Aubrey and Auntie Sarah