Since we do not have a car here, our primary mode of transportation has been the Auto Rickshaw.The Auto Rickshaw is to Bangalore and the Yellow Taxi is to New York City. The are everywhere. “Riding in a Rickshaw is like a colorful, chaotic dance” says my daughter. Actually obtaining a ride itself can be a dance. I’ve learned to wave away Rickshaws that don’t have a fare meter, as you end up arguing/haggling over the price for a long time.
On the other hand, some drivers also wave me away. If they don’t know where I am going, or don’t think they can get a fare back, they basically just drive away. I have approached as many as four Rickshaws before we both agree to ride together. Unlike cabbies in New York, the drivers here never talk to you. The most anyone has said to me was to ask where we are from. I’ve found most don’t speak English, so communication is mostly by pointing and grunting the desired location. “Benson Town, Miller Road,” I say.
Once we embark we are in for a ride. It’s thrilling to be in an open cab, dashing about like a motorcycle, the wind blowing through your hair. Everywhere you look there is something to gape at, a cow wondering on the side of the road, funny little stores, women wearing black burkas or what have you.
The cars, motorcycles and buses here all dart around each other, horns blowing. They get amazingly close to each other, causing me to breath a silent prayer for protection every time we ride. Since most of the vehicles are small, there is no real point to staying in the lane. They do, however observe the traffic lights, and like the English, drive on the left side of the road.
Another benefit to the Auto Rickshaw is the price. We can get most places for under $2. We have used a driving service, and hope to get a regular driver, but so far, for the true authentic Indian experience it the Auto Rickshaw for us!
Our internet was down for several days, so I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog. But I’m baaaack. I have loads to share about all that has been happening here.
I’m definitely in the throes of culture shock. My psyche just longs for sameness. Everything is different here. EVERYTHING. It is such an adjustment. At the same time, doors are opening up for new friendships, time with family is precious and the sights and sounds of India are fascinating.
Accomplishing taskstakes much longer here. God is definitely teaching me patience. The book of James says “Let patience have her work” and I’ve pictured this big boulder woman rubbing up against me. No use fighting the huge rock blocking the way. Let it be. Definitely lots of life lesson can be learned by just letting things be. I will be posting more now that I’m back online, so keep checking back.
This picture is of me and a San Jose friend, who happened to be in town for a few days. Happy me.
Monday June 11th, 2012
Ethan and I put the final touches on our packing, wished our hosted good-bye and drove to the airport. Our first flight was to Houston, TX. It was a short flight, 1.5 hrs but I had a seat open next to me (something I had prayed for) which enabled me to stretch out some. Due to my health issues, it is difficult for me to sit up for more than 2 hours. My whole body starts to ache. Needless to say, traveling for 18+ hours felt daunting.
The second leg of the trip was the most challenging. We rode for nine hours to Frankfurt, Germany and the plane was completely full. My seat mate slept for hours, encroaching on my space. In order to survive, I got out of my seat and sat on the floor in the back of the plane. Playing worship tunes on my iPod helped a LOT.
As Ethan and I made our way to our next boarding gate, he remarked, “Hey Mom, we’re in GERMANY.” I laughed. It felt like we were just in some random “in between” airport to me. I stretched out on a bench until it was time to board the plane. Ethan exchanged some dollars for Euros and purchased some food and a bottle of water for me. We enjoyed seeing the foreign currency.
As people boarded the plane, I prayed no one would sit next to me. When they announced “boarding complete” I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. Praise the Lord, no one sat next to me! In no time at all, Ethan fell asleep and proceeded to sleep for most of the trip. Despite curling up on the two seats, sleep evaded me. I read Soul Saver, written by a friend of mine, Dineen Miller, listened to music and podcasts. One sermon, out of Elevation Church, was about Waiting. Perfect message to listen to while literally waiting. 🙂
We arrived in Bangalore, India at midnight, local time. Jor was there to meet us with 2 taxis to carry all our suitcases. How happy we were to see each other! Despite my exhaustion I marveled at all the new sights and sounds on the drive. We made it to India!
Sunday June 10th 2012
I heard a song on Pandora, called Only to be Yours by Meredith Andrews. I bought it on iTunes and listened to it, over and over. I felt challenged to surrender to the Lord on a deeper level and felt something inside me shift.
In the evening, Lisa invited some people over to worship. People brought bongos, guitars and other instruments. It was a cross between a jam session and worship time. Lisa learned, “Only to be Yours” and we sang it. 🙂 A good time was had by all.
After that I packed up my suitcases, steeling myself for the BIG day ahead of me.
Day 5. Today, Friday June 7th, I had to make a drop off at the tournament early in the morning, but CRASHED for the rest of the day. When I have a big day, like yesterday, I typically will spend the entire next day in bed. I usually don’t run out of ways to spend the time. I almost always start my day with devotions, reading the bible, listening to worship music and praying. Then I often talk with my friend Betty over Instant Messaging. I met Betty online through Homeschool Mom’s with a Chronic illness, a message board hosted by Rest Ministries. If you know someone with a chronic illness, this is a great place to find support.
I worked on this blog, watched Hunt for Red October over Netflix streaming and chatted with my family over IM. Lisa made beef broccoli, she is constantly spoiling us with great food.
Since there isn’t much to say today, I’ll leave you with a picture of the road we take to the tournament each day. I liked the contrast of the black road on one side and the pinkish one on the other. We don’t have pink roads in San Jose.
Today, Lisa took us to the Garden of the Gods, these beautiful outcroppings of red rocks, here in town. Ethan and a friend raced ahead of us while Lisa and I meandered, talked and took photos. After walking around for awhile I started to feel a bit dizzy and out of breath – my first indication of altitude sickness. Sitting and drinking water restored me.
The second picture is me with my host Lisa. We had a great time together!
After the Garden of the Gods, we took Ethan and his friend back to the tournament and then I returned home to rest. Ethan attended the awards ceremony in the evening. One of our teams, Rose/Lutz, won the whole Team Policy Debate tournament. Go Clash! I met everyone at the restaurant for the after-party. We took over the whole California Pizza Kitchen. We said our good-byes to our Speech and Debate friends and came home around 12:30 AM.
On Day 4 of our trip I dropped Ethan off and when I came home, Lisa (our host) had moved all my stuff into her son’s bedroom. I crashed for my rrt (requisite rest time) feeling loved, despite the upheaval of the previous night.
In the afternoon I judged a round of Lincoln Douglas Debate and then went out to dinner at Panera Bread with friends. I had never been there before and I know one thing, I plan to go back. I’ve seen salads go down hill at some restaurants, so I was delighted to have a crisp, fresh Cobb salad with high quality grilled chicken breast. Also, since I eat not only gluten-free but sugar-free, I rejoiced that they served green tea with acai berry, unsweetened. I added my packet of Stevia and YUM.
After dinner we attended a social for NITOC (Natioinal Invitational Tournament of Champions), held at a local high school. Approximately 1600 people either danced to a DJ, snacked on nachos or rootbeer floats, or played games. I took picutres, chatted with parents and got out and danced a number. I enjoyed watching all the kids dance and have a good time. I feel so blessed for Ethan to be around so many wholesome families. At the end of the night, they annouced the breaks for the next day, meaning which kids would “break” into the next rounds. By that time my body ached and I wanted to go home ASAP. But I had to wait around, for various reasons, prompting me to recite “love is patient, love is kind…it is not self seeking.” We made it home after 11:00 pm and I crashed.