Monday, May 31

oh dear. oh me, oh my. so much to say.

oh, dear. the liberty team has departed us here at PMI to return to their coffee and workout equipment in the blessed United States of America. I have to admit, i got a little nostalgic seeing them go - i was kind of like one of their team... we got oriented to the culture together, fought jetlag together, ate tons of foooood together (and who doesn't bond over food? i'm a quarter italian, so food is in my blood) went shopping (numerous times!) together, and i really connected with some of the teammates. i genuinely like them very much, and it left a part of my heart a little lonely to watch them walk out of my indian adventure. But i've learned so much from them, and i think the time for bucking up and moving on is approaching. i have one day to revamp myself and my place, and then go by myself (woo-hoo! they trust me!) to the airport to pick up the sisters who are to live with me the remainder of my time here.
oh, me. One thing i learned about myself that i want to watch the next time around (the team from Master's college comes in thursday) is that i'm just so dang lazy! as they arrive, i want to remember to take care of the small stuff for them so they can have the energy learn how to adapt to the culture and what they should be doing and not doing, how they should be eating, and how to deal with the differences in comfort level and behavior that they find here. [same for the sisters... whose names i have been told SO many times but still escape me.]
i feel like i'm really starting to get engrained into this life. i'm beginning to weave myself in as a part of the tapestry, instead of being a droplet of white stain on the rich brown fabric of Delhi. friends, how i do love it here. i know i keep saying it, but i want you to know. i am so happy. i am so blessed. there are moments that i just want homemade guacamole or an oreo, or i just want to wake up and not have to turn on a water pump (or live in fear that i didn't turn it OFF and my power will be shut off upon my evening return), or i just want to lay down on a bed that's at least knee-height off the floor, or i just want to be in a place where every day everything is not covered in a freshly laid layer of dirty dust (dusting at home is just a whole nother concept at this point... it's impressive! every night there is a visible film of DIRT on my mirrror, my glasses case, my hairbrush, anything i've left out), or i would really like not to have to manually dump my sun-warmed shower water over myself, or i just want to not have to remember to shut off the water to the toilet so the tank doesn't overflow onto the floor (flooding. every time.).... but honestly, those moments are fleeting and i don't want to leave. i really want to stay here as long as i possibly can.
oh, my. saw my first cockroach today!! Heather had me buy some cleanerballs to put in my drains to keep the creepycrawlies away, so i haven't seen any yet, but in the stairwell on the way home from the Malakar's tonight, i saw a monster one and got a little tight in the neck muscles and jigglyloose in the spine. ok, WHAT is it about cockroaches that makes them so much grosser than everything? i'm cool with bugs. the ants in my room don't freak me out. spiders of reasonable size i have no problem with. even like worms, no biggie, just walk over them - or - cut them in half so they can have a buddy! but cockroaches, they just give me the google-y-jiibbities. my tongue automatically flies out of my head. my shoulders do the wave. my neck muscles flare like a cobra. but why? they're not abnormally shaped or freakishly crawly or dirty looking, they just look like a long flat pebble that's a shiny rich amber color and happens to have smart long feelers. maybe it's the size that gets me. i dono. in any case, i just walked on by, and thought hey, they don't live in the pinkhouse with me, so hooray for that.

i haven't been using my camera as much recently. i hope to take my next monday (PMI staffers' day off) to wander around Delhi and take a rickshaw to Nandlal, the slum adopted by PMI, to really try and capture the city as much as i can. i think will be a really worthwhile, eye-opening, relaxing and essential day for me to have here... i think i may not feel complete if i leave without pictures! (have i really become that dependent on photography? wow. i'm a lameeee-o. seriously though, i was looking through some of my stuff, and if there's ONE thing i miss about the states, it's my job opportunities as a photographer. i love it, i want to get better and better, and i want. to use. it here. so that's the plan i formed in my brain full of curry, chai and naan.)

i'm excited for a new day. please hope with me that my cold goes away soon, all this phlegm is getting old. (where does it keep coming from, anyway?!!?)
also hope with me, if you would, for opportunity, innovation, and courage as i try to make the most of my experience here with every possible second.

peace, love, and blessings from Delhi.
yours truly,

Sunday, May 30

chai, cricket, and rain from heaven.

yesterday, i learned many things.
first of all, i learned how to make chai (YAY!) i went today to the market to pick up some of the tea for myself so i can continue making it everysingledayofmylife, since i LOVE IT, but alas, he was out. i plan on buying like 24 cartons, so if you want one for a gift just call dibs and i'll come to your place and teach you how to make it... hopefully it works the same way in american pots :)
yesterday after chai was the sports day for the PMI volunteers. how wonderful... we had a great time! the planned tournaments (it seems Indians are quite competitive) were cricket and ping-pong. I figured i'd go out and learn a little cricket... why not? i can handle the heat, and my incoordination (what? my mac corrected my word, but i thought it was uncoordination. crazay.) will give everyone a good laugh. iiii was pretty much right. i can't catch a little yellow tennis ball, i can't bat to save my life, and i throw like a very little girl. For those of you who don't know, cricket is very similar to baseball; only about 800 times more complicated. the short version of the rules is that the batter defends the wickets, and the pitcher tries to hit the wickets. if you bat and your ball gets caught in the air you're out, or if the pitcher hits the wickets with the ball you're out. otherwise, you keep batting and running the two bases until Jesus comes. ::cricket matches can go for days. literally:: also, if you hit the ball past the big tree in the middle of the park you get 6 runs. (this may or may not have been a house rule. ha.) sooo, they had me bowl (pitch) like second out of EVERYONE. it's a little different than just throwing the ball, you have to bounce it once before it gets to the batter, and you HAVE to aim for the wickets, otherwise, all the indians think you don't understand and continue to direct you in how to throw (OH, you mean i'm throwing at that guy with the BAT?!?! NOWWW i get it. see, i was aiming over there to the right on purpose because i thought i was supposed to throw it into the bush. thank you, my ways are mended.) I was pretty intimidated when they put me up to bowl, because i don't like being bad at things, but i've learned to laugh at myself so i went along with it. They actually were pretty impressed, i got a couple of guys out. my team was slapping me on the back and saying how auwwe-sum i was doing (for a girl, anyway.) haha. that was pretty rewarding. i DID blow my cover as an all-star when i batted once and lost the entire game for us, though. HA.
Julie Terrall: still the opposite of athletic.
after all the games and festivities (ping-pong didn't go too badly for me... i lost to a Canadian, but we were neck and neck the whole time! haha) we put on a three and half hour slapstick comedy movie... in Hindi. now, let me just get out in the open that i don't usually like this type of comedy in America to begin with. Anchorman, Dodgeball, Nacho Libre, Zoolander, etc.... all fun to quote, but i just don't find it funny or enjoyable to sit through. Add a language barrier to a movie like that and make it twice as long, and that's how you get this movie called "The Three Idiots". woooo-hoo! i was just about to try and nod off to save myself the long explanations of what was going on from a well-meant Indian when i noticed a commotion - people were streaming up the basement steps of the PMI resource center and peeping out the door, chattering amongst themselves. i waited a moment, then got up myself, as much to get away from the movie as to see what was the matter.
i found out when i got up the stairs... it was raining.
every Indian who had noticed was out in the muddy streets. children were running. women were standing and smiling, faces raised to the heavens. men were dancing in the streets. All were drinking in the cleansing droplets, more than happy to feel the cool, moist touch on their skin.
it has not rained in Delhi since September.
Even in the wet season, i'm told that Delhi receives very little precipitation. every rainfall is a gift, a blessing, a momentary hiatus from the oppressive heat.
how beautiful to see these people in their simplicity; to see the true and unashamed thirst of the land and of the inhabitants.
And what an appropriate metaphor. These people need truth like they need water. they thirst for love divine. the few that find it revel in its extravagance; but there is so little compared to the great dry and dusty need. How i would love to come back to quench this land of thirst.
how i do long to be rain.

Friday, May 28

...and lean not on your own understanding.

i'm sleepy, but i had some cool things on my mind today, and i wanted not to forget them.
One thing i keep coming back to is that living here takes so much Trust. that means that the living is hard, but it's one of the things i keep feeling that i love most about being here. I'm not scared for my life, i'm not worried for my safety (though i am taking EVERY safety precaution necessary and possible, dad! promise!). i just know that i have to walk out on faith. I always wanted to learn to be faith-filled - a term i find more descriptive than 'faithful', which brings to mind only marital relationships... not something i need to worry about at this point in my life - but i've never really HAD to be. This place is a daily test of faith. Do i trust that i will be taken care of? Do i trust that i will have the measure of strength i need for the day? Do i trust that i will not forget where i am and wander off down an Indian square? Do i trust that i won't be eaten by mange-ridden dogs or a rabid camel...? Do i trust that my feet will not shrivel up in their own dusty filth and die dark and horrible flaky deaths??? Yes, friends, and i MUST trust all of these things, otherwise i would not leave my pinkhouse in the morning. but i do trust, i do leave, and i enjoy myself immensely. I have delighted myself in my father, and he seems to have given me the desires of my heart. i can truly say i did not even know what it WAS that my heart desired previous to feeling as satisfied as i have in the past two weeks.

hmm, how good he is. be still and know him. taste, and see.

Thursday, May 27

the slum dog and the million-dollar question.

oh hey, slum dog!
sorry, just thought that was clever.
I would like for you to now meet Shiva:
A sweet, slightly antisocial boy, Shiva wandered away from a little-understood game of Duck, Duck, Goose with a blank look on his face and sat on the park bench by himself. it took me awhile to notice him; i was trying to photograph all the action of the game! my personal favorite is the last second before the kids go to sit in their seat after running wildly from their pursuer, because more often than not they'll leap through the air and then plummet down right on their little brown tushies! anyway, as much fun as THAT is, when i saw Shiva blinking aimlessly by himself on the park bench, i wandered over for a chat. well, maybe more of a noisemaking contest :) he'd mutter some childlike phrase in hindi and i'd usually say, "i don't understand you, but the main problem is that you're too cute!" Then i started to just gurgle back at him what it sounded like he was saying to me, and that made him start to smile. I'd roll my r's, and he'd say "brrrrrrrrrr!" trying to imitate me. he crawled up on my lap and i looked right into his big beautiful eyes, and i just started to talk to him. "Do you know just how much Jesus loves you?" i asked him. "Do you know he loved you so much that he died for you, Shiva? Do you kno-" "doo yah noooo...." i heard an echo. He had continued to imitate me. so i started again with the same words, since he seemed to get the cue from my recent question. "Do you know," 'doo yah nooo,' "God loves me." 'gah luffs me.' "Soooooo much." 'saaaah mahch.' "Do you know," 'doo ya nooo,' "He sets me free." 'he sett me fee.' "He wants me to love Him" 'mmm,hem!' "Sooooo much." 'saaaah mahch.' I continued, only hoping that Shiva will someday be captured by the truth of those words out of the darkness into which he has been born. My heart is burdened for these children, who know nothing of light. i sincerely hope that the grace of the Father carries them, and that they find no satisfaction in their lives until they look to Him with newly radiant faces begging Him to show them the love which they are now grasping at so desperately. the beauty in their innocence is undeniable. the struggles which they work through are unbelievable. the power in their potential is unmeasurable.
i guess my million dollar question is, will they decide to choose him? i can't even imagine the force of change they'd be if they did. what a treasure it is for me to be included in loving them.

Wednesday, May 26

indian chub

guess who's sitting here using the internet from the comfort of her own floormat??? (and by floormat, i mean bed... it's luxuriously firm, and is cause of the mysterious shoulder and hip bruises! ha!)
it is i, fearless pizza orderer, bucket launderer and temple traveler!
i want to write a thousand things. hmmm. well, for starters, it's clear that my honeymoon period with India is over. the logistical issues and venders and sickness and crazy food and the sheer force of will and amount of focus it requires to hear everything an Indian person says have finally caught up with me. suffice it to say, i'm exhausted! haha... life is still good though, and the Father has never ceased to give what i need.
since my washing machine is freakin out like a two year old or something, i decided i had had enough of waiting (and i saw that i had only one pair of clean pants) and set out to do laundry on my own! ok so here's what i have: one broken washing machine. one full box of powdered laundry detergent. working water spigots. two water buckets. a hamper full of dirty clothes. one community clothesline on the front porch. three flights of stairs. i got going! i used the broken washing machine to set my camera up and take pictures (coming soon to a monitor near you), put the laundry on the floor, the detergent and water in one bucket, scrubbed the clothes, threw them in the sink, rinsed and squeezed them out, put them in the other bucket, and carried that bucket down to the line. that's the simplified version, but let's just say i won't be complaining doing laundry from second floor McKinney next semester :) what an adventure my every day is! i do love it.

today, the team and i went out into old Delhi and saw within the stretch of one mile, a prominent Sikh temple, a Hindu temple, a Jain temple, and the largest Muslim mosque in all of India. it was a very enlightening experience that really helped me understand more about India, having now actually experienced it. At each temple we removed our shoes out of respect (man are indian floors hot!!) At the Sikh temple, we had to cover our heads. we first came upon the people worshiping, and moved on to many different rooms, observing different practices or outreaches of the religion. Peter says it's a mix between the Hindu and Muslim faiths. The most fascianting thing there though was their kitchen! i got to sit with the ladies and make naan (like tortillas) for a little bit, after which we walked out into a big room to see a meal going on. I learned that Sikhs are very socially active, and that they feed the poor and help the needy in India. for some reason, this was particularly touching to me. The Hindu and Jain temples were very quiet and pretty similar. the people would light fires and bow down to the images of their gods and offer food and flowers to them as sacrifices of worship. Jain is a small but influential sect of Hinduism that is extremely conservative. they don't believe in killing ANY living thing, so they're all vegan. there at the temple, they have a bird hospital. It was slightly perplexing to me, and quite the contrast after seeing the help the Sikh people offer to the poor in contrast to the bird outreach of the Jain. After that was the Mosque - a beautiful but somewhat deserted building. we could only bring one camera in, so i was appointed photographer which i DO NOT mind :) ever :). the girls were given kimono-like dresses to cover up when we went in, and Ron, the Liberty team leader, was wearing shorts so they gave him a skirtish thing too... haha.
after all the temples, we went out to eat at a hole-in-the-wall place that served genuine awesome Delhi food -- my favorite so far!! i'm gonna figure out how to make butter naan and bake it for y'all when i get back... you may not have lived until you've eaten butter naan and tandoori chicken. YUM.
well, after English class, chat over coffee, and two interviews for my internship today, i ordered pizza in for Raj, Josh Hamm and I since we live in the same house. the ordering alone is pretty challenging just getting your message across, not to mention the fact that i had no menu. Raj is a pretty big guy, so i figured i'd order us two pizzas. they come ( to the wrong house number. MY BAD. i'm sorry i said 2292. but i can tell you the order, the correct house number, how much it cost, and the name on your paper! i promise i'm the white girl who ordered it! please, give me the pizzas!), and as he finally hands me the pizzas, i hang my head in shame. sweet, so in India, medium pizza means like 'could feed a medium sized child'. Raj, as i mentioned, is very tall for an Indian, and i've had dinner with him before so i've seen his eating habits. i decided just to leave the pizzas in the boys' room and leave before they could reprimand me for knowing nothing of indian culture, but it turns out we were ok - we just gave Raj a whole pizza and 4 pieces of the other was enough for me, and Josh said he doesn't eat as late as we were eating so he just had 3. all was right in the world, but NOW i know.
i'm gaining weight with all the good food, but i'm not too worried. i gained 23 pounds in peru and lost it all in the first 2 weeks back in the states. these kurtas cover it all up, too, and i have no mirror in my house except a tiny one so i can't tell if i'm looking a little chubby or not! it's okay either way.
india is worth the chub.
tired but content. kids club early tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25


Well, today I guess I went to the Taj Mahal. wow – it’s still hard to believe afterwards! We spend 10 hours total in the car today. Most exciting animal seen on the road HAS to go to the elephant, but honorable mention goes to either camel or monkey. I’m in an exotic land, folks.

Man, the Taj was beautiful and amazing, and it was fun to share it with my newfound friends on the Liberty team.

I loved wearing some of the clothes I’ve bought here, chatting with our tourguide and teasing Sandeep, my friend and our accompaniment from PMI.

I couldn’t get over the beauty all around us: the white marble shining brilliantly in the white-hot sunlight, culture and history so real and so thick you could cut it with a knife, the hustle and bustle of tourism constantly moving around us. We white folk were treated like literal celebrities! The Indian nationals all sent their kids over all incognito and would kinda take pictures of us on their phones all sneaky-like (well, some were more bold than others). :) I guess white skin is more rare here than I thought. The photos (though you’ve seen plenty like them, I’m sure) surpass any words I could probably supply, so I’ll let them speak for themselves.

haha, yeah, handing my camera over means that the pictures of me don’t always turn out as great as I hoped, but that’s why I stay on the other side of the lens, eh? Oh well, everybody blinks :)

How blessed am I? This summer I have so many awesome opportunities. Who gets to be who I’m being? Who gets to live the life I’m experiencing? Who has the great privilege of seeing what I’m seeing? Well, not very many people. I’m a lucky, lucky girl, and I’ll never stop being thankful for therichness of my life at this moment.

Live well, my friends, and do what you love. It is seriously worth more than I ever knew.

Saturday, May 22

i overflow with thankfulness.

I’m not even joking with you – being in India makes me smile.

I had my first Indian man sing to me yesterday, and it happened again today. What a happy culture! They sing to their women in the streets! Naturally, he just wants to get me to smile at him so we can make eye contact and he can woo me and get his Hollywood impression of an American girl and to marry me and get a green card out of me, but just the sound someone bursting into song with no regard for tune or pitch correction at their first sight of me makes me feel like I’m the heroine of a musical! I can hardly contain my ridiculous grinning until I’m out of his sight, and after that point there’s just no stopping me from beaming and giggling for probably a good five minutes.

Oh, and speaking of streets, I just can’t seem to kick the habit of walking on the right side of the road! I keep moving myself consciously over to the left (with the purpose, of course, of not being run into like a highway bug on your windshield,) but I seem to always end up again on the right, carefully alternating between watching the road in front of me and behind me for cars, motorcycles, mopeds, rickshaws, autos, ice cream vendors, paper collectors, trash trucks (…………………..) and watching each step so I don’t fall into a pothole and make a stupid blonde pale American of myself. Then, to make matters worse, I keep getting distracted because I have new freckles on my nose! I don’t know if you’ve ever had a new freckle on your nose, but if you happen to find yourself looking down the bridge of your shnozz all day (again, so as not to trip and fry like curry and eggs on the pavement – er – gravel – er – dust) like me, you may notice more things about your nose. Anyway, my new freckle of the day is really quite large, or maybe it’s just a strategically placed average-sized freckle that fused like four others together. In any case, it’s quite distracting, and while I’m noticing it and thinking up clever ways to blog about it, I somehow drift to the right side of the road again and again and again. I also have a new freckle on my right hand. Strange…

BUT speaking of noses – gross alert – I forgot about the classic ‘overseas trip’ black boogers! yaaaaayokay, that’s all about that.

If I can take a moment be quite honest, though, (not that I’ve been deceiving you before; I guess I’ll take a moment to be more sober) this Ephesians thing is getting really hard. I come home to pinkhouse happy to be exhausted after a day full of children and Jesus and laughter and labor in legit 113 degree weather, and at 10pm I journal/blog, I upload pictures, I write papers, I work on my two summer classes, I sum up my hours for my internship, I reflect on the day, I read my books, and THEN, I memorize four verses per day …not forgetting any previous day’s verses. Since there are timelines on almost everything except memorization it’s easy to get distracted. I don’t want to fail because memorizing Ephesians 1-5 was one of my specific goals for this trip, and I really want to challenge myself to do it, but shoot! I have to get up at like 6 or 7 these days… and this could get real ugly real fast! The memorization may turn into an all-summer deal, and I just might be okay with that. Even so, I’m going to keep on trying. I am still reading through the book of Psalms this month, though, and I’m loving finding a couple of concepts to kind of marinade my brain in all through the day. mmm. This morning i got to Psalm 23. it sums up my time in India well, i think. my cup overflows... oh yes it does. last night waiting for the food, i felt for the first time i think what it is to overflow with thankfulness. though i am grateful FOR it, america does not make me thankful. material things do not make me thankful. but this place, these people, these attitudes, this work, it makes my heart too full to describe. it literally feels like it's overflowing.

Beautiful stuff. Beautiful life.

Friday, May 21

a few pictures.

1) maybe my favorite part of the house...
2)...ok, maybe this is my favorite :)
3) i counted. there are 5 different locks on my front door! padlock is my friend.
4) precious girl! so exotic and beautiful
5) duck, duck, goose is SO universal! we played with water, it was wonderful.
6) even halfway around the world, you find the same people.
7) this. is India.

Thursday, May 20

deedee! deedee!

a lot of great things have happened today! i'm tired and i need to get out of the Malakars' house, but i don't want to forget, so i'll go ahead and write.
This morning at 7:30 AM was the first kid's camp. it's basically slumdog VBS, and guess who got appointed photographerrrrr? ha. i love this internship. [[photos of big-eyed, tiny-boned, dark-skinned, 7 year old babies to come]] the kids call us either auntie or deedee (older sister). it's fun to have just come into a country-full of family.
I'm getting better acquainted with the Liberty team, they have a great group of people here. Three girls i'm closer to are Sarah, Courtney, and Sydney. i've loved spending time with them, it's been such a blessing and a refreshment just to sit and chat and encourage one another.
guess what... after three days of anticipation, i FINALLY moved into my house today! it's completely unfurnished, but i'm really excited about being there. it has a beautiful balcony where i hope to do my reading [pictures also to come]. it's nice to move from a life of darting across the four-lane highway to a life of climbing three flights of stairs. it may be just as vigorous, but frogger was just so elementary school. now, the 60-pound bag and the three flights of stairs was an adventure, but don't worry! i did it -- all on my own!
Today Heather told me that they're so thankful for me here. it meant a lot to hear her say that, and she's actually trying to get me to lengthen my stay! if i have the funds, and after i pray about it, it will be considered.
Also, Joy rolled over for the first time today!! 4-month old babies are the COOLEST.
lastly, i just had dinner with the Malakars, Raj -the PMI administrator, Kagui - a singer at their church, and Josh Hamm - the 1-year short termer who arrived tonight. we're now sitting around with the kids drinking coffee and eating reeses, and talking about when we'll play settlers.
i'm completely content: what a great day.

Wednesday, May 19

Liberty and Chai for all!

today the Liberty team is here!
they arrived late last night, and it's fun to see some white faces around here. It's also nice to have some kind of schedule set up for me - i had my "official" orientation with them and i'll do a lot of their activities with them, too. We plan to go to the Taj Mahal (known by the natives here more affectionately as just the 'Taj') on Monday -- YAY. i probably can't really express how happy that makes me. My grandmother recently told me that it was one of my deceased grandfather's dreams to see the Taj Mahal, so that makes me even more excited to go.
I got to go out and shop with two girls named Menas and Chande last night and got some new kurtas - the longer tops that i can wear with jeans. i also got bedsheets since i'm moving in today to my new home on the same block as the Malakars! i'm really excited about that.
Now, time for some more cultural fun! Peter tells me that in India, "hot cancels hot" so everywhere you go, they serve you homemade chai!

i hope to learn what spices to boil so i can make my own. It's actually very good, i'm liking it a lot, but it's different in every household. even Heather makes it differently than Peter does. it does feel counterintuitive to have a hot drink while i'm sweating enough to fill the Indian Ocean with my salty brine, but it's countercultural! I did learn by observation that you don't drink all the chai - you leave a little in the bottom of the cup when you are finished. i'm not sure of the purpose of this yet... maybe i'll ask. also, random, instead of OK, even when they're speaking english, the people here say T-K. that's another cultural thing i've just accepted without knowing the purpose, and i do plan to ask Heather today.
Peter and Heather are already asking me to do things for them, which makes me really happy, i'm feeling already like i have a purpose here and am not just a drain to these wonderful people. I'm getting to know the PMI staff (Passion Movement International is the NGO with which the Malakars work) more and more, and they are a joy. I got an in-country phone yesterday with a man named Sandeep who's in charge of the work with the slums, and had an interview for my internship with a lady named Kajol who handles PMI's finances. i think finally it's sunk in that i'm here for awhile, and i'm thrilled. every day is an adventure; a fantastic, unbelievable, exotic journey. life like this is a life i'm compelled to LIVE.

Tuesday, May 18

housings, potatoes, and drivers.

The internet still isn’t working in my hotel room, despite the Ethernet cable I received from the front desk. It doesn’t really matter though, since I’m moving to a house with internet, of which I’m renting the second floor (really, the third and top floor, but we count british here… ground, 1, 2). The great part is that I get like 4x the space, a real window with real sunshine and not elevator cables outside it, an A/C, a living room, half the distance to the Malakars and no intrusions on my privacy for probably a third of the price. I move in tomorrow. Score.

Had my first taste of in-country Indian food today, and it seemed to agree with me just fine :) I now have come to a full realization of and appreciation for rice! I never used to like it, but I find it’s a great supplement and neutralizer to the nine hundred million spices they use here. I decided to start in on my potatoes before everything else, thinking they would be the mildest… wrong! Whew, one bite had my eyes starting to water! But paired with rice and chapata (the tortilla-like bread served with my meal) the spices are contained and kept from raging within you like an army of fire ants whose clever pile-home has just been smooshed by a four year old. I think I may need to watch my eating speed here, though. Normally I’m a really fast eater – I think it’s a Terrall trait – but after nomnoming through some Indian food I’d started to feel a bit lightheaded, and then nauseated. Haha, I calmed it down and gave my esophagus a rest, and it liked me much better after a few minutes. Anyway, I liked it. Hooray!

I know… I’m heavy on the details and that can get boring. I’m sorry, I’ll try to stop it. Highlights, woman! Hit the highlights for these people! Okay. Highlights are:

Joy and Prakash… little treasures. Prakash, I’m told, doesn’t take to new people very kindly at all. We hit it off quite well, though, as we went walking around the Delhi mall with his parents today. The two of them were quite surprised, and we were all three delighted.

I’m so excited to spend more time with these precious people, and to meet the whole team tomorrow morning. Wish me luck at the ATM -- the first two I’ve tried have been out of order :)

Oh oh oh! One more highlight…

yes, they keep their drivers on the right here. First time I’ve experienced it – totally threw me off for a bit!

I. love. it. here.

Monday, May 17

Monday Sabbath

Hey there guys! quick update before i head out to see South Delhi with the Malakars...
i slept just fine, i don't feel like i'll have too much trouble with the jetlag.
I woke up in my hotel FREEZING, though! haha, i couldn't figure out how to turn the fan off... so i went into the bathroom for a bit where there isn't a fan. what a problem to have!
i read this morning through psalms 1 - 4. I love the bit about asking the Lord to let the light of His face shine upon us. I feel like He's truly done that for me, and here i am just basking in the warmth.
I walked out of the hotel with Heather this morning to see an India that's nearly exactly as i would have pictured. dust everywhere, broken buildings, ridiculous traffic (complete with rickshaws), women walking around in saris and salwars, the elder the person, the more elaborate the dress. it's exotic. it's wonderful.
i'm sitting here under the fan at the Malakar home and have already sweated through my undershirt! haha, i'll need to be drinking a lot of water i guess. but again, i'm really not that uncomfortable so i feel extremely blessed.
Monday is the slow day here for the Malakars, so they reserve it as their Sabbath - their day off right after the business of Sundays.
alright, it's chicken and rice time, and off to talk with Heather and Peter.
grace and peace!

Day one.

Yay, I’ve made it! I’m writing from my hotel, electricity flickering, fan blazing, but can’t post this tonight since I have no internet. I tried to call, mom, I promise!

Right before the landing the flight into Delhi, my heart began to race. I’m really here.

A couple of other fun things went on immediately prior to landing. The first was that I looked down on fireworks as we came upon Dehli. How fortunate I thought I was to catch it, until I saw four more instances of fireworks elsewhere. My kind seatmate (another Indian friend who didn’t share his name) told me that, since April and May is wedding season in India, there are always fireworks going on at midnight here around this time of year, and he pointed out all the brightly lit and highly populated courtyards – a LOT of weddings tonight, folks J.

The other fun thing that happened before we landed our crazy long and turbulent plane ride was that I checked out the temperature. 100 degrees at 11:30 ain’t too shabby, folks! On the drive back with Raj and Peter, though, it didn’t bother me too much. I’ve handled heat before.

I haven’t seen much of India yet, but the one thing I can say for it is that it’s hard on cars! As in many foreign countries, lane markers are completely obsolete, and red lights are more like suggestions. Let me assure you, I am NOT exaggerating. Haha. I also saw plenty of horses, (another perk of wedding season – the groom rides in on a horse… presumably specifically white, since that was the only color I saw) stray dogs, donkeys, and Peter even was kind enough to point out, “hey, there’s your first cow!” He cracked up at himself when he told me that the phrase “holy cow” takes on a totally different meaning here. Good joke, Peter. I’m also looking forward to camels, elephants, and monkeys in the streets of India. “domestic, of course,” Peter assures me. Awesome. J

I just tried to wash my face and had a mini-panic attack, but have unpacked a little better and found most of what I was looking for J so far, the only thing I think I’ve left at home is my razor… an item miniscule in importance compared to plenty of other things I could have forgotten! I wish I could unpack all the way, but Peter told me they’re trying to transfer me out of the hotel at some point soon, so I figure I’d better not get it all out. There is a young man named Josh coming short term like me who will be here on the 20th, and two girls are coming from the states on June second. The three of them will be great company for me during my time here!

Peter told me that here in India, we operate on IST- Indian Standard Time (more affectionately known as Indian STRETCHED Time). Much like in Latin cultures, often a gathering scheduled for 5 will start around 5:30 or 5:45. Also, “in Delhi we start late and go late,” he said. That means nothing opens in Delhi until like 11 AM.

Yeah… I can dig that!

I feel uniquely privileged to be included in the work that’s being done here. Our Father’s love is truly extravagant, isn’t it? I’m touring South Delhi tomorrow with Heather and Peter, and am meeting their team on Tuesday.

Now, to beat the jet lag! I’m full of energy, but I guess it’s around 1:30 in the morning here, so I’m hitting the sack. I can’t wait to get started.

With love from Delhi,


Saturday, May 15

ok that's not a hotel; that's a space pod.

[todo, we ain't in Texas anymore.]

purple fluorescent lighting, a little shade to pull on the door, a space bed, a shower, a sink, a toilet, a tv, and storage.... all in the space of a cube 1/10th the size of my Maddox dorm room.this is the panoramic view sitting on the toilet...

that can only be two pictures long, due to lack of surface area inside this cube...
guess how much i paid for all this goodnes??? well, 76 euros. yes, that's right, a grand total of $115 for 12 hours spent in a room which can be seen in its entirety in this mirror:this here controls... everything in the room. and i gotta learn how to convert celsius to fahrenheit again... whoops.
thanks, KLM, for making it all possible.

wham. bam. AMSTERDAM.

and here i was, thinking the adventures wouldn't start until i actually got in the country! silly me.
well, the plane in Dallas arrived to us late. It left me sitting in the airport for 6 hours, and landed in Amsterdam at 10:55. my flight to Delhi left at 11:20.....
without me.
by the way, this is all Amsterdam time. that's 3 and 4 in the morning your time.
although i cried a little [and screamed quite a lot inside my head] when i was rescheduled for the next flight out on the SIXTEENTH, (good call on the change of clothes thing, Josh) i've found a specific purpose for my layover.

his name is Asheesh.
he is a chatty Indian friend of mine from the plane... actually, he was sitting my seat when i walked up - my kicking him out was a recipe for instant conversation. add to that the fact that we are going to miss the same flight out to Delhi, and that his sister's name is Julie, and you've got a plane ride full of the what-else-do-we-have-in-common game. (i also filled the time watching Sherlock Holmes and an episode of the Big Bang Theory... winning television right there.)
anyway, Asheesh and i kind of stuck together when we got re-routed. He has an interview on Monday and is not too happy about the delay. we're waiting to be checked into the (separate rooms of our) hotel here in the airport because he can't leave as a result of passport issues and i don't want to leave as a result of sheer terror, and have begun to talk over coffee (so that we don't die of exhaustion). i asked him some of what to expect in India, and the conversation has turned out to be thoroughly, and i hope mutually, beneficial. after dress, weather, and accommodations, the conversation turned to religion. I don't believe anyone has ever asked Asheesh the questions i just asked him about Hinduism - he admitted not to having thought about why he worships the gods he does or what he gets out of it. he admits it is just a ritual, and he feels no answers. He asked me about my faith - "you just pray in church, right? and you go home?"
twelve hours into my trip.
after this scintillating opportunity for me to share, i asked more questions about why Asheesh believes what he does, and he told me he wanted to look more into it, since he didn't have the answers he would like to have to my questions.
then he turned back to me and said "it's wonderful, what you're doing. I would have never thought to do such a thing - going abroad the way you are doing. It's intentional, and you really want to help people. It's wonderful. I mean, you're so active in your faith and beliefs. I'm more of a passive follower, you know, because of my parents."
we talked a little more and then moved on to other subjects, but he seems to keep coming back to religion. i hope to challenge him to try exploring religion a little more - and to look where the Answers Truly Are.
my trip has just sucked so far,
and it's awesome!

Tuesday, May 11

my calling.

Ephesians 4:1-
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
i've always loved this verse. what is my calling? do i live up to it? it challenges me to be better, to seek further, to try harder to be hopeful, faithful, and loving.
i know at some point in India, the novelty will wear off and the everyday will set in. that's why i practice now!
i know i am called; i pray i am faithful. He is worth it.
[packing starts today.]

Tuesday, May 4

glory; beauty

i saw the most beautiful sky last night.
I was driving to my friend's house when i noticed that, though it was pouring rain, the sky was unnaturally light. i looked to the west - the direction i was driving, and saw a line where the clouds just ended near the horizon. the longer i drove, the closer the sun got to peeking out of the heavy, angry cloudage, and the more the sky seemed brilliantly gilded. when the sun finally shone through, the raining, wet, reflective world turned glorious. everything was a different shade of gold. everything the light touched was transformed into loveliness incarnate. everything reflected glory.
with all that rain, and all that sun, i kept looking for a rainbow. i craned my neck, i strained my eyes.... and then - there it was. a big, fat, pot'o'gold-worthy rainbow in the east, directly across the sky from the magnificent sunset which was slowly unfolding. as the sun sunk lower and lower in the sky, the rainbow became more clear and more colorful. after picking up my friend, (there was no way i was going to go inside at this point) i stopped and sat to watch it all. the rainbow was a full bow - a perfect half-circle with a faint mirror image on either side. The sky, from west to east, was brilliantly bright, to pure golden light, to shining raindrops (those perfect little prisms), to light-invaded clouds, to a radiant ring of color interrupted by the horizon, which, though immovable could not even contain the heavens' beauty; for the water on the streets reflected the bow to complete the full circle.
we sat and watched as the sun disappeared, the clouds caught on fire, and as the rainbow was surrounded by a deep purple and then slowly faded. the rain subsided, and all was still; just a sloshy reminder of a scene that could have been something out of a dream.
i don't have a picture! because i didn't have my camera. but i can remember perfectly the beauty i not only saw, but felt. how strongly imprinted on my heart was the glory of the One who can create such beauty.
and that is not something i will forget for quite some time.


I'm so excited for India. I'm so excited to see where it leads me and what it will teach me. I'm so excited to love the people, experiment with the food, and evaluate my life's direction. I know that five weeks will fly by, and in order to make them count, i'll need to stay focused on my task the entire time; i know i need to put forth effort perpetually to have the mind of Christ.
i pray that i will begin to live as one striving for the living hope found in 1peter 1, embodying the selfless attitude of philippians 2, and becoming a woman of whom the world is not worthy, as those in hebrews 11.
i pray i won't falter, waver, or stray.
i pray i will learn to stop thinking of myself.

so what can i do NOW to begin?
this is the part i've been having trouble with. keeping up with my schoolwork, keeping up with my quiet times, serving my family in the way they need it the most... how difficult it is to stay on task! Lord, in my unfaithfulness, show yourself faithful.
and He always, Always does.