Thursday, November 22

Things to be Thankful for:

No need to reinvent the wheel here - it's wonderful to use this time of year to state our blessings and remind ourselves all of the reasons to be content. So that's what I want to do.
And wow, I have so many reasons. Where do I even begin?

1 - I'm so thankful to my Father for bringing me here to India. He placed the desire for India in my heart, and then faithfully fulfilled my longing to come. There were times that many people didn't believe I'd make it - and they've told me so. There were times that my leadership thought I didn't have the persistence or follow-through to finally get on the plane. But I made it. Praise God for His Faithfulness.

2 - I'm thankful for a family here. I have all the fellowship I could ever ask for. I have so many people invested in my health and contentment. At any time, there are at least three or four households I know I could go and I would never be turned away. I have just enough Americans to help keep me from going crazy, and enough children to fill my heart and hug my legs so that my love and affection tanks are never on empty. I understand family differently in India; in such a way that makes me amazed at God's plan to somehow place each of us inside of the family structure.

3 - I'm abundantly thankful for Andrew Quinn Johnson. Quite a few people will look at you a little sideways when you tell them you've conducted an entire relationship across an entire country, and part of it across the entire world. And just watch any television show: you can't trust anyone to love you exclusively, vow or no vow. But this is not a television fantasy; this man is a man I can trust. He looks after my needs and makes long distance work. Not many people are so devoted, patient, or special.

4 - I'm thankful that the weather feels like the holidays here! I woke up this morning to a chilly day somewhere around the 50 degree mark. We don't use heaters in our home, so it's felt fresh and crisp all day! I believe in my heart that it's Thanksgiving Day, and somehow that's important to me.

5 - I could never be thankful enough for the Good News that holds the power of Salvation. Mercy is renewed to me daily, and grace is extended to me to cover every mistake I inevitably make. I will never forget His goodness. I will live in light of His Sacrifice.

6 - I'm thankful for my little place!
Here's the story: recently, a friend of mine who is my age purchased a beautiful house with her husband. (I'm looking at you, Jena Roach.) I mean, it's really fantastic. When I read her blog update, complete with picture, i was sitting here on my bed. I looked up from my computer and my face scrunched as my heart withered. I glanced around, taking in the cardboard surrounding my air conditioning unit, the footless, knobless, rusted oven sitting on my bedroom floor, my crayon stained built-in pink-starred closets, my windowless and decorationless walls, my nonworking showerhead, my makeshift open-air kitchen.  Something somewhere in the back of my mind nagged,
 "And what do YOU have to show for 23 years?" 
But today, while you were sleeping, i was peeling potatoes happily into my little sink. As I looked around, my heart forgot the bay windows of America (they're still nothing short of fabulous, Jena; i'm coming over to visit) and remembered how it lives right here in my own little apartment portion of a flat in India. I'm learning to cook, live, thrive here, and that's valuable in my life. 23 years have brought me here, to this tiny wonderful place, and I am thankful.
Now, for those of you who have been losing sleep over what my little place actually looks like, I have a solution for you! I bought this awesome bowl to hold our mashed potatoes in for thanksgiving dinner, and noticed that it sort of acts like a fisheye lens! So i snapped a couple of photos in it for you.

this is the kitchen. you can see pretty much everything in this picture, including my stuff-storage system. haha. my little portable gas stove is there on the bottom right, my sink is at the top left corner and i'm cleaning potatoes on the table next to it! if you weren't sitting inside my bowl, you'd be peering at me from outside the screened window which makes up one of the four walls. that door behind me leads to my room!

i just backed up four steps. you're looking out the kitchen door into my room. That's my Thanksgiving day outfit hanging there on the closet handle :)
this is almost the same view, just from my bathroom doorway. my bed is on the left under the mirror, the guest bed that no one uses is on the right, under the world map, and behind me are my desk and the door to the main living area.

this is the view from the door to my room! So nice of you to visit. see you next time. 
Love from Delhi,
Julie, content.

Monday, November 19


So, this past week was the celebration of Diwali: the Indian festival of lights. I almost wish i'd had more of a residential view of the goings-on, because i've seen some really really beautiful images taken just this year all throughout India of the fireworks, the people, the colorful lanterns and candles and vermillion powders. But honestly, Delhi's not really safe on the main celebration day of Diwali because of all the firecrackers going off in the streets! So, we PMI'ers opted for safe nights in with our respective families. All i really got to experience of the holiday was the obnoxious bits... trying to carry on a conversation with someone proves extremely difficult when the crackers are going off constantly and so loudly you have to yell; and because the houses are so open here, the sheer amount of fireworks set off on that night alone fills the air with thick smoke that billows into your living rooms and sleeping areas. The air quality is and noise pollution are serious problems if you're not a partaker of the holiday enjoying all the festivities. Still, I got to see some really beautiful things: a fully lit Sikh temple in Old Delhi, our neighborhood bathed in brightly colored artificial lighting, the graciously quiet firecrackers that send up a wash of glitter - a fountain of fire. I didn't love the warzone that was Diwali, but i liked it.

you can notice the smoke beginning to cloud the air in the photo in the top right... 

the colors of India are quite a sight on a normal day,
but on Diwali, they're an experience in themselves. 

Another celebration I got to be a part of this week was the wedding of some of Praisey's friends. She used to work with the bride, and they invited her and me to be a part of their day.
 The ceremony was sweet and to the point, and the bride and groom were abundantly gracious and welcoming to me, a new face in their small congregation of dear friends. They didn't have an official paid photographer, so I got to step in and snap a few casual images. I was honored.

both groom and bride were welcomed down the aisle with congregational singing.

this is my beautiful companion of the day. also me in sunglasses and lipstick.  we got real girly, guys.

 This part of my journey is endlessly fascinating to me, as my feelings constantly surprise me and my job description continues to shapeshift. My hair is growing out. My preferences are developing. My strengths are emerging almost as quickly as my previously hidden shortcomings are being revealed. I'm doing surprisingly rewarding artistic work in design. I'm doing surprisingly rewarding artistic work in songwriting. I'm the lead singer in a band featured in a concert on December first to raise money and awareness for an AIDS orphanage. I love teaching English as a means to an end. 
I couldn't have anticipated any of these things.

Along with my job description, my desires have also shifted dramatically since coming to India. 
Firstly, I came here really wanting to give my poor numbered hairs a break from the abuse i've put them through, so i just thought, i'll take two years and just let it grow without coloring or cutting once, and with minimal product and damaging heat usage. But since being here, I feel like the blonde just makes me so other. It doesn't really hinder me in a lot of ways, but I'd be more comfortable inside of the culture if i had black hair. Part of me is considering a temporary dye job, but i'm scared my locks won't go back to my natural color without some more major damage, and i wouldn't love to keep dying them forever. Who knows, though... next week you may not recognize me ;)

Another desire that has changed in me is the desire to be understood. Now, I think in many ways this desire is hardwired in all of us. But I'm coming to the realization that no human heart can ever fully understand mine. My lessons, my passions, my woes, my tangle of emotions, and my inexplicable joys will never be truly shared or known by anyone else. This seems like a depressing truth, but when you live in it, it's unimaginably freeing. My expectations of others are so much more realistic when i make this lesson real in my thought process, and i'm free to love them as fellow broken people, instead of being disappointed by their inability to cater to my "needs". It's wonderful, learning how to unconditionally love. 

The last transformed desire I want to share with you is the desire to perform. This is really true for me in every sense of the word. What i've really learned, though, is that in application the opposite of performance is rest. Strength is needed for daily life, and you can get it in one of two ways: searching inside yourself and pouring out your lifesource, or taking it from somewhere else. The problem with looking inside myself for strength is that I'm limited - i always run out. The beauty of taking strength from elsewhere is that i have a direct link to the author of time, hope, and love; and He offers me His ability to cope with situations, understand the meaning of life, and help others. 
I have His aptitude at my fingertips. 
I'm finding myself really fulfilled as i make the transition from performance to rest. I honestly didn't know that my first step in my dealings with the Father should always be to rest in His Finished Work. Any work i have after that is irrelevant, because He has paid everything, and I have only to thank Him with a life well lived. This lesson - this Good News - has made all the difference in my life, my attitudes, my frustrations and my dreams. 

I think that's something to celebrate.

Love from Delhi, 
Julie: celebrating.

Wednesday, November 14


I just want to be honest with you.
Living here in the aftermath of the novelty of India -
it's hard.

I'll apologize as a disclaimer to any native Indian reading this post; I know some of you follow my bloggings, so please know that this post is not an effort to disparage your culture. Instead, please read it with the knowledge of my great heart to understand and respect your culture as i approach it from the perspective of someone with an extremely limited ability to truly grasp its nuances.
I love India,
 I just don't get it yet.

I feel like i'm constantly messing up - i'm not hospitable enough or sensitive or quiet enough. My clothes don't fit quite right, and they certainly aren't colorful enough. My music doesn't have enough embellishments; or trills; or excitement. My dinner is too early in the evening, and it doesn't include enough rice. There are so many ways that i still need to learn to be Julie in India.
i think the biggest thing is that nothing is intuitive anymore. There is an immense amount of observation and focus involved in surviving here without offending anyone everyone. I'm something of a fixture in their lives, so they expect me to be more than a giggling blundering blonde mess, which got me by for two months the last time i was here.
Now, two months have come and gone, so i really ought to be offering water to people who visit me and giving diwali gifts and understanding which 'no' means "no" and which 'no' means "please keep asking me", and cooking rice.  

I'm very aware of the presence of these shortcomings in my behavior.
But here's the truth:
There's no way for me to be an Indian.

All I can ever be is an American girl with a deep love for India, and a basic understanding of the customs and expectations that come with the territory. I know that i need to be okay with that, rest in the grace offered me by my Father and trust Him to protect my mistakes and be the One [yes, the only one] who understands my heart. All I can do is exert my best effort and afterward convey as Paul did, "It is a very small thing that i should be judged by you, or any human court".

I think it's becoming important for me to truly implement the realism of the fact that I gave up more comforts when i left America than just the ones i already find superfluous. I gave up the values i was raised in, the people who know my background, the way i structure my days and weeks, the luxury of friendship as i know it. Though i may not have initially done it intentionally, i have made the decision to live here in the in-between. some days it's rewarding and exciting. some days it's uncomfortable. But as Heather keeps reminding me, the beauty of feeling so acutely that India is not home lies in the transitional understanding that nowhere on this earth will my soul truly feel at home.  I am ever a wandering foreign soul longing for the peace and rest of heaven.

Today I'm living in thankfulness for the wealth of treasure found in discomfort, and for the cultural questions that force me to cling to the Word of Truth.

Love from Delhi,
Julie the foreigner.

Monday, November 12

wherever you go

These past few days have been some excellent ones as far as being full of typical Delhi experiences!

As you know, i'm really enjoying getting all situated with my surroundings. Before you know it, i'll be driving my little scooty to Nandlal slum and taking Hindi lessons from a housewife. (okay, i'm not that comfy here yet, but i'd love to be!) I really love it when I find myself adjusted. Even if it's just when I know which direction to take the metro. Small victories, people.

These last three days have been like that.

On Friday night, after our PMI seminar, a group of my friends was going out to see a concert by Aradhna. They invited me, saying that it was a Hindi Christian worship band. I thought it sounded like a fun outing, although I don't like concerts very well. So six of us packed up to take the half hour trip downtown, found two willing auto-rickshaws, and tuk-tukkkked our way through the smog and the traffic and the diwali firecrackers (the holiday is on tuesday and the lack of fire code is a real hazard, and a frightening one!) to Dilli Haat market where the concert was being held in an open-air amphitheater. On the drive, there was a strip of shops along the highway that suddenly reminded me very much of Dallas - specifically the East side of highway 75 to the North of parker road. Similarly, as i walked into the amphitheater, i noticed that about 1/4 of the concert spectators were white, and over half of that population were gloriously barefooted and dreadlocked - the whole atmosphere was so reminiscent of a small Ohio town called Yellow Springs which is dear to my heart. These home-reminiscent experiences influenced the atmosphere of my evening, but not with the dominantly homesick flavor i thought that they might overlay. Instead of longing, i felt peace. i felt home in the midst of my travels. i felt centered. i love that wherever you go, you can find the same things. i love that wherever you go, you encounter the same people.
 Dilli Haat is an especially foreign-dominated area of Delhi which attracts the more hardcore tourists, as it has a wide variety of really great and really Indian trinket and jewelry shops; but more than that, when i looked up at the band, i saw they were predominately white guys, too! There were two playing western instruments, and one singing in perfectly enchanting, perfectly pronounced Hindi as he passionately plucked away at his enormous sitar. The performance was moving and heartfelt, and the beauty in the technicality of the music inspired my soul. I love that though in different places worship sounds different, wherever you go worship feels the same.
I closed my eyes as i sat on the ground next to my dear new friends, and let the music surround me. I love times that you can really be in a moment like that, times you can form an intentional memory based on a truly moving experience. i love that wherever you go, beautiful things happen.

The next day, my task was to go and find gifts for our guests from Great Britain who have been hosting an Evolution vs Creation seminar in PMI this weekend. After some successful and budget-friendly shopping at a strip of trinket markets called Janpath, Praise and I hopped in the car with two PMI employees, Sumit and Shivanshu, and drove back in a PMI-ish direction. As usual, though, we got stuck in traffic, and as we all started talking we realized that we were all starving. Sumit had this place in mind, but he was worried that i wouldn't be able to handle it. I waved away his uncertainties and ordered Shivanshu to take us there, because i could tell they were all really excited about it. We got there after much winding and walking through a building that looked like it was probably a hotel of some sort, and i stared up at a menu entirely in some North Indian language - there wasn't even a Hindi translation anywhere, let alone English! I shrugged, glanced, and nodded at Sumit, who promptly ordered us four all-you-can-eat meals for 60 rupees ($1.20) per person.  Here's what came to the table: Papard - basically a huge round crunchy chip made of lentils; Roti - a soft, round, thick wheat tortilla-like bread; Aloo - potatoes and masala; Chana (or beans of some sort, i'm not sure) - beans and/or chick peas with chiles in a sauce; Sweet Dal - lentils boiled, mashed, and sweetened; and Subji - assorted vegetables, similar on that day to sourkrout. There was also rice available, and some fermented mango chutney with whole pickled lemons.
Now, all of that sounds very exotic and frightening, i know. But if you get past the fact that it's not American, you can enjoy that it is delicious. I love that wherever you go, people have comfort foods. Praise couldn't get over it. She couldn't stop saying how delighted she was with the whole place. The two guys couldn't stop eating! I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed it. The potatoes were a little too spicy for me, and the dal a little too sweet, but I gobbled everything else. :) At the end of our meal, we ordered something like citrus yogurt or lemon pudding which was had perfect cooling effect on all the heat i had going on in my mouth! Honestly, whenever I eat true Indian food, instead of feeling full and revived, i usually feel a little lightheaded from all the different spices - haha. It passes, but i always just cross my fingers and hope for the best as my body deals with the aftermath. And I am getting more and more accustomed to it, i can already tell.

Then, today. After church a large group of the girls set out to go to a choral competition put on by an association which celebrates Northeast Indian culture. Many of our church members are from the Northeast, and so they were particularly excited to be around so many people from their home. We had some traditional Northeast food at the gathering before going into the competition, and I'll be honest, this stuff, i did not like. There was a smell coming from something that was turning my stomach before i could even get to the plain rice and dal, and though there was beef on my plate for the first time in forever, it was indistinguishable as meat -- i tried not to be too obvious as i eyed it with caution. That whole plate was a flop in my book, but there was an interesting and enjoyable masala-filled salad that caught my attention. After we sat down to watch the show, my friend Jesse busted out this dried and spiced shredded beef that she'd just bought downstairs. Everyone was warning me about how hot it was and advising me not to eat it, but it looked so dang good! I decided to give it a try. Friends, i am proud to say that i loved it! It was something like beef jerky with some ginger and a good amount of heat. I kept wanting more -- after the program i went down and bought some for myself. The Indians seemed a little shocked, but i think in at least a small way, they were proud of me. At least, i like to imagine they were...
I love that wherever you go people are proud of their upbringing, and i love the way that wherever you go, sweet pieces of home make people nostalgic and wide-eyed messes.

We're just wired to be people; love-needing, truth-seeking, passionate, hope-hollow, homesick,  community-hungry people:
you'll find that wherever you go.

Love from Delhi,
Julie [wherever she goes.]

Wednesday, November 7

The purple dupata

As I get settled in India, blogging seems to be less and less on my mind. So many beautiful things are happening, but they are becoming so commonplace to me! Man, I pray that I don't take for granted what an amazing time I'm having - I don't want to miss the awesome weight of everything I'm experiencing, or lose the wonder of life away from heart-numbing comfort.

So, firstly: I'm learning what I like and what I don't like about both Indian fashion and Indian food. This might seem like a good thing, but in reality it is a dangerous thing. As in I'm obsessed. As in very soon I may be fat and broke.  I'm frying banana fritters and pakora,
Praisey's banana fritters:
basically pieces of fried banana bread dough.
i may have died and gone to heaven.
chowing paneer and naan and chole bhature, and searching endlessly for an easy chicken tikka recipe.

I'm making weekly trips to the market with friends (as an outreach opportunity, of course,) and coming back with a new set of bangles or pair of patiala pants every time (i'm only going to use them for a little bit, and then i'm going to send them to friends in America, naturally). Also, I have discovered the beauty of custom-made clothing: I bought 2 meters of beautiful cotton fabric (that I spotted while shopping for necessary PMI decorations, you see,) and had it sewn into a kurta made to fit my preferences, measurements and specifications for a grand total of right around $6. After the experience of wearing such nice-fitting clothing, I just can't go back to clothes made to fit the size S masses. I took four more of my old kurtas to the tailor straightaway to be altered to my liking, gave the nice man 4 hours to have the job done and paid him $3 upon its completion.
The last step in my cultural fashion indoctrination is to take my clothing to the press-wallas to be ironed after washing. Everything is really really wrinkled after it hangs to dry, for whatever reason, and i've been skipping the ironing step so i always look a little mussed. I think i heard the fee was 5 rupees (10 cents) per article of clothing, so after my next laundry day i'm going to go on an adventure and have everything pressed...
I'm getting more Indian all the time.

So, I told you that i bought my scooty, right? Yay! It's wonderful! I've had it for a little over a week, and I've driven it twice. I'm still getting used to the controls but it's basically what you'd expect: since it's automatic transmission, it's just like a bicycle and a car in one. Once i'm used to the sensitivities, I'll be taking that thing EVERYWHERE. I'm still a little cautious, but I'm loving riding it. The other night Praisey was feeling restless, so she just said, "okay, let's go have a scooty session!" We got it out and she rode on the back while I drove. She kept saying i was so brave, but I think she was the brave one to ride with me after I'd only had one driving lesson! We were laughing so hard when i would wobble in my steering, or anytime i came up to a turn in the road. We went around the neighborhood twice, and on our second lap, a good-natured man who had seen us already and knew i was still learning started teasing us and pretending to jump out in our path! We were losing it. It was so fun.
Experiences like this - learning and being vulnerable with people i'm coming to love here - mean everything to me. The friendships are real, the fellowship is true and deep, and the memories are simply priceless.

So, I'm going to be taking 2 days a week this month to teach English at the Burari center. Burari is about a 45 minute trip away from my home in Hudson Line, and yesterday the burari team and i went by auto-rickshaw. This vehicle, which some people call a tuk-tuk, is basically a three-wheeled covered moped with a back seat. It's pretty open to the elements, and to the eyes of any onlooker.
Now, I'm pretty resigned to the stares of the Indian masses. I don't mind. I'm not surprised. I stare right back until the gawker drops his gaze out of awkwardness. But i'm not big on celebrity, or a fan of too much attention, so I don't love it. On the way to Burari i used my purple scarf (a new purchase from a market trip - scarves are useful and cultural, thank you,) to cover my mouth in places where the pollution was particularly bad (and when i say particularly bad, i mean so thick you can't see through it and so pungent i think i'll always reek of stinkyriversmog). On the way back, though, i used it as a dupata - like many typical Indian women - to cover my flowing golden hair (pfff) and my pointed aryan nose and chin. I was amazed at the difference. Usually in a crowd, as an Indian scans the way ahead, their eyes rest on me and they do a quick casual double take, or they cock their head curiously or simply unabashedly continue to look at me until i'm out of their line of view. But without my caucasian features visible, their eyes did not even find me. Though people still looked in my direction, every single one looked through me without seeing me. Where usually i would meet someone's gaze upon every glance up from the road, i now found myself free to view the comings and goings of Delhi without scrutiny from behind my purple screen of privacy. One two-foot piece of cloth made all the difference.
I'm struggling to tell you why exactly i find this so meaningful, but i think it has to do with the feeling of being integrated as opposed to being other. Something about blending in is important to me. I feel legitimized by knowing when to turn off the water pump, how to tell the tailor to alter my clothes, how much i will pay for a pair of pants, which side of the street to drive on, and how to prepare food that an Eastern tongue will not spurn. It's important to me not to be a severely foreign presence here, but to be a learner, a chameleon, a lover of culture. I feel much less other when i am not always demanding peoples' attention with my mere presence. I hope and pray that Indians see me as a humble servant rather than a demanding tourist;
for I have left my home environment and come here not to be served, but to serve.

More and more, i want my life to exemplify incarnational motivations and selfless labor, and i'm glad to say that i feel the steps i'm taking are leading me there.

Love from Delhi,
Julie the servant.

Friday, November 2

When in India,

Well, it's been over a week since you heard from me!

Things have been super busy with the American team here and with all the different schedule changes, from the CBC retreat to the team taking over English classes, I have been running here and there and haven't had a moment to just sit and reflect and update!

Well, my English class wrapped up nicely, our closing program was really beneficial and fun for all of us. My students promised not to forget me through this holiday season, and they said they wanted to come back in January. I dearly hope that they do.
The team came Wednesday morning, and I didn't meet them til Wednesday night. The two men on the team led the CBC retreat which was held in our own Resource Center after we decorated the life out of it (or, into it i think is more appropriate in this case). The retreat was more wonderful than I can say. I am learning more than you would care to read here, and more than I have time to write. My heart is changed. I am constantly being made new. I am amazed at the transformation i am going through during my time here already. I am so thankful; speechless, almost.
On the last day of the retreat, there was a formal banquet to finish everything out. We were requested to dress for the occasion, and so the two girls from the team and I decided to get all dolled up...  in saris. 
I was thrilled, and i picked a navy and gold sari of Praise's that was simple but gorgeous. Everyone was so excited that we wanted to wear them - they love when we make effort to understand and appreciate their culture. Even so, some time into the evening, i found myself a little self-conscious in the outfit. Not because it looked bad on me, but because i was doing it a great injustice. My halting American clumsiness met its slippery graceful flowing grandeur, and a marked clash ensued. A number of women attempted to help me fix it throughout the evening, but i just kept on martyring its cultural fabulousness. By the end of the night i was emotionally exhausted, and a little embarrassed from my battles.
Oh well, i tried! I'm sure next time i'll be more familiar with the issues involved in the event of sari-wearing (i have NO idea how so many women wear them as daily dress). Me and saris, we're not through yet!

Today marks two months exactly since I left America - it is from here on out the longest amount of time I've been out of the country. I'm astounded at my contentment, and excited to continue growing, learning, and loving India.

On Monday after the retreat had ended, the team had plans to go to the Taj Mahal. Heather asked if I'd like to go along, and I said yes! I've been before, in 2010, but I knew i'd love to see it again. When John, the leader of the team found out i was going with them, he said "Oh, good, that makes me feel a lot safer." I smiled outwardly as i laughed in my heart; "because i know what's what in India..."
Since we had no Indian friend with us, I was acting as guide, informational expert, and Hindi translator for the day (hahahahahahaha). We made it back alive, and that's about all I have to prove my efforts. The trip was really wonderful, though. The way to Agra is long - about 4-5 hours, and so we left at 6AM to get there in time to get back in the same day. During our drive the sun was rising through the dust and haze in the distance and i looked out over the fields we were passing. I saw some houses built of grass, and they were surprisingly refreshing to me. These small, sweet, clean huts were a welcome change from the tin-and-trash communities i'm surrounded by in North Delhi. It makes me want to visit Rural India - i just know it's beautiful.
After parking, it's a little ways to get to the Taj gate. Naturally, we went by camel.

The taj was really wonderful, I liked it even better the second time!

I was looking at the huge and opulent structure, made completely of solid white polished marble and inlaid with onyx and countless tons of semi-precious stones, just completely in awe. But then, i started to look around me at the masses of humanity swarming this spectacular wonder of the ancient world. It was a crowded day, and people were all wishing that everyone else would get out of the way of their pictures. As i looked from the architecture to the audience, my heart melted; i realized that just one of these souls was of infinitely more worth than the entirety of the lavish, extravagant structure we had all come to admire. Each soul carries more weight than any wonder of the ancient or modern world. I was somewhat overwhelmed just thinking about the value of humanity with no regard for each other, all prioritizing stone over priceless lives.
But, i'll give them this: it is an awfully fabulous arrangement of stone!

I've been following the girls around, taking them to the slums and stuff, and getting to be a part of Pathshala again has been so great for me. It's one of my favorite outreaches. these beautiful, precious children give my heart hope.

I feel like I don't have much in the way of updates - I'm enjoying my comfort with my place and my breakfast-cooking for the girls in my home, and stopping at the roadside shops to get mango shakes, and going to the markets alone to look for things i need and things PMI needs, and learning to barter successfully (the key word is: "Bhaiyya!" with a hurt and shocked expression), and starting to get comfortable driving my scooty! yes, I bought the moped. it's so cute and it's not really difficult to drive. I have to get used to the speed and controls but it's light and the balance is easy. Delhi traffic, here I come!

Life is sweet, my friends. The more time I spend here, the more time I want to spend here. That must be how you know you're in the right place, right?

Love from Delhi,
Julie in the right place.