Friday, January 30, 2009

Pics From the First Week

Rub a dub, dub. Three kids in a tub. (Yes, that IS our tub.)

The kids are so fascinated by the goats (and bulls, and dogs, and...) wandering the streets.

Celebrating my birthday with Ryan, Angie, and Bec.

Sydney and Addy enjoying (more) cake

Week Number Two

Our second week, hmm, what does two weeks in India feel like? Well, to be honest, the days feel a bit different here. In the States, most days whipped by and I could hardly believe as I was crawling into bed that another day just passed. Here, its a bit different. Now, the days feel really long. A bit more tiring and at times my day gets a bit hijacked.

Like yesterday for instance. So, let me be real upfront about something...we have a housekeeper. Its kind of like a dream come true, but at the very same time I am almost embarrassed about the whole ordeal. Its expected that if an ex patriot moves here for any amount of time, they are to give somebody a job. A full-time housekeeper is paid about $1 USD a day. Anyway, if you would like to dialogue about it, I would love your thoughts. But on a very practical level, it helps a ton. But back to the hijacking – yesterday I asked our housekeeper, Josephine, to take out the garbage (there is no curbside garbage removal here, there are dumpsters all around town and I am not quite sure if they actually take the garbage away or if there merely light a match and watch it burn). And long story short, she ended up roping in two friends to help which after the fact asked to be paid, which I wasn't ready for, which led to a conversation with them and someone from Freedom Firm about it all - and when it was all said and done, an hour of my day had been spent on bringing out the garbage.

So there you go, a small example, but very real, especially as we are learning about the ebb and flow of life here. I/we are starting to get to know a people that I bet are going to be a part of our day-to-day here. I have been going to the local Jazzercise. It was started to connect Indian women, Freedom Firm aftercare girls and Hebron (Christian School in town) gals. Its a bit bizarre to be doing doing step aerobics next someone wearing a Sari. I love it! I look around the room and I see two young girls that were rescued about a year ago from a brothel, the local pediatrians wife, two women who helped start the (only) pizza place in town, three teachers from Hebron and the counselor from Freedom Firm. Its both beautiful and a workout that kicks my butt at 7,000 ft. elevation.

My mom is in town. So great. If you know my mom, it makes sense that by day two she has already done three loads of laundry, bleached my kitchen, started bleaching the bathroom, made a number of meals and made many a craft with the kids. My mom brought over a suitcase full of equipment to teach Freedom Firm gals how to do simple layer haircuts, manicures, pedicures and facials. The goal is for the girls to be able to do a skill that is applicable when it is time for them to leave the aftercare home. She starts Monday and will be with them about three hours every day for the whole week. I am really proud of her and excited to see a very practical skill that she has been using her whole adult life given as a gift to girls who desperately seek a way to earn a living and build confidence.

I am still looking for my stove and internet. If you see them, let me know.

Grace and Peace to you...
Tarrah (for the rest of the Palms)

Monday, January 26, 2009

A few initial photos

James and Ani enjoyed tight quarters on the flight over

Sydney on the flight, ready to go!

Was David helping us or just playing video games on the flight? Pictures don't lie.

Four adults, four children, fourteen large bags, four carry on bags, one stroller, one car seat...all on two bench seats.

Would our bags make it on the seven hour journey?

Let's begin the blog

Welcome to our blog. Also, welcome to our world in India. We hope to communicate enough of our life and work with Freedom Firm that our friends and family can get a feel of what our “new normal” is like.

So, here is a new normal, today we experienced our first 4 hour power outage and this evening we have no cell or land phone. That's weird. Why does this happen? No blizzard, ice or thunderstorm, just 70 degrees and blue skies. What do you do? Just keep on doing life I guess.

On to more meaty areas of our life. We had a great trip over, thanks to David Landt, our dear friend. (I do need to give a shout out to his wife and also dear friend, Sarah, for hanging out at home with their four kids while he is being our sherpa.) And we also are indebted to Northwest Airlines for their amazing personal TV's and great kid selection of movies and Nick Jr shows.

We arrived in Ooty, India, on Friday, January 15th, and was greeted by Glen and Bec Parks (and kids). There are on staff with Freedom Firm and have been in Ooty for roughly 2 ½ years. Glen is one of the lawyers with FF and Bec pretty much knows everybody in Ooty and also has found great joy in starting a women's center in Ooty. Without them, we would still be, well, umm, rolled up in the fetal position...

Our first week has been, well, so many things. But most importantly we see God's hand of protection and comfort while being here. We have fairly quickly brought our house in working order. We almost have a full working kitchen (stove will be here, hopefully, 10 days), our bags are unpacked, we have had 2 families over for dinner and we have done laundry. We still trying to figure out how to keep this house a bit warmer (no heating, but we are using a combination of wood burning fireplace, hot water bottles, two space heaters, warm pj's and down comforters). We are sleeping quite well. Except James tonight is coughing a bunch, maybe he is having a bit of a reaction to the Eucalyptus leaves that we are burning as kindling.

The kids are doing good. I don't think they quite understand the reality of how far we live from you all. We were out at the Botanical Gardens today and we probably had 30 people ask to take the kids pictures. Literally grabbing Sydney and wanting to take pictures together as if it is their niece. After a bit, we just said no pictures please. Quite strange. But other than that they have really enjoyed getting to see their new school and meet a few people that will be in their classes. They are enjoying their new house and new rooms. They also think its pretty fun piling into an auto (a rickshaw) to get anywhere.

Jayson is going to start work part time next week. Which will be good as he starts to wrap his head around all that needs to be done. My mom comes in on Wednesday this week, which will be so good. She's quite the courageous traveler... I have started to pray for a bit of an idea where I am to serve this next season of our life. I ask that you pray with me in this, and also to pray for continued community. We are definitely feeling the loss of that right now.

I think I have said enough for now. Maybe in upcoming posts I will share specifics on our daily activities, big to small. From transportation, to drinking water or how I buy our meat.... so exciting, I know you can all barely handle to wait :) Soon there will be great stories about what is happening in Freedom Firm, but for this week, its all about setting up camp.
Much love, Tarrah and crew