Living on the top of “mountain” (it’s really not a mountain, but let’s just call it that, because we do live at the top of a really high hill, at 7,400 feet above sea level) means that if you want to go someplace that is not at the top of the hill, you have to drive down, and then eventually up. For me, it’s a great abdominal workout that I get, resisting each switch-back curve, so not to squish the kids. But for the rest of my family, they just get ill. The traffic is coo-coo, with many, many near head-on collisions, the smells are a bit much, rotting garbage and diesel really do a number on the motion sickness and you can’t close the windows to the yucky smells because there’s no A/C in the vehicle. But, when the family did not feel like it could take any more, we stopped for a break and at that break we saw a mama elephant and her baby right across the road. It was fabulous. Right across the road was not a zoo, it was just a regular ol’ Indian jungle. Love it. The elephants were a gift - they put wind in our sails to keep on truckin’ down the “mountain”.
Down the “mountain” contained a bit of an oasis. With my dad being in town, which by way has been fabulous (more on him later), we thought it would be fun to venture out to the nearest big city, Coimbatore. My dad treated us to a night at a nice hotel, that comes with a nice outdoor pool, A/C, satellite TV, comfortable chairs, a bath tub big enough for an adult, and nice food (we ordered room service after the kids were sleeping, we were a bit giddy over it). We really felt quite spoiled. And also, we went to a Subway for lunch. Not a big deal usually, but a big deal for us. They had some “American” items, but also sported some Indian-style subs. A few choices to be had there were Chicken Tikka, Veg Shammi and Aloo Patty... sweet. It was a really great little getaway for the whole family... refreshing and fun to do with my dad.
Like I said before, it has been great having my dad here. He leaves Tuesday morning. After saying so many goodbyes when we left the States, I immediately get the hives thinking about saying goodbye to my dad. The next time we see him will be a year from now, when we go back to the States for a visit. Seems far too long to me. Anyway, I think he got a great glimpse of our life here. I especially feel like he got to really experience the quaint side of Indian life when he was in bed for a day and half with the yuck. Welcome to India Dad, aren’t you glad you came?
On our way out to a Freedom Firm gathering this week, I had a conversation with one of FF’s social workers. She had a hard week. Two of the girls that had graduated from FF’s Aftercare Program decided to leave. To help them re-enter life, FF places them in the local YWCA, has them continue to meet with FF staff and they earn a paycheck by making jewelry that FF uses as micro-enterprise to help rescued girls. Anyway, they decided to leave and with mixed emotions, the social worker was trying to sort out what to do with them not being under FF’s care. The women that work with these girls day-in and day-out are amazing. They feel so much and have such a tender spot for these girls. The social worker was saying that God loves them so much and wants His best for them, but she just doesn’t know if - with what they have seen and gone through - they can really live in that truth.
When my father-in-law comes to town (obviously this is Jayson talking now), I always have a building project ready for him. This time around I had a whopper - Curt, how about building my kiddos a sandbox? 6 pieces of wood, a handful of screws, and 6 bags of sand. Done. First, we went to the lumberyard. We literally had to walk on the lumber to get to the pile of wood we wanted. Next we took the wood planks 2 doors down to have them cut to length and planed. Screws? We had to drive from there up to the market to get screws. And while we were there, the owner heard Curt was a fisherman, so he took him to the “warehouse” where he gave him fish from the coast. Why not? The sand I had to come back for later - The car/van/can’s 3 cylinders can’t handle 6 bags of sand plus people. Needless to say, this was the cultural experience where Curt said, “Yup, I’m in India. Never experienced anything like that in the U.S.” Getting it all at one Home Depot would have been nice, but I don’t think we would have come home with a bonus bag of fish from the Indian Ocean. (Side note: I also had Curt tag along to help move one of FF’s staff into her flat. A rat scurried out of her bag as we went to pick it up. Then 5 minutes later when we actually built up the courage to try picking it up again, rat #2 ran out of the bag.)