Tuesday, August 24, 2010

79 Loads of Bedding

Happy first day of school kids.

Sydney in her P.E. kit. So proud.

Three green lights are on, one more to go. When all four lights are shining brightly, that means we have internet. In our very own house. On our very own computer. Pretty dreamy, right? Since the frying of our modem/phone line in April, followed by our phone cord being ripped out of the telephone pole by the bus, we have tried in vain to get it back up and running. Oh no, it’s down to two green lights. This isn’t looking good folks. Anyway, some might say that the first blog back in India is off to a pretty slow start... I will probably agree, let’s see if I can amp it up a bit.

I last left off back in Minnesota, and we were heading down to Mel and Mike’s wedding in St. Louis. “The wedding of the decade”, I think that is how I described it. Well, we had a most fabulous time, the location and people were gorgeous, with Mel taking the lead in the gorgeous category. I am pretty sure that is was the hottest wedding in history. At least my history. Heat index (don’t we love the heat index, it makes the temp sound much more dramatic) was at 115 degrees. And it was an outdoor wedding. I didn’t give a rip about how hot it was, because I was just so glad to be there, and not having to watch it on video in India.

After we sweated all day, we danced all night. Then we hopped into the car - jammies on and caffeine in hand - and drove through the night up to Minneapolis to catch a plane to fly back to India. The trip was super uneventful. Planes, waiting, expensive airport food, endless trips on the moving sidewalk with the kids, jammed vehicle with luggage and people, and dosas and idlis for breakfast in Gundlupet.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Sadly for the kids, the final McDonald's meal.

Spotted deer near the tiger reserve on the drive back to Ooty.

Our first encounter with our house was that we were locked out. That was awesome. Second encounter was walking in to a musty, musty, musty house (sneeze, sneeze, sneeze), also awesome. Third encounter was with mildewed bedding and clothes...mold creeping, creeping all over. You guessed it, awesome. Fourth encounter was whilst I was throwing one of 79 loads of bedding into the dryer, the dryer didn’t work. No biggie when it’s not the monsoon, but it’s rainy and cold all the time right now. So, all this transpired over about three hours. One would think that I would have packed up the family and headed straight back to the airport. But for some reason I was as calm as a spring breeze. It’s like my body and mind were saying, “This is how we roll here. If it were different, then it wouldn’t be my life in India... Welcome back, Tarrah”.

Our temporary dryer: A heater and fan in the bathroom.

In trying to dry out our home, we're using the fireplace for hours each day. But this time of year the wood we purchase is all wet, so we need to dry it in front of the fire before putting it in.

We are back to three green lights. Progress, maybe. Jayson is looking rather annoyed. Wishing that a guy in a smart looking uniform would come and do this for him... My husband is patient. Way more patient than I.

I have gotten flashbacks this week to our first weeks when we moved here originally. The jet lag that has almost defeated us. The mornings that last forever since we all were up at 3:00 a.m. Burning all sorts of food items when cooking. The feeling of being very alone, a world away from everyone and everything that we love... None of these are very positive feelings. The great thing though, is that most of those feelings passed within a few weeks. I definitely struggled with loneliness throughout the last two years, but the feeling of being very alone is different, to me, than loneliness. Being alone is similar to “ghost town with tumbleweed blowing through” type feelings. And that passed.

Guess what folks, the internet is on. Can you believe it? I can’t. I am sad to admit that I got butterflies in my tummy when I saw it connect. I am so obnoxious. Sorry. It’s the same feeling I had when the dryer was fixed only five days after they said it would be.

We found that the trick to getting the internet working is that the phone needs to be off the hook and we need to connect to the internet within 10 seconds of the "internet" green light coming on. Seriously.

Well, folks, I promise next week’s is going to be a little livelier. Stay with me, keep on reading, I have loved writing and sharing with you all about our life here in India. Until next week...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Complete and Utter Travel Envy

An ode to our birthday girl, who just turned two last Saturday

9:04 p.m., Tuesday, August 10, 2010. I am sitting on my parents couch whilst my parents and Jayson watch the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox and eat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake. I am feeling so “All-American”. Oh, a bald eagle flew by. And Betsie Ross and George Washington are having a conversation at the kitchen table. Hamburger and fries anyone?

Another all-American activity - the county fair

Ani's dream...being the seven-year-old girl she is gazing at in this picture

Okay, enough of my nonsense. I have two favorite parts of my day. Let me tell you about them. First one was between 10:00-11:30 a.m. this morning. A little background, today is the big pack up day, we take off at noon tomorrow. Okay, back to today, I pretty much had to talk Jayson off the ledge, several times... Yes, that’s my first favorite part. I know that can be traumatic for some, but not this ole’ girl. The kids were repelling off the furniture and each other and it looked like a big monster ate the stuff that we were supposed to be packing and then threw it back up and I could see Jayson slowly backing out of the house trying to make a run for it. So, I lassoed Jayson back in the house, gave him a pep talk about how life is messy, and this is one of those times, and the day will get better and he had to hang with me. Look how far we came today... Twins game and all. Aren’t you so proud of Jayson?

My second favorite part was when I was sorting through a suitcase that was set aside for St. Louis (Mike and Mel’s Wedding), and I was looking for a few sets of clothes for yours truly that were not for the important events (bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, wedding), but all the in-between clothes --- hang with me folks, this is getting a bit tedious, I promise I will tie it all together --- and I asked Jayson if he has seen them. He looked at me with complete innocence and said, “I packed them.” “Where Jayson?” said I. “In one of the 10 bags that are packed for India.” And then I slowly said, “Awesome.” I looked at my orange shorts and blue hoodie and told him to get used of this outfit because this is all that I have for the next five days. Underwear and all. He breathed deeply, and then went out to the mountain of bags and started looking, lightly, because, well, that’s all he had in him. I didn’t push it, and said, “Well, I guess we’ll just roll with it.”

9:27 p.m. So, our last few weeks in review. We had a great time spending a few weeks at my folks, doing northern Minnesota type things, which included a wonderful 24 hours spend with the amazing
Wolfe family, friends from Texas. Then we spent a week in Minneapolis with our church participating and teaching at Vacation Bible School. Definitely a great highlight of our summer. Doing life together every day with the people we love and miss so much. And now, the last three days, we have been shopping, sorting, passing-on, packing, etc. Tomorrow, Wednesday, we travel down to Minneapolis, spend the night at Sarah and David’s, and then bright, shiny and early Thursday morning, we head down to St. Louis for the wedding of the decade. All six of us are in the wedding, which is totally fantastic and I am curious, just curious, how quickly my children who will be donned in white, will get dirty at that outside wedding. Will it be 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 31 minutes...? Hmm.

The Wolfe and Palm kids, minus one Wolfe. Photo snatched from Sarah's blog: Pack of Wolfes

A bit of "Northern Minnesota type things" going on here. We think it was a lemonade stand.

9:41 p.m. On Saturday night, after the wedding, we will shove the kids in the car (like Jayson did with my clothes) not letting them out until we get to Minneapolis. We’ll drive through the night to get to the airport in Minneapolis by 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Then we’ll fly for endless hours back to India. I know, I know, complete and utter travel envy.

9:48 p.m. Well people, we are going back to India. Are we ready you ask? Ready like a woman just before giving birth. It’s all a bit painful, but you just need to do it. (Yes, there are some flaws in my analogy, but just go with it.) And likewise the packing and goodbyes and re-entry is all a bit messy, painful and tiring, but we have work to do, a great big work. And after a restful and filling two months, we are ready to jump in, to keep on coming alongside girls that long for freedom but don’t have the resources to do it on their own. Peace to you, see you in India.

Twelve bags. Packed and ready to go.

And we're done.