Tuesday, July 9, 2013

City updates

Here's some more updates on what we've been up to. I thought I might introduce you to my city a little bit. India was accurately described to me as an attack on all of your senses. Let me expound:

First thing that comes to mind: it is hot. Fans are essential to surviving. As soon as one is turned off you automatically notice a hot sticky feeling in the air, start sweating profusely even though you are just sitting on your bed, and then the physical exhaustion hits, again, even though you are just sitting on your bed. It also probably doesn't help that we wear pants everywhere. Today has been a significantly cooler day- with the Weather Channel saying it feels like 99. I will surely save a ton on summer energy bills in the future though- knowing now what type of heat I can withstand! Rain is rare, but is always prefaced by a really nice and strong breeze that makes you want to just stand outside and breathe in the cool air.

Scented flowers in my hair
Unfortunately taking in great big breaths outside is not always a great practice because of another characteristic: the smell. We regularly walk by the dumps, and so some days it smells like burning trash. Some days it smells like rotting trash. Sometimes you get a good whiff of diesel engines as you walk by an accelerating truck. I feel like it smells like sweat, though this is really more a characteristic of me + heat rather than India, itself. I do not mean to be complaining, I am just trying to observe. There are also some very wonderful smells. The girls will often where white flowers in there hair that have a strong and beautiful scent. We bought some new laundry soap that claims Jasmine and Rose scent, so I'm also looking forward to that one soon! The smell of fresh butter naan, ginger chicken, and curry all are deliciously good smells to look forward to here.

One of the landfills
Leading me to the next sense- taste. I really enjoy Indian food. When ordering it here, though, we regularly have to request little or no spice so that the amount that is actually served is a reasonable amount for us Americans with our fragile taste buds. One of my newest favorite dishes I'm not even sure what it is. Our last night as a team we went to a new restaurant and I asked the waiter what to order if I wanted a curry that was not too spicy. He said he would tell the chef to make something to fit those specifications and brought us a delicious chicken and cashew curry cooked in egg and topped with tomato sliced into a rose. I went back for it again a few days later and luckily had the same waiter and he remembered us (I guess it's not everyday six American women walk in there), and he remembered the dish. I asked him to show me it on the menu, but he said it wasn't on the menu, but was a special order. So I still don't know what it is, but luckily I've now stretched the leftovers for 4 meals. I tried tasting the food the girls eat everyday- it was hot. I didn't have my water bottle with me and I didn't want to be rude so I just ate it anyways (and with my hands!). It took a while for the tingling in my mouth to subside, but it eventually did. The kids say that it's not spicy or hot, but I beg to differ!

They ask for it!
So we've got touch, smell, and taste covered. On to hearing. At all times you can hear cars, autos, bicycles, and trucks honking their car horns whenever they pass another car. The honking is not so much to say you're in my way or you're in the wrong like it is in America, but more as a way to let people know you are coming and they shouldn't do anything sudden. Drivers tend to focus on what's in front of them, and so honking lets them know you are coming. Many cars and trucks even say on the back, "Please Sound Horn Please." Also all the horns are not all the same. There is the traditional "beep" and "honk" but also some that are almost melodic, some whistle sounding, and some bell-like. Other sounds: At home Haley and I can hear the kids playing and getting ready on the floors below us. In our old apartment we could hear the neighbor kids playing badminton on the court outside our door. Walking by schools and homes we can hear children giggling, clamoring to see the white people, and saying, "Hi!" to us (this was even more true when there were 6 of us walking around together). At 8 AM we suddenly hear the outside world again as the scheduled power outage begins and the fan is no longer drowning out the outside world.

That just leaves sight. I'll just attach some pictures. Too much to take in to really describe with words.
Our apartment above the schoolgirls apartment.
Laundry day! Can you spot the little girl coming to greet us?!
An "Auto" or "rickshaw"

Friday, July 5, 2013


What busy and crazy weeks it has been here in Andhra Pradesh. We finished up our English camp. On reflection I'm not sure how much English the pre-schoolers actually learned, but they definitely were loved on. One of my favorites of the pre-schoolers was Evan- he loves to be picked up and thrown around and run and play. Whenever I would put him down an pick up another child he would say, "Aka, nenu! Aka, nenu!", which means, "Sister, me! Sister, me!" Then I would pick him up, flip him upside down, tickle him all over, and watch him curl up with giggles. Loved it!

One of the treats of each day of English camp was serving them  some American foods. The macaroni and cheese (Blue box of course!) was one of my favorites to watch them eat. Two of the schoolgirls just stared at their spoonfuls of cheesy noodles. We kept saying to try it and they looked doubtfully at us. Finally they tasted it, their eyes went wide, and they handed over their spoons for more and more! We also gave them Jello, which went over surprisingly well considering its jiggly and much much sweeter than the sweets they are used to having.

My computer has been having it's own little issues (I think it's protesting the heat), so I am not certain how often I'll actually be able to blog, but I'll do my best.

Now that English camp is over Haley and I have moved apartments and started doing adoption paperwork in the afternoon and helping the school girls with homework ("tuition") in the evenings. Most of our free time is in the morning, which lends itself nicely to reading and hopefully blogging once our internet gets set up (and my computer cooperates!). We are now living above the school girls and pre-schoolers so it's really convenient and fun living above them.

Hope everyone had an excellent 4th of July! It's been a few years since I was in the states to celebrate, but we had some fireworks and ice cream cones here to celebrate, which I found to be more than sufficient. I can't believe the trip is almost halfway over already. Traveling and moving around here takes up so much time that we spent several days getting to our newest apartment home here and are leaving it for America two weeks from today- craziness! I am really enjoying it here but must admit it is an exhausting lifestyle- everything just takes a little more work. I'm thankful to have Haley around and not be alone here! More updates to come hopefully. Keep praying for our safety and health (so far so good), as well as for purpose and productivity in showing these children love!