Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tedium: Waiting

We have experienced our share of waiting here in South Asia. We expected to wait often when trying to buy things, to get things repaired, and to travel.

Of all the expectations we had in moving here, this is one point at which South Asia did not disappoint. So many Americans get frustrated in South Asia just because things do not always get accomplished with the efficiency we are used to seeing in the USA.

You have seen the train stations before on our blog, where a 4-hour train ride can turn into a 12-hour train ride. In the chilly weather we had this month, waiting 8 hours on a crowded train platform can be discouraging.

Waiting at immigration offices for the officials to decide whether to let you out of their country,

Waiting for the police to open the gate for you,

And waiting for bike/vehicle/pedestrian traffic to sort itself out on what can seem like endless lengths of bumpy roads...

Just add to the charm of what is South Asia.

A South Asia we grow to love more each day.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy (Re)Public Day!!!

Rebekah did not quite get that the holiday we celebrated today was not actually Public Day, but Republic Day. We celebrated none-the-less, however. Last year we had our rooftop picnic at a friend's house, and this year we really acted like a true South Asian family by loading up everyone from our house into the truck, driving down the road with the country's flag flapping out the window, and having a picnic.

Who has picnics in January? Thankfully, we live in a climate that makes it possible for us to do so! We went twenty minutes out of town to a nice park near a military base to stretch our legs and enjoy nature (and, naturally, a playground and some animal cages which Rebekah turned into a petting zoo).

We did not bring the American picnic standards. Instead of sandwich meat and chips, we cooked a full meal and loaded it up to take with us.

We even baked patriotic-colored cookies for the occasion, since helping with frosting is one of Rebekah's favorite activities.

Rarely do we find the free time or uncrowded places to just hang out freely, but thankfully we had the opportunity today.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Belated Christmas

Remember when you were a child and you thought, in January, that Christmas was SOOOO far away.

What if you could just have another awesome Christmas in late January? Well, as fate would have it, the Postal Service here in South Asia must have intentionally delayed some amazing packages from some sweet friends in Hattiesburg so we could celebrate our Belated Christmas.

As you can see on the video, Rebekah was excited about the books, the clothes, and the abundance of princess items in the boxes.

And Mom and Dad were not left out of the celebrations either, especially as we saw our favorite foods from the Gulf Coast in the packages, along with our other favorites (pepperoni, cranberry sauce, muffin mixes, sunflower seeds, and candy!)

Rebekah and Kristie could hardly keep themselves from eating through the packaging.

(Disclaimer: We don't NEED anything from the USA; we could survive without them. But on the tough days, we just want some Red Beans & Rice or Gobstoppers to remind us of all you sweet people back home!).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Really, South Asia? Part Eleven (Disney World? Ummm, No)

Whoever owns Disney these days is making a ton of money here in South Asia. We heard the other day that Disney has an 80% name recognition in our country, which is good when there are over a billion people in that country!

We saw some nice advertising in our city for a multi-day Disney Holiday Magic Celebration in our town. 

Needless to say, Rebekah was pumped. 

Things looked a little promising when we saw some good quality sets.

And Rebekah got to dress up in her Snow White dress (which, to be frank, she could have done at home).

Then Rebekah got to put on eye liner...

And lipstick that every other little girl in line got to wear. 

Germophobes beware! But we were one of the first in line.

We did get a good chuckle out of Rebekah and her other American friend being the center of attention for so many South Asian families/photographers.

But the climax we waited for--the Story Time--was a man with a Mickey Puppet talking to himself. A few nights later Spiderman came in costume. But the promised appearance by Mickey or his friends was a little bit of a let down. 

Rebekah had fun, which was the most important thing. And it was much cheaper than seeing the actual Mickey Mouse character at Disney World.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Anniversary Weekend

Getting away from the internet is pretty much impossible these days. And finding quiet and 'alone' time in the midst of 1.5 billion people in South Asia is not as easy as you might think. 

Over our 10th Anniversary Weekend, we headed back to the nearby tourist destination of Darjeeling, where we have spent a couple other weekends away. 

We timed our trip correctly to avoid the crowds, though, as busier Christmas/New Year tourist rush was over (meaning many of the shops were closed as well) AND we were in the midst of the coldest temperatures of the past 30 years.

We purposely found an out-of-the-way lodge, where we played and read in the warm sunlight, 

Read by the fire,

Slept a lot under warm blankets,

Ate too much highland cheddar cheese,

And, of course, rode ponies. Rebekah rode this pony, Tikka, twice during our weekend.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Ganga

We have mentioned before the importance of water in our faith, as well as in the faith of most here in South Asia.

We took a very chilly, foggy boat ride on the holiest of South Asian rivers in one of the holiest cities in South Asia--so holy that we saw more foreigners seeking something in this moderately large city here than we do in the 20-million strong cities of our country.

We expected to see everything we saw:

Cows (safer in this spot in this city than perhaps anywhere else in the world)

People washing clothes (I might have waited until a little later in the day--it was really cold)


People bathing away their sins (As unholy as this sounds, I would have waited until later in the day for this as well)

Some impressive architecture

People brushing their teeth in the Ganga (no comment on how sanitary--or not--this is)

Maybe it was just our chilled bones or the cold fog, but it was a pretty sad boat ride. So much water, so much hope, so much searching going on by people from all over the world. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ten Years: The End of Cheap Anniversaries

We were students and or missionaries for most of our anniversaries, so luckily the Traditional and Modern Anniversary Gifts  have been relatively inexpensive up to this point in our marriage. Looking down on the list, the Silver, Pearls, Sapphires, and Emeralds we hope to celebrate with in the decades to come fill James's financial sensibilities with dread.

But what began as an unexpected 20-something romance on the banks of the Nile River in Uganda...

Has taken us all over the world...

Enabled us to share our love (and His Love) in hundreds of awesome places...

Was made official on that cold day in Southern Mississippi ten years ago.

We have spent more recent days on less glamorous boats in less glamorous places, sometimes cold and sometimes unbearably hot, sharing our love (and His Love) wherever we have gone.

So, we take a minute today to reflect back on Ten Years. James says he thinks he can handle the Ten-Year Tin/Aluminum Anniversary, especially since canned Dr. Pepper arriving in our town makes that gift easy to fill.

Hopefully Kristie enjoys the ten red roses, the Dr. Pepper, and the lilies that hopefully have bloomed when we return from our weekend getaway at a century-old resort.