Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Culture Shock

After my last entry we were still in Vyara.  Since I was going to be on a train for 10 hours on my birthday the Indians took me out on the 3rd to celebrate my birthday.  They let me drive Sunil’s jeep and I have to say that driving in India is not something I hope to do anytime soon.  For starters you’re sitting on the wrong side of the car and you’re driving on the wrong side of the road.  On top of that you have to dodge other cars, cows, dogs, chickens, goats, bikes and pedestrians.  After that we went and got some food and then some drinks.  I got mango soda and they all got root beer.  We got back to the hotel around midnight and I had to pack and I will hopefully get the best birthday present of all.

So I got to spend my birthday on a train from 5:30 to 16:30 followed with a three-hour car ride.  But it was definitely worth the journey.  We were picked up at the train station by Kiron, Nalini and their son Daniel.  We got our things loaded onto the car and took off for Lasina.  We got to the home around 20:00 and the boys came running when they heard the horn honk to open the gate.  We were greeted by some boys who looked like they were about to rob a bank.  They came out wearing sweatshirts and ski masks that covered the whole head.  But it wasn’t too long after that before I purchased a ski hat of my own.  But it was late and we were tired from the long journey so we went to sleep.  I was very anxious for what the next day in store for me, because I will be doing it for the next 4 ½ months.

Well I was awoken at 5:30 to the sound of one of the older girls, Sonali, sweeping in front of my room.  I wasn’t a fan of this at first but she soon became my alarm clock.  She was the best alarm clock I’ve ever had, always on time, it had no snooze button and you couldn’t ignore it.  That first morning I watched the youngest kids having devotion followed by breakfast.  Next the kids have study time where they sit in rows outside on the ground and do their homework.  Some of the kids taught me their secret handshake.  After study time it is lunch time, at 9:30.  During lunch I watched two girls make two beautiful chalk drawings.  After that we walked with the kids to school and when we got back I hung out with the nursery, which I’ll be helping out with while I’m here.  At 15:00 I wandered into the kitchen and Mommy put me to work making the dough for chapatti.  This was not an easy task, the other boy made it look so easy.  I am basically just mixing the flour with the water.  This type of job would normally call for an industrial sized blender but all I had was my hands.  I don’t hang out around the kitchen at 15:00 anymore.  When the kids got back from school I found the two girls that made the drawings and I showed them the one they made in front of the girls hall.  I showed them the one they made in front of guesthouse where Lu, Doug and Cleveland were staying.  And then I showed them in front of my room but there was nothing to show.  They must have understood the point I was making because they came back not only with chalk, but with five other girls as well.  These seven girls made an even better one than the other two, complete with color.  It’s good to be me.  At dinner one of the girls was staring at me and when I caught her she signaled me to come sit by her.  So I picked up my plate and sat on the ground and ate dinner.  Since I was going native, I also decided to not use a fork.  So I cupped my hand and put it in my bowl of curry and splashed it over my rice.  In India, everything is finger food.  I now know what I should have told my Mom when she yelled at me for playing with my food.  I should have said, “I’m just practicing for being a missionary to India.”

Now I could go into as much detail for everyday I’ve been here but I haven’t got the time.  We participated in the largest water fight in Indian history which only widened U.S.-Indian relations.  Luckily the U.N. got Lu, Doug and Cleveland back to America safely, I was not so fortunate and have been taken captive.  We’ve visited two villages so far which was awesome.  The villages are something else.  I can’t even begin to describe or imagine living in those conditions.  I have eventually gotten to know every kid here along with their names.  I have five groups I teach, yes teach, English to.  Imitation is the greatest form of flattery so I imitate the kids all the time, especially Karishma, who is the shiest girl I’ve ever met.  I always catch her looking at me and then she gets really embarrassed and hides behind a tree or just covers her face, so I began copying her.  When she hid from me, I hid from her.  I also started imitating the way the girl’s laugh, which only makes them laugh more.  It’s funny when the kids try to imitate me.  When they see me “glaring” at them, some of the kids will try and glare back but will always start laughing.

Well the kids are the most amazing kids I’ve ever met.  I have more stories, pictures and videos than I know what to do with.  I am flying high once again, I busted through the culture shock wall that had me in bed and the bathroom for a couple of days and am now focused on what I’m here to do.  I can’t wait to share more with you all soon.  Can’t wait, tomorrow is Christmas.  Have a safe and merry Christmas.


Lu said...

This makes me homesick for India! I'm so glad you're feeling better. You are doing great! Thanks for putting all that down and keep it coming. :-) Have a very Merry Christmas with those amazing people. God bless.

Auntie Dawna said...

Merry, blessed Christmas to you dear Kyle! Here we are in Pullman with 18 inches of snow on the ground -- that' after what has melted or blown away. I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better...I hear that TUMS are on the way ;-)

We loved reading this together... uncle Paul, dr. luke , cousin steffie and I. We got a chuckle from your antics and hearing the stories of the kids you are with.

thanks so much for sharing. know how much we love you and keep you in our prayers

Chelle and Mel said...

Why doesn't it surprise me that all the girls are in love with you? ..A charmer worldwide.

..Ah and I can hear you're reply, "I KNOW!"

xo Mel