Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Beginning my Goodbye to India

One week from today, my life in India will be over. I will be sitting by a pool in Thailand, sipping something that is safe for pregnant women to sip. And, I will not miss this. But, there will be a day, and many, many moments, where I will miss this, and so I will begin this week to say goodbye to the country that has been my home for a year. Every day, I'll try to reflect on something that I will miss or anticipate or pray for. Indulge my ramblings - it's been a long, deep, happy, crazy, beautiful year. And I'm so glad it's coming to an end.


Goodbye animals - everywhere of any kind. Forgive me, American animals when I don't treat you as people, because I now consider you to be a harmless part of the scenery, not someone who should lick me.

Goodbye traffic. I know I will see you again in New York or around construction sites, and when I do, I will try not to nose between lanes just because I think I can fit. I will come home to a car without a dent because it hasn't had to share rush hour with cows, tractors, ox carts, and other improvised vehicles.

Goodbye Lakshmi. You are a beautiful creation of a God who loves you. You have been my reminder that the gospel works in mysterious ways, and in ways that don't fit in with my American Christian expectations. I will look for you in heaven someday, and I can't wait to meet all the people you bring with you.

Goodbye festivals every other week. I have been amazed with what gusto preparations are made so very often. I will miss the color, noise, fireworks, and flowers that accompany each celebration.

Goodbye poverty. You will always be around, but not to this extent, staring me in my face every day. Goodbye beggars - thank you for reminding me what the Bible says about always giving to those who ask. Christians care about "enabling," but Jesus cares about mercy that doesn't make sense.

Goodbye noise. I will not miss you, but your absence will probably leave a void I can't yet anticipate. Dogs barking, engines roaring, people shouting, water pumping. I retreat to America, land of the free and home of the quiet. I will gladly use my tv that doesn't start at a volume that could knock me out.

Speaking of tv, goodbye channels Star World, Z Cafe, AXN, and Discovery Travel and Living. You rarely had much good on, but without you these past two months have been longer than they needed to be.

Goodbye Hathway Internet. I am sorry again for the way my husband screamed at you and threatened to picket your office. He really is a very gentle, kind man, and our friends in America would be shocked at his behavior towards you. Your services were so important to us, which is why our anger flared at the many, many, many times they were down.

Goodbye home delivery. I will miss you very much, as now I will need to load and unload all of my groceries.

Goodbye going to 7 shops a week. I will think of you with sentiment as I stand in line at Super Wal-Mart with diapers, groceries, toilet paper, interior paint, a DVD, and a diet soda.

Goodbye $25/month maid service. (For you Americans, I know, what a steal. For you Indians, I know I overpaid, but it was worth it.) I will try to relearn how to clean my bathroom, mop a floor, and figure out the vacuum cleaner. I know I can't keep you forever, but I will never forget you.

Goodbye to all the old ladies that grabbed Simon's face as if they were trying to see how easily he bruised. I hope that you understand that when a child screams, you've squeezed too hard. Reign it in a bit, or try using words like, "what a cute child."

Goodbye to the Westerners I've shared this experience with - Jim and Leena, Jonathan and Jen, Kevin & Steph - I've needed your perspective, your best attempts to love this country, and your bad days to balance out mine.

Goodbye Elijah. I leave your body here, which seems appropriate, but I will see you, my son, one day. Do you know you are already a big brother? Your life in heaven will be fuller than it could have ever been here.

Goodbye tiny hot water geyser. You have raised more negative feelings from me than anything else I've experienced here. I will not miss you, but thank you for being the cause of the immense enjoyment I will get out of every hot shower I ever get for the rest of my life. I'm sorry about the global warming I will single-handedly cause by these long, hot showers, but I will try to neutralize my "carbon footprint" by turning off the lights when I leave the room.

Goodbye $3 leg waxes and fifty-cent eyebrow threading. At least here, pain is cheap.

Goodbye to the freedom my son has experienced without a car seat. Goodbye to auto rickshaws. And goodbye to our scooter. Here, getting around is an adventure.

Goodbye Dominoes Pizza. You will be in America, too, but I will never eat you again. You have, however, sustained me on many a hungry night here, and for that I am appreciative. Goodbye cheap Indian food. At home, you are "hip" and "trendy," so I will have to pay a fortune to eat you, or make you myself.

Goodbye, goodbye, I could keep going, but I'll stop here for today. I love this place!

1 comment:

Stefanie said...

I love all the insights into your everyday life! Miss you and I can't wait to see you at Thanksgiving!