Everyday, we are greeted at Maitri with a sweet smile and hug from our best friend, Anita-ji.
Everyday, we say "Namaste Mintu!" to one of the baiyyas as we walk in and he gives us this big grin and says, "Hiiiiyah" (that's just what it sounds like :))
Everyday, I wake up filled with gratitude for the opportunity to live and love India.
Everyday, I worry that I might be hit by a car. And I usually am...jostled a little here and there between cars...
Everyday, I kind of wonder if we will be going to the hospital that day...
Everyday, I see children begging on the streets and I fill love and worry swell in my breasts, a deep emotion for their suffering and everyday hardships.
Everyday, I hear a local man calling out in Hindi, "Fruits and Vegetables!" But it sounds like he's chanting.
Everyday, I wake up to the sound of prayers being chanted at a local temple.
Everyday, I hear some kind of bollywood song from the window of an I-like-to-drive-fast-and-wreckless car.
Everyday, I see another beautiful saree (and I usually want it).
Everyday, I hear the doorbell ring 4 or so times at about 9:00 am as our sweet Laxmi arrives to make us breakfast.
Everyday, we have to wait for one of the roomies to get to the elevator as we run out the door for work (yes, sometimes it's me haha).
Everyday, we are stared at by the Indian men as we walk to work.
Everyday, someone tries to tell me what to do or where to go...and they just have no idea who I am.
Every once in a while (too often), I am called Ms. India, Ms. Universe, or Ms. World - will someone please tell me who I look like and why everyone in India is calling me this?
Everyday, we deal with or do something to prevent an upset tummy.
Everyday, Sarah changes her outfit at least 4 times...and then cocks her head to the left as she
admires views herself in the mirror...
Everyday, when I blow my nose, I find a large pile of black snaught - gross, I know.
Everyday when I scratch my ear, my nail is filled with black wax and dirt.
Everyday, I breathe the dirty pollution of disgusting Delhi.
Everyday, I fight a battle against awful blemishes and acne from the dirtiness and pollution of Delhi (I have very sensitive skin!)
Everyday, I wake up and run in the park outside our community or do yoga in the park in the center of our community.
Everyday, I see a rat run from the kitchen to my bedroom and into the bathroom (yeah and we saw the rat on our counter...gross).
Everyday, I walk past a homeless man by the overpass, seated by his shrine as he begs for money.
Everyday (almost), we buy a treat from the little market by our office.
This is my everyday. My beautiful, interesting, simple life in India.
That's one thing I've learned about India...how to simplify. But I'm still kind of working on it... (hence the reason I have 3 bags to fly home!)
I have the most amazing intellectual, spiritual, mental, etc. conversations with my roommates.
I love love love my life here in India! Here are a few of our everyday moments from the last little while...
This is the park where I run/jog/lung/jump jacks every morning...love my little park.
And this is what I see everyday on my walk to work...
|A little market by our organization.|
|The alleyways to work.|
|One of our favorite upstairs markets.|
|And another little market..I could get almost a million bags of Lays chips on my way to work alone!|
This is a neighborhood (Sector 13 Anant Ram Dairy) birth ceremony as they marched around the sector playing their drums and with an altar...quite fascinating! We've seen quite a few birth, death, and wedding ceremonies around the neighborhoods in the past few months!
And then we've had a couple of "everyday" (or rather, too often) little hospital mishaps...
|Katie got caught in the hospital for a few days...poor girl!|
|Sleeping cats on a couch :)|
We loved our LDS branch in New Delhi!
|Sarees at Church :) Love it!|
|I love love love the branch here - all of the members are incredible!|
|The young woman in our branch are the sweetest girls I have ever met! I love each one of them. They are all so beautiful!|
|Pose it, girls!|
Halloween in India...
|Witches hats from the local market...we were just happy to have something!|
|a couple of sweets from the Surpeme bakery (pretty yummy...not like home, though).|
|And an attempt at a Halloween costume.|
|Oh and you can't forget the street-infested candy bars!|
Random runs to the market for lunch...
|Sarah got a cake for the market...they thought it was her birthday. Love the language barrier! haha|
Lots of little parties at the office...usually go-away parties... :/
|Sarah got postcards from Finland! We love mail!|
|Playing with our sweet Laxmi-ji - she looked so pregnant this day so we had to get some photos!|
|Look how cute my mommy is :) I LOVE this woman!|
|Dominos pizza parties...our favorite.|
|Hippo treats...these are an Indian thing...|
|Even cooler, the Hippo treats help fight hunger by donating some of their funds to a good cause! Pretty cool, right?|
|A package from Katie's best friend...with CLEAN, AMERICAN-SMELLING clothes!!!|
|Freakout sesh :)|
|Sometimes, we try to buy our plane tickets at the same time so we all get seats by each other :) This is us purchasing our airfare to Goa and Mumbai...too fun!|
|And we found GOOD Kit-Kats :) They didn't taste like the street!|
|Sometimes, we go the movies... :) Like Breaking Dawn - we just HAD to see it!|
|Sunday primary program with the cute little Indian kids :) BEST.|
|I met up with Elder Randall at the church one day...we went to high school together - how fun!|
|Church in a saree is the best, most modest way to go :) (As long as you wear something to cover your stomach haha)|
|This is how they decorate their cars for weddings in India...isn't it pretty? Why in the world do we destroy cars when people are married in America?|
|Laxmi is from Kolkutta (Eastern India) and they have a tradition with this red dye called "Sindhu" or "Alta" where they decorate women's feet like this (see below) when they're married - interesting!|
|We came across a Hindu temple in the local market...crazy! They're everywhere but we were surprised to see one in the middle of the market.|
|These are beautiful, traditional Indian flowers :) Often people give these flowers to the Gods in the temples or the Gods give flowers like these to people or people use them to welcome people to India, etc. They're just pretty :) I love marigolds.|
|Once upon a time, we found an American-like, yummy Crepe restaurant - better than France? Not really but close!|
|Yummy chocolate banana crepe :)|
|Shopping for cloth for a salwar kameez (Indian suit) at the local market - crazy shopping day! Indian has such an incredible variety of fabrics and colors!|
|We had to place these little guys (statues) by our bathroom door, that leads to the balcony, in front of the towel so that the mice/rats couldn't run back and forth between the balcony in the bathroom and the kitchen...oh boy! Living with a family of rats was an adventure. I don't miss them.|
One day, we went to a very touristy, beautiful, clean market called Dilli Haat. It was a celebration day for West Bengal!
|Outside the market...Indians sure know how to create art!|
|I love these little Elephants...my favorite gift to bring home :) Beautiful! Hand-painted and everything.|
|And we saw lots of traditional Indian dancing at the market that day! I love traditional Indian dance and music.|
Often, we take little adventures to our friend's homes to have dinner and enjoy some good, Indian company :)
On this particular adventure, Katie and I (Sarah was sick) took a bus to the metro, then rode the metro 14 STOPS (it was an hour long ride standing with lots of heavy baggage...) to our friend, Shika's, house. It was a fun night! Her family spoiled us! They watched us, took pictures, and filmed as we ate and relished their food (it was so yummy!) and looked through wedding albums, etc.
It was a fun night!
|Shika's family - they loved us!|
|Some of the best food...BEST. Okay, there was a lot of BEST food nights :)|
|Shikha pretty much lives in a mansion...her home is so nice! Beautiful!|
We invited ourselves over on a Sunday evening to one of our best friend's, Shyam's, home. It was so much fun! We love his little brother&hero, Rakshit (yes, it's said rock-shit hahaha we felt awkward saying it at first ;))
|This is little Rakshit...he's so darling! Love him as my own.|
|Our little group - Shyam, Rajni (good friend from ward :)), Me, Sarah, Rakshit, Katie, Shyam's mom, and in front, his two gorgeous little sisters - I love his family!|
|This is Shyam's home. He is a humble, sweet guy.|
Then, one time, we visited a friend's emporium...but a beautiful one at that! We usually stay away from bazars and emporiums but, we were invited for a free lunch and the guy that owns the emporium, we met him at Maitri's Golf Tournament and he was so nice to us. So we went. And it was gooooood.
|We found us some magic carpets! :) Photo courtesy of SarahSioux|
|Carpets all around...handmade - they're so beautiful! We were captivated.|
|This is kind of how they make carpets...one little string at a time and as they tie and add the strings, they push the strings down hard with this little tool - it's insane!|
|I decided to buy one for my mom for Christmas...it was so hard to decide! These are the ones I chose from - I ended up buying the one on the top left. It's Kashmiri Silk and of the Tree of Life :)|
|The most amaaaazing Kashmiri food and Indian food we ate in India (we say that every time) - so yummy! And we got some chicken and mutton. We missed meat - real protein.|
|This guy has sold rugs to Clinton and decorated his home. He met Hilary Clinton too. Each year he provides thousands of rugs for U.S. Embassies around the world...amazing!|
We also made a fun visit to our Branch President's home, the Cleggs. It felt like we were in AMERICA again. Chili, Christmas trees, clean floors (or rather, a floor that wasnt dirt), a normal good-sized kitchen, sweet, white people, etc. Don't get me wrong, we LOVE India but...it was a fun diversion from our everyday reality. We also spent some fun time with their adorable little girls - barbies, jumping on the tramp, playing with their doggie, etc. They made us feel at home again. It was the best night.
|Their adorable little girl, Mia, look at those eyes!!!|
|Hanging with the Cleggs...finally felt like Christmas! Sarah, me, Davvy Clegg, President Clegg and his sweet wife, Lora.|
We love our very blessed, beautiful, everyday life here in India :)