“…And have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-..” Colossians 3:10
Week 5. Monday.
The A/C units have been installed, walls have been painted and flat has been cleaned. It is time for us to to load our 15+ suitcases into a couple ubers and move in!
Here in Jaipur, India, the three things that are necessary for move in are cleaning, A/C and R.O. Most places are very dirty and the cleaning is up to you. Call it mercy, but the LandLord of our new flat had it done for us!
The A/C units were installed and thank the Lord because the temperature was already in the 100’s. An R.O machine is a device that uses reverse osmosis to filter the tap water to make it safe to drink. Since we had been buying our water daily, this was a provision we were “pumped” to have in our home.
Our furniture was to be delivered as well as appliances. However, there were still many houseware and kitchenware items remaining to be found. I was so excited to see our furniture arrive as I had spent multiple outings visiting the local stores with the help of others who have lived here for years.
The furniture available was made from beautiful, handcrafted wood and marble. I had to find what would suit our family while navigating the conversion from rupees to USD. I also had to find items that were functional for our kids. The days are HOTT, and we need space for homeschool and indoor play.
I wish I had a photo of the 6 Indian men who delivered and assembled the bunk bed for the boys. It did not arrive until after 8pm and my children were wired and ready to be put to sleep so I was a little flustered at the hour. However, these men worked together like a well-oiled machine and had that bed assembled so quickly!
After all of the furniture was delivered the following day, it was time to pay. These are moments when we wish we already knew Hindi. We have often phoned a friend to interpret, and then hoped that nothing was lost in translation.
Marble is a natural resource here so you will find it everywhere. Marble is not my friend. When you have three loud children, the echo is deafening, and beware if you drop anything glass or ceramic it will shatter. So having furniture was not only necessary, but the combined effect of objects and carpets FINALLY removed the echo! My ears rejoiced. We had made a home, and IT WAS good.
It was time for me to head and find bedsheets, bath towels, dish and cookware, toiletries and cleaning supplies. I was referred to a store in the local mall called Lifestyle as well as a store back in the town where our hotel was, about 20 minutes away called Big Bazaar.
I started at Lifestyle. I went on my own. How hard could it be? Little did I know this would be how I would have my first anxiety attack since entering India. On the bright side, it took 5 weeks! And I did walk away with all that I needed, as well as a cultural lesson. Nothing bad happened, I just was not prepared. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is very common for at least 2-3 employees to step forward to assist their customer, especially a foreigner. In fact, they will get into trouble by their superior if they do not.
I was not prepared for 3 to turn into 7 employees, and for assistance to turn into decisions made for me. The next thing I knew I was at the checkout lane and all eyes were on me as the total was adding up on the register and I was approaching the ruppees amount to win a free google mini. The more people focusing on me, the smaller I felt. I felt like I was outside my body watching. It was all I could do to keep myself standing upright and not panic. All I came for was bedsheets, dishes and towels. And I felt like the main event.
To make matters worse, we do not own a car yet, so two boys escorted me outside to a tuk tuk carrying my bags for me. I insisted they put all my items in 1-2 bags that I could carry on my own, but they gave each item its own bag.
As soon as I got home, I melted in Adams arms and sobbed. I felt weighted down by feelings of insecurity, inferiority, and kept believing the lie that I was stupid and almost like a form of entertainment for others.
When I finally recovered, I was grateful to be able to rest and to use my YL oils such as grounding, white Angelica and peace and calming. Having the oils on hand has helped me feel like I can actually Do something, when control is actually out of my hands.
Like I said, nothing bad happened. And as an American in India, it is expected to draw attention. But when attention is taken from the local shoppers, given to me and I am treated like an event of “watch how much money the American Spends,” I just wanted to cry.
But what truly helped me break free from these thoughts was when a friend reminded me of who I am. The words, “daughter of the King, God’s beloved” wrang in my ears and brought peace to my heart. Remember my identity in Christ gave me strength to dispel the culture shock and lies that came with it.
The next shopping experience I had was the opposite. So I guess I should be grateful. I wanted to make sure I got back on the horse and did not let that experience paralyze me. I brought Gracelyn with me to Big Bazaar. No unnecessary attention this time! In fact, we got our counter top gas stove, our pots and pans and a few other kitchen items. So it was a success. However, I am certain the cashier was making fun of me in hindi to his friends and tried to rob me of the discounted price on the stove. And to top it off, another customer approached me at the checkout line and said, “You can find these on amazon, much cheaper.” Thanks buddy, if only I could get on Amazon India I would. But that is another story.
So balance was reached. Too much help and too little. And now we could cook our own meals!!! Well, if I can learn how to connect and use the stove first:)
That weekend as much as we wanted to keep setting up home and get wifi installed, we had been invited to stay in a hotel with a couple other expats.
Even though it was a beautiful place to stay, it was hard to go back into a hotel after we had been living in one for a month and finally go out of it. The kids behaviors were showing us how much they needed routine and a space of their own. I also had a wicked case of heat stroke which took a couple days to recover. My YL digize and peppermint were life savers.
On Sunday when we got home, I experienced my first bout of homesickness. You know that feeling when you go away for a while, and upon returning to your home, you walk in the door and feel that, “ah, we are home” feeling? Well, that feeling was not there. It will be soon, but it was not yet. I felt like I was floating again. I needed grounding.
A friend had invited me to check out a couple shops that had clothes and houseware items such as organizational baskets, canisters, pillows, rugs etc… So I went. And not only did I find some baskets for the kids toys, but I found the section where they sell Kurtas:)
These Kurtas were more like long dresses. A cross between western and Indian wear, which is exactly how I was feeling. A mix between being a westerner who was adopting Indian ways. Now, I am not promoting retail therapy here so do not misinterpret. But I am celebrating how each Kurta holds a story for me. These Kurtas remind me of moments of struggle, and the moments of grace that come with them.
The Kurta I found was perfect.