This past weekend Nick and I went to the City Walk mall in Delhi. It is a huge shopping center that felt very out of place for India. After awhile, we forgot what country we were in (except for the fact that there were a lot of Indians) and enjoyed some creature comforts that reminded us of home.

We found a small deli that sold all sorts of meat, cheese and other groceries that we haven’t been able to find anywhere else. Once we looked at the price tag, though, we were in shock. $50/kg for honey roasted ham, $40/kg for turkey breast, $10 for a small block of real cheddar cheese… the list could go on. I’m not quite sure how the store can afford to carry such items, but one thing is clear: you have to be wealthy or willing to splurge big time to shop at that place!

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve blogged. Partly because I’ve been a little preoccupied over the past month.

For those who haven’t heard through the grapevine… we have some happy news to share (drum roll, please).

We’re expecting!

This was a huge surprise for us and we’re so excited for this little gift that God has given us!

It’s been hard to blog knowing this info and not feeling like I could share it quite yet. Plus, I’ve been quite nauseous and tired… and busy trying to keep a constant stream of food entering my body to appease my stomach that threatens to empty itself if it doesn’t get what it wants when it wants it. This is actually turning out to be an all day activity as the baby grows. My stomach growls a lot more than it used to even though I just ate a bowl of cereal and a banana and a glass of juice.

I also want to give huge props to my husband. He has definitely earned the best husband of year award in just one short month! Almost daily he goes out to hunt for iron-fortified cereal, apple juice, milk, large potatoes for baking and bananas that won’t go bad the next day. Plus, he makes me food when he’s home because he knows how much going in the kitchen makes me want to vomit (it has this weird smell that makes me nauseous) and lets me sleep in in the morning. He’s been so wonderful and patient and reminds me to take my folic acid. What a guy! I am a lucky woman. 🙂

It’s been exactly 3 months since we’ve landed on Indian soil – almost down to the minute. 😉

It almost feels like an eternity ago since we said our good-bye’s at the airport and boarded the plane for the long flight to Delhi. At times it’s hard to remember what our life was like before moved to another continent. One thing for sure, we’ve changed in the past 3 months.

I was just thinking today about the clothes that I packed in our shipment. At the time I thought they would be things that we would need, but now my definition of need has dramatically changed. Now I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with all the extra clothes. I seem to be getting by just fine with what I have.

People told us not to bring much, but you just don’t know what to expect when moving half-way across the world. It was literally a blind move. And, I guess you can say a catch-22: I’m sure we would have packed much differently had we known what we know now. But, you can’t fully know until you make the move!

The landscape of our hearts have also changed significantly. The Lord has been faithful to perfect us (not that we’re even close) over the past 3 months in ways that were not expected. But then again, if God had given us a heads up on the crucible we were walking into, we might not have boarded the plane! 😉 We continue to learn more and more about God’s character, His faithfulness and His intense desire for us as we surrender our hearts to Him.

We’re looking forward to returning home for a month in October… only 3 more months to go! Nick will have business meetings and an industry event to attend and we’ll also spend a few weeks visiting friends and family. Who knows how much more we’ll have changed by then!

It hasn’t rained nearly as much as I thought it would, but when it does rain, it rains cats and dogs!

Nick drove home from work in a deluge last night, stepped inside completely soaked from head to toe and reported that there were roads in our neighborhood completely under water. He also said we had a toad hanging out on our front door step – probably taking shelter from the down pour. I don’t blame him. 😉

We also have water soaking through our cement walls. Not enough to leak, but enough to discolor the paint and make me worry about having mold problems.

Just like a snow storm causing cities to shut down in the US, the torrential rains here do the same. Thursday morning both of our language helpers and our house help called to say that they weren’t coming because of the rain. I was a little surprised at first, but after thinking a little harder about it I decided that I wouldn’t want to walk, ride bike or take a rickshaw in that kind of rain either.

Our clothes take a lot longer to dry – if they even completely dry at all. There’s so much humidity in the air that you can’t really tell that you’ve dried off after a shower. It’s pretty crazy. We’ve been wondering if they have de-humidifiers here. So far, everyone we’ve asked has looked at us like we’re weird, so we may need to look in Delhi.

We still don’t have an umbrella. I’ve been fortunate to not get caught in the rain while I’ve been out, but I have a feeling I won’t be so fortunate in the future!

I love listening to the rain coming down. There’s been a lot of thunder and lightening that has accompanied the rain which makes me want to curl up with a good book by the fire… wait a minute, we don’t have a fire place. 😉 Oh well! I also love the way the air cools down after it rains. Everyone is out and about enjoying the brief reprieve from the heat.

That’s all about the monsoon… for now.

Yesterday our DSL line was installed at our house. It’s not the fastest, but I’ll take it over a dial-up modem that was only available a few hours each day!

Now we can Skype at home! Yay! We’re super excited about the flexibility of being able to talk with friends and family without having to go into the office.

The other thing that brings my heart joy is being able to listen to the Prayer Room Stream from IHOP. We’ve had it on pretty much non-stop – except when we were sleeping! It’s like water to my parched soul.

This will also allow me to help Nick with some work from home. He’s already sending me 2 different projects that have been sitting on his plate untouched.

You can read Nick’s blog about the process of getting broadband – living here definitely sheds new light on the parable of the persistent widow! 😉

People drive with their brights on at night. I don’t get it. At times I’m nearly blinded by the stream of cars and motorcycles coming my way. Perhaps their eyes get used to the bright lights, but I can’t see a thing!

Here it’s considered rude to call someone older than you by their first name (it’s only okay for children and peers). For example, we call our landlords “Uncle and Auntie”. We would completely disrespect them if we called them by name. There is even an elaborate system of names for aunts and uncles (actual relatives) that is dependent on the relation to ones parents. My mom’s brother would have a different name than my dad’s brother, (same with the sisters). On the father’s side, the eldest brother is called by a different name than the younger ones, so there are two names for uncles on my father’s side depending on birth order. Plus, all the in-laws (brothers and sisters) have a completely different name because they’re in-laws. Same for nieces and nephews. The name we would call my brother’s daughter is different than the name we would call on of my sister’s daughter’s and so forth. Are you confused yet?

It’s completely okay to ask someone how much they make or how much money they spent on a new scooter or new furniture. We’ve experienced this firsthand. Every time we purchase something new for our house, we are asked how much money we spent. Only because they want to know, not because they’re interested in buying the same thing.

Many times “no” means “yes”. I found out the other day that if I offer to make chai for guests they will say no, but they don’t really mean no, it’s just inappropriate to say yes. This signals the host (me) to further prod them to stay and have some chai. I basically have to tell them they must stay and have chai. They won’t refuse because I won’t let them leave (something else that’s different – when visiting, you have to ask permission to leave someone’s house). If one answers yes right away it can be interpreted as being greedy. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve said yes…I hope people don’t think we’re greedy!

The ISP in town turned off the internet this past Wednesday because they were changing their prices – at least that’s what the guy from the ISP said. I don’t even want to begin to figure that one out!

**Note – I only find these things odd because I grew up in a different culture. So, please do not think that I am bashing the culture. I am not. I have no doubt that people here think many of the things we do are odd…in fact we have been told so on occasion! 😉

It’s bad. Really bad. And I thought the dry heat was miserable…

I checked the weather report and the high is only supposed to be 89 today, but already it feels at least 110 with the humidity.

Still 2 1/2 months to go of the rainy season…brutal!

This is the refining fire that I am currently sitting in:

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

I know this is a good work, but also at times very painful. Lately, I find my heart mostly despising the city we live in. There’s a little joy, but I can hardly say that my heart is overflowing with it! Because of our city’s small size we stick out like sore thumbs and are reminded of that every time we step out of the house. Just this past weekend we decided to go to the bazaar to purchase a few items that we have been needing. My patience was stretched to the limits. I had very little patience for the shopkeepers that wouldn’t acknowledge my presence. I grew quickly weary of all the long stares – even from just a few feet away. I boiled with anger at the men who snickered and whispered to each other all the while not taking their eyes off of me. We had only purchased 2 things on our list and I was ready to go home.

In Delhi (even Dehra Dun, the capital of our state), we don’t elicit near the attention because we blend in. We are among many foreigners bustling about. At times I think I would do anything to blend in with the crowd and not be subject to the scrutiny of every passerby.

And so today, as I was lamenting before the Lord, I heard Him whisper, “Love is patient.” I must confess I find more anger and dislike for people here (ones that I don’t have a personal relationship with anyways) than compassion, love, kindness and patience. I started to think about Jesus and what it must have been like for Him walking the earth. Sure, He blended in because he was Jewish. But during His ministry years he was greatly persecuted – so much more than I could even begin to imagine.

And what was his response? He did not throw a temper tantrum or cuss people out. He didn’t demand justice for the wrongs committed against Him. He didn’t become defensive and angry with those who didn’t understand His identity. He loved. And He loved to the very end. He did not think of Himself, His own needs or desires; He only considered the Father’s will. He committed Himself into the Father’s hands, knowing that He is a Just Judge.

Oh to love like Jesus! I am realizing that being here in this city is not about me – my comforts or desires. The Father has a purpose for us being here – surely a huge part is letting patience have its perfect work in us. But, I also know that He wants to love on people here. And the way He’s chosen to do that is through His imperfect, broken and leaky vessels.

So, I’ve come to a crossroads…fight against the perfecting work of God in my life or commit myself to Him trusting that He will bring me forth in love. I can only ask for the grace to walk the latter path knowing that He is faithful to give me the grace and mercy I need!

Cilantro is another name for coriander! And, they use a TON of it here in their cooking.

I’ve heard of the dried spice coriander, but would have never guessed in a million years that it came from cilantro (aka fresh coriander). I kept wondering why my language helpers and other nationals would give me a strange look when I would ask them the Hindi name for cilantro. They had no idea what I was talking about!

The funny thing is that I found out by opening the one vegetarian cook book that I brought with me. In the beginning it lists pretty much every food group (except meat) 😉 along with several items that are found in each food group – down to the nitty gritty! We’re talking 5-6 different types of oranges, root veggies that I’ve never heard of before, endless varieties of cheese and 40+ types of pasta! It was very interesting. And in the little explanation for coriander was the little known fact (to me anyways) that it is also known as cilantro.

This kinda seems like a pointless post (now that I’ve read back through it again), but I can’t sleep and thought that perhaps I would share my knowledge with the blogosphere…

Yesterday our neighbor’s 2 year old son came over to play. He wore a pink shirt, pink sandals and no pants…(and I should also add no diaper because Indians don’t use diapers). The first thought that came to my mind, “You’d never see that in the US!” Pink is not really a gender color here…as far as I can tell. In the US I doubt that any parent would dress their son in pink…but, I could be wrong.

In the afternoon I saw our neighbors bring their big fan down into the car port. They had purchased 8 large bags of wheat and were setting up to sift the wheat. As they sifted the wheat in front of the big fan, it blew all the chaff away. It was quite the process! There was wheat everywhere. I couldn’t even leave my house without walking through it. So later, we found out that they take the wheat and have it ground into flour as they need it. It was fun to watch the whole family working together.

Last night, a bunch of neighborhood girls knocked on my door to ask if I would do them the favor of being a judge at their dance contest this Friday. I’m not sure what I’m in for, but it sounds like fun and a good opportunity to get to know more of my neighbors.

I learned yesterday that the word for snoring in Hindi is karate…this made me chuckle.

This morning our neighbor’s 2 year old son came over to play again. He got out the blocks and played his usual game of pick up the blocks and dump them out (repeated over several times). Then he got really quiet and went and stood over in the doorway leading to our dining room. I was trying to figure out what was wrong. He looked really serious, almost like he was sad. Then the next thing I knew he was peeing on my floor! As I went to go get some paper towels, Nick howled, “He’s pooping on the floor!” And sure enough little turds were falling out of his shorts (sorry if this is too graphic). All I can do is laugh and say, “Thank God for marble floors!”

In the midst of cleaning up the mess, a Sadhu came to our door wanting money. He wouldn’t leave and kept shouting, “Hello!” really loudly. So I dropped what I was doing, pulled yesterday’s lunch out of the fridge and packed it up in a bag for him to eat. At first this didn’t seem to be enough, but eventually he left as I went back to my cleaning.

There’s always something happening…or we’re learning something new each day. We can definitely say there’s rarely a dull moment living in India!