6.27.2009

It Is Written...

This is the second time this year I have found myself in torrential downpour...when everything feels wet all the time, even when you are in a dry room. The first time was during March in Sarapiqui, Costa Rica doing construction work in knee-deep mud on a community center with the Project Serve team. To be fair, however, Sarapiqui does happen to border a rain forest. Now I find myself with my travel companions in Goa, India by Baga beach (about 12 hours South of Pune and Bombay) underneath the full-blown monsoon. Torrential downpour to say the least. We arrived here this morning after an overnight bus ride on an "air-conditioned sleeper coach"...which turned out to be a single AND double bed sleeper coach, with AC that only sometimes worked and a driver who preferred leaving the lights on in the bus and blasting Hindi music. What can I say? This is India...and it was a great price! Fortuantely, I was able to get some sleep--enough to function today anyway! And it felt like quite the adventure. We are now in Goa for a few days of rest and relaxation before our next destination: to Bombay by train and then Calcutta by plane on Wednesday.

It is the off season here in Goa...I guess the peak season when all the tourists come is during the summer months in November and December. It makes for great prices though! Right now we are staying in our own rooms at a pretty decent hotel and a 5 minute walk from the beach for around $3 a night!! The water is still incredibly warm...even in the rain! And there are a few hours of warmth and a little sun everyday. Enough to enjoy the beach for a little bit anyway. We are still very aware that we are in India. The traffic is still insane--just on a smaller scale. Cows and stray dogs still line the roads. Today at the beach we were instantly surrounded by about 10 beggars and people trying to sell stuff (they didn't leave for about 3o min.- quite persistent!), and right now I am sitting at an "internet cafe" which is in the back of someone's house! But it really is beautiful here. Tons of palm trees, everything looks green and exotic, and beach shacks made of bamboo line the beach. Pretty cool. I think it will be fun and I am grateful to be here.

Leaving AIC and Pune was quite difficult for me. In only two weeks time we had so many amazing experiences there. Life changing experiences. I feel like I could write a book. Perhaps I will someday. The kids there are precious and shared so much with us...impacted our lives so much. It was hard to leave them. The two most memorable experiences that are still fresh in my mind happened on Thursday morning and then Friday afternoon. On Thursday morning Dom, Gared and I caught a rickshaw to an elderly couple's home for breakfast (some people that Dom and I had randomly met during a market/shopping experience). They were so excited to meet Americans in Pune, as their son is currently living in the U.S. working in New Jersey. They desperately wanted us to come to their home so they could cook us breakfast. So we did. And it turned out to be one of the most memorable and culturally rich experiences of my life. Our rickshaw driver got lost on the way to this couple's house and the elderly man had to come looking for us with one of his friends. As it turned out the whole neighborhood was talking about us... "the foreigners" in the rickshaw driving around and around the area asking for directions to his house, and so he was able to track us down fairly easily. He immediately escorted us to his modest home where his wife was eagerly awaiting our arrival with a breakfast rice dish, hot chai tea and tea biscuits. These individuals are both 78 years old and devout Hindus. They were so eager to talk with us and hear about our lives in America and share with us their wisdom and their worldview. Through their broken English we were able to learn from them: the importance of a healthy body, mind, spirit and of balance, their love for India and for Pune, for their family, for their God and their religion, the importance of being a vegetarian (very important for a Hindu!), and the importance of a key idea that is central to India: the concept of destiny...that everything is written before it happens. Yet simultaneously we can choose our destiny and somehow impact it and change it. The man shared with us that he was so blessed by our presence in his home and that our coming to him and his wife was "written in the book." That our lives were meant to somehow intersect and we were meant to share with each other. That because it was written, nothing could keep us from coming to his house--not even getting lost along the way! They were honestly some of the most genuine, giving people I have ever met in my entire life. Before we left his house he blessed each one of us and prayed for success in our lives. Although I am not Hindu, it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced and greatly helped me understand India. Life here seems insane, it seems short at times, there are honestly moments when your life flashes before your eyes (for me this happens mostly when I am crossing the street or when traveling by rickshaw!). But people here enjoy life. They really really do. In a way I can't even explain...you just have to see it. There is a purpose behind everything and everything is written. This concept helps people cope with the way things are to fully live their life somehow. Thus, since we are in India experiencing the inexplicable so often, I have decided to adopt this concept of "It is written." Whatever happens was somehow meant to be :).

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

lydia, your experiences sound amazing!! everytime i read your blog, i'm so excited for you and i can't wait to hear more about it! wow, it's so awesome how God is revealing Himself thru all your adventures.
i love you and i miss you and i'll be praying for your safety and for the rest of your times there.

always,
elizabeth

Amy L. said...

lyds, this is the second time you have mentioned writing a book. perhaps "it is written" is not just a phrase to live by, but something you should do when you get home!! i have heard about the Indian culture being fatalistic...something interesting I cant wait to talk more about when you get home! love you!