Monday, June 29, 2009

"Every next step is an extraordinary scene..."

"I know that I’ve been,
Given more than beyond measure,
I come alive when,
I see beyond my fears
I know that I’ve been given more than earthly treasure,
I come alive when
I’ve broken down and given you control."


I made it to Dharamsala!... and oh what a journey it has been. I'm exhausted from traveling and our stay in Delhi was alright... but the moment I arrived this afternoon in Dharamsala, I fell in love! It is so beautiful here and I've only been here for a few hours. But, before I go into any of that let me catch you up to speed... you might need a helmet for this ride (I know I could've used one)...

First of all, I'm so confused on what day it is and what time it is but the best thing about India is that time means nothing... just my style. I love how everything is so laid back here.  

So, my parents, brother and aunt and uncle dropped me off at the airport and I have to admit I was freaking out a little bit. International travel... alone? It's a little nerve-wreaking. The Amsterdam airport was pretty sweet.. no VIP lounge though. However, it was great to see the little kiosks in the airport selling bulbs of tulips in bulk! Awesome. After my second 8 hour flight, I arrived in New Delhi. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened in the flying process, then I got to customs. I was standing in line and I recognized two younger girls, who were sisters, that had been on my flight. They were traveling with their mom and were both between the ages of 8 and 13, I'd say. They were messing around like sisters do, but the younger one started backing up and getting closer to me. Encroachment! Before I knew it, she was swinging her little travel bag up in the air by her head and I took a blow right in the schnoz (this is where that helmet would've came in handy). Anyway, I passed customs with flying colors.. and a broken nose. Next stop: luggage. I sat at the baggage claim waiting for my luggage. I waited some more. The baggage stopped coming. I was convinced that I was stranded without any luggage. Then one of the attendants was nice enough to show me (I felt like I was playing charades) to where they had pulled bags off the belt when no one claimed them. I spotted mine... 
Crisis evaded. 
The CCS staff was waiting for me as I walked out of the airport. Come to find out one of the volunteers that I am working with was sitting in the same row as me on the flight only on the other side of the aisle. Weird. We gathered our stuff and we were on our way...
Wow, it was hot! It was 12am and I'm guessing it was around 80 degrees. I was extremely thankful when our driver carried my luggage up to my flat on the third story and turned on that glorious air conditioning. Time for bed!

The next couple days we attended lectures at the CCS offices and they were very informative. We had a professor come and talk to us about politics and religion. I was surprised at how interested I was. Usually it takes quite a bit to get me into that kind of thing but he and the info were fascinating. He was also very wise, at lease I thought so. He was brought in to sensitize us to the culture but a lot of the things that he said were so appropriate for everyone.. everywhere. One thing that stuck with me was, "Don't dismiss the unfamiliar as irrational." Think about it. That's a pretty powerful statement if you ask me.  

The food has been great, besides the airplane food that I refuse to eat. The smell and my gag reflex is enough to turn me away. By far, my favorite thing so far is the chai tea. There is nothing like it and I am determined to learn how to make my own before I leave. I'll definitely be buying some authentic spices. Don't worry, I'll share with all of you too! 

My group is simply amazing! I've already met some people that are going to be good friends, I can feel it. Here's a run down..
Mike from OH (Ohio State; he's a runner! yay!)
Beth from TN (Wake Forrest; reminds me SO much of you Bob) 
Melody from NY (masters in Special Edu... hope to learn a lot from her)
Luis from VT (Middlebury; he plays quidditch)
Hillela from Seattle (goes to school in MA; going to be doing some trekking with her)
Aimee from England (studying fine art; has the coolest accent ever; going w/ to the Taj Mahal)
It's always a little awkward feeling people out at first but so far so good! I like everyone and we all seem to get along really well. Bonus!

The final destination...
We arrived in Dharmsala this afternoon.  Don't get me wrong Delhi was cool but I'm a country girl and I was suffering from a bad case of the city blues. I needed to see green trees and wide open spaces. Plus, being in the mountain region, it is at least 20 degrees cooler with a breeze. Perfecto. When we landed and stepped off the plane, it smelled like fresh flowers instead of smog, it was green instead of brown, and there was just an overall sense of serenity instead of the constant bustle of the city. This is my kind of place and I'm so glad I chose Dharamsala (Thanks Mitchell!). I can't wait to go exploring! 

Welp, I have my first day at Harmony school tomorrow and I need to get some rest. Hopefully this jet lag will have run its course by then. I can't wait to meet the kids!! :)
Love to all. 

"To me, every hour of the day & night is an unspeakably perfect miracle."
  - Walt Whitman


  1. Ah so good to hear from you!!!!

    Now i am so confused on the day and time too. What is the time difference?

    Oh I am so excited to hear more about your journey!

    Have soooooo much fun!

  2. Yes! Good to hear from you! I'm a little disappointed that "encroachment!" wasn't one of your tags, but this was a great post. I'm glad to see you're making friends (but keep the old! one is silver and the other's gold). Have fun! Can't wait to hear more from you about exploring and Harmony School!

  3. wait, how does one play quidditch when there are no such thing as broomsticks that make you fly...? and i love how you got wrecked in the nose. now maybe you won't need to see the actual mt. everest because of the one on your face...???

  4. Awesome-I love the picture you have painted and would love to be there as well!! Kendall will love it but I know have the same question as Di about quidditch!! You take care and may the Lord bless this trip..we are praying for you.

    Rob, Susan and Kendall