Can you believe it? Jaimie and I leave this month. Below is a recap of our final couple of weeks and our first couple of weeks in the amazing country of India!
We are leaving for India in one week. (Ben)
What in the world happened last week?…let’s see: Go to the Dentist, Go to the Doctor, Organize parts of the garage, Have a farewell party, Call car insurance, Quit my job, Have another farewell party, Research oversea communication, Begin the living will and that stuff., etc…
That’s just me. Jaimie will have to tell you her full week. This week Jaimie and I already have 6 events on the schedule and I have 3 client meetings…and I’m sure more to come. It’s been extremely busy for us! But it’s nice that we don’t just sit in the house stressing about the move. There are lots of things keeping us busy.
What are Jaimie and I going through mentally?
I think I speak for us both when I say we are getting excited, nervous, happy, sad, etc. all at the same time. Jaimie and I are going to an area we hardly know. I’ve been encouraged to think this way: “Think, here in America you write five things on a list and head out for the day and you can get all five done. In India, write five things on a list, head out for the day, and hopefully by tomorrow you will get the first one done.” Not being able to communicate, not knowing the roads, stores, prices, expectations, corrupt laws, etc. puts an unsettling feeling in our gut.
Oh yes, and one more thing – about the “divine revelation” bit. I think you should know Jaimie and I haven’t been “called” or blinded on the road to Minneola. We’re going to India because we want to teach people about Jesus who haven’t heard about him. There are many places to do this, but we had connections in India and it seems like a good place to start learning how to go into foreign land. For everyone else waiting for a “mountain top moment,” you should know we’ve already been commanded to go out and teach people about Jesus (Matt 18:19-20). You can do that anywhere – it doesn’t have to be in India. But if you want to come and visit and fumble around with Jaimie and I, we have room!
Ben’s Perspective (Ben)
Jaimie and I are down to a few bags in which we crammed all of the things we deemed as important to take to India. Everything else we either sold or stored. We both packed enough clothes for seven of our 360 days (tomorrow will be day 3). We packed a couple of bibles, a few important books, computers, and Jaimie’s peanut butter. See the picture below for an idea.
We left our house at 6:15 a.m. and arrived in Washington D.C. around 11:00a.m. From D.C. at 3:00 p.m. to Newark at 5:00 p.m. When we arrived at Newark, my mom surprised us with lounge tickets! We got a couple of glasses of wine, showers, and some snacks. We also sat next to some world travelers that were a blast to talk to – and taught us how to use the lounge the most effective way.
From Newark we got on a plane at 9:00 p.m. and arrived at Mumbai, India at 9:00 p.m. (14 hours w/ the time change).
After a 30 minute cab ride we finally made it to the comfort of a hotel room and went to bed around 11:30. 7:00 am came around and we got up, and took the hotel car to the airport and flew to Nagpur, India (our destination).
What is Nagpur like?
Nagpur is at the end of their monsoon season – which looks a lot like the beginning of summer/hurricane season in Florida. It’s bright and sunny during the day at about 90 degrees, then around 4:00 p.m. it begins raining and cooling off. It’s almost like we are home.
When we arrived in Nagpur, we were greeted by our great friends, Vijay and Sheetal, and their son Aarav. We ordered Dominos pizza for lunch, rested, then headed off to see our apartment. Vijay and Sheetal are the most accommodating and friendliest people anyone will have the pleasure of meeting. We are so excited to spend time with them. Around 4:00 p.m. they took us to see the apartment they found for us, and it is amazing!
You’ll have to read back in a few days to see some pictures, and discover the new things we are finding out we need – and had no idea existed, and more!
Jaimie’s perspective (Jaimie)
We made it! After a pretty leisurely flight schedule (two short layovers in the U.S., a 14 hour overnight to Mumbai, a hotel stay and a 1-hour flight to Nagpur), we finally arrived in our Indian hometown this afternoon. None of our luggage was lost, which is a huge bonus! Compared to our last trip, this one was a cakewalk.
Vijay and Sheetal found a wonderful apartment for us, and we met the landlord (who also happens to be a doctor and lives directly next door). Our kitchen is huge, and we have two bathrooms and two bedrooms. Tomorrow, we will go shopping for a few furnishings and other necessities! The apartment is in a great location, safe and close to a market and Ben’s office. We will be able to walk to many of our destinations.
It has been comforting and greatly encouraging to have friends praying for us during our travel. I can truly see the impact of these prayers already. Our fears and anxieties, which have been many, have been overshadowed by the faith we share in Jesus. His hand is guiding us in it all.
PaniPuri is a wafer type bowl filled with boiled potato and spices, then dipped into days old unfiltered chili water that you pop in your mouth all in one shot. Such a rush!
It’s amazing how slow and how fast things go by in India. Everyone has a slower pace, but the days go by so much faster. We are now going into the third weekend in India. Here are some quick tips for those thinking about visiting:
Top 5 Things to Know about Living in India. (Ben)
- Don’t pay for things in advance when it’s delivery. I learned if something is rs15,000 ($300), like a mattress, that isn’t in stock, only pay for 1/4 the cost and negotiate the rest at delivery. If you pay for it all at once, there is no hurry to deliver (took 6 days)
- Don’t cancel your American phone numbers the first week. There are so many systems that use your phone number as a verification when you are locked out of your accounts due to “suspicious foreign activity”.
- Be prepared for the “American Tax.” It’s about a 200-400% markup on goods sold. It’s okay to say no and come back with a local friend.
- Tell each bank/credit card that you are leaving the country…then get ready for that not to matter. (Got locked out of 4 accounts last Friday)
- Buy your power converters in country.
The Excitement of India
India is an exciting place. Every food we try is a new and exciting flavor, every place we visit becomes the “new standard,” and our apartment is slowly becoming a new home. Jaimie and I have our ups and downs, but ultimately, we both love it here. The people are nice and friendly, everyone is excited to help, and there are so many new things to try.
Below is a picture gallery of a few things that took us off guard last week. Click the pictures to view larger.
The holiday game is a game where you make a human pyramid of men two stories high and try to break a clay pot filled with curd and rupees while the women throw water on you. So creative here!