Tag Archives: India

I’ve arrived

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First thoughts.

There’s no way to prepare for India. Friends who have traveled or lived here, attempted to paint a picture of what I might experience. People tried to describe it with words, but there’s no way to do that with words.  Words help us describe our emotions and our thoughts, but words are inadequate to describe India. You have to experience it. I don’t have a vocabulary that easily explains a hundred different things going on at the same time, matched with how I’m feeling about those exact things all at the same time. There’s so much visual and audible stimulation in every single little city block that after two weeks of traveling along the exact same roads, back and forth, every single day, I still cannot be fully sure of ever where I am. I’m very excited by it and so glad I made the decision to come. I’m very happy. But with that said, it is so chaotic, fast – and yet also, so very slow, and in every possible way my five senses are stimulated to the point I think my head is going to explode some days.

The globalization/modernization/commercialization that has happened in Chennai in the last 4 years is unbelievable according to those who have been here longer. There are modern, technology-driven, high-rise buildings going up everywhere, yet right next door people are sleeping on the dirt and cows are freely rummaging through the trash on the street. People that are disfigured, without limbs or with strange, curious skin afflictions, are left to beg. The highways, sidewalks and train tracks that are being constructed are primarily being built by hand with very little machinery. I’m trying to digest it all. God’s nature is dramatically beautiful through the tropical plants and flowers and the powerful, mighty ocean, yet I watch fishermen, from my 4th floor balcony, come into the grassy area that meets the sandy beach and poop. Right there. How do you prepare for this? I am observing life in the raw: human beings living and making their way. Surviving. It is absolutely incredible.

What does your part of the world look like?

 

 

 

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Preparations for India

Violent Week.

Fours days after a sweet friend passed away from the devastation of cancer, and three days after 17 teenagers were gunned down inside their classrooms in Florida, I went to a reflective presentation and watched a film called, From India With Love.

This documentary film follows victims of violence from across America, on an epic journey to India. I learned that Dr. Martin Luther King traveled to India in 1959, the year of my birth, to deepen his understanding of Mahatma Gandhi’s principals of non-violence. King told a group of reporters at the airport, “To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim.” The memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King (January 30 – April 4) serve as The Season for Nonviolence for the Association For Global New Thought, and with this in mind, the organizer was able to host this film in Dallas.

Since accepting my new teaching position at The American International School of Chennai, India, I’ve immersed myself in India, via my living room. Scores of books lay tossed around my already barren apartment. Before I sold my TV last weekend, I’d been watching documentaries and Bollywood movies about my new-to-be home. I knew very little about Turkey before moving there in 2013 and I know so very little about this dynamic, culturally rich subcontinent of India. In my interview, when asked, “Why India?” I responded that India was one of the few places that I thought could compete with Turkey in my heart. Like Turkey, India has a deep history and promises to challenge me with an immense cultural gap. But you see, I like that.

Like Dr. King, I’m preparing to be a pilgrim. I’m preparing to question everything I’ve ever learned. I’m preparing for change. Yes, there’s times I’m afraid of such a big transition, but more times that I’m excited and yearning. As my young, 42 year old friend, Joy, was laid to rest, I was again reminded of how deeply grateful I am for the life I’ve been given. How blessed I am to be able to travel the world and be a partner in educating children for the future. I am convinced there is nothing more honoring than this. India, here I come.

How will you explore non violence this week?

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