Saturday, January 23, 2010

[Insert Clever Title Here]

Current Soundtrack: Death Cab for Cutie

It's Saturday and I am supposed to be working...but I can't concentrate at the moment. For the first time in a couple of weeks I am sitting comfortably in just a long-sleeved shirt indoors...rather than having to bundle up in a coat and scarf to be warm. For this small thing, I am grateful.

I have been doing some reading on culture shock and adjusting to a foreign lifestyle. The simplest way to overcome the trials of this major adjustment is to focus on the things about the new culture that you really love and appreciate. I have spent a good amount of time mulling over the things about Indian culture that I dislike, detest, despise. The last couple of days I have tried a different approach as I have sought out to dwell on the things about this place that I love.

I love my space heater. Yes, it sounds mocking and sarcastic, but I mean it in the most genuine of ways, I would be miserable without it. In fact, I may not even still be in India if it weren't for my trusty little heater sidekick. Heat is something I have never stopped to think about as a blessing. Let me tell you, when you live in 40-60 degree weather in an uninsulated, concrete building, you learn to appreciate things like heaters.

I love the many rich visuals of India. Sometimes it is impossibly hard to SEE some of the things here but more often than not my visual senses are overwhelmed with beautiful colors, textures, and people. Despite all the ugly parts of humanity, there is much beauty to be appreciated in this country.

I love the pace of life here. But, to be completely frank, I also hate the pace of life here. Time in India is completely loose and flows at its own speed. Nothing moves quickly or with precise intentions; things seem to almost skip and trip forward and randomly, by complete chance, end up in a somewhat recognizable state. Everything about my driven, type-A way of living is being challenged here. If I don't have something to DO or focus on at every moment, I immediately feel bored, unused, unfulfilled. In reality, I believe the Lord is trying to teach me to slow down and just be. Sure, we all talk at times about learning this cliche lesson...but never has it truly been put into effect as it is here in India. I aspire to learning and mastering the discipline of being; many great people have chased this goal in their lives. I hope to be able to soon report back that I am content with being still, being alive, and just simply being.

I love that I have the opportunity to appreciate the small things in life, the things you always long to appreciate but you never really have the capacity to. Things like a warm blanket, a close friend, a long hug, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Thank you, India, for all the things you are teaching me and the ways in which you are challenging every fiber of my being. May I learn to bless you as much as you are blessing me.


  1. Thanks for sharing these thoughts Elana! Glad it is warming up a bit! Look out, June is coming and cool will be a much sought after state of being. (:>)

    The one thing I didn't relate to was the slower pace of life you are experiencing in India. My experience was the opposite as I moved constantly from one neighborhood, village, city, and state trying my best to keep up with Alex and teams. I hope life will begin to fill meaningfully for you as you gain traction.

    Blessings from Colorado!!!!!!! We need a space heater here today, too! (:>)

  2. Having a Mary heart in a Martha world...its the name of a book that I have never read, so I don't recommend it, but I like the phrase :)