Unrelated to anything else in the universe, can we please for a moment appreciate the facial hair in this photo?
To my complete dismay, I have done a terrible job of blogging about what my daily life is like here in India. I somehow think I should only blog when I have something profound or deep to say (stupid), but I would like to take more opportunities just to describe what it is I actually do here.
During the week I follow a basic schedule that consists of waking up around 8:30am, going to a prayer meeting at 9:00am (which I haven’t been very good at doing lately), and starting work around 10:00am. I use the term “around” because nothing in India is ever on time, I have mentioned the phenomena of Indian Time before; the only thing predictable is that everything is unpredictable. Based on my distaste of anything curry before noon, I usually skip breakfast or satisfy myself with a banana or care-package-sent granola bar (thanks, Mom!!). I live and work in the same big building. The basement is where the offices are and where I sit and work much of the time. The ground floor is a large multi-use room where events and church services are held. The first floor (or second floor to those of you who don’t speak UKisms) has a few sleeping rooms, a prayer meeting room, and the kitchen and the dining room, where I take most of my meals (save for the McDonalds runs…we get desperate around here). The second floor is where my room is, it also has a couple other rooms and the apartment where my boss and his wife live. Finally, the top floor above my room opens onto a huge rooftop terrace (my favorite architectural feature of Indian buildings). I am sitting on this wonderful terrace as I write this and I can see the city on nearly all sides of me. It’s a great place to watch the smoggy sunsets and catch some “fresh” air. Each day around 5:30pm I stop working and go about my evening which usually consists of either going out into the city to walk, get food, or run errands, or reading, writing, watching TV shows on iTunes, or sitting on the terrace.
A noteworthy thing about Ludhiana (the city where I live much of the time), it is NEVER quiet here. At this moment (roughly 30 minutes before sunset) I can hear tons of birds, cars, tuk tuks (auto rickshaws), people, hundreds of mangy dogs, children, and Muslim prayers being blasted over the mosque’s loud speakers. I can see buildings for miles, or at least as far as the pollution allows. The land here is very flat and lacks any especially tall buildings (minus the one very tall and large Hindu temple due west of me)…I am in fact on top of one of the tallest buildings I can see, making the view the best around. Truthfully, beyond the piles of trash and rubble everywhere, there is something wonderfully enticing about India and its many diversions from my familiar life in the US.
Beyond the physicality of the place where I am living, my job here is equally challenging, diverse, and unpredictable. When you are working for a passionate, opinionated, quirky, strong-willed Indian boss, anything can happen...and I mean anything. It definitely keeps me flexible and on my toes, good things for me. Basically my job here places me as 50% of the communications team for OA. My main task is to create communications geared toward North American supporters and granting organizations. Recently my wonderful partner-in-crime and I rejuvenated an already quarterly-generated newsletter with a more Western feel and tone. I am essentially the go-to girl for all things English...writing, editing, story telling; I guess you could call me the Grammar Guru, if you will (and I hope you will because who doesn't love cheesy Indian jokes?). I have also edited some books, training manuals, and other materials written by people here who don't speak English as their first language and appreciate my ever-present gift of gab (at least someone does!).
My next task is to help OA organize and collect information on some of the hundreds of people groups that are represented in India. They are working on making information profiles and short videos for each one in order to help keep track of which people groups have active ministries/social projects within them and to help get grant funding for each specific group. Tomorrow, said partner-in-crime and I will travel 23 hours by train to the state of Uttar Pradesh, to a city called Kachhwa, to spend two weeks working with another branch of OA. We will be responsible for taking pictures (cue photographer), video, and digital voice recordings of a smattering of people from each people group represented in the area. It should be awesome to get out and about and see a whole different part of India...but I will let you know for sure just how awesome it is sometime post the 23 hour train trip from H-E-double hockey sticks.
Side note and personal plug: I will also be celebrating my 25th birthday while in Kachhwa, please pray that I can find myself a pool, go-kart track, miniature golf course, trampoline or some other form of fun to appropriately celebrate a quarter of a century of mayhem that is my life.
Promise: pictures of where I live to come soon-ish, though it will have to wait until after my 2 week trip to Kachhwa...you know how I just love to keep you all on the edge of your seats...