Wednesday, March 5

Kindred spirits in Delhi: To India, Days 1, 2 & 3

Sleepy selfie at the airport.  My sister says selfies are the opposite of a missions trip. 

Come with me on my journey to India...

There is pleasantly little to report about my flight from Seattle to Amsterdam, and Amsterdam to Delhi, except that I actually slept a bit and caught up on my viewing of animated films.

Royal Delft booths at the Dutch Kitchen
The Amsterdam airport is delightful in many ways.  One, that it fulfills all of the stereotypes I had about Holland, being surrounded as it was with canals, cows and tulip fields, selling wooden shoes, and decorated with Delft pottery and Old Master's artwork.  Two, that it's easy to feel as if the airport is part of a holiday with the mini-museum and delicious poffertjes.  And three, that (unfairly?) English is the major language on signs - a pattern, I might add, that continued throughout the areas I traveled in India. 

Going West allowed me to travel forward into the future, so I left Seattle at 1pm on Monday and arrived in Delhi at 1am on Wednesday.  It was a challenge finding the hand-written "EMI" sign among the many, many official signs held by people at the airport to meet other travelers.  But without too much extended drama two interns flagged me down and (as part of their training) safely deposited me at the flat above Engineering Ministry International's office.

The next day, I met most of the team.  And we did have an introduction to the project (more on that in my next entry), but it transpired that the trip hadn't officially started yet.  For the two of us who did not live in Delhi, this was the free/fun day we would normally have had at the end of the trip. 

Alyssa and Janelle
So, our team leader Matthew stayed at the office while I went off with Alyssa and Janelle.  Janelle is a current EMI engineering intern, and will be living in Delhi for the next few months working on this project.  Alyssa was an EMI architecture intern in 2012, and worked on a previous project with this same ministry - she loved them so much that she just had to come back! 

And readers, we had a ridiculous amount in common.  We all love to cook and read.  We each have two sisters.  We were shy children raised in Christian households who discovered God's love as we grew up. We are night people who watch many of the same TV shows; we even get cold symptoms in the same order! It's like we're the same person, but not really.

some of the Haus Khas complex
First, we visited Dannah, who was the Colorado intern director when I was an EMI intern in 2004! It was so good to reconnect with her about our directions in life over my first cup of Indian chai.  Next, we toured the Haus Khas complex, ate delicious street food, shopped in stores, took the metro, ate more street food, shopped in bazaars, ate dinner at Karim's (mouth waters...) and then went back to stay up late talking (not for the last time that trip!). 

One last note: it turns out that a number of the cultural differences between the United States and India are not intuitive for me.  For example, I packed "modest clothing": pants with loose-fitting legs, roomy sweaters with high necks.  For the US, quite unobjectionable.  In India though, they showed too much of the shape of my waist and rear.  My new friends helped me by shopping for kurtas in the marketplace and letting me borrow a couple as well.  So when you see me wearing them in photos, I'm not trying way too hard to fit in to Indian culture - I'm just being appropriate :)
100 Rupee kurtas - quite a deal!


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