If you haven’t seen the “david after dentist” video, watch here first, then read our responses below. His sense of wonder and bewilderment is an inspiration to us.
Is this real life?
Is it? Sometimes it seems not. The past week has been surreal to say the least. Beginning with a 48-hr stretch spent entirely on planes and taxis except for a 3 hr nap in a hotel, our sense of time and reality has been distorted a bit. The trip was a beast. Besides being unreasonably long, we were faced with a cancelled flight, exorbitant baggage fees, re-bookings, the threat of further baggage fees, flight delays, terminal-shutting-down security breaches, lost baggage, and the most terrifying taxi ride of our lives.
In Frankfurt we had to check in again and the Air India counter was a model of inefficiency and chaos. It was not clear which line was which, and none of them were moving. Most baffling, the ticket agents shuffled about, completely unhurried while departure times came and went. Nobody bothered to say, “sorry for the delay” or “we’re working on x and will be with you shortly” or even “thank you for your patience.” All the westerners in the line were visibly frustrated. The tall, uptight German family next to us loudly expressed their dismay:
“Der is no planning, der is no organization.”
“Well, der is planning but it is Indian planning.”
Nu-uh. Don’t put it in your mouth.
One of the things we miss most about Atlanta is drinkable tap water. Here, we often have filtered water on campus, but the public water supply is not safe for us to drink. We have a filter in the kitchen, which works well, but in the bathroom we have to keep a bottle of water for teeth brushing. In addition, we avoid fresh fruit and vegetables because they also possess the bacterial ability to make us ill.
I can’t see anything.
This is monsoon season in India, which means the views are often obscured by heavy fog. Every couple days the mist will roll away revealing unbelievable views of he Dun Valley and the neighboring ridges. Then within hours the clouds roll in, hiding it all again. On the other hand, everything on the ground is very lush and green here, which is nice, but we are also looking forward to being able to fully drink in our surroundings.
I don’t feel tired.
Jet lag is strange. Sometimes I’m exhausted in the morning, other times wide awake. We are just now finding a better rhythm, though I find my caffeine consumption has gotten a little out of control, what with all the tea times.
Do I have stitches?
No. Neither of us have gotten stitches.
I feel funny.
We are experiencing a general sense of disbelief at all that is transpiring, as if we will wake up the next morning back in Atlanta, having dreamt this crazy trip. We are also feeling a bit out of our element as teachers, neither having much real-world experience in a real school setting. This is where we are pleading with God for mercy, because we will be under the gun in a few days. We will be extraordinarily busy, it seems, and will have to learn on the fly to be efficient teachers. Pray for us here that we are able to meet the challenge and serve the students well.
Why is this happening to me?
There is no short answer to this question. Some of you probably suspect that we just wanted to get out of Atlanta and this was the furthest we could get. You might think that we have come to India, like so many have, seeking spiritual enlightenment. Neither is really correct, though there is a real sense in which we are taking the opportunity to reboot, spiritually, professionally, relationally. And we believe that we are supposed to be part of this community of students and staff, though for reasons that we don’t yet fully understand.
Other than Amy Seefeldt, nobody knows us here, and so we feel a bit like we can reinvent ourselves. Not that we have anything drastic planned, but in directing the staff choir, for example, I feel a new freedom to be a bit of a demanding jerk, because no one expects me to be that nice guy Abe. Nobody knows (or cares) about Bethany’s theatre career. In any case, this is probably another post for another time, but there are some interesting identity shifts that we are experiencing.
Is this gonna be forever?
Probably not, but who knows? We are a bit homesick and are certainly not completely comfortable here, but on the other hand we really like the people and the lifestyle. Then again, on the other other hand, we haven’t even really started teaching, so much is unknown. But do know that we miss you and think of you often.