Thursday, December 27, 2007

keepin' it real on christmas

so christmas passed way to fast fast that i need a day off after it. we had a great christmas. on christmas eve sarah, beth and i baked cookies, ate chili and chips, and exchanged presents. it was perfect.
then christmas morning i talked with the family. then we had all the SB ladies over to house for christmas and it was perfect. it really was. everything went smoothly, the ladies had a great time, we had enough presents food and we got hugged when the ladies left and when they came. it was about perfect. then christmas eve we went out to dinner at a really bad and expensive restaurant. it kinda wasn't that fun at all....but by that time i was to tired to care!!!! here are some pictures to mark out christmas
here are beth and sarah acting natural in front of our charlie brown tree......
we don't have an normal oven or anything to rosll out sugar cookies on so our cookies are just creative blogs. (peru field...your rocked). however, they were soooo good. thank you ange for sending us the mix.
this would be us in all our indian glory.
and this is our family....gita, upendra and kiran. they are amazing.
and this is me christmas morning at around 7:30am wearing and holding most everything i got for christmas. it was grand.

i love that brook is coming to spend new years eve with us on a whim!!!! i love that i have to pee really bad right now but want to finish this blog. i love that i have a 250g caramel cadbury bar next to me that my friends bought me from london. i love the actress who plays kristine on grey's anatomy. i love that i am exhausted and yet i am still blogging. i love that my friend ange is the best writer ever....she makes going shopping and going to bars sound like the most beautiful spiritual things in the world.....she is amazing.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

more family

this is my brother, mom and me christmas 2006.
my brother, dad and i at my step-brother's wedding this past march
these are all my brothers.....i am a well protected women.
my dad and drew's wedding.

i love that today we are going to make christmas chookies. i love that its cold and grey out...just like a florida christmas. i love that our house is getting cleaned today!!! i love that i am going to get my legs waxed. i love that i was poking around the presents today trying to see which ones are for me!!!! i love that my next post can be about my family here. i love that my dad makes me laugh. i love thinking about how much fun my friends are having with their kids this year. i love that we get to give christmas cakes out to everyone.

teary eyed

drew and becca's wedding
(above) Me and my mom (below)
its happening....i can't listen to "i'll be home for christmas" without getting teary eyed. it always happens when i am away from home. even though christmas is going to be great i will still miss candle light christmas eve service, singing silent night till the last candle it lit , grandpa's candy, ann's 27 different kind of desserts, my brothers farting, my over indulgent gift giving dad and ann, passing out christmas presents, ann getting mad at my dad for spoiling her, the appetizer buffet with my mom and brother, playing apples to apples, the passing of the pink tree, the memories that come with each christmas ornament, the christmas music everywhere, the 24 hours of christmas story, an oven with sugar cookies, just being with my family, that feeling after you open all your presents and sit and re look at all of them, the soloist they always have at christmas eve services that is so beautiful it makes me teary, my mom....just being my mom and taking care of me and making me laugh, laughing with my brother, hearts to hearts with JC, getting to know becca's heart , admiring drew's kindness, ann's remembrance of those who have to go without, and my dad's absolute adoration and love for me....i am his princess.........its all those things why i am getting teary eyed today and why i love being home with my family and miss you even though being here is good. nothing can replace you.

Merry Christmas...........

Saturday, December 22, 2007

motorcycles and beautiful weather

we started our Bhoro Din Chuti (christmas holiday) officially friday at 7:01 and i am going to try to enjoy it!!
today we went on a short motorcycle trip with our two bengali friends, Michael and Bapi, our two kiwi friends, Steve and Lisa. we went out to the botanical gardens. and it was perfect. the weather was amazing. we got to play Frisbee and laugh and despite the random collection of cultures we laughed really really hard. it was perfect.
now we are home, swept our flat, going to cook yummy soup for dinner and then popcorn and a movie. am tired and content and my face might be a little tanner.
however, one random helmet was first really ridiculous looked like a equestrian caps...and it was two small. i had to force this ridiculous thing on my head and by the time the 45 minute ride was over my head was numb!!! i had this big red strip across my forehead when i would take my helmet off!! luckily it would go away after about 1/2 hour. i would take the helmet off and could feel the blood rushing back to my scalp. it was funny and a little scary.

i love riding on the back of a motorcycle. i love that our kiwi friend steve raced cars on gravel roads in new zeland and has been driving motorcycles since he was 8. i love that tired feeling and knowing you get to go to bed soon. i love that christmas is on a tuesday this year so we have a four day weekend!!!! (even though we are having a Christmas party at our house for all the ladies). i love that dad and ann got two new puppies. i love that all my small group girls are parents, or in the next month will become parents ( love you all)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

some good

Yeah....we finally found P, not drunk, and willing to go talk with our friend about getting her boys for boarding school. my stomach has been in knots worrying about this whole thing but things are looking up. her and her husband are picking up the kids tomorrow. pray for their time home.....for A and B. P has been on a drinking rampage for the past two weeks. A and B have been at this boarding school for the past four months and for the first time, most likely in their lives, A and B have had 4 months of stablilty, discipline, foood, rules and love. pray for their 10 days at home.
so much i want to write but am soooo tired.

i happened to find this movie preview........
Has any one seen it??? p.s i love you it has so many famous people in it and i love hilary swank and i guy that played denny from grey's anatomy. we just don't get movies like that here and ifound myself getting all teary eyed.

i love that everynight beth and i plan to watch a movie and we don't ever have time. i love that fleshies all over the world are making surgar cookies for christmas. i love that that sarah comes back to kolkata on sunday. i love that this morning we listen to an advent sermon from andrew's church adn it ripped my face off and gave me hope.

Monday, December 17, 2007

a mixture of hope and despair

so today was such a strange mixture of surprises, joy, sadness, poverty, wealth, tears, hopelessness and strong friendship.
i went with M this morning to see our friend P. this is the women that we are working with that we helped put her kids into boarding school. well its the christmas holiday and she wants to take her kids for the holiday. when i went to talk with her today about how she would do this she was passed out drunk. she would wake up. her "boyfriend" came and woke her up by shoving lemon and some kind of spice into her mouth and splashing water on her face. she was so out of it......and it was only 11:30 am. i guess she started drinking at 8:00am. her cuts on her arms were fresh. she is soooo full of despair and soooo sooo damaged from this freakin world...from the sex trade. i would drink if i was her as well. she might not be able to take her kids for holiday and that makes me both sad and happy all at the same time.

so i spent the rest of the day, running errands and then going back to the gatch with beth and had a great time. we found this girl R who we have been looking for for a long time.
then we got our 13 loads of laundry from our friends house and then went christmas shopping. we went to a market close by our house and it was so much fun. beth is a good friend.

so that is my weird day of absolute despair, hope, laughter , tears and finding a surprise around every turn......and here are my new earrings. the fact that i bought these is a surprise in itself.

I love that i have hope for P even though logically there should be none. i love M who works at our friends business... she came out of the trade after 15 years and is not going back to get women out...she is my hero. i love speaking bengali when we go to new places. the bengalis always get so excited and tell us how good our bengali is.....good for the ego. i love discovering new things about kolkata. i love that i was surprised by a good friend on-line today who i hadn't heard form in awhile.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our own Charlie Brown Christmas

So we dug out our Christmas decorations....and well...we keep them in the room where our water tank is which has leaked and it had leaked onto the bag with the Christmas decorations that has been sitting unopened for more than a year and 1/2. This is what remained of our Christmas tree.................. We of course were a little reluctant to keep the tree as you can see from the below photo. But i was inspired by one of my favorite Christmas cartoons...a charlie browns Christmas and refused to give up on the little guy. we knew he had beauty inside.......
and this was the final product!!!! we used sari scraps to tie tiny bows and shiny ornaments we found at new market and we feel we salvaged the tree and i believe that our tree is prophetic.....all things can be made new, everything has beauty, and we even got to use sari scraps on it!
i think it might be one of my favorite Christmas trees ever.
and this is our living room now...complete with tacky holly garland, Christmas lights, a cool tree and a 3.oo dollar merry Christmas sign!!! ( we found that Christmas decorations here are about twice as much in the states.....stuff you would find in the dollar store goes for a couple bucks here)

so our house is some what christmasy. we are proud of it and have still been listening to Christmas music non-stop. i just have a feeling about this Christmas. its going to be a goodin. Sarah comes back on the 23rd and we are going to listen to christmas music and bake sugar cookies on our make shift stoves. (thanks ange). and we have been getting details together for our SB party and we officially have reservations at the fairlawn with our British and kiwi friends.
Its begining to look a lot like least in our house.
I love that both beth and i cried when we wrote Christmas letters. i love that in two days beth and i did about 12 or 13 load of laundry at our friends house with a machine. i love what we got Charlotte for christmas. i love what i got sarah and beth for christmas. i love the anticipation of things. i love hearing my friends christmas traditions.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lovin' the Ladies

i have been taking the ladies to the doctors for the past couple weeks for physicals. and i love it. i don't love the craziness with which they run the doctors offices but i do love getting to know the ladies. Today, it took forever.

But this nice younger man helped us out. After he helped us i said, "thank you", gave the head nod and smiled. after i did this the two ladies i was with turned to each other and started giggling. they gave me that "you like him" look. and then started giggling again. i guess if you smile at a man in any sort of way that means you want to marry him.

so we see the doctors and get a taxi back home. the taxi cab driver is a jerk. he has some kind of super fast meter and the charge is twice as much as it is supposed to be. the two ladies and i refused to give him that much money and he chased us down the street yelling at us. our ladies are tough and one took off her shoe and waved it at the guy (this i guess is a huge insult) and he left us along. i think he knew that he wasn't going to get away with anything this time.

so we get back to SB. and after the taxi cab story was told....they told the "meeting the husband" story. then they started picking on me, telling me that now they understand why i am willing to go to the hospital even though my leg hurts. i tried to convince them that we say thank you and smile in our culture to someone who helps us....but they are convinced that i am after this man.

it made me laugh and feel loved to be picked on by the ladies for something other than my bad bengali.
I think Jesus was laughing with us today.

i love that Josh from the past servant team gave me a game "the Rubix's Revolution". i love that tonight beth and i are going to decorate the house and listen to christmas music. i love that i don't like drinking cold water now. i love my two new pair of really big pair of red hoops with white polka dots, and a smaller pair of green hoops with white polka dots. i love that i went christmas shopping and bought something for myself.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Trying to make it Christmas

I am trying my darnest to make it the Christmas season here. I am thinking about what to buy people, i am sending some Christmas cards, i am listening to Christmas music non-stop (and the mindy smith album is as good as everyone says).

i have been taking the ladies from SB to the hospital for check-ups. i love it. i get to spend time with the ladies and we have to work together to get seen and to get everyone the medicine and information they need. its great. i feel like i am getting to know the ladies even more and realizing how they are becoming forever a part of leaving here is almost scarier than staying because then i would have to say good-bye. this is a good thing and i am trying to embrace it.

got to talk to one of my bestest friends last night...ange. it was awesome.

if you guys could pray for still having joint pain, not near as sever but enough to slow me down and limit what i do. beth and sarah are also still have the same. ready to be well!!!!!

i love mindy smith's christmas album. i love being at sari bari. i love sarah made a folder so i have a place to put receipts and it helps me stay organized. i loved that without asking, gita did our laundry while i was out at the hospital. i love that gita is going to spend the night tomorrow. i love that i sing Christmas carols in taxi, by myself.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

a good question

so things here have been amazing. on Friday i went to the gatch and got to sit with this girl for about an hour and she fed me and we just had small talk. she is sometimes for difficult but she opened up...small victories.

and then yesterday the servant team took the ladies of SB on a trip to the park. It was about perfect. They all had their kids. The weather was amazing. They put bendhi on our hands. It was a heaven on earth moment.

I just want to share a question that i was proposed. We were talking at small group on Thursday night about silence and making space for God etc. etc.
Then this man John, who has been here for about 30 years, says "Yes, but what if the way you relate to God was taken. For example, what if you were illiterate? how would you relate to God? if you were deaf and couldn't have music? How are the women we work with able to relate to God? Jon said that he would often practice these for a months at a time to develop new ways of relating to God. It made me think.

I love that whenever our ex-boyfriends move on it hurts.... no matter how much we thought we were over them. i love the servant team that is here. i love that we went to see a Christmas program last night. i love that i wrote Christmas cards today and couldn't stop crying while writing them. i can't wait to do laundry and watch tv at lilly and allistairs house this week. i love my friends Charlotte and Julian.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I think i am made for this

I don't know how to actually look at my blog. for some reason blogspot is blocked for us and we can't figure out why. and all of us are too tired to find out why. we can post but we can see or read comments. hwoever, please don't stop leaving comments. eventually we will find out why.

today was amazing. the most amazing day i have had in the gatch in a really really long time. we didn't have a plan. we just knew that we were going to see this kid about work first and then see what happens.
well, it was amazing. we met knew girls and went into three new rooms and met the most amazing girls. their stories are just so so so sad. and we realized today that we are seeing the next generation of young girls. most of the girls we knew when they were 14, or 15 or 16 are now 19 and 20 and that means they are leaving their owners and starting to fidn their own way and that means a whole other generation of girls are on the line. its heartbreaking and thrilling for the possiblity of freedom for these girls all at the same time.

we are starting to feel better. none of us is 100%. we all still have some joing pain, sarah's throat is hurting really bad. keep rpaying for us. i went to the doctors again and we don't have chikengunyia. we have some kind of viral fever that causes reacitve arthritis....oh the joys.
but we are getting better.
it was my first full day back at the gatch and it was awesome.
I love today a man laughed at my bengali because it was so "sweet". i love this 3 year old girl that i met in teh gatch today. we played the imagination game today. i love christmas shopping. i love giving a gift knowing that someone is going to love it. i lvoe that its cold enough here to sleep at night with a blanket, roll the windows up in the taxi and wear a shaw in the morning and the night. i love love winter here. i love waking up early when its cold and being able to snuggle down under mycovers and sleep more (and yes i know cold is relative, buts its india and i am a floridian)