These thoughts are excerpts from my journal from my trip to India:
This morning we got up early for church. We left the house by 7:45am. I got to ride with the girls in the van – oh, were they excited! Well, I was excited to ride with them, too. On the way to church we passed a store that had some Christmas decorations out, and they had a big tree out front… the girls saw it and went nuts! I guess we just get so used to seeing Christmas decorations everywhere this time of year that it doesn’t affect us as much. But when you live in a nation that is only about 5% Christian, Christmas decorations are few and far between. But their joy in seeing the tree was just too precious. “Akka, look! A Christmas tree, Akka! Did you see it, Akka?” Such contagious joy!
In church I sat with them, too. They were so well-behaved and quiet. But after about 40 minutes they left for Sunday school. I was rather sad to see them go.
Even though I had just seen that Christmas tree, I kind of kept forgetting that it is December. That is probably due in part to the heat. So it kind of tickled me that we sang Christmas songs (Joy to the World, Sing a Song…) and heard a sermon from Luke 1. I was surprised at how large the church was – it held probably 300 people. A very traditional western-looking building, too; most likely built while the British were still occupying India.
After church, the girls headed home because they had something else to go to. Isaac and Tara took us to the Ideal Beach Resort for lunch. It was only 35km away, but took us almost 2 hours to get there! On the way we passed St. Thomas’ Church where the apostle is buried (Thomas was martyred in India). Driving to the resort just solidified the fact that the traffic here is NUTS! They have much different rules of the road than we do in the US! But amazingly, it all seems to just flow quite well.
I found this video on YouTube to give you an idea of what it was like:
I was so glad that Rohan (Isaac’s nephew) is a confident driver. I have learned in my short time here that lane lines and signs are only suggestions, and people honk as they pass or come to an intersection to let others know they are there (not in a get-out-of-my-way way). I was able to relax in the car a little because I wasn’t at all worried about Rohan’s driving… but I sure wouldn’t want to drive here!
We got to Ideal Beach Resort, and it was true – it was ideal! I noticed that the vast majority of the guests were European (but probably the only Europeans we saw all week). We ate in the nice little dinning hall. An Indian lady helped me decide what to put on my plate; I must have looked lost in the buffet line! After lunch, we walked a few steps to the beach and hung out there for a few hours. Tarun (Isaac and Tara’s son) was full of energy and loved horsing around with the four guys. I stayed in the shade of the palm trees as not to turn into a tomato (since I forgot my sunscreen at the house) and looked for seashells.
Isaac was telling us how the resort was affected by the 2004 tsunami, and a lot of it had to be rebuilt. I didn’t realize how close we were to the area that had been effected by that. He told us that the waters came quite a ways inland – it looked to be about a mile from what he pointed out.
A long drive back through even crazier traffic and we were home. And they fed us Dominoes pizza! We were all pretty wiped out by bedtime.