Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 1 - Welcome Home!

Swollen from the long flight,
but such happy feet!

They were at the airport, standing behind the guard rail along with all the others waiting to greet their loved ones. I saw her first - my Chloe - and then I saw Mera, still exquisite at 3:30 in the morning; and Raj, wearing his Maple Leaf cap. The tiredness of the previous hours melted away as I fell into their embrace, and then Raj raced off to get the vehicle.

We hurtled through relatively empty streets, just us and the pye dogs roaming around at this time of the morning. Some of the students who were already up for the day got me and my massive amount of luggage upstairs to my room. Raj went home and Chloe went over to her house and bed. 

And Mera? Mera pulled my shawl around her a little bit tighter and we sat and started to catch up with our year. How I love this woman with her sweet, caring spirit and her heart as big as Bangalore!

All of this, and I forgot to take one picture ...

I had also forgotten my hairbrush, chocolate chips, my black skirt, moisturizing lotion for a friend.

The next morning I didn't hear my alarm clock, the little girls knocking on my door, the campus bells, the little girls knocking on my door, the call to breakfast, the little girls knocking on my door ...

When I finally emerged it was 2:30 - and there was breakfast waiting for me: vadas, peanut chutney the way only Raj can make it, and a mug of piping hot Indian coffee.
Vadas, peanut chutney, garam coffee ...

Next on the agenda was some quality girl time with my Faith. We decided we needed pedicures, and we were going to get blue nail polish. We walked down the street and entered the welcome cool of the dimly lit interior.

Heading out for our girly afternoon

Fingers painted blue
too - sorry, Daddy!
Final touch-up
Drying toenails by
the fan ...

Of course, Faith charmed everyone, including the daughter of another client. Her aesthetician wanted to take her home and feed her when she talked about loving all Indian food!

After pedicures we picked up ice creams for all of us girls, chocolate cones for the younger ones and mango for the grown-ups. 

Leah and Hannah - such sweet,
unassuming girls!
Just before dinner three of us snuck over to the auditorium to practice a little something which is to be a surprise for a Dad and a Grandpa in the next couple of days - no more about that now!

Raj multitasking, again: putting the
finishing touches to dinner while
negotiating better quality
mattresses for the same price ...

Then after dinner Raj bundled Ed, Sarah, Chloe and me into the campus truck: we were going to pick up the bed rolls for the Bagalur Children's Home! The sheet sets had been picked up a day or so ago, and we just have to get to City Market to get the mosquito nets - but we're heading to Bagalur tomorrow morning ...
The mattress shop

Raj, assuring himself of the quality ...
Ed, starting to lug the mattresses
("bed rolls") to the truck

And then we waited for the last
five mattress to arrive from the
godown - patient Chloe and Sarah! 

They finally arrived on the back of a scooter!

Piled in the truck, ready to go ...

The receipt - just what they had
promised, but better quality!

We came back from the mattress shop tired but happy. And, as is the custom at this wonderful place, we sat on the couches outside the house and visited for a short while before saying goodnight.

Ed and his girls ...
As I walked slowly across the yard and up the stairs to my room, I couldn't help but think of Dad, BA and Deb, who are now on the first leg of their journey. And I remember something Dad said not so long ago. The first time he came out to India, in 1959, he was all alone. Then he looked up at the sky and saw the same stars that had shone over him at his farm house near Castor, Canada. He recognized the constellations and glimpsed the same beautiful moon.
Perfectly at home - there is even an
elephant picture on the wall for me!

At that moment he thought to himself, It's the same sky. We're all in the Northern hemisphere; I'm not so far away. If we're under the same sky, we're not so different after all.

He says that because he could see that, could observe the bigger picture painted on the canvas of the night, he was spared the culture shock many other people attest to.

And because of him, because he lived with the fundamental truth that we are all the same, I could fly out from my night sky in Three Hills to the same night sky in Bangalore 54 years later and say to myself, I'm home!


  1. No time like the now! Just sent the others off and they are looking forward to being there with you. Home is everywhere you are. Love to all there.

  2. All I can say is, when will you take me there???

  3. Glad to hear you made it safely!

  4. Wonderful Blog! Nice to see the family! I like the constellation feeling! . You are so good Karyn!

  5. So descriptive and beautifully written!


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