Here I sit in my little apartment and I am surrounded by buckets, towels and drops of water. Last week we had nothing but wonderful sunshine. This week is a whole new story. The rains have returned in force and I have become an expert at wading through flooded streets. Apparently this is the “exit monsoon”. The monsoons travel north from the Indian Ocean sweeping across the country on their way in. Then they hit the Himalayan mountains and bounce back dowsing the people of India on their way out – hence an exit monsoon.
In a mere 8 days I board a plane and head west. To be honest I am very torn. Before reaching Canada I am making two pitstops. I will be visiting friends in Thailand and Australia. Exploring new places and seeing old friends is always wonderful and I am very excited. Also, it will be good to return home and see my friends and family. There is always something inviting about going home. At the same time, I have a sense of sadness about leaving Kolkata. This city is intoxicating and there is just something about the culture and life here that gets into your blood. I have also made some great friends – does anybody really like goodbyes?
I really am caught between being excited to go and wanting to stay. I want to stay and continue to invest in relationships I have built (especially with my thalassemia kids and new Hindu friends). I want to see some of the work I have started through to completion (which would require me to be here in December…not quite possible). I have made some great memories here – for example: my friend got us tickets to the Sunfeast WTA Open. I have been developing my love for tennis. I even got Martina Hingis’ signature – I also lost it a few hours later while carrying a friend on my back through a puddle / small lake where a sidewalk normally should be.
At the same time to return to Canada and sit with friends and talk will be wonderful. My heart beats a little faster when I think about seeing my special someone. I look forward to eating a blizzard from Dairy Queen (though I do recognize I will probably freeze while doing so). Stepping into my role as a Missions Apprentice is something that I have been really thrilled for. Life feels like it is moving ahead and will hit warp speed once I am back in the lower mainland.
A joke has developed amongst the people I work with here. I was supposed to go to Darjeeling by train to assess some medical facilities there. I am told that this is usually the best time of year to go and I was UNBELIEVABLY excited to go to Darjeeling. However, the monsoons are late this year and brought heavy rains. These rains brought landslides which took out both highways and both train routes that lead to Darjeeling…insert disappointment here. Also, as many of you are aware I’m sure, there has been a little political unrest in Thailand. Furthermore, 5 Canadians were just arrested in Australia for attempting to bring in a large amount of drugs (5th largest drug bust in Australia’s history). To make things better, the leader of the group is a young man from Abbotsford, British Columbia. So the joke is that everywhere I intend to go has met with misfortune!
Kolkata has become even more alive over the past few weeks. We are almost in the middle of the Hindu religious celebrations. The months of September and October are filled with celebrations called “pujas”. Almost every weekend a different god is honoured. Last week the god of creation and tools was celebrated. The most fascinating part of this practice was that taxi drivers decorated their cabs with marigolds and palm fronds because that is the tool they use in their trade. The second largest celebration, “durga puja”, will begin on September 28. I look forward to seeing all that it involves. Be sure to pray for the people of Kolkata. Bengali’s are a highly spiritual people and with everything inside of me I want them to know the truth of God.
So to recap: I am excited to return home and yet I still feel like there is still so much I could do here. YET, I know that I will not always see the end results of all of my work and I am confident that God will find a way to finish what He used me to start – He is bigger than me after all. Also, if you have a moment, and you think of it, please do mention me to God in your prayers as I journey home.