Katy and I were gone the past two days to re-connect with our group of 12 in Vellore. After the initial debriefing sessions, we met up with my dear friend Krishna yesterday for a truly South Indian experience. True life in India is really seen in these village settings. Krishna and his family own a rice mill outside of a town called Kaveripakkam. His mom made us some delicious South Indian food that was served on banana leaves…another Indian custom. We sat in his beautiful home in this little street called “thottakara (farmer) street.” Krishna recently got married but as is Tamil custom, his wife had to spend this month (the Tamil month of Adi) with her parents. Different explanations abound for why this is…but the two top reasons seem quite plausible. One is that this is the time for sowing and planting, especially rice fields. At this time, they do not want the newly weds to be so obsessed with each other that they get no work done! The second reason for this custom is that a child conceived during this time of year will be delivered in April/May which are the hottest months of the year in India. So while it was sad to not meet Nitya, I thought it was really neat to learn about this ancient custom that is still practiced in rural Tamil Nadu. It is always wonderful to meet Krishna and have him share his life with us but for me, it’s a great excuse to connect with an old friend!
Again, as hectic as our schedule has been this summer, we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I wanted to write a quick note to let you all know that we leave for the US tonight (even though technically our flight does not leave till early tomorrow morning. Our flight back will go: Bangalore to Paris…Paris to Cincinnati…Cincinnati to Grand Rapids. Today will be a day where we will be running around, buying last minute things, packing our suitcases, settling bills, making sure we have most of our bases covered. Strange to think that we will be back in Grand Rapids, Michigan at 6 PM on Wednesday!
Friends and family, we love you and will look forward to telling you more stories and adding more pictures/videos. The faster internet connections will help. We look forward to repeating from stateside even though, as always, it is hard to leave India. Lots of new things to look forward to when we get back. Amy (Katy’s younger sister) gets married. Katy and I looking forward to doing some housework as we prepare to welcome in our daughter! Exciting things going on.
Also, one of our dear friends, Dave, passed away after a long battle with cancer yesterday. Katy and I share a special bond with Dave because he is the Police Captain who helped me set up my engagement with Katy at the Holland Police Department (a story in itself). It is really hard to believe that he is gone, but thank God for the hope that we share that we will see him soon. Please do keep his wife Nancy and his kids in your prayers.
Ben, one of our college students working with us this summer has his own blog and has a great way of looking at life here. You should read some of his stories sometime… http://www.xanga.com/kesterben
Also, for another view on James’ wedding, here is an account from our dear friend Kandyce… http://kk-incredibleindia.blogspot.com/2008/06/its-good-to-return-to-india-of-3-years.html