Learning and Living

Often, to live in India means you must learn something.  I suppose you could just go on doing things the same old way you would at home, but eventually, you’ll find yourself frustrated, confused, or unable to fit in.  I’ve been coming to India on a regular basis for five years now, and I continue to learn new things every day.  I remember it being quite mind-boggling at first because everything seemed so new.  I learned to eat entirely new sorts of foods- with my hand.  I learned to use something called a “mosquito mat” to keep the mosquitoes at bay.  I learned how to “tie” a sari.  I then learned how to ride a motorcycle side-saddle while wearing that sari.  I learned to watch where I step so I don’t step in gross things like cow poop, but even better, I learned to always look around because I just never know what cool new sight I might see.  I could list hundreds of things that I have learned, and I expect that the list will continue to grow.

The reason I mention this is because I am fascinated by Leila’s first experience of India.  It is obvious, at times, that she is aware of the difference and the newness of her surroundings, her little eyes taking it all in.  She watches things quietly and carefully, and you can almost see an eagerness in her.  She is absorbing India right now.  Then again, Leila is a baby, and so much of her everyday life whether here or in Michigan involves newness.  She has always been absorbing her surroundings with interest.  In the long run, Leila will never learn India the way that I did.  Of course, she won’t learn it exactly the way her daddy did either, but in her own baby ways Leila will come to understand this place as she understands Michigan… both as her home.

Here are some things we are learning these days…

Leila is learning to sit!!  She is pretty close, actually.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets it down within the week.  Her balance gets better each day, and sometimes she can sit for up to 30 seconds on her own.  The cool thing is that she is blissfully unaware of this big achievement taking place in her body.

learning to sit

learning to sit

Leila is learning many things, actually…

learning just how nice cousins are

learning just how nice cousins are

learning about reflections

learning about reflections

(this reflection picture may be my very favorite from the trip so far!!)

learning how everything feels by sticking it in her mouth!

learning how everything feels by sticking it in her mouth!

Leila and Mommy are learning some things together… like Tamil, the most common language that JP speaks with his family.  Each night Leila and I learn a couple new vowels from Tata.  So far, I think I might have a more concrete grasp of things, but I recognize that in language learning concrete is not always the most important thing.  Leila will soon out-learn me…

learning our evening Tamil lesson

learning our evening Tamil lesson

I am learning some things on my own, without Leila.

One of those things will be laundry, Indian style… at least Indian washing, machine style.  I don’t have to go down to the river and beat the laundry on rocks or anything.  Today our new washer was delivered to the apartment.  A little tiny guy carried it upstairs all by himself.  It was pretty amazing!!  Tomorrow it gets installed.  After that, we get clean clothes ala Katy.

little man carrying our big, new laundry machine

little man carrying our big, new laundry machine

We are all learning some things together.

For example, you never know what kind of excitement lies around the next Indian corner.  On the way home from church on Sunday, it happened that there were two camels, and two guys offering camel rides.  They saw me taking a picture through the car window, and asked if I would like a ride.  I’m sure that would have been a hilarious sight… me, white lady in a bright indigo sari, climbing onto the camel and parading around the streets!!

camel ride, anyone?

camel ride, anyone?

I hope that you’ve all learned something new recently.  It sure makes you feel good to exercise your brain!  Be on the look out for new stuff today!!

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