We have been in India for five days now! So far we have gotten situated and also visited the church, where they invited Ben to preach. Everyone was very welcoming. We also had lunch with the pastor and his wife.
It took us four days to get a bed for our apartment, so we spent our first night in our new home last night. Things are starting to get real.
The first thing I have learned in India is to wait. In the US, everything happens in an instant. Not so in India. We ordered a mattress on Saturday (Day 2). After we left, the store called. They forgot to mention that they didn’t have what we purchased in stock. It would take two days to deliver it. After that, they called and said it would take four days. Finally, yesterday they delivered a “temporary” mattress made out of tree bark that we can use until they deliver the real mattress (tree bark with a few inches of foam – yay!). Apparently, this is all standard procedure around here.
I have actually found a lot of humor in this so far. I’m sure I will have my moments of frustration, but right now it is just so fascinating. Actually, I think my naturally slow pace seems to fit in just fine here! Also, it is completely acceptable to be 30 minutes late to a function (and everyone is late, except to work). That is great news for me. The Indians have a phrase that helps westerners understand their mindset in regard to time. They say Indian Standard Time (IST) really stands for “Indian Stretchable Time.” Nice!
Besides the time thing, there are a few other idiosyncrasies that I have found particularly fun. Here are a few. As you read, please picture Ben and me looking bewildered!
- Our landlords are strict vegetarian (many Hindus are) and have asked us to refrain from preparing meat in our apartment.
- There is no hot water unless you boil it on the stovetop or flip on the shower heater. Our friends were really amused when we asked why our faucet didn’t have hot water.
- In India, the whole bathroom is your shower. The shower head is placed on the wall with nothing to separate it, so you just end up getting the whole bathroom soaked! Note to self: move the toilet paper to a safer location.
- No one in India uses or owns an oven. My friend would like me to teach her how to make lasagna. We might try an experiment with a toaster oven.
- When you go shopping, you have to take small bills because even in the big stores, “no one has change.”
- The presentation of gifts is very elaborate and taken very seriously here (Suzie, you would love it!). Everything is wrapped meticulously. My friend admitted that she was puzzled when I gave her a tissue-paper-stuffed gift bag last December! This time I didn’t even bother to wrap her gift… oops!
I hope you found as much humor as I did in these situations over the past week! Our friends have helped us so much as we learn. I’m sure we’ll have more adventures this week too!