After spending a little over a week in India, we have officially moved into our apartment.
Out of the four interns placed at our office, I was the third to arrive. The fourth, Emma, arrived a few days after me. Within a week of her arrival, Emma, Kyla, and I were signing lease papers for our new home. The filing system here in India is mind boggling. I won’t go into too much detail, but just imagine every important document you’ve ever owned stacked into dozens of piles, each standing at least 7 feet tall.
The day after we signed the papers was an Indian holiday, meaning all work and school was canceled. This was the best news, as our move-in to-do list was about the size of one of those 7 foot tall filing piles. Before we could begin buying, we wanted to stop by the apartment to drop off all of our bags.
The apartment was completely bare when we arrived that holiday morning. It had a smell to it as well, not a pleasant one.
“Easy,” I said, “we’ll get some candles.”
Little did I know the smell would be the least of our problems.
We then walked into the kitchen to find roaches crawling out of every crevice. The stove, the refrigerator, the cabinets, the drain in the corner.
*a shutter was sent down my spine*
We moved into the bedrooms. The apartment has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Truly a goldmine here in India. The rooms are all arranged differently, but in each one are these beautiful windows. The natural sunlight coming through the windows made me forget about the roaches for a moment. Each room also has a small ac unit, PRAISE THE LORD!
Good news: the first night we spent in the apartment was the first night since being here that I didn’t wake up drenched in my sweat (tmi?).
Bad news: my AC unit leaked water whenever it was turned on. So it was no longer the heat that was keeping me awake at night, but the dang water drops hitting the bucket.
I’m happy to report, a few days later, the leaking was fixed.
AND the bug situation has also come to a resolution. A bug professional came to our apartment and sprayed bug poison e v e r y w h e r e. We had to evacuate the apartment for a little bit, to avoid being poisoned with the rest of the critters residing in that apartment, but we had quite the surprise when we returned home. I’m talking a full on bug graveyard. Bug carcasses in every corner and on every counter. I still have nightmares about the little twitching roach legs. RIP.
Quickly we swept them all away.
Our apartment is slowly beginning to feel more like a home.
It’s been a little over two weeks since I arrived in India. It feels much longer than that, but I can only imagine what it will feel like two months from now. Riding in rickshaws (Indian taxi) is beginning to feel a little more usual. Bargaining for my fruits and veggies is more common here than back home, obviously. If I tried to bargain with the Kroger cashier about the price of a mango, I don’t think it would go over too well.
I know I’ll look back on these beginning stages of adjusting to life in India, and think to myself, “man, I had no idea what was to come.”
On top of getting adjusted to living in India, I’m also navigating working in India. The first few days in the office have been a lot of logistics. Even though I have my Indian visa, there are a few more hoops to jump through before I can officially settle in here. Thankfully, the IJM team has stepped up in every.single.way.
Whether it’s a trip to the bank, to the grocery store, to the train, etc, I am always accompanied by an employee, and even though I know I’ve asked a million questions, they never make me feel like a burden or inconvenience.
The office is made up of consistent employees, but the interns cycle through, meaning that each year the staff encounters a whole new team of eager interns from all around the world. For the interns, the year is full of adventure and new things and crazy cultural experiences. For the employees, it’s just another year in India.
I wonder what it’s like for the IJM employees in this office to watch some young 20-somethings move to, adjust to, then leave all that India is. They have made us, Kyla, Emma, Jeshua, and I (the intern team of this year), feel so incredibly welcome.
Do I miss home?
But do I want to leave?
I miss chips and queso.
I miss fall weather.
I miss sleeping in my bed.
I miss target.
And most obviously, I miss my people. More than missing the U.S. I miss those that make the U.S. my home. No one here really knows who I am back home. I think they’re all still warming up to my odd sense of humor and coffee addiction, but soon enough, the people here will similarly make India feel like home, just as those in the U.S. have done.
The last two weeks have been challenging. I wish I could boast about how easy transition is for me, or about how magical it has been to live abroad. But man, this is the toughest thing I have ever done. My roommates and I are from 3 different countries, meaning we are navigating our cultural differences all while trying to live in a fourth culture. That’s a lot of newness.
But the same thing brought us all together, and that blows my mind.
Jesus stirring our hearts for the purpose of justice.
The stories that our work revolves around make me want to scream and cry simultaneously. People being sold and exploited. Children being taken advantage of in the most horrifying ways imaginable. Young girls and boys being sold by their own family members to customers for sex. Men being trafficked across borders and tortured to work under inhumane conditions. The list goes on.
IJM fights hard. The team I get the privilege of sharing a lunch table with is full of tough skinned, tender hearted warriors.
It’s not about making IJM’s name known. It’s about acting upon God’s call for justice.
And it’s about the individuals.
The move to India has broken me down in a lot of ways, but it’s all worth it to be near an organization so actively responding to the scriptures.
-Pray for the IJM team. For unity within the office, as well as, unity for the office and the local authorities (the Indian government and police officials).
-Pray for the cases that are unknown. For details to be revealed, so that rescues can be initiated.
-Pray for my family. Sarah and Clint are living in Scotland, Emily is living in Germany, I am here in India, and my parents are back home in Michigan. Pray for our family bond to stretch wider than all the oceans combined.
-Pray for wisdom and patience for me as I settle into this temporary new normal.
AND Praise the Lord for all He has done for the last few weeks!
You guys are the best! Thank you for being a part of this journey.