India Trip, part 1

"How was your trip to India?"

"What was the best part?"

"How is your family doing over there?"

I can't count how many times those questions have been asked over the past 2 and a half weeks. Too many friends have come to me and said they wanna hear all about it, that I know I'll never have the time to meet with them, even in groups, to talk about it.

So I've awakened our website again.

Join me as I take you along on a recap of our trip. The names of actual locations and real people have been omitted to keep my family and their friends safe.

Preparations for our trip started last year about this time, but at that time I was working out the quirks in our schedule to allow David to go alone. He was in the midst of working towards his VCDX for VMWARE, and I was thinking it might be a good chance for him to step back and take a much needed break.

After coming close to picking out dates and starting the Visa application, David received a call from his mother which changed our plans and his life. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer and was given 3-6 months to live. Needless to say, with the uncertainty of her passing looming over our heads, we decided that India would have to wait.

9 months later, after having said a sad good-bye to his mother, but knowing she’s in the presence of her savior, and having achieved his VCDX, I once again was starting to look for a good time for him to go. I submitted his paperwork, and got his official visa and starting talking to our family in India about the best time to come. One night while Skyping, my brother shyly asks “Why isn’t Stephanie coming?” I told him that I hadn’t renewed my passport and the Visa would take too long after having to wait for my passport. David turns to me and says “Why don’t you go do your passport and get an e-visa just for our trip?” I hemmed and hawed and came back “What about our kids?”

A day later a wonderful friend came up to me after youth group and said “I’ve been speaking with your brother and sister and gotta ask, why aren’t you going?” I started saying “Well, our kids…” she stopped me and said “Don’t let your kids be the excuse for you not to go. We’ll take them!” So I went home that night and mentioned it to David and he said “why don’t you go ahead and get your passport renewed and get a Visa so we can both go.”

So I did.

3 weeks and 3 days ago we began our first India adventure, with more to follow, Lord willing.

We started our trek by loading up 10 suitcases, 6 backpacks, 5 sets of winter clothes, and driving to Kittanning to drop off our 3 boys at Rhonda’s house, the friend who said that she’d take the kids. Upon pulling out of their driveway we realized that we had forgotten to grab the cash that we had pulled out of the bank to take with us to India. We called Tyler, who was watching our house and dog while we were away, and had him meet us with the cash in Harmer before we jumped on the highway.

The trip to Fredericksburg, VA to drop meet with my sister in law, Megan, who was taking our girls while we were gone, was mostly uneventful except for a weird noise we were hearing from the engine, it didn’t sound too bad so we decided to make a mental note to get the van into the shop shortly after our return home.

We met at a gas station, and boy! excitement was in the air from both my girls, my nephews, and Megan about spending the next two weeks together. David checked the fluids in the van while we got gas, just to make sure the noise wasn’t something simple. Then we drove back to Dulles to stay the night at a hotel.

We checked into our hotel, talked about what we were going to say to the immigration officers about the purpose of our trip, and made a short Walmart list. It was close to dinner time so we went to our car, started it and were startled at the loud sound coming from our front end, this time it seemed like something that needed to be taken care of before we headed back home on a 5 hour drive. So while I was in Walmart getting the few things on our list, David called around and found a mechanic who would be willing to examine our van, fix the problem and hold our vehicle for 2 weeks. We are so thankful that we found one!

We drove to Dulles Auto Clinic, explained our problem, dropped the keys and then ordered an Uber to take us and our 6 bags of luggage back to the hotel. We walked around the area to try and get some dinner, but all the places were closed, or no longer in business. While out walking David realised that we were in the same business area that he was in a year ago for work, he just stayed at a different hotel in the area.

On our way back to the hotel, we were walking together in the light of a full moon, we wanted to get a picture of the beautifulness of it, but only had our phones, and the lighting wasn’t quite right, so we snapped a photo just to remember.

That night we ordered in Italian for dinner, we split a wonderful Chef salad a yummy Stromboli, and watched a movie while trying to calm our hearts and heads about our trip.

To be continued...

*Our biggest concern at that time was saying something while going through customs that would put my family in danger, or saying something else that would make them question our reasons for being in India, therefore sending us back to the US, not letting us go along our way and miss seeing our family.

**Also the state of our van was of concern as well, since we were going to be out of the country, communication was going to be difficult.

***We're both happy that God gave us one another. We're both easy going about mishaps while traveling, it just adds another layer to the adventure!