India Trip, part 5

Wednesday morning brought the first day back to school for Aida, so after Chris and David got back from playing another round of soccer, at which David sprained his ankle, they left with Aida to pick up the other girls in their carpool they have set up with other families who are there doing the same kind of work they are.

We also got to meet Sara* and Robert* who are Monica and Chris’ language teachers. Chris’ old language teacher, Kevin*, stopped by to give David and I a rose as a welcome gift. I found that very thoughtful. Susan*, their house helper, also came by in the morning to clean the house.

While Chris was doing his language, Monica, David, Layani, and I went for a walk to what they call the Dudha Styanda ('doot stand', Milk Stand) to pick up some groceries. It was a nice stroll through their community. Monica pointed out to us several paths she uses to walk and run along, and told about the changes that have happened in their neighborhood just since they’ve moved there 2 years ago. While we were walking, we were approached by a native Indian lady that was asking for money to buy her son some clothes. She was talking to Monica in Bangla ('bung-gluh', Bangali is what we call their language), after she spoke with Monica and Monica told her that she could come by her house in two days and get some clothes, she then turned to David and I asking us for money. All we could do was shake our heads “No” as Monica politely told her, in Bangla, that she needs to go on her way. Monica told us later that poor people there are very similar to the poor people here in the US. They will share their story and ask for money for food, to help with their medical bills, or for clothing, but Monica said that sometimes that’s just a story and they end up using the money for some other purpose. Whether it be paying house bills or buying alcohol or other drugs for themselves or an abusive family member.

We had simple lunch when we got back home and Monica went to rest. David and Chris hung out talking about guy stuff while I got to play Nerf guns with Tekoa and Layani. It eventually got to the point where we were shooting Chris and David, Tekoa was just shocked that I would shoot his dad, it was like he hadn’t thought of that before! It was fun being able to play with Chris like we used to growing up, except without the angry outbursts from either one of us, but instead of calling on my brother Nic to come and be on my side, I’d call on David and his typical response seems to be: “Hey, you started it. I’m not going to join on your side just because they’re now fighting back.” So I had to count on Tekoa, and he just had a really hard time shooting his dad. So much fun!

After Aida got home from school, we spent more time as family before we headed into the downtown of the local city to Punjabi Kadai (poon-jaw-bee cud-eye) which is a fantastic Indian restaurant. Chris and Monica ordered several of their favorite dishes to be brought out and shared between all of us. This place had waiters who would stand by the table and serve the food onto your plate, whatever you wanted, when they saw your plate was empty. It was an experience alright. The food was just AMAZING, and the company was better. I can’t even remember all the food we got, but I do remember the Naan that was served. OH MY GOODNESS mouthwatering wonderful. Combining the curries with the naan… I could’ve eaten that the whole trip. HA HA HA!!

After dinner was done we headed home and just chilled. Got the kids into bed, Monica and I sat and talked, which was fantastic. Oh how I miss her company here in the US just for that reason, not only is she my sister in law, but she’s also one of my best friends. I’ve thought of her that way since before my brother and her were officially a ‘thing’. We have a lot in common, and she’s always treated me like a friend, and not as Chris’ little sister. There was a time in my life that when they would come and visit SD from CO, before they were married, that I admitted to people that I didn’t care that Chris was gone, but I hated having Monica leave. I adored her so, and still do.

*Not their real names for safety purposes.

*I’m sorta thinking I may be a day off with the kid’s being sick. I’m trying to look back at my texts from Rhonda and trying to figure out what the time would’ve been in India, and I think that I didn’t get the first sickness text until Wednesday morning, not Tuesday… whichever day it was, it added a little stress to our lives while we were out there.

*David and I are so proud of how far Chris and Monica have both come with their language learning. When we Skype with them, Chris would try and tell us things that he's learning, just a word here or there, but to hear them have a conversation in Bangla was just awesome.

*Tekoa shared with me his favorite Bangla saying "Ami jani na" (ahmee jahnee nah) which means I don't know or I don't understand. He liked to say this when people spoke Bangla to him, or when adults would ask him to do something, or say something in Bangla.

*Growing up in the Clinch house was awesome, now that I look back. I have the best brothers in the world. (My last post before the start of our India adventure is about life with my brothers, check it out.)

*It was about this day that the thought of having Indian food again wasn’t appealing to me. It just didn’t make my mind happy. More rice? More curry? But the cool thing was that we were introduced to such a selection of Indian Curries and Dahls that it was a new experience with each dish I tried. So even though the thought of Indian food didn’t appeal to me, the actual eating part didn’t bother me at all. (Almost like after Thanksgiving or Christmas when mom has to use up all the turkey or ham somehow, so she makes all different kinds of meals, still using those ingredients, but totally different flavors. You hear “Turkey or Ham soup, Turkey or Ham Sandwiches, Turkey Pot Pie, Scalloped Potatoes and Ham” and your first reaction is “Turkey or Ham again?!?” but once you dig in and take your first bite, you’re like “oh goodness, this isn’t what I was thinking, this is awesome!” - yeah, that was me with Indian food.)

*I am happy to say that having lived in close proximity of my brother, Chris, as adults, our relationship has gotten a lot stronger, and I do miss him too. I’m not yet sure if it is more me missing him as a brother, or me missing him as my husband’s best friend. Probably a good mix of both.