Thursday, May 14, 2009

A rig of bamboo

For those of you who don't know, I'm going to be in Visakhapatnam, India for 4 months starting July 30th and I thought that this would be the best way to share what I was up to. Until then, I will be sharing my battles with the IRB and my experiences at EFY.

India is one of my biggest dreams finally being realized, and I can hardly believe it's coming true. I've been in love with India since I can remember. It partly started from reading fairy tales and a wonderfully epic tome The Far Pavilions that I picked up at a garage sell for a dollar when I was about 12. My fascination with this land of magic and spices and romance and mysticism and innumerable possibilities has continued inexplicably ever since.

Like Sarah's father says in A Little Princess, "India is the only place left that can stir the imagination." Think about it - anytime you have a movie where you need a mysterious and wise figure or an uncharted land full of secret bands of warriors, India crops up. Now I'm not certain it's the only place left, but it has been in my imagination for as long as I can remember.

I refuse to believe that everyplace has been discovered - that there is no longer any need for explorers or mapmakers - that the world is done sharing her secrets with us. But even if man has charted every reach and climb of this earth, I haven't discovered it yet. And so that is what I am setting out to do. I am my own Magellan and Pizarro and Columbus. I will come back with packets of new spices and dyes and stories of elephants and oranges.

I'm nervous, scared, intimidated, overwhelmed, and incredibly excited to go. The only thing that could make this more perfect is if we were traveling by oceanliner. One of those old, steam-powered ones.

But don't worry. I know it sounds like I have a completely unrealistic, romantic idea about India. Heaven knows I've romanticized this trip to death. But I also know that India is poor and dirty and very peopled. It is a quickly modernizing country with all of the attendant blessings and hassles and too large bureaucracy , as well as an old, old land steeped in ritual and tradition. I have had to get shots, and a mosquito net, and I won't be able to drink the water the entire time I'm there. But I am going there to learn and grow. I am not going as a tourist (though that is what my visa says), and I am not going to just go sightseeing. I want to do hard things. I already love this people, and I want them to teach me about their ways of life.

Now, I have some issues with me starting a blog. I don't think I have anything Profound or Important to say, but I hope I have several interesting things to say. So, sit back, stay caught up, and stay tuned for details on what I will actually be up to while I'm in India!