Friday, December 9, 2011

A Finger, a Firefighter and an Indian Baby Shower

Good evening!  There are a few things to share this Friday as our lobby has gone from a perpetual ping pong tournament to a deserted playing field.  Yesterday was graduation and now (for the most part), silence.  With an insanely full few weeks, the break is coming at the perfect time.

This time last week we were gearing up for a weekend storm of activities that included Jason racing up a mountain for his half marathon.  He comes alive running.  I try to stay alive if I run.

While we sent to sleep late after campus Christmas celebrations and up early for the mountain run, there were exciting things to keep us up on Saturday including a friend returning from China, our RA Christmas party and, as if Jason's body hadn't endured enough, Jason's finger getting slammed in the van door.  Just today, almost a week later, the pain is finally subsiding.
It's looking better!
Then, Sunday.  The story I've wanted to share.  Not including ruining banana bread for firemen or the huge study party and feast we threw in our lobby (sadly, no pictures to share because our camera had not been replaced yet), Sunday was filled with excitement because I attended a monumental baby shower.

For a year I've hoped for an Indian friend and decided the clerk in Walmart would do nicely.  I've gone through her line too many times to count, struck up conversation and time and time again invited her to lunch.  But I had resigned myself to the fact that she was only an "inside the walls of Walmart" friend.  So on Black Friday while shopping for a few groceries, you can imagine my elation when she invited me to her baby shower.  I agreed and tried to pick out the perfect gift for a baby whose gender is still a mystery.  My friend, we'll call her Shanta, is due in March and is seeing the same OB/GYN I did with Levi!  This past Sunday was the shower and to my shock was not an American baby shower given by Walmart employees.

I pulled into the full parking lot to see Indian men, women and children dressed in traditional clothing entering the building.  And I made my first observation:  Indians drive mini-vans and SUVs.  So I fit in quite nicely with my MPV.

Entering the building to loud Hindi music, over 100 Indians sat at tables watching kids play musical chairs up front.  My friend greeted me looking like an Indian princess and welcomed me to a front row seat of all things India for the afternoon.  I was a mixture of overwhelmed and awed.  Only one other non-Indian was there and we became quick friends taking everything in and asking the constant question, "What is happening right now?"  We mostly never had answers for that question.
Taken from my phone.  Wow, pardon my hair.
Then, the other non-Indian left and...

I panicked.  Not wanting to commit any cultural blunders, I slid across the seat to an older Indian woman and began asking for answers to all the questions I had.  She and her husband were incredibly precious even explaining the god statue that sat at the front of the room.

And then, my new non-Indian friend walked in with four other Walmart employees and a huge cake which led to an incredible wedding-like cake ceremony.  This was followed by more wondering of what  exactly was happening and then, dancing.

Dancing could easily give way to cultural blunders or worse, free amusement.  But thankfully my new friend schooled me on the footwork and soon I was dancing around the room with about forty Indian women and four Walmart employees.  Shanta watched with a big smile.  

After the joy of dancing came my next Indian observation:  Indian food is dang spicy.  As I ate the chicken bite by flaming bite, I swirled water around and opened my mouth slightly as if eating a red hot and trying to find relief from the burn.  And with the chicken came the two and a half hour mark and my time to depart for our Stu-B Study party.  The party wouldn't end for five more hours.  Some kind of baby shower, I'd say!  And a precious gift from sweet Jesus to have my first experience with Indian culture.  How I loved every minute (with the exception of the panic after new Walmart friend left)!

_ _ _

And before I go, I'd love to share two more quick, totally unrelated things.

Thing 1:  Jason and I have been thinking a lot about Christmas traditions and how to live in America but focus on Christmas.  This morning I skimmed an incredibly challenging post with practical ideas for a Jesus-focused Christmas.  We're planning to look over it together and take some ideas for our own purposeful festivities.  I love that she took the time to write it all out and challenge so many of us to look closer at our celebrating.

Thing 2:  When our camera broke we sent it off only to find out it couldn't be fixed and were given a large store credit to replace it.  So, now that we have a new, working camera there are so many pictures and videos to come of our little 20 month old.  He's doing SO much...and we're in love.  Hoping to share in the coming week.

Thanks for reading this long one.  Hope your weekend is wonderfully intentional being loved on by your creator and pouring it back out to others.