Friday, December 7, 2012

The kindness of strangers

After my initial post about early life in Bangalore I got a bunch of concerned IMs, emails, and messages from almost every single one of my Indian friends in the US (I didn't have any here yet). All of them were trying their best to make my day, my life, and my stay in India better. The love and concern was so amazing that I burst into tears and cried for a good 20 minutes or more.

I had invitations to stay with a friend's parents in Kolkata, reminders about cousins who were standing by to help out, phone calls made (from Kentucky!) to a furniture store in my neighborhood of Bangalore to see if they sold mattresses and spoke English, and an actual phone call from a sister of a friend who checked her diary, determined that she had nothing pressing to do the next day, and told me she would come over and pick me up and run me around town to buy as much of what I needed as possible. Her sister had called her from the states to see if she was still awake, and if she could talk to me right then.

At the same time the communications worlds seemed to want to shut all this fabulousness out, as I discovered that the phone in my apartment can't call off campus (we don't have SIM cards yet), and then my internet connection died. Luckily people could still call me!

So on Friday my friend's sister came over around 11am. She sat down with me and listened to my list of what I need (excluding the kitchen stuff, as I'm still hopeful they'll make good on the promise to get some for us- fingers crossed), made mini lists of where to go for everything, and off we went.

First we went to a big grocery store with huge wide aisles! I was able to get rice milk, laundry detergent (it turns out that sending your laundry out to be washed is crazy expensive, and, according to 3 local sources, we were also over-charged. But they all agreed it was quite pricy anyway. So, until further notice I'll be handwashing all our laundry), jam, the mango corn flakes Zion desires, pomegranates, a new-to-me fruit called chicku that looks like potatoes, grape juice for Shabbos, and generally enjoy being in such a large space. Then my new friend took me and the kids to lunch at a Kerala style restaurant (it was delicious!! We all especially loved a bread product called appam, which is made from rice flour and coconut milk), and then took me to 3-4 more shops, where I bought bath towels, candles, matches, a clock, and scotch tape. After that we went to her house, where she gave us tea (and fresh OJ for the kids), collected candlesticks, dish towels, and a drying rack for laundry for us to borrow. Oh and she gave me some child sized bangles for Liel, as I had mentioned that she really wanted some and I'd like to get her some for Hanukkah. And then her driver delivered us right back to our doorstep.

And that's not even all! On Sunday we're making plans to meet up with another friend's cousin, who will accompany us to the furniture store that a different friend found for us, and help us get SIM cards and figure out which plan we should buy. And another cousin will be back in town later this month, and is all set to help us in any way she can.

Seriously, (short of the cooktop, kitchen utensils and electric kettle I'm still waiting on) I couldn't ask for more. Even though I am struggling a bit to get my footing here, I feel and experience so much love, from New York to Kentucky to Kolkata to Bangalore, and so many other places besides.

Shabbat Shalom y'all. (Yes, these are our Shabbos candles and current kiddush cup!)


K said...

Ravelry friends are the BEST! I love how much love you were shown by what was, essentially, a total stranger.

I'm sitting here all teary about it.

And Shabbat Shalom, indeed.

Love you guys, Katey

CoffeeInspired said...

Catching up on your adventures Jovi, someday you'll look back in amazement but now ours just a pain. So glad you have these wonderful new friends to help you.

Alissa said...

I love this, Jovi. <3

laura kozaitis said...

new friends, so lovely.