Week 8. Just a spoonful of nutella.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

I read once that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 60+ days to change your life. So at this point in our journey I believe it is safe to say we have experienced incredible life change and new habits. For example, I used to have ice cream almost every night before bed. You know, that sweet tooth night cap? But now, I am regularly so thirsty from the heat and dust that all I want is water and salt! I have always considered myself a sweets person over salty, but potato chips have NEVER tasted so good.

Another great change, is that in America, I always took a doctors word for gold! But here, I am finding that I follow a Doctor visit with a google search on “what are the 7 medicines he just prescribed for me to give my 3 year old?” I can barely get Jackson to eat his meals let alone take any medicine. Thus, I had to give my boys a heaping scoop of nutella every day this week to get them to take their antibiotics. Fortunately the medicine had a peppermint taste so I assume it tasted like a spoonful of peppermint patty. Coughs and sniffles have consumed each one of us lately. So I was grateful to have my oils when after I had used all the medicine I could think of, coughs were still keeping the kids and myself up. I used the Young Living Breathe Again Roll-on for me and Snifflease oil for the kids, and shortly thereafter…… sleep came.

Another change is that I used to take my second cup of coffee in the afternoon. 2 cups a day isn’t bad? Now, I can barely make it past 9:30 without a second cup. Maybe it’s because by 10 am my head is swimming with Hindi words during our language class. When there is only 2 students and one teacher, it is pretty obvious if you can’t keep your eyes open. I also blame the fact that India is for night owls. The evening brings bareable temps allowing for evening walks, parks, work and just simple socializing. Needless to say our kids are up for 15 hours a day!! NOT.A.FAN.

some of the objects we are learning.

We did get invited to our first Indian birthday party this week for our friend’s 5-year old son. It was excellent! Complete with a paw patrol theme, a bouncy house, countless balloons, cake and party favors. It was so wonderful to see them so happy. However, I learned a little too late that you can not simply run to a pharmacy or party city to get wrapping paper. In fact, I still have no idea where to go to get gift wrap! I felt so embarassed to offer the gift in a bag with not even any tissue paper. I will have to research this before the next one!

The heat is increasing. I am still finding it hard to stay hydrated. I noticed that many people here wear white to beat the heat. So I decided to find an all white Kurta for the super hot days. Maybe it was the beautiful handiwork that drew me to this one, or maybe it was the song “Hopelessly Devoted to you” from Grease playing in the background (random right?). But the one I chose makes me want to run through a field of daisies and sing “the Hills are alive!” This Kurta is also very light. Which reminded me of today’s verse. Weeks here are a roller coaster full of ups and downs. And long days make for swollen and tired eyes and weary hearts. But I look to Him. That is where my help comes from.

I was grateful that we got to experience some new adventures this week. Gracelyn and I started yoga! Our language teacher connected us to his friend who is a professional yoga athlete and teacher and she came to our home to teach us. I was so excited to get active and even better, in the comfort of our home. I have not tried to exercise outside in public yet or go to a gym. I had been feeling pretty out of shape and was eager to get back into it. As always, upon exercising I was reminded that my mind thinks I am still a college athlete while my body cries out in defiance, “Oh no, you don’t. I will defeat you with arthritis and scar tissue! Leave my atrophying muscles alone.” You can only imagine how my hamstrings felt the next day after doing several rounds of surya namaskar. NO PICTURES for this one, somethings are better unseen.

The other adventure was a day of sightseeing over the weekend. We had not done a major tourist outing since we were hounded by hawkers at Amer Fort. We were hopeful that being 2 months in we were not so wet behind the ears. We also decided to pick a few places and keep the visit duration to a minimum. The first was Jaipur zoo! Which is actually, no longer a zoo. That’s always fun to find out….while you are buying tickets and about to go in with 3 very excited children. Turns out the majority of animals were sent to a nature reserve while the remaining wildlife consisted of birds.

yay…..

To my surprise, it turned out to be great. And hilarious. For one, I have never in my life seen an ostrich the size of an elephant nor a pelican the size of a 12 year old boy before. So there was that. I have also never seen a museum of taxidermy animals in a zoo. But most of all, I have never been to a zoo where there is one monkey on the inside of the cage and the other monkey on the outside. At first we were excited to see the monkeys. But then we realized the one on the outside was clinging to the one on the inside and Jackson turned around and in sign language said monkey followed by signing the word “sad.” Later that night Gracelyn prayed that the monkeys would be reunited.

We also ventured to a museum. That was a fail. We lasted 10 minutes before meltdown 0′ clock started and people were sight seeing us more than the museum. So we bolted and headed to City Palace. This was a risk. We almost went home because the kids did not seem to be interested in history. Until there was a Bollywood movie filming in the center of city palace!!! 30-40 Indian women dressed in matching sarees, smoke machines, music and lots of “1-2-3 action AND cut!” I hope we get to find out what movie was being filmed someday. Attention spans run low with our crew, so after about 5 takes when the kids realized we were only going to see the same 30 seconds over and over again we needed to move on. And to our luck, we ended at a phenomenal puppet show where the puppeteers had their puppets perform a traditional Indian dance, a cobra and charmer dance and of course, an Indian Michael Jackson dance….. only India.

Our outing was a victory. We saw the sights, had a great time as a family, and I believe many people went home with a snapshot of us in their photo gallery on their phones.

Yes, random strangers took pictures of us and our children ALL. DAY. Encouraged for next week’s language class so I can learn how to say, “take pictures of the animals please, not my children.”

Routine. Week 7.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,..” Colossians 3:12

I did not realize how thirsty we were for a routine. Language school and Homeschooling has been so healthy. When you are with the same people all day long with no schedule or order and 3 of them are under 7 years old, it can get ugly. Boredom can set in for young children, no matter what country you live in. Taking turns has been necessity. We have been diligent to give one another breaks from the kids and solo time while also trading off which child gets to run an errand with us. My favorite moment was probably when Garret walked with me at night to the local grocer and he wore his head lamp to light the path. He is an excellent grocery shopping partner. Probably because he usually gets his own Limca at the end of the trip.

Monday was Election Day, so there was no language class and most people took off of work. A fascinating detail I learned about Election Day was that after one voted they would get a henna tattoo on their finger nail to prove that they had voted and also to ensure that they do not try to vote again. Fascinating. And despite any concerns, our city was safe from any political turmoil.

Wednesday our cook came for the first time! This is also custom here and I was very excited to have her help us out because meals have been hard! Cooking an Indian dish, which is what most markets primarily provide ingredients for, is difficult and very time consuming. When you have 3 kids you are homeschooling, one with attention and sensory issues and one with hearing aids and speech delay, spending a lot of time in the kitchen is actually dangerous. For real. We do not have a dishwasher or a dryer for laundry so some days it felt like I was stuck on wash, rinse repeat between cooking, washing dishes and doing laundry. It is also almost 100 degrees in our kitchen and when I am finished I feel like I ran a marathon and come out only to find our home and the kids in disarray. So having an experienced cook provide a healthy meal of rice and Dahl is a dream come true!

The day before she came, our landlord took me out to the market to get all of the supplies to set up our kitchen for Indian cooking. This was such a positive experience that I wish I had done this for those who were just coming to America and trying to navigate Walmart!

Also this week, a friend of mine invited me to get a manicure and pedicure! I felt so blessed to have been invited and to get my India-ravaged feet, pampered. We live in the dessert, even though it is a city. And it has taken its toll on our feet.

A few other wins for the week were that I saw my first monkey, well 3 to be exact. Two were crossing the street and one was carrying its baby! Now I am sure that soon I will detest to see a monkey for they are rumored to be angry and frustrating animals here, but for now they remain as cute as the ones I have seen in the zoo.

I also finally started winning the battle with Jackson to take his medication for his infections and for eating protein. This had been a huge prayer. He has always struggled with eating and has a very limited diet. Once we arrived in India, it was like all he would eat is crackers and that IS IT. So to see him swallow his medicine and eggs made me want to cry!

Adam also started making sports connections around town which was super exciting as we look forward to opportunities to arise for his job with an International Sports Agency.

I had another YL essential oil win when the kids rolled around in something called Carrot Grass and couldn’t stop itching. After a bath I was able to use the recipe “Scratchless spray” which included purification, lavender and peppermint mixed with witch hazel. I felt relief to see my kiddos get relief.

To end my week I took a solo trip to curious life, a coffee shop that a friend told me about where I had a Vietnamese Cold coffee and it was amazing. I followed it up with a trip to the store fabindia where I got Adam a coffee mug so he can stop drinking his coffee out of a regular cup and to cottfab where I found my latest Kurta.

This one made me feel like Me. Like Heather. Ya know when you find something, and if someone was with you they would say, “Oh that is so you!” I found it. And it was the most inexpensive Kurta I have found! I was so excited. But this trip also left me intrigued. There is a whole other part to each clothing store that I have not explored. It is the side of the store where you buy your material by the meter and they will hand tailor your request.

Most people do this to get a Saree or Poshak made. Upon being asked if I wanted this service, I replied, “Not yet.” I do not know when it will be required of me to wear this kind of Indian dress, and when it is I will have to have it made. Truthfully, I am intimated by the idea of wearing a Saree. And here in our city, and where we live the traditional wear seems to be changing. Many women are wearing western clothes and others are wearing Indian clothes but are foregoing the dupatta or scarf.

But I feel the time will be coming soon, that I get to experience more of the richness of this culture.

The battle for wifi. Week 6.

“For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven.” 2 Corinthians 5:2

It has been a week. We have seen several appointments for wifi installation come and go. A cultural lesson I am sure.

When the Wifi guy or the Ac repair man says, I will be there tomorrow at noon, it is common that he may come early, he may come late or not at all. There is also no voicemail service here on cellphones, so people just make missed calls frequently. And if you are calling a service number, you are most likely to get a recording. Now add the language barrier in there and you have the perfect recipe for extreme frustration. Especially when the two items you need help with are your air conditioning and your internet.

Needless to say, that would have been all I remembered about week six had I not been taking down weekly notes!

So here were the victories this week! Our washing machine, stove and microwave/convection oven were all installed this week. A working kitchen! I unpacked the last suitcase and we stored all of the suitcases out of sight. Officially moved in. Our house helper started this week helping with washing the floors and bathrooms as is custom here. We started language school two hours a day in the morning to learn Hindi AND we started homeschooling the kids!

Unfortunately the boys came down with respiratory, pinkeye and ear infections. But we had some laughs this week too. To conserve water, it is common to take bucket baths. The boys have enjoyed them, filling the bucket up with water and dumping it over their heads. Well, Jackson must have really been under the weather because he decided to crawl in the bucket, where he proceeded to get stuck, butt in, feet dangling out, and asleep! A sight I have never seen before for sure.

Also this week I had several errands to run which forced me to take 5 different Uber car rides. This was a victory for me because I never enjoy riding an Uber solo because it always caused me great fear. Maybe I was high on productivity, or maybe it was my YL Valor that brought me such great confidence and motivation, either way I was feeling proud.

As the last Uber pulled up to take me home, I had a handful of items such as a toddler bathtub, cleaning supplies and cups etc. The Uber driver got out of the car to load my items in the trunk and accidentally locked us out of his car while it was still running! Not only that, but he blocked the other cars in to their parking spots.

Thirty minutes later, after he made several phone calls to receive help unlocking his car, the man he blocked in decided to use his own car key to see if it would unlock his car. To all of our shock, IT DID! ONLY INDIA!

well, after all that excitement I was excited to relax. It was our first weekend in our new home and we were ecstatic about just lounging and enjoying finally being settled. And guess what? The internet guy came! AND the AC got repaired. We watched netflix and slept in a cool room.

BLISS.

As for Kurtas this week. The only story I have is still pending. Since we got our washer installed, I have been able to wash my own laundry. The only downside on this, is when we lived in the hotel, we had to send our laundry out and when it came back, it had also been pressed! Now that I am washing my own clothes, air drying Kurtas on my front porch does not help the wrinkles. So I decided to utilize the presswala service that the LandLord gave to me. Again, this is very common culturally to have clothes, especially Indian dress sent to the presswala, who is usually employed at the corner of the street in a neighborhood and handles all the local pressing for that community.

Well, I have not seen my Kurtas since I sent them out…..

I will let you know the end to this story when I find out. Fingers crossed, I hope to see my Kurtas again!

Watch out, the Braucher’s are moving in. Week 5.

“…And have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-..” Colossians 3:10

Week 5. Monday.

The A/C units have been installed, walls have been painted and flat has been cleaned. It is time for us to to load our 15+ suitcases into a couple ubers and move in!

Here in Jaipur, India, the three things that are necessary for move in are cleaning, A/C and R.O. Most places are very dirty and the cleaning is up to you. Call it mercy, but the LandLord of our new flat had it done for us!

The A/C units were installed and thank the Lord because the temperature was already in the 100’s. An R.O machine is a device that uses reverse osmosis to filter the tap water to make it safe to drink. Since we had been buying our water daily, this was a provision we were “pumped” to have in our home.

Our furniture was to be delivered as well as appliances. However, there were still many houseware and kitchenware items remaining to be found. I was so excited to see our furniture arrive as I had spent multiple outings visiting the local stores with the help of others who have lived here for years.

The furniture available was made from beautiful, handcrafted wood and marble. I had to find what would suit our family while navigating the conversion from rupees to USD. I also had to find items that were functional for our kids. The days are HOTT, and we need space for homeschool and indoor play.

I wish I had a photo of the 6 Indian men who delivered and assembled the bunk bed for the boys. It did not arrive until after 8pm and my children were wired and ready to be put to sleep so I was a little flustered at the hour. However, these men worked together like a well-oiled machine and had that bed assembled so quickly!

After all of the furniture was delivered the following day, it was time to pay. These are moments when we wish we already knew Hindi. We have often phoned a friend to interpret, and then hoped that nothing was lost in translation.

Marble is a natural resource here so you will find it everywhere. Marble is not my friend. When you have three loud children, the echo is deafening, and beware if you drop anything glass or ceramic it will shatter. So having furniture was not only necessary, but the combined effect of objects and carpets FINALLY removed the echo! My ears rejoiced. We had made a home, and IT WAS good.

It was time for me to head and find bedsheets, bath towels, dish and cookware, toiletries and cleaning supplies. I was referred to a store in the local mall called Lifestyle as well as a store back in the town where our hotel was, about 20 minutes away called Big Bazaar.

I started at Lifestyle. I went on my own. How hard could it be? Little did I know this would be how I would have my first anxiety attack since entering India. On the bright side, it took 5 weeks! And I did walk away with all that I needed, as well as a cultural lesson. Nothing bad happened, I just was not prepared. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is very common for at least 2-3 employees to step forward to assist their customer, especially a foreigner. In fact, they will get into trouble by their superior if they do not.

I was not prepared for 3 to turn into 7 employees, and for assistance to turn into decisions made for me. The next thing I knew I was at the checkout lane and all eyes were on me as the total was adding up on the register and I was approaching the ruppees amount to win a free google mini. The more people focusing on me, the smaller I felt. I felt like I was outside my body watching. It was all I could do to keep myself standing upright and not panic. All I came for was bedsheets, dishes and towels. And I felt like the main event.

To make matters worse, we do not own a car yet, so two boys escorted me outside to a tuk tuk carrying my bags for me. I insisted they put all my items in 1-2 bags that I could carry on my own, but they gave each item its own bag.

As soon as I got home, I melted in Adams arms and sobbed. I felt weighted down by feelings of insecurity, inferiority, and kept believing the lie that I was stupid and almost like a form of entertainment for others.

When I finally recovered, I was grateful to be able to rest and to use my YL oils such as grounding, white Angelica and peace and calming. Having the oils on hand has helped me feel like I can actually Do something, when control is actually out of my hands.

Like I said, nothing bad happened. And as an American in India, it is expected to draw attention. But when attention is taken from the local shoppers, given to me and I am treated like an event of “watch how much money the American Spends,” I just wanted to cry.

But what truly helped me break free from these thoughts was when a friend reminded me of who I am. The words, “daughter of the King, God’s beloved” wrang in my ears and brought peace to my heart. Remember my identity in Christ gave me strength to dispel the culture shock and lies that came with it.

The next shopping experience I had was the opposite. So I guess I should be grateful. I wanted to make sure I got back on the horse and did not let that experience paralyze me. I brought Gracelyn with me to Big Bazaar. No unnecessary attention this time! In fact, we got our counter top gas stove, our pots and pans and a few other kitchen items. So it was a success. However, I am certain the cashier was making fun of me in hindi to his friends and tried to rob me of the discounted price on the stove. And to top it off, another customer approached me at the checkout line and said, “You can find these on amazon, much cheaper.” Thanks buddy, if only I could get on Amazon India I would. But that is another story.

So balance was reached. Too much help and too little. And now we could cook our own meals!!! Well, if I can learn how to connect and use the stove first:)

That weekend as much as we wanted to keep setting up home and get wifi installed, we had been invited to stay in a hotel with a couple other expats.

Even though it was a beautiful place to stay, it was hard to go back into a hotel after we had been living in one for a month and finally go out of it. The kids behaviors were showing us how much they needed routine and a space of their own. I also had a wicked case of heat stroke which took a couple days to recover. My YL digize and peppermint were life savers.

On Sunday when we got home, I experienced my first bout of homesickness. You know that feeling when you go away for a while, and upon returning to your home, you walk in the door and feel that, “ah, we are home” feeling? Well, that feeling was not there. It will be soon, but it was not yet. I felt like I was floating again. I needed grounding.

A friend had invited me to check out a couple shops that had clothes and houseware items such as organizational baskets, canisters, pillows, rugs etc… So I went. And not only did I find some baskets for the kids toys, but I found the section where they sell Kurtas:)

These Kurtas were more like long dresses. A cross between western and Indian wear, which is exactly how I was feeling. A mix between being a westerner who was adopting Indian ways. Now, I am not promoting retail therapy here so do not misinterpret. But I am celebrating how each Kurta holds a story for me. These Kurtas remind me of moments of struggle, and the moments of grace that come with them.

The Kurta I found was perfect.

A month in a hotel.

“He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.” Revelation 19:13

Two weeks. We thought it would only be two weeks. It is now one month, living out of a hotel. We have equated this to the days of Disney. When we lived in Orlando and had annual Disney passes, we would often be able to identify the families who were at the end of their “magical vacation.” And now, it was us. We were cheering our kids on if they ate all of their McDonalds. And Traveler’s sickness was taking its toll.

I went down for a solid 24 hours, Garrett did as well and Jackson was starting to see the impact from drinking the water. Yes, he drank the water. Let me clarify. He drank the water from a decorative fountain in the airport at customs immediately upon arrival in country. That is how fast it took for one of my children to do the very thing you are not supposed to do in India…. immediately.

So we took our kids to their very first doctor in India. And following the appointment we walked over to the chemist to get our prescriptions. All stocked up, we returned to the hotel and hoped for better days to come. I also broke into my Young Living stash and found Digize to be a lifesaver!

Unfortunately, we found out the house we were looking for was not an option. In fact, we began to realize that what we were looking for in a home was simply not available in where we looking in town.

So we decided to extend our search to C-Scheme. We likened the first area we househunted to be like Mclean, Va and the second area, C-scheme to be like Arlington. More city, but lots of perks.

I also did lots of furniture shopping so that I would be prepared when the time came that we found a home.

AND WE DID! C-Scheme. Royal Saket Apartments. Near to Central Park, the Camel Park, Deer Park and several coffee joints.

It was bittersweet that we also had to move out of our beloved Hotel Gtanjali two days before our flat was ready and also the day before Easter. Moving our 15+ suitcases up two flights of stairs into an AirBNB is not easy nor ideal, but it was what it was. I hung my Kurtas on the curtain rod of the bedroom to keep them from wrinkling. And I felt weary from hotel living. However weary, on Easter morning, as I got ready, I could not hold back the tears as I realized I would be celebrating that Jesus defeated death FOR US.

Dressing up for Easter this year looked a lot different than the days of Easter dresses and bonnets. Easter has also looked like pajamas all day and eating easter candy. This Year, I wanted to wear my Sunday best, but wearing your Sunday best in a Kurta is just different. But I must say I have never worn palazzo pants with so much beautiful handiwork! I learned from a veteran expat here that if someone invites you over to their house, that is the time to break out your fancier Kurta. The one with embellishments and sparkles. So I did!

To add to the excitement, also the day before move-in, Gracelyn gouged her finger and we were concerned she needed to go to the hospital for stitches. We also knew that she has intense PTSD from the car accident in 2017 and getting her to let a doctor treat her these days is fairly traumatic. So we treated the cut diligently at home and thank the Lord it healed on its own!

Praising God for His incredible Love and grace. And Looking forward to next week to move into our home!

Losing it’s luster. Week 3.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.” Proverbs 31:25

“We have to go look at another house?”

“Garrett, guess what? I made maggi! You’re favorite!” “No thanks mom, I’m tired of having Maggi.”

“I just want to wear my normal clothes! I am SOOOO hot.”

“This milkshake tastes bad.”

“If I have to say ‘NO’ one more time!”

“Mom, all you do is say no!”

“Did you just say a bottle of wine is $20!!!”

“Kids, no cookies unless you eat your burger king.”

These are just a few of the headlines of week 3. Can you guess who said what?And a milkshake tasting bad? That is about as bad as a bottle of wine being $20. Rough week on the whole living in a hotel, house-hunting front. Everything and everyone got tired and cranky. The novelty of fast food was over and dehydration was settling in. Even the taste of the hotel’s coffee and eggs that was made for us daily, became an aversion.

But, when the coffee gets old, you break out your pour-over and buy your own coffee, am i right? And you head to the nearest import store to find some comforts from your home country. Well, at least we were going to until we found out honey bunches of oats was $10.

But week 3 was not all bad. One of my biggest fears of moving to India, was the fear of going out on my own. And this week, I took an uber to a store all by myself, as well as walked home and hit up some more shops and grabbed an iced latte! When in doubt, shop it out. Just kidding. Kind of.

But for real, this brings me back to the Kurta. This was my first solo shopping trip and I went into about 4 different stores as I walked down the street. In each store, immediately the employees greet me with a “Hello, mam.” And then proceeded to follow me around the store. Some are silent, while others take every article of clothing I even glance at and set it up in the dressing room while also suggesting others.

Yeesh. Shopping in America for me looked like 45 minutes of solitude walking through TJ maxx looking for the $10 and under section.

So I am still getting use to this, and I am finding my voice to be able to say, “I will let you know if I need anything,” or “No thank you, I do not want the three piece summer suit.”

But at the end of my outing, I felt like I had gained confidence to take a car and/or walk on my own in town, and also gained a BEAUTIFUL KURTA! And these ones were different. Talk about finding my niche in the Kurta world. In the world of Indian dress, there is many different forms for different occasions. I am still learning as I have stuck only to the Kurta. But give me a flowy, airy Bohemian Kurta with leggings anyday, and I am in my glory!

This anecdote may sound simple. A girl shopping. However, our journey to India has been years in the making. Some of you know, and others may not, but this journey has been a story of ‘perfect love that casts out fear’, 1 John4:18.

A few other highlights were watching the cows herd themself down the road for their daily loop around the neighborhood. Finding out Jackson is a natural at posing for the locals. The indoor play area where the kids got to climb and play and beat the heat. Garrett lost his first tooth! And we hiked a park called Smrtri Van where the peacocks owned the land and catching a glimpse of a Neil Guy was an honor.

Our week ends with hope that we will find out soon if we can move in to the house we have found and start settling into a routine and out of hotel life.

People, places and things.

“I will rejoice greatly in the Lord. My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

Week 2 in review ya’ll. WEEK TWO! We are alive and it is week two. Praise the Lord for every day, am I right? You never know. You have met our children right? Yea, with these three strong-willed knuckleheads… you never know.

I would like to call this week, Amrapali. Because that is where we spent most of our time. We also truly believed we would end up finding a home, right on the outside of Amrapali Park, where we frequented around 530pm each day. This is where we met our first local friends, this is where brought our badminton racquets and cricket bats and soccer balls, in hopes of keeping the kids entertained and making some new friends.

The Road in front of this park holds a host of shops where we purchased our sports equipment, purchased some toys for the kids, since we only brought a little, found a Burger King!! And also the infamous National Handloom, where Americans go to get lost and confused! Well, for certain if you arrive after 5pm. But I will share more about that place later.

Some highlights from this week were:

FabIndia, an incredible shop across from our hotel, where I got the kids their first Indian dress.

Brown Sugar, a restaurant walking distance from the hotel that served amazing indian and continental food that included quite the nutella waffle menu.

Jacobs Road, where a friend took me to some shops and a quaint dessert place where i discovered that Jaipur has hidden gems all over the city. One can never guess what is inside the buildings when driving. My friend wanted to help me acquire some Indian dress, so I was so excited when I found a Kurta that made me feel like a princess.

However, this kurta began an interesting dialogue at Amrapali Park. As our kids were playing, I was able to get to know a couple of other mothers in the park. One mom asked me, “Do you like wearing Indian dress?” My reply was an emphatic, “Yes!” “I love to wear Indian Kurtas because they are so beautiful, and they are so light and airy in this heat!” Which then she asked, “How do you do with all this attention?” (referring to the fact that as a foreigner with fair skin, everyone is watching.) I replied, “The Kurta makes me feel more comfortable, like I can blend in.”

A wonderful highlight from this week was seeing the movie Dumbo. We had family movie night at a movie theater where there is an actual slide inside for the kids to play on during previews as well as during the intermission. Indian movies have intermissions because they are known to be very long.

We saw a Ladhha, aka a camel pulling a trailer down the road and we visited the guy who sells water down the street wayyyyy too much. 4 2L bottles a day. We also frequented Easy Day, the local market to restock on crackers, Biscuits and noodles. Parle, Digestive, Marie Gold, Nice, Maggi became well known food items in our hotel and FYI, they are the opposite of gluten free, but great to dip in your chai tea.

Adam got to go to an IPL game! Future cricket strength coach??

And, the kids got cricket bats and had an incredible time playing at the park with the locals.

The house hunt began, and the we thought we found THE one.

Inside was enough space for 3 bedrooms and a school room, and a rooftop to enjoy as well! The location was perfect, near parks for the kids to play and in the town we had been getting to know so well during our stay in Hotel Gitanjili.

So we put in our interest, and then we wait. Will this house be where we set up home?

We are actually here.

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.” Psalm 30:11

It took me a minute to believe we made it to India. Actually, several, frozen minutes in time. After years of preparation, months of recalibration and many, many, many moments of “I’ll believe it when I see it…”, we are here.

We even made it with all except one bag! Which came later to our surprise.

I have been so eager to share our memories from each week. In fact, as I write this, we are 6 weeks in so here it goes.

Week 1 in Review:

Plane rides for kids were epic-unlimited tv and snacks!

Fresh Lime Soda- a drink I had when we visited here in October 2017 and could not wait to have again. I think this was the moment I felt, yesss we made it.

Playground hopping and outdoor exercise parks: USA, INDIA, it does not matter what country….. our kids are still outdoor kids.

Elephant Ride to Amer Fort- not as glorious as it looks. About one minute after you sit in the reality you are riding an elephant, the “hawkers” start offering this and that souvenir. And when you have a 5 year old who they are enticing…..you end up with…..Garrett the Maharaja. This was one of many hats he tried on.

City Palace was the treasure at the top. A place to visit again for sure to learn more about the history.

Tuk Tuk Rides- our main mode of transportation. UberAuto it is called. Yes, you can uber a tuk tuk…..

Hotel Gtanjali- our first home here in Jaipur. We imagined it would be only a couple weeks, but 5 weeks later…..

And of Course…. My first Kurta

Purchasing my first Kurta was quite the experience. I felt like the queen of England. So many employees stepping forward to offer their assistance. I thought the female employee might try to dress me inside the dressing room! I understand now that service by the hands of many is a cultural norm here.

I also understand now that Indians may have more narrow upper bodies. They size me up, but every time I try on the Kurta they give me, I get stuck in it in the dressing room. I have not ripped one yet though, so phewf.



Adam is getting a good deal here though! In the states it was always messy bun, leggings, big tee shirt and no makeup (which I am still a fan of). Here I am adorned with beautiful clothing, nails painted and makeup for the day! I guess you could say I am “keeping up with the (Indian) Joneses.”

Kurtas have helped my transition greatly. For several reasons.

  • They are light and airy in this Indian heat
  • I feel more comfortable in public and draw less attention than I would in western clothes
  • Upon arrival I was given several opportunities to get Indian attire which equates to, “honey, take some time to yourself and go shopping!” Nothing like retail therapy when you are feeling all the feels of moving to another country.
  • Each Kurta also has a story. Hence the title of my blog. Each Kurta can tell a lot about where I was at that point of time, physically, emotionally and the like and also how much has changed or how much I have grown.

I am excited to share my journey with you and the journey of our children. The kids have been doing amazing, praise the Lord. It might be because their first days in country have been epic. Ice cream, playgrounds, new toys, Nutella on everything and lots of attention from the locals (which at first was exciting).

I am grateful we made it and I am grateful we have been able to make our arrival an adventure of exploration with our children. Next week we will continue to get to know the area and surrounding areas to identify where we want to begin our house hunting.

The Journey Deepens

 

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

How it began.

April 12, 2019

 

I am so excited to share with you about our little Braucher bunch and our time here in India. Our journey here has a backstory of almost a decade. To be here is an honor and a privilege. To be here is a testimony of God and His great majesty.

My hope is to share highlights of our weeks but also struggles and joys weaved into stories told by my Kurtas. Each post will be sprinkled with thoughts about the Lord, cultural revelations and victories using Young Living essential oils. My thoughts are in no way the be all, said all for ways of life in India. They are simply my thoughts and speculations. I hope that the joys and benefits I have received from writing my thoughts will be a blessing to you also.

Thank you for joining me!

Heather

SINCE THEN…

May 14, 2021

I felt it necessary to update this introductory post. It has been 2 years since I started this blog and after you read the posts, you will understand the need for this update!

The title of this blog started as “Kurta Daily: Life in India and all the feels.”

Upon returning to the USA with the realization that we were not going back, the subtitle became “Life AFTER India and all the feels.”

Now the title is “Yesterday’s Kurta.”

I considered changing it to something regarding motherhood, but I couldn’t. When I started this blog, I was transitioning to a new life overseas. Writing about our experiences was like therapy. The Kurtas that I inherited while living there were more than just a garment to help me “blend in.” Every day overseas felt like one hundred days in one. When all of your senses are stimulated at the same time with experiences so new, so different, so challenging and so exciting- each day establishes itself as a memory imprinted at the forefront of your brain forever. And each Kurta was a symbol of all that happened in that day.

After returning to the U.S, the intensity of life did not slow down. Maybe it was because of all that happened. Maybe my senses were turned on in such a way, that life would never be the same. But every day still feels like one hundred days in one. Every day is filled with so much incredible joy and heartache. And the Lord has made good on HIS promise. Not one day has HE forsaken me. This life continues to delight and dishearten, but HIS presence is constant, enduring and full of incredible love. So yesterday’s kurta, or leggings or teeshirt or business suit or pjs tells a story worth telling. I hope mine inspire in you ALL the feelings. I’d love to hear yours!

Love,

Heather

And Now…

August 17, 2022

A little over a year later, I have decided to change the title. So much life has happened since I began this blog and I recently spent some time in reflection, and re-read every post. I found each one, layered with laughter, heartbreak and hope. It has become ever so clear that the majority of my writing describes what life has been like as a mother of children with special needs. Narrating in the midst of this constantly moving, never simple life has become a practice in mindfulness. Every time I write, it is therapy for my soul. And every time I write, I imagine with great hope that there is a woman or a mama sitting on the other side of the screen feeling heard, seen and known through the ability to connect with my stories.

If that is you, I’d be honored to know!

Love,

Heather