Friday, October 23, 2009
Well, my first impressions of Kolkata hit me in the face as I fumbled out of the Kolkata airport, jetlagged and drenched in sweat. Honestly, it was a heatwave of humidity and smog that bolted toward me as I moved in the Kolkata sun. Our transportation were these taxis and these weren't just any taxis, they were white Ambassadors, which are these classic cars from the 50's and they are still around. As we drove through the city, the only thing I could do was sleep b/c it was so hot and overwhelming. When we finally arrived to the BMS Christian guesthouse, a temporary residence, I was completely soaked in sweat. The streets were filled and lined with people that were walking, sleeping and living. Joel (our Trek director) had initially told us that that Kolkata was intense and already I was starting to feel those effects. In the first couple days, the weather was a distraction and I felt exhausted and tired everyday. The only time you really felt clean was the 5 minute window just when you got out of the shower. Cold showers never felt so good! I even began to start missing normal weather or at least my conception of normal. Good old Maryland had such a varity and in Kolkata, its always hot and humid, especially when we were there. It was about 105 degrees everyday and then the humidity added about 15 degrees so it felt like it was 120. It was INTENSE. During the time we were there, it was supposed be monsoon season but everyone was wondering when that was going to happen. Usually the waters go up to your knees due to city draining not being very developed. When it actually did rain, we were completely soaked (at least it wasn't sweat). We saw a bunch of people due baseball slides into puddles while stampeding off the trains. The weather itself was a challenge to get use to and I never experienced longing for cold water because Indians don't really cold water. Some of our Indian friends that we made even said it was hot for them and even laughed at us for carrying so much water and sweating alot.
Subash and Rabi (right), two friends I worked with at my school, told me that some Indians get sick because they aren't used to it.
The new place I experienced and its physical uncomforts were a challenge and I was almost justified in complaining because I was not used to it. I had to be reminded that uncomfortable things create preservance and not complaining but rejoicing in where God has placed me (James 1:3 and Phil 2:14,18).
My prayers initially came along the lines of being reminded that God alone is my comfort and not my surroundings and setting that I am in.