Monday, April 30, 2007

Socialites and PB&J

So there are some real advantages to living in India. First, the no brainer - money. The same salary that didn't quit support us in America is enough and more here. That is a nice change. Second - weight loss. We have good food, but it is a different kind. Fewer orders of Super Nachos and more salad. Fewer 64 oz. Mountain Dews and more bottles of water. All my clothes are very baggy and I am going to have to start buying clothes here. Not easy, but still, nice. Third - social standing. Being the boss here means everything. Being the American boss is just that much more prestigious. Fourth - the novelty factor. Being the large American family in the neighborhood means everyone wants to meet us. Now I know that the third and fourth things will eventually fade and we will be just 9 more people out of the billion already here, but in the mean time it is easy to get carried away.

Yesterday, for example. Star On Stage was invited to a new friends house and I was invited to come along for tea. This house was huge and gorgeous, I mean Architectural Digest gorgeous. There was one other mother there who was from Canada. The three of us had a very nice time and talked about all kinds of things. Had we found good help, did we belong to this club or that club, what functions had we attended at the embassy, what did our husbands do, what trips had we planned, blah, blah, blah. The amazing thing was that I was totally comfortable with these conversations and these people.

So as I am sitting there in this palatial house sipping mint lemonade and daintily eating a cucumber finger sandwich all while discussing highly social things, I start to think, "Hey, I'm fitting in. This is my new social circle and it is the popular kids! I'm Cool!" But it is getting late and Star On Stage has school in the morning, so we start to make our exit. As I pick up her swimming towel my arm brushes something strange down by my hip so I glance down and discover to my horror that my pants are unhooked and unzipped! They are wide open and sliding down my hips! If I hadn't noticed at that moment I would have found them around my ankles. I immediately start thinking back trying to decide if there is any way they didn't notice. No, there is no way. In the car on the way home I feel like bawling in humiliation, and then I realize....I am still me. These pants I am wearing? I bought them four years ago, and I replaced the hook at the waist with a saftey pin 18 months ago. It is one of the two pair of pants that I own. I get home to my husband and six other kids and within two minutes I have gravy on my pants and a dirty face smudge on my shirt. "Oh that's right, I am not a socialite!" (I shake off the illusion and thunk my forehead to clear my vision.) Oh well, every girl needs to go to a tea party once in a while. Gotta go, there are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that need making!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Saree There Aren't More Of These Pictures

Mrs. Smith had her first real immersion into Indian fashion in this lovely designer saree which she wore to our first Indian wedding. She was so nervous about wearing it, but I think she was stunningly beautiful - and she stood head and shoulders above the rest of the attendees. Maybe I should try one...

Mr. Smith

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mrs. Smith's First

I thought the first post should include the story of how we came to live in India. Mr. Smith agreed. So, for better or worse, here it goes.
In January or February of 2006 Mr. Smith came to the conclusion that his job, and many others with it, would eventually be outsourced to India. This was not a problem for him in theory, he understands what drives business decisions, but the reality was worrisome for him and his many direct reports. Because Mr. Smith is a man of faith, he made it a matter of prayer. After some time it came to him very clearly that with more open business associations between the west and India, the gospel would have a better opportunity to become more widely accepted. This calmed his mind and he was able to set it aside. Then a few days later (I am not sure of the timing) he had a dream that our family moved to India. Mr. Smith has dreams like we all do, but every once in a while he has a "dream" that means more. This was apparently one of those dreams. Being a smart guy, he didn't mention it to me right away. I do remember him mentioning it in a very off-handed, silly sort of way. I responded in a "not in a million years would I move to India" sort of way. April 1st rolled around and we played a fun trick on the kids and told them that Mr. Smith had been asked to move us to India. They were dumbfounded, except Number One Son who was excited. All of them were very relieved to learn that we weren't actually going (again, except Number One Son) and Mr. Smith and I congratulated each other for pulling off such a good prank.
Eventually Mr. Smith told me about the dream and a feeling he had that he needed to approach his boss about outsourcing. I could tell he was worried about my answer, but I told him that if he had the feeling again, he should do it.
Frank has been Mr. Smith's boss for over 10 years. Well, to call him his boss is fudging a little because there has always been 2 or 3 bosses between them, but Frank is the kind of man who recognizes his employees and calls them by name. He has always recognized the potential in Mr. Smith and has been very generous in providing him with opportunities for growth. One day Mr. Smith was in Frank's office when he was overwhelmed with the thought that this was the time to bring up outsourcing. When he did, Frank was shocked. "We have just decided that we need someone in India to represent us. We would love it if you were that person, but we didn't think you would consider it because of the size of your family." For the next seven months our family went through many rounds of prayers. For the girls the answer was always a feeling of comfort, for me it was always a knowledge that my family would be cared for. Thankfully, so far they have been.
Many people have said that they can't believe that we would move here at all, let alone with seven children in tow. I will tell them what I told my dad before we left, I would never move to India for money or career advancement. The only thing in this world that would convince me to move to my family to India is the Lord telling me to go. So we moved.