Saturday, 1 March 2014

A Day in The Life

Something about Jen's 7 in 7 challenge has been making me so hungry for blogging. As usual I haven't had enough time, or when I have had the time, I haven't had the mental energy, so I didn't join in. But reading people like Jen's and Mama H's daily posts has fired me with a desire to write write write, even if I have nothing wonderful to say.

So even though I'm exhausted after a loong day, I think I'm going to write. Jen being a famous blogger, mother of six, and author of a soon to be a bestselling book, has had many people ask her for a break up of her day. I, being no one of any particular importance, have not heard that question as much. So of course I thought I would write a blog post about it. This of course is going to be long-winded and fascinating to all who read this blog.

Disclaimer: This was one of my days last week. My days look very different from one another. I work for our church, and have a very flexible schedule. At the same time, I work together with a team of Americans who live here, so we do have a weekly schedule. So there is some method to the madness.

7.00 am Wake up and make myself a cup of tea. This is harder than it sounds, because I stayed up late the previous night working on an urgent official letter. So it was more more 'stumble out of bed and blearily make a cup of tea'. Seven hours of sleep makes a grump of me.

7.20 am People start arriving for our weekly Joy of the Gospel study. This is happening at the unearthly hour of 7.30 am so that people who have regular 9 am to 6 pm jobs can make it. P.S. Why do people always come early or late, but rarely on time? Is this just India?

7.40 – 8.30 am Reading and sharing on a section of Joy of the Gospel with five team members and about five or six guests. Surprisingly Pope Francis' words invigorate and bring so much joy that I almost forget that I am sleep deprived and low on energy. Our guests, young Catholics for whom reading encyclicals or apostolic exhortations is something new, seem to be similarly affected.

"An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! Let us recover and deepen our enthusiasm, that “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow… And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervour, who have first received the joy of Christ."

8.30 am Banana for breakfast. Shh, don't tell my mum. I have losing weight recently, and my mum never stops reminding me that 'breakfast is the main meal of the day' and that I should 'eat an egg and two fruits something something'. I compromised by forcing a banana down. If it's so important, why is breakfast always such a repulsive concept to my stomach?

8.45 to 9.45 am Liturgy of the Hours with team and two remaining guests. Our team prays morning prayer together four days of the week, and I have come to love reading the psalms, the antiphons, and especially the psalm prayers (even though we don't usually chant because I really need for us to have a chant that is not just a dreary sounding monotone).

(Now I'm just being lazy- I could easily take a picture of my own Liturgy of the Hours book instead of stealing one from the Internet)

10 am It's my day for cooking (each team member gets one day of the week) so I go in search of eggplant. Our neighbourhood store only has three, so I walk down the street and stop at two more stores. Cooking for six (including two guys) (multiplied by two meals) is a quite a different deal than cooking for two girls who are small eaters, which was my life for the previous few months. Good practice for the big family I hope to have?

One of the joys of living in India

10.30 am Start roasting eggplant for baingan bhartha (grilled eggplant). This is always fascinating, as I place the eggplant directly on the flame, until the skin is all charred and the flesh is tender. (Why do I sound like I'm talking about an animal instead of a vegetable?) Chop chillies with a plastic bag over my hand because if my skin touches the inside of a chilly, it burns for hours. I have spent some pleasant lunches with one hand stuck in a mug of water. (I am so enjoying writing these fascinating and so irrelevant pieces of information.)

11.30 am Listen to Matt Maher while cleaning coriander, and help two of my team members with Hindi-related queries. With my imperfect Hindi, it's always a pleasure to realize that I still know more than SOMEONE. (Some people like to feel important.) Resist the urge to feel like I'm wasting my time because there are other important things I should be doing. I've had some struggles with anxiety in recent months, but I have chosen to reject it (as far as I am able). I am surprisingly calmed by this repetitive and housewifely task.

12.30 pm Make chapatis, heat up leftovers, fill water from new water purifier (thank you, S), burn chapati as team member talks to me, because as I keep forgetting I CAN'T MULTITASK!

1.30 pm Lunch with team including impromptu word association game and make-up-a-story-by-each-adding-a-word game, followed by Day 6 of 33 Day Total Consecration to Mary reflection. Something new for me. Jesus is still teaching me to love His Mum, and accept her love.

2.30 to 3.30 pm Most embarrassing part of my day- read half of Nicholas Sparks ‘A Walk to Remember’, which in a moment of ditziness I put on my online library reading list. Still, I am happy with the fact that I am relaxed enough to read a book. It is a sign that my anxiety is lessening. When I am anxious, my mind is racing, my heart is racing, and I am jumping between several different tasks and accomplishing nothing. When I am at peace, I can take a break without feeling like the world is going to collapse.

3.30 to 4.30 Nap. Much needed because of the early JOG session, and previous late night. Eight and a half hours of daily sleep is what Sue needs to function normally. (I accidentally (?) typed eight and a half hours of daily prayer... the Holy Spirit?)

4.45 pm Leave on my trusty Activa for tuition class. Have many brushes with death on the streets. But that’s normal.

This is an Activa, non-Indian readers (this is also an unusually empty Indian street)

5 to 6.40 pm Tutor kids from slum. Apart from helping fifth graders with a science lesson, I struggle with patience as a six year old trouble maker does his best to drive me crazy. This involves a punishment of many written lines of ‘I will behave myself in class’ (number of lines increased when he tears out half the page that he's writing his punishment on), ‘I will not throw my pencil’ and a dramatic scene involving a missing pencil, that was 'stolen' from him and finally turns out to belong not to him, but the 'thief'. Groan.

6.50 pm Back to the house to meet team. Try to recover my composure as we leave to visit the home of a new RCIA couple. Take off with four firangs on their bicycles with me on my Activa in the lead, and another firang riding pillion, threading our way through crazy rush hour traffic. Quite the sight.

We have only met the couple briefly once, but have been invited to celebrate the Catholic fiancĂ©’s 24th birthday. It is a more traditional Tamil Catholic family, and we are served HUGE helpings of tasty biriyani, which we eat with our hands while sitting on the floor, talk to many people that we don’t know at all, and sneakily switch off the TV so we don’t have to look at gyrating Bollywood music videos. In spite of my extreme dislike phobia of awkward social situations and my general post-tuition antisocial grumpy mood, it was a good start to a new friendship. We ended with promises for future cooking lessons, sari-draping lessons and mutual Hindi-English lessons (the girl does not speak English, and our team members are trying to learn Hindi.)

10.30 pm Back home finally, check my mail and FB, read some blogs, and crash, knowing that I have to wake up early the next morning for another early meeting.

If you were reading carefully, you will have noticed one big missing piece of my schedule. Yup, my personal prayer time took a hit that day because of the early morning. NOT an excuse, because my book-reading, FB-checking and nap-taking did not suffer likewise. I got back on track after that though. Here's a brief and funny story (because this post isn't long enough). I was avoiding prayer one morning many months ago (why do I do that?), and was scrolling through my FB newsfeed, when I saw this:

Ha ha, very subtle, Lord.

1 comment:

  1. This was so much fun to read! I admire your courage driving around on a scooter -- I felt paralyzed at the thought of driving anything each time I've been in India. Thank heaven there were other drivers available! I love your veg stand photos, and the parish activities -- somehow I've missed the fact that you work for your church. My husband works for ours. :)