Thursday, October 3, 2013

"What is it like being back in America?"

People keep asking what it is like being back in the States after being gone for (almost) two years.  Honestly, I am not sure I can even write about that yet.  Or at least write very well on the subject.  Yet, here I am writing a post...hmmm weird.

It is kind of like in, "The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe."  The children all go into the wardrobe and experience these great adventures, joys, and hardships and when they come back to England they realize life is the same as when they left, yet they are profoundly different.  They have met Aslan, they are Kings and Queens of Narnia! (thanks to Steve Husmann for the Narnia reference)

Obviously, we are not kings and queens now, nor has time stood still in America...yet it seems strangely the same. Almost as if it was all a dream in a way. We have been living the last two years in a world that is extremely different from the one in Texas. We dressed differently, spoke a different language, and functioned differently in society than we do here.  

I feel a bit as if I have been wondering around in a fog, trying to piece together these two very different realities that are now make up who I am.  I am sure as time goes on here, the processing will continue and as the journey into motherhood unfolds my identity will transform even more.  What will it mean to be a mother in Texas and then what will it look like to be a mother in India?  All I know is that grace and patience are greatly needed on this journey....

On a lighter note, here are a few weird things we have done, or things that have seemed strange to us:

1.  Ryan and I went to a store in Tyler to get a birthday present for my brother.  At the counter there was one woman who I guess was trying to check out.  R and I walked right up to the counter and started asking for a gift card(totally not acknowledging that there was a women there).  We weren't trying to be rude, but this is just how you get things done in India.  You walk to the front and try to get the person's attention.  The guy behind the counter, nicely told us he would help us as soon as he helped the lady who was standing in line in front of us....ooops!

2.  We have a scooter in India and R is the only one who drives it (although I think when we return, I would like to learn).  In our area, women don't really drive that much and let's be honest, Indian traffic still scares me.  Anyways, I was going to visit my Memee the other day and it was my first time to drive in two years and I was alone.  I drove out of the neighborhood then I had this total freak out about which side of the road I was supposed to be driving on.  India is opposite of America.  I sat there until a car came down the road so I could make sure I was on the correct side.  Oh dear...

3.  I have been amazed by how much space there is everywhere!  There is so much open-ness and I keep wondering where all the people are.  Even people's personal space is so much bigger.  I know that Indian's have a different meaning of personal space, but I didn't realize how weird it would seem to me now that people give me so much space.  I was coming out of a public bathroom the other day and there was a girl about 5 FEET away from me and she crossed to the other side of the hall and said, "oh, excuse me."  I was like "really"???  There was FIVE FEET, we could have fit about 5 people in between us with no necessary "excuse me" or "I'm sorry for walking so close to you."

4.  America is so extremely quiet.  We have been staying with our parents who both live in peaceful areas (not big cities), but still everything seems so quiet.  The first few nights, I felt like I could hear my heart beating in my ears due to the silence.  Also, everyone has central AC here in Texas so it clicks on and off as needed.  For the first few days, everytime the AC clicked off, R and I were like, "oh man, the power is out."  Nope, it's not.  

5.  There are Christians and Churches EVERYWHERE.  I mean seriously, as we drove from East Texas to Austin I thought about counting how many churches we passed, but I don't think I could have kept up.  There is Christian music on the radio, Christian signs and posters everywhere, and we keep overhearing conversations by Christians in public places.  It's all very different for us.  

I think this is what they call, reverse culture shock and it is strange :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What's in a Name?

I have been dreaming about kid's names since I got married.  It is hard to pick a name, it seems so weighty.  This is what this kid will be known as forever!  That is a lot of pressure.  R and I both assumed our adopted child would join our family first and so the names we picked out where for him or her, then we when found out we were pregnant and started thinking about names, it just seemed like we were supposed to save those names.  Which means we started back at square one.  The meaning of names is important to us, we want it to be a type of prayer or declaration over our child, if that makes sense.  Also, living in India has made the meaning of names become even more important.  In India (at least among our Muslim friends) names all hold very special meanings and everyone wants to know what your name means.  With all that in mind, and now that we know we are having a little girl, we are proud to announce our baby girl's name will be:

Ava Lily Hartsfield

Here is the breakdown of her name:

Ava-  As I was searching names, I just loved Ava.  I had no idea it is really popular these days, but oh well.  The name Ava comes from the name Eve.  Eve was the first woman ever created and her name means "life" or "living one".

Lily-  About a year ago, I read a book called, "The Language of Flowers."  Great book!  It describes how in the past as men were courting women they sent messages through flowers.  In the back of the book there is an appendix with flowers meanings.  After I read the book, I became a bit obsessed with naming our future daughter with a flower name.  Lily means, purity.  We loved the way Ava Lily sounds together and the way life and purity go together.

Ava Lily.  We pray that our sweet girl will be a fresh breath of life and purity in everyone's life that she comes in contact with.  The kingdom of God is a place full of life, newness, beauty and purity.  May her precious life make people long for God's Kingdom.