July 10, 2019
Departure and Return from India
Dear Traveler Supporters-
We have concluded our final retreat here in India and enjoyed being dressed in blue sarris by the sisters. They raved about how easily we moved in these flowing cotton dresses, giving us a clapping ovation when we greeted them that morning. Indeed, they were far easier to wear than we expected. We felt very feminine and beautiful in them. The sisters were so tickled to have us in local garb. We definitely needed our “dressers” of Srs. Prima and Hilda to get us into them.
The last retreat with 11 laity, 7 novices, and 3 sisters went well, also. With a variety of facility with English, the participants challenged us further to slow down and simplify. Nevertheless, we had a marvelous final 2 days together, blowing bubbles and laughing.
We photographed the group to record the end. After this, we visited the Contemplative Sisters Community, the Novitiate, the Main Convent, and the Girls Hostel. The visiting started to wear us thin near the end, but it was so appreciated by the elderly nuns especially.
Our flight home included an 8 hour one to Hong Kong, 8-hour layover there, and a 15-hour flight to Boston. Since United canceled our return flight, we had to avoid the Middle East and fly through Asia instead. Our knees and hips were really screaming when we got off the plane a day and a half earlier than expected due to our rescheduled departure from Bangalore instead of Mumbai. There was flooding in Mumbai when we left, so it was providential that we went east instead.
Today on PBS we saw a feature on the water shortage in Chennai and we can vouch that it is indeed that bad. Unless the monsoons come soon, the entire middle basin of India will all be in serious trouble. Our awareness of the water shortages around the world has definitely been raised and the need for change in addressing climate issues is all the more pressing.
Some interesting surprises on this trip?
1) No cockroaches….. only one juvenile one near Jolie’s bed. It’s a testament to how clean the sisters keep their properties.
2) Crazy traffic where you take life and limb in hand, but we never once saw an accident.
3) Amazing adaptation on our part to hot chillies. We did very well adjusting to it and we learned quickly that banana helps cool the heat of the spice
4) Paparazzi in India… WE were the focus of so many in public places who wanted to take selfies with us, not knowing our names or anything about us.
5) The amazing coexistence between religious groups, pressed up next to each other in small space. The call to prayer overlaying church bells at certain times of the day brought everyone into awareness of the divine.
We hope to send another notice out when we get over jet lag. In the meantime enjoy some of these pics from our adventure.
Nicki and Jolie