Arriving in India
Bruce Spinney is a local pastor, teacher, truck driver, troublemaker and traveler. Last week, he left for India where he be teaching in Christian Schools for the next year.
I love flying. I love looking out of the window and seeing the world passing below. I love the feel of flight even when it is turbulent. I do not mind the seat that only allow for the shuffling of my feet and the nodding of my head. I do not even mind the screaming infants and the stale air.
I can pass the time with a great joy in my heart…for about eight hours. After that the whole endeavor is a nightmare. I do not seem to be able to sleep in a moving vehicle. This is a trait that has saved my life on many occasions while I have been behind the wheel.
India is almost on the opposite side of the world from home and so air travel over such a long distance is torture…until now. I have discovered the joy of pharmaceuticals. A fist full of pills and I am higher than the airplane and sleep comes to the rescue.
My long-suffering brother drives me three hours to Grande Prairie where I take a prop plane to Edmonton. Another prop plane takes me to Seattle where I take the aforementioned pills and then a long stretch to Dubai.
Amazingly, this flight takes me back over Tumbler Ridge, I mean right over Tumbler Ridge, which I left 16 hours ago. You would think that United Emirates could be convinced to pick me up at the local airport and save me time, grief, and money.
I left just in time to avoid cold and snow. Instead I am sweating in the jungle climate of Kerala, one of the southern states of India. It is incredibly lush and nothing but me seems to be wilting in the heat. I went for a walk and after about three km looked like I had just stepped out of the shower with my clothes on. This seemed to both amuse and repulse the locals.
This is my second trip to teach in India. Two years ago I wrote a blog, making all the observations that regular wide eyed Westerners make when they are confronted with cultures that are so different and so exotic that words can hardly express. Expect more of the same here.
I will be teaching in three different cities on this trip. The first is in Karala in south India. I was asked to come to this school by a fellow professor who I taught with in the north. I will then be headed to a sister school in central India and, after some travel to the northwest, will head off to teach a full semester in Calcutta.
One unexpected development so far in this trip; I was warned ahead of time that the school had been under some local government scrutiny because of recent converts from Hinduism. In the last while some of the local leaders have been threatening and so I am coming at a bad time. Having a white man from the west come may mean unwanted attention and so I am only on the campus for short stints. I am required to stay in a local hotel as a tourist so as to avoid attention.
Also, because of this situation I will be cutting short my stay here. Another school in Bangalore has asked me to come to them and teach there for a short time. This means that I have to teach longer each day to finish the required course material.
I have also preached once already and will preach again tomorrow morning. It is a bit of a heavy pace but I do not have any distractions and so aim to keep up. More to come when things settle down.