New Things, new directions

It’s been a while since I’ve updated. Sorry to anyone that actually reads this. The last month has been a bit of a blur. I’ve been busy finishing up projects and preparing myself to move out of the country. Wednesday, June 17th, I fly out of O’Hare airport on an Air India jet and I arrive in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India around 2am (if I make all my connections). I will be leaving with 5 bags (way too many). A backpack that will carry my lights. A rolling suitcase that will carry my 20″ iMac desktop computer (I wish I could afford to buy a new Macbook Pro, but paying the $150 to have the extra bag is much cheaper). A bag that will only hold my light stands and tripods. [These will be checked luggage]. My photo bag with my camera and lenses. And finally, a backpack with whatever random stuff I want with my on the plane. [These as my carry on].

I will be met at the airport by a missionary couple, Ty and Georgene Lunberry, who are allowing me to stay in the extra room in their apartment until I get settled and figure out what the heck I’m doing in India. I’ve been friends with Lunberry’s since I was roughly four, their son I considered my best friend for years. They spent 14 years serving in East Africa and just last year were sent to Hyderabad. This is an incredible blessing. Hyderabad works. It’s not ideal. It’s not where I would have chosen for myself. But it works. I couldn’t have planned it better myself. I traveled to Hyderabad in 2007 and met with some incredible people. I am excited to reconnect with these friends. I have business contacts in the city as well.

My loosely planned out goal is to work in the advertising industry doing my freelance photography. A marketing firm sponsored my five year multiple entry business visa. I have no great expectations of, well, anything, but I will spend the first few months exploring the city and establishing relationships with the marketing and advertising firms in the city, as well as established photographers.

Why am I doing this? Why am I leaving behind the business I have only started to build which promised to grow at a significant rate? I do not want to get stuck. I feel I need to break off now while I have the freedom and lack of responsibility enough to do so. I have nothing holding me here. If I do not break free now, I feel I never will.

I have always wanted to live overseas, especially after my experience living in Uganda for four months in 2006. Those four months were far to short (and the two weeks in India were incredibly painful. It is not right to leave after only two weeks, let alone four months). In my time in Uganda I heard something from the people that I will not forget. They said, “Come, be with us. Come and live and work among us, beside us. Do not come to change us, do not come to convert us, but come and be.” So I am going to be, simply to live among another people. I have no great expectations except to experience. I have no long term goal. I am on a journey and I do not want a destination. I do not even think I want to know where the journey is taking me. I want to experience the journey.

Last night I spent my last Friday in the United States, the last in the foreseeable future, spending time with select friends. I finished the night with my friends from Saudi Arabia. After a time at our usual bar we headed back to their apartment with “Kapsa” on everyone’s lips. It was almost 3am and everyone was hungry, so we would share in their favorite meal, Kapsa. This delectable fellowship of a meal, all seated on the floor covered in newspaper or plastic, tearing into a platter of rice and chicken that had boiled together, both mutually flavoring the other. We get back to the apartment and the others decide to go swimming. I, having woken up at 5am the morning before, decided to sleep until they came back. I was awakened around 6:30am to finally eat Kapsa. We sit on the floor around the platter placed on newspaper and dig in with our hands, squeezing the rice and vegetables and delivering the ball precariously to our mouths. The Saudi’s laugh at me for not being able to pull the chicken from the bone with my right hand (mainly because the chicken was scalding me). It is improper to use your left hand while eating with your hands. I love the experience of kapsa. This is not my first time, I have shared with my Saudi friends few times, but I first experienced it in the basement of a hotel in Hyderabad around 3am two years before.

Three more nights in my apartment before setting off on this new adventure. I am excited to see where it takes me….nervous, mainly about where I’m going to store all of my things and actually cleaning my room.