Manawatu
Sunday, July 30
I've decided to stop blogging. Been thinking about it for awhile and reckon the golden days are long gone. Catching up through emails is good enough. Take care then!
4:57 pm;

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Monday, June 26
This is my last week now. It's strange to think that I'll be back in the UK next week. I'm in such a routine now. Never at any stage has it felt like a holiday, I mean it's nice and all but it's definitely not been a holiday. Right now I'm pretty drained. The humidity has been sapping the life out of me and I'm in that funny place were I'm starting to prepare for England. It's not that I'll find home culture hard I think its more knowing how to carry on from here. I'm not expecting dramatic changes but in a way I want something to be different.
Ah, no need to worry about that, I'm getting bored thinking like that, what will be will be. Nicer things to think about....I'm looking forward to a long soak in the bath, good hearty british meal, drink down pub (george would do nicely.....when people free? Friday night?)...oooh actually how's about a good hearty british meal down the george? mmmmm......going for a walk along the front...and of course seeing JO JO and the buby!!!! well her tummy, but the buby is inside!! Trying out my car....that's gonna be a laugh! Ah, I'm really looking forward to coming home.
Hmmmm....I was gonna start writing about what I'll miss here but that's boring again and depressing.
I got bitten really badly yesterday. The cheeky blighters got to me through my clothes! One on my arm, one on my thigh and a couple on my foot. Ahhh! A couple of them have spread into that horrible reaction thing with your blood. Couldn't explain any better, sorry.

Ok might get to blog again but might not. See some of you soon hey!
2:33 pm;

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Sunday, June 18
Hi. Apologies for the gap. I have only just got to net cafe. I tried one up in Mussoorie but it was a bit tempermental. I returned to Delhi last Tuesday. It was a really good 5 days away from the heat and buzz of the city. Sarah and Kate came along. We had planned on just completely chilling out but the routine turned into chilling in the garden of the hotel for the morning, reading mainly and getting an tan (not much but enough to give me some embarrassing lines, what is with me and bad strap marks ay!?). Then in the afternoons we were off exploring the hills, which I have to say was so much fun. It kindled my new hobbie of walking. The first day we went for 6 hours, the next 3 hours, then on the last day about 4. Actually the last day turned into a bit of an adventure. Let me try and paint you a picture. We set out from Mussoorie at about 3pm. Our destination was Clouds End, which is one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the surrounding hills with the Himalayas in the distance. The last time I went was on horseback and it took about 6 hours. So off we went with me using my intuition as direction (hmmm thats the adventurous way of doing things) we walked and walked and walked along winding roads with the hills on one side and overhanging trees and cliffs on the other. I thought we should start going uphill sometime but we seemed to be going down forever. We got a bit of a fright around one bend as we heard men shouting like warriors and found ourselves moving pass some sort of martial arts company that were all dressed in white with black belts progressing slowly up the hill pausing every now and then to do a high kick and an almighty "HeeYAH!" We were a bit embarrassed as it was a narrow road and we had to move right through them. I nearly fell down a bank and I manoevered past the leader who was barking orders from under an umbrella, which made me burst into giggles which received a random "heeYAH" from one of the men nearby. Oh my, we really cracked up once we were through. So anyway on we tramped with us getting more and more disilluioned by my sense of direction. We eventually came to a small group of shops where we were thrilled to hear Clouds End was just up that trail. We found a sign that said 10 minute run to Clouds End, no chance mate! Up and up we went moving along a ridge with mounds of trees here and there. I suddenly had a very unhelpful thought of mountain lions but kept it to myself not wanting to get us all worked up. But honestly it was a perfect location for them, with trees high above us on small cliffs I imagined one tracking us just waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce. We carried on for ages and our thighs began to ache from the incline. Then a western lady suddenly appeared. She was coming out of a gate and called out to us. She has an odd accent, slighty European but a twang of American. She asked where we'd come from and was impressed that we'd walked all the way from Mussoorie. She gave us some sweets and walked slightly ahead of us. Every now and again she'd turn back and say something about the area. Then she said, "Oh, be careful of the lion". WHAT! I shuddered and quickly glanced up at the ridge nearby. "Yeah, there is one around here, a beautiful big one. I saw him just around this bend the other evening. Never walk around here after dark girls, seriously." I shot a glance at Kate and tried to give a her a reassuring smile. Flipping heck, what are we doing here, how are we gonna get back it's already coming up to 6pm! We carried on and caught up with the lady's husband and an Indian guy who was their cook. I was glad to have them around. On and on we went, what was that sign about, 10 minute run, more like half an hour run. Eventually I saw up ahead the little landmark resturant and the sign 'Clouds End'. A boy about 15 came up to me and said "chai, coffee, pani?" Turned out the resturant was closed so we decided to just settle down with the water we'd picked up earlier. The man and his wife then asked us "How are you getting back? It's getting dark now and it looks like it's gonna rain?" The man offered to drop us back which we accepted after a little assessment of the situation. Lions? Yes please, get us outta here. They went on a bit further, completing their routine evening stroll I guess. We then all walked back down the trail to the gate. Now let me say that these were slightly odd people. Clouds End is known as a meditation place and these two were very weird. She was Western and he was Indian, about in their 50s. I asked her name and she said some strange Guru like name. I then realised that she was a hippie and her jerkiness was probably the result of loads of drugs during the 70s. We moved through there gate and straight away I thought, these people could be murderers and now we are about to be poisoned. Ha! I was completely civil and relaxed on the outside of course. We walked past a small shack where an indian family were preparing food, we were told they were the servants. Up ahead we saw 3 big tents and a small house made of bamboo but quite IKEA looking in its setup. As a couple they were very hospitable and they did seem okish but if you're anything like me your imagination goes crazy in uncertain situations. We sat down on some very nice chairs, they obviously had a big of money everything was quite posh. The man explained that they had set up this kit house a month ago having aquired this plot of land to build their dream house. We were given tea and offered lots of snacks. I ate away as all culturally relevant seekers do, still holding the thought, does this smell like almonds or not? Oh also throughout this time a storm had blown up so branches were blowing about, biscuits were flying off the table and I was trying to wedge the napkins between the water jar and the satallite telephone. In a short word it was absolutely serile and crazy. I had a hearty chat with the man about nothing in particular, the lady told us she was from california and had travelled to England in '69 setting off in a beaten up van through Europe, picking up people along the way, changing vehicles when needed in order to reach India. Of course she took acid but nowadays the youth don't know how to take it properly. She met her Guru here and through him her husband (the man). Hmmm......
After awhile the man said, right lets get you back home then. The woman had been trying to convince us to stay in the tents but I stated that we were expected for dinner at the hotel. Well, they might of got concerned, I certainly would of been if we had of stayed. We got into their very nice spacious jeep which had plastic sheets over the seats which made us slip and slide everywhere. Man it was hilarious. As we bumped our way back down the trail, twisting sharply around the many bends the man went on to tell us about the 3 tigers that had been sighted in the area in the last few days. Every now and then he would mutter guruguruguru....I think when we came up to a sharp bend he'd do it as a sort of protection thing. I then realised how funny God is with resources. We couldn't of walked back to Mussoorie, it was too far, I was scared of the tigers/lions and it was absolutely chucking it down now with thunder and lightening. Therefore we needed a lift back. We had seen the last taxi whizz past us earlier on the trail so that was a no go. God provided us with nice chai, some snacks and a comfortable albeit slidey ride back. It didn't matter that they were slightly...unusual...they were invaluable to us. So had a bit of a revelation then, and chuckled away to myself all the way back. Once we were safe in our hotel again we found out that when we walked through their gate up to their house we'd all thought we might get poisoned! The worrying thing is that we all drank the chai anyway!

Ok so that took me flipping ages to write. Gonna just add this bit and that's it. Phew

My time in India has been precious. God has been doing something very special in me. Practically I am basically in the Atulya daily routine which consists of cleaning first thing, then some teaching in the morning, craft in the afternoon, and community times where we do devotions, beauty nights etc. It is their holidays now so we have also gone on some outings here and there, picnics mainly. Besides being with the girls I also have been doing odd things here and there for the church like teaching some young boys maths, science and english (they're also on holiday now so haven't been doing that much) teaching a guy english, babysitting, supporting Louise and the other carers through friendship and other practical ways. You know God has revealed himself in such unique delicate ways. I am starting to have some clarity as to the purpose of my visit here. God called me away to receive training and a perspective for the new season I'm entering. It's not crystal clear yet but I believe more will be revealed upon my return to the UK.
I am being changed but not in a radical dramatic way, it's just a natural progression to the next stage of my life. Ah God is so amazing.

Enough. Sorry its so long to read! Love to you all xxx
11:52 am;

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PROFILE
i'm 21 years old.. i live in a seaside town in the south of england.. i am usually daydreaming, drinking tea and smiling... i am fascinated by people and different cultures... God is the most important thing in my life and i love hearing what he has to say about the world around me...
RACH


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