Different Different But Same

We celebrated one month in India with big cookies that had "ones" written on them. The local bakery thought I was crazy for ordering cookies like this!
We celebrated one month in India with big cookies that had “ones” written on them. The local bakery thought I was crazy for ordering cookies like this!

We have officially been in India for a whole month (and a few days)! It was a whirlwind of a month and we’re honestly in a bit of shock that it’s already August!

There’s an Indian phrase that describes our first month here really well – “different different but same”. It could be equivalent to us saying, “kinda sorta”. It means that there are a lot of differences while still having some similarities. That’s exactly what life here feels like for us! There are differences that stare us in the face each day while we’re also faced with striking similarities along the way.

Probably one of our favorite similarities is Starbucks! It’s barely been a year since the first Starbucks opened in our city and there are already multiple locations around town. The baristas are getting to know us as we are frequenters! Yes, it tastes the same…but at half the price!

We like to take our Sabbaths are a nearby mall. Most weekends a man comes to play a piano that sits right in the middle of the mall. He plays beautifully! It's so refreshing for our hearts!
We like to take our Sabbaths are a nearby mall. Most weekends a man comes to play a piano that sits right in the middle of the mall. He plays beautifully! It’s so refreshing for our hearts!

While we can get around our city in English just fine, we are learning a local language so we can speak to people in their heart language. After only three language sessions we’re amazed at the unique differences! One major difference we learned recently is the emphasis on honoring elders. Multiple words in a sentence are affected by the age of the person you’re addressing. We came across another difference when we laid out eating utensils. Our language tutor gave us a word for spoon and another for knife. When we pointed to the fork she said, “fork”. We sat there puzzled for a minute until we realized everyone eats with their hands here! They don’t need a word for “fork” because they don’t use them!

We picked up these puzzles that are designed to help children learn language. We definitely feel like little kids again when it comes to Kannada!
We picked up these puzzles that are designed to help children learn language. We definitely feel like little kids again when it comes to Kannada!

The food is probably one of the best examples of the phrase “different different but same”. Let’s take KFC for example. In the States you can buy fried chicken and french fries at KFC just like you can here. The food will be ok in the States, but here they add a yummy spice to the chicken that makes it incredibly good! Cooking at home has been an adventure. We don’t have an oven which has been slightly limiting, but we’re becoming masters at the grill we have on our rooftop! 

Adam's favorite food is pizza. I found small pizza crusts at a grocery store along with some pizza sauce. We put everything on the grill it and it tasted amazing!
Adam’s favorite food is pizza. I found small pizza crusts at a grocery store along with some pizza sauce. We put everything on the grill it and it tasted amazing!

And then sometimes the food tastes nothing like food in the States. One afternoon after we had finished a language session, our tutor asked if she could take us to go get some Indian treats. Of course we agreed to go! She took us to a nearby shop and let us sample about a dozen different treats and snacks. Below are three examples of what we found: The top left is an onion dosa (kinda sticky rice bread thing with onions and green chiles) with a coconut chutney (white sauce) and vegetable curry (orange sauce). The top right was my favorite! They take the powder from a “healthy” sport drink mix and turn it into a fudge like treat. There was some good nuts in it as well. The bottom right was the most interesting snack she got us. It was a puffy pastry thing with some spicy sauce on the inside. 

photo 5Our city hosts a lot of people from Waco on a pretty regular basis. We deeply miss our friends and family, but haven’t felt a deep lack in community since we moved (emphasis on deep…there’s still a lack for sure!). Just this past week nearly 30 friends came to our house for a monthly gathering. We had a lip syncing contest. Thanks to Adam’s acting skills and my…well…I just went for it…we got Second Place Overall and the Best Lip Syncing award. Again, see how this feels different different but same?

photo 3

I’m a little biased, but I think this last example might be my favorite…

See anything different?!
See anything different?!

I pierced my nose! If you know me you know this is pretty different for me! But y’all…I’ve been surrounded by beautiful Indian woman with these awesome nose rings for a month. I felt like I was missing out! So a friend of mine and I went for it and I’m so happy we did! I’ll never be able to look fully Indian, but I’m so happy I have something in common with many of them now. (And for anyone wondering, we went to a nice store inside a really nice mall. Everything was sterile and I’ve been properly cleaning it since then. It’s healing nicely.)

Even with the crazy amount of differences we experience daily, we are reminded often of the most obvious similarity we share with everyone in our city – we are all human. They all have families, financial responsibilities, jobs, health concerns, celebrations and rhythms to their lives. Our hope is for the moments of extreme difference to help us remain humble and remember that in the most simplest of terms we are all the same.

photo 2

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Penny Plunk says:

    Years ago, right before Levi Strauss moved their distribution center to Waco, I was a supervisor here in Amarillo. I loved the Indian people for many reasons but one of the main ones was because when there was work to be done, they were right there working. They were so dependable and willing. Anytime I needed new hires, I hired them hands down. I have seen many beautiful nose rings and I want you to know that yours looks good on you. You have wanted to be a part of that culture for so long and this is an important part too. You are a braver woman than I am but I am so happy for you. I love reading about your experiences and we will continue to pray for all yours and Adam’s needs. Love you,
    Penny

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