Rach's Ramblings

Thoughts from another world

Five go on World’s Worst Roads

Last week, India took up a big stick and whacked me with it! It knocked me down and has left me with a headache and a sense of confusion as to the whys of it all.
It was a series of smallish straws that broke this camel’s back. As a family we travelled out to a remote village/town and spent a couple of days there. The friendliness of the people we met there was unparalleled and their hospitality amazed me. But, being away from the Woodstock bubble caused a belated second culture shock. Temperatures were below zero and there was no heating in the hotel room. Our bed covering was a worn doona and there was no hot water. I slept in my beanie, gloves, thermal pants, trackie pants, thermal top, fleecy jacket, down coat, long socks and the rest of my clothes laid over the top of me. A very attractive sight! The electricity was out much of the time and we got dressed in the dark and dealt with grumpy kids in the dark. I am embarrassed to say, and brought low by my own weakness, but our accommodation totally unnerved me. Who knew that I was so reliant on basic comforts like heat and hot water!
I also discovered that mountains make me claustrophobic and car sick. We drove for 4 and a half hours to get to the village and then of course had to come back again and there was not a straight road the entire way. I remember thinking when we first arrived that the road to Mussoorie was like the great ocean road on steroids, well this road was like the road to Mussoorie on steroids and a crazy exercise routine and carb loaded diet. It went on and on and on and on. My stomach churned and churned and churned and there was no break. And the mountains were still there….
I had been quoted a price for the drive to the village and at the end of the trip the driver requested an amount which was so very much more than quoted. I felt done over and it is not a feeling I relish.
We got back in the chill of the evening to find that our house had been locked up and the key taken. After some confusion we discovered that the guards had thought we’d left for the holidays and packed up for us.
The next day we wandered down to the bazaar to pick up Andy’s watch that we’d left to be fixed. The watch man just looked at us vaguely and had no recollection of the said watch! He tried to give us instead a blue plastic watch.
Once again I felt my control slipping away and the helpless feeling creeping over me.
The rubbish man hasn’t been coming and we have rubbish piled around our ears. The wood we bought off the school was too wet to burn so it has actually been colder inside than out.
I am cold, confused and reeling.
And I am also totally aware that this too will pass.
I am spending time debriefing with my darling man, I am wrapping a rug around me and sitting in the presence of God and feeling his comfort and strength wash over me, I am ordering some dry wood.
To someone living in their own country in the familiar of their every day, this account of my breaking might seem over the top. But when there is nothing familiar and known, when the world does not function as you have been conditioned to think that it should- it doesn’t take a whole lot to knock someone down.
Culture shock is like a sea. It gently rolls away from day to day and I cope beautifully but then out of the blue the sea swells and a giant wave knocks me over. But, thank God, it then recedes and the sea is calm again and I can cope- actually more than that: I can love, and live and thrive!

(Note to reader- I wrote this 3 weeks ago and am only now publishing it. The moment I describe has long passed but I think it is worth publishing as it was very true at the time and will quite possibly be true again.)