Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Random Ramblings’ Category

Sitting in a living room watching a family talk to each other. Talk over each other. Laugh with each other. We are the same. This could be Thanksgiving at my house, but it’s not. This is India.

I go to my company’s event. The main reason I came. The students want to take pictures of me. I’m teaching a workshop. The power goes out while everyone’s code is compiling. I’m nervous about getting off schedule. They’re calm. This is India.

Driving through the city to teach a class on embedded programming to professors and graduate students at a university. The cab I’m in has a trunk full of some of the world’s most cutting edge technology that I’ll use in my class. My taxi is dodging cows and dogs in the middle of the street while simultaneously trying to occupy the same space as 3 other cars. I’m watching people pump water into clay jugs through the window. This is India.

I walk into the room where my class will take place. The lab equipment predates my birth. The buildings look like things I’ve only seen on CNN. The class stands when I enter the room. The college gives me a gift and thanks me profusely for coming. The students are sharp. They ask good questions. They know their stuff. This is India.

That night a student emails me apologizing that his project that he showed me didn’t work. He promises to fix it. He’ll send me a video of it when he’s done. He’s thankful that I encouraged him. Did I encourage him? I hope so. This is India.

The next day I travel to a different university in a small town. We drive on a dirt road to get there. They give me a bouquet of flowers when I arrive and a gift when I leave. The professor wants to do robotics. They appreciate the technology I’m showing them. They are smart. They are innovative. This is India.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put into words this experience. It’s extremes all the time. The well off and the desperately poor. The highly educated and the beggar on the street. The developed and the rural.  I’ve only experienced a small piece of this huge country. I’m certainly no expert. These are just my observations so far. Even though I’m not able to fully describe it or explain it, I’m thankful for it. I need India. We all need India.

India is described as a “developing country.” That means they’re making progress in terms of jobs, technology, and infrastructure. One day they will struggle less and be more comfortable. They will have more opportunities. I hope so. At the same time, though, there is so much to appreciate about India here and now. They have beautiful smiles. Beautiful children. Beautiful nature. They have a deep respect for anyone that is going to share information with them, for anyone that could help them.  For me, going to college was an expectation and I complained about the work I had to do. In India, they know it’s a gift. It is a gift for all of us who are blessed to go, but where I came from, I felt like it was just the next step. Perspective. Thank you, India.

I hate to admit it, but from time to time in my college career, I asked “why am I doing this?” Me going to college…that’s not changing the world.  I sometimes thought of college as getting in the way of my ambition.  I need to get on a plane. I need to go see people. I need to help them. My 20 year old brain found these thoughts to be noble, and the spirit of them is. I wanted to help people. That’s why I chose engineering. It’s a tangible way to help people, but up until this week, I had sat in an air-conditioned cube from 9-5, in a city people plan vacations to, making good money. I like my job. I like my life. But, I had always felt like I was missing the biggest piece. Helping people. How could I help people?

This week , as I was driving to give one of the 4 sessions I gave on embedded programming and we were dodging cows and watching people pump water, my first thought was “who the hell needs embedded programming? There are bigger problems here. Stop the cab. I need to get out and feed these people!”  I couldn’t say that. So, I didn’t, and I went on to teach embedded programming. At that point it all started coming together. Feeding the poor right now will help today, but teaching these skills will change the future. These engineers can contribute to their economy with these skills. They can change the world.

When you talk to an Indian about an accomplishment they have had or benefit they have received, they will say it is “god’s grace.”  While I might not be talking about the same god or gods, I agree. It is by “God’s grace” that I got to come to India. It was a privilege. Or, as they would say, a pleasure. Thank you God for anything You let me contribute to India. I can’t be the same after India. This isn’t an expression of pity, but of revelation. Beautiful clothes. Wonderful food. Developing . Stagnant. Beautiful. Dirty. It all comes together in India. And somehow, it works.

Thank you, India. Thank you for welcoming me. For teaching me. For not letting me be the same. For challenging me. For humbling me. Thank you for the tears. Thank you for laughter. Thank you for letting me go home ever more grateful. Thank you for letting me go home excited for you. For your potential. For your culture and talent. You are amazing, India. And if by God’s grace I get to help you along, the pleasure is mine.  I hope I see you again.

“I am on a plane

Across a distant sea,

But I carry you in me

And in the dust on my feet.

Now that I have seen,

I am responsible.

Faith without deeds is dead.”

-Brooke Fraser

Read Full Post »

Airports

I’m weird. I like airports. Lots of hours at airports. Layovers at airports. Whenever people ask about my itinerary when I take a trip and I tell them that I have a long layover in X, they do the obligatory “awwww, that sucks,” and I nonchalantly answer “yeah” to be cool when on the inside I’m saying “cha ching!” I love a good stay at an airport.

Airports have energy, and they have lots of crap that you would never purchase in real life but suddenly screams your name just because you’re traveling…you’re going rogue…the adventurer is alive in you and you must embrace your last opportunity to grab a snow globe commemorating your fleeting location. I come from a long line of shoppers. What can I say? I like to browse through worthless stuff.

I also like to watch people. You can’t beat an airport for people watching…unless you live in Austin in which case this is highly debatable, but as Sofia would say “I digress.” You can be sitting at a bar in an airport and someone starts speaking broken English and the bartender asks where they’re from and they respond with some fabulous location you’ve only read about. I’m always instantly transplanting myself into their life when this interaction occurs. What if I had been born in Czechoslovakia (clearly this is not an option as auto correct is my only prayer for spelling this), Argentina, Japan….how cool would that be? I could be just like that person in that movie. I bet they’re smarter there. I bet they appreciate literature more. They certainly wear better clothes and have better food. Aren’t people who eat a Mediterranean diet supposed to live longer? I just got comfortable embracing black nail polish without instantly having flashbacks of the goth kids in middle school. I bet that’s already out in Europe. Wonder what’s in now? Dang. I definitely need to figure out a way to move to Europe. Then I could have character. I could have history. I’ll probably become a writer (who am I kidding) who wears cute glasses. Perfect.

Growing up, these types of thoughts weren’t just musings, they were goals. One day I will do that. That will be my life. Then college happens and you get the job. Then you get the job and you make friends. Then you meet someone special which is awesome and you stay in the city with the job. Then you’re on the downward slope to 30 (holy cow!) and look what happened…you’re still here. You didn’t go. Life kept moving and you didn’t go. Crap.

True confession…this has caused me major anxiety over the last several years and has caused my poor husband to wonder if I could ever be happy just being. Well, of course not! Duh! The point of life is to keep progressing. Keep moving. Do something crazy. You only live once. You have to pack a lot in, and I don’t have time to sit here and watch football. I was ambitious. I was passionate. I was breaking glass ceilings. And banging my head over. and. over again. I was exhausted. I didn’t (still don’t really) know how to rest.
It’s only been the past year or so, that I’ve said “God, what if I don’t move to Europe or wherever? What if I just stay here and do this job that I do everyday and like it? Did I fail? Will I have regret?” You know what? I don’t think so. Looking back now, life’s been quite the adventure, but as I’ve spent all of my time making my next plan, I didn’t really absorb the story that I was walking through. Now, I want to. I went to college, made great friends that got me through some really hard times, moved to a city where I knew one person, cried when my mom and my grandma left me there, found a guy I would have NEVER envisioned for myself but that couldn’t be more perfect, lost my dad, made great friends, ate great food 🙂

Sounds like a cool story to me. So, maybe this post should be called “I need football.” I need to sit. I need to absorb. I need to be. In Austin. In love.

So, as I sit in the airport about to embark on the most exotic trip I’ve taken yet, I’m excited to shake some new hands, eat some new food (are we sensing a theme?), make some new friends, and then go home. I’ll be really happy to go home. Home is Adventure Headquarters. It’s where we are now, and it’s where we’re meant to be.

One time I read a book that told a story of a woman that never fit in in the US in the 1950s because she had dark hair and was very short. Then she became a missionary in China. She stepped off the boat and saw that for the first time in her life, everyone looked like her, and she said, “Dear God, you know what you’re doing.”

Well, “Dear God, you know what you’re doing.” Thanks for letting me go for the ride.

Meanwhile, here is my favorite part of the Dallas Airport:

Read Full Post »

I can relate

 

Read Full Post »

I think Fall is my favorite season. Every year when I walk outside on that magical day that seemingly randomly comes after a scorching summer and is such a stark contrast to the 100 degree day that I survived the day before, I feel excited. I feel more productive. Honestly, I feel more alive. Different clothes, different food, different activities. It’s a welcomed change in many ways.

I love living in Texas. I love the summers in Texas, but I must say that it feels so good to not be hot anymore.

We’ve been taking walks outside. Our grass isn’t crunchy. Our plants aren’t wilted. We’ve sought out restaurants that will let us sit outdoors. It’s awesome.

It’s a great time of year, and it means that the holidays are not far away 🙂

We’ve had a lot of fun so far this Fall.

2 weeks ago we ventured up to Lubbock to watch A&M play Texas Tech.

Last weekend, I made this recipe for pumpkin bread and it was delicious! It also made our whole house smell awesome. (Note: I subbed about 1/2 whole wheat flour  for half of the regular flour.)

Today we went to Bentley’s for a fall treat for the B. Little did he know that his treat also came with a doggie toothbrush and shampoo 😉

This is a dog treat! I want to eat it!

Barney Approved

Michelle at Bentley’s is the bomb. She makes all kinds of creative treats for dogs and she stocks pretty much anything you could dream of in her store. She’ll also order anything you want for you. Go see her! She’s an Austin local.

Happy Fall! If you’re looking for me, I’m outside!

Read Full Post »

Hello world!

Well, here we go….

As an intro to the blogging world, I’ll just recap the high points of today.

Pretty much all you need to know is that it snowed!!! (in Austin, Texas, that’s why it’s a big deal *grin*)

I’ll prove it.

I’m not too sure where this will go, but I started.

Time to watch the Olympics.

Goodnight world,

Meg

Read Full Post »