The Journey That Changed My Life

I had been married to my husband, Liji, for nearly six years when I found out I was pregnant.  Previously, we had decided that we didn’t want children.  We weren’t doing anything to prevent having a child and for the past six years nothing happened so we just figured that we couldn’t have children.  Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves we decided that it was okay that we couldn’t have kids and that our lives were pretty great.

It was Saturday morning September 25, 2010 that Liji and I were on our walk to the downtown farmers market and I started to feel a little icky.  As we got to the market I continued to feel worse and worse.  I got to the point where I couldn’t even stand up and I felt like vomiting.  Liji walked back to the house to get the car and came back to pick me up.  We started to discuss what could be wrong and that discussion led us to the store to purchase a pregnancy test. I took the test and it was positive.  A major rush of emotions ran through me. I began sobbing and sobbing and no they were NOT tears of joy.  I was utterly distraught.  I literally felt like my life was over.

I cried for a couple more weeks and then eventually got used to the idea that I was going to have a child.  Over the next nine months I actually became excited about the whole idea of being a mother.  The funnest part was to hear the comments my fifth grade students made throughout the pregnancy. They made comments about how big my belly was getting and how many times I would go to the bathroom. They always inquired about what I was going to do with the baby after it was born.  They wanted to know if it was going to be a vegetarian like me and if I would take it to India.  The suspense of not knowing if it was a boy or girl was just as fun for them as it was for me.

On May 11 Liji and I went to see our friend Nick’s show Urine Town and decided to stop for a late night piece of pizza at The Pie Hole afterwards.  When we got home, I went to bed and woke up around 1:00 am with a tummy ache.  I went to the bathroom thinking that I would feel better, but I couldn’t go so I went back to bed. 20 min later the same pain came back, but I ignored it and kept sleeping.  The pain came back again and I decided to wake Liji because it was so intense I felt like crying.  He insisted that we go to the hospital. I still didn’t think it was labor at this point because I wasn’t due for five more days. When we got to the hospital they told me that I was in labor.  I took birthing classes so I felt ready to do it as natural as possible with no medicine.

I stood for most of the labor because that is what felt best for me.  At around hour 16ish I was getting to the point where the pain was getting really, really, really bad. I was dilated to a ten but my water still had not broke.  The nurse was off to my side getting everything ready to break my water when I told her that I couldn’t take the pain anymore and I had to push.  I screamed and pushed and my water broke.  It felt like a water balloon popping and blood and water shot out across the room. After that point I threw the birthing class out the window.  I was taught to be calm and breath and focus.  Ha ha ha I was everything but calm.  I was screaming like a mad woman.  It was so painful.  I was pushing and screaming and sweating for I think around three hours. It wasn’t the best thing I have ever done, but it was definitely the most painful. It wasn’t the most beautiful thing either, but it was very weird.

The entire time Liji was so supportive.  He did everything in his power to make me feel more comfortable.  The doctors and staff were also great.  They didn’t offer me an epidural because I asked them not to even mention it.  All in all I did it without any medication.  The only thing I had while in the hospital was 3/4 bag of saline solution through an IV.  We had to ask the doctor if it was a boy or girl because they forgot to tell us right away.  The doctor pointed her toward us and said “What is it?”  It’s a girl! Having Mika on my chest immediately was such an indescribable feeling.  I felt so happy at that moment.



Diseases of the Mind, From India

Last week I decided to go to the grand opening of Winco, a store that is comparable to Wal-Mart.  The parking lot was packed with vehicles and people.  Once I got into the store I thought that I would be able to walk through and check out some of the bargains, but I was sorely mistaken.  There were hundreds of people throughout the store.  There was no way to causally stroll down the aisles.  I was surrounded by people on all sides and trying to pick up some of the great advertised deals.  While I was near the bulk almonds and waiting my turn there were shoppers all around trying to get some of the other bulk items near me.  It was at this moment when I started to get paranoid.  I realized most of the shoppers around me were male and I began to imagine that they were going to touch me inappropriately.  I tried to maneuver myself so that I was out of there way and so that there was no way they could touch me, but as soon as I moved out of the way of one male shopper I was in the way of another. After a few seconds of paranoid thoughts and maneuvers my mind started to say, “This is not India, this is Utah.  Men won’t do that here.”  I would then start to feel more relaxed, but then a male would reach close to me to get a product and all the paranoia would start again.

I was in the crowded store for an hour and a half and not once did a male try to touch me.  NOT ONCE!  If I were walking to the crowded vegetable market in Kochi, the number of times that someone would try to touch me, or succeed at doing so, would definitely be in the double  digits.

Will this fear that a man in a crowd is going to touch me ever go away?  Will I always feel paranoid when I am in a crowd of men?  Will this disease of the mind that originated in Kochi, where male perversion runs high, ever leave me?



Incredible Indian Remedies

Every time I have felt ill in one way or another my in-laws seem to have a home remedy to fix the problem. I haven’t tried everything because I haven’t had all the ailments, but those that I have tried seem to work. My favorite remedy that works like a charm is #1. My hubby taught me this while we were dating and it works every time.

1. Headache: tie a thorth (South Indian towel) tightly around the top of your head until pain goes away. When I have a bad migraine I tie the thorth and go lay down in a dark room to sleep.

2. Diarrhea: #1:Break mustard seeds by roasting them in a pan. Add water and boil.  Strain seeds out and drink the warm water (It kind of tastes like burnt popcorn).   #2: Boil guava leaves, strain, and drink water.

3. Cough: Chop up an onion and then mash it up add some sugar and take a bite.

4. Congestion: Mix dried ginger, black pepper,  and tulsi leaves (Holy Basil) with coffee and sugar and drink up.

5. Vomiting: Eat ice cream. (Not sure if this is really an Indian remedy.  I am thinking it is more of a Jinaraj family remedy.)

If you have any other home remedies, leave a comment  I would love to hear about them.



The Farmhouse in Kandanad

Here are some pics and a video from when we went to the farmhouse in Kandanad.

Liji and his homemade windmill

mmmm coconut water


My father-in-law and Davis and the coconuts

Picking up a coconut with the coconut knife

Newly planted banana trees starting to come up

Baby coconut and fully grown coconut


Cashew plucked fresh from tree. The fruit part was really sweet and waxy.



Weekly Trip to the Market

After being in an Indian household for five months I was in desperate need of some non-curry-laden food.  I just wanted some bland raw or steamed fruits and veggies.  That’s it, raw or steamed with no spices or oil.  So for the last five weeks or so I have been making a weekly trip to the outdoor fruit and vegetable market.  Every week on the drive home I am in awe at how cheap everything is.   The prices are fractions of what they would be in the U.S.  Here is what I purchased this week with the prices:

1 kg peas, 1kg sweet potatoes, 6 small tomatoes, 3 cucumbers= Rs.70=$1.51

2 different kinds of mangos (large)=Rs 36= $0.77

Average size pineapple= Rs 24= $0.51

Altogether= Rs 130=$2.79

Amazing, right?