Stuff I Talk About

by Christina Ledbetter


Two black calves (the animals, not the body parts) goofily butt their heads together by a street food vendor as office workers stand by the beasts and eat their dinner . . . Vibrant strips of cotton spread out before me on marble floor; the fabric soon to become reusable sanitary pads for village girls who currently miss school during menstruation . . . Forty rupees (sixty cents) to have a pair of pants hemmed . . . “Sir, please. Sir, please,” says a rail thin boy with charcoal skin and white clothes, his arm around Benson’s waist, his dirty head on Benson’s shoulder as we buy carrots from the back of a parked truck . . . A ribbon-cutting at Benson’s office: the CEO gives a speech while someone’s toddler wanders across the stage chewing a water bottle. Hugging a friend’s daughter close when she’s afraid of the costumed figures also attending the event. “Who invited those costumes to the birthday party?” she whimpers. “I don’t know who invited them,” I say into her silky hair. “They shouldn’t be here,” I add for good measure . . . A group of women from other countries studying God’s Word. We get help from the German woman’s Bible when our English translation proves ambiguous.

People who have walked this path of expat life told me to expect swings. Honeymoon, despair, back up again, another dip. I’m on the back up again phase. Thank God.

A few relationships are moving past, “Where are you from?” and onto, “How did that thing go last week that you were nervous about?” This is where I thrive.

A few nights ago Benson and I needed to send money back to our US bank account in order to still own a home upon our return. We spent hours in front of the computer walking through the steps, inputting information, receiving errors, uploading documents, re-uploading documents, until finally, success. We exhaled and high-fived, weary and grateful. “You know what’s easy about living in India?” I asked.

“What?” Benson asked, shutting the laptop.

“Nothing.” We laughed.

Monsoon season comes soon, and it will rain for the first time in . . . I don’t know, because I didn’t live here last year. I’m told the first day will bring mud galore, but the trees will turn bright green as the layer of dirt upon their leaves is washed away. I’m also told the roofs of the bungalows outside my window will turn blue like the new one on the right which was installed last week.

Benson choked on spicy food and I laughed until I cried and my stomach hurt. I also took pictures. I realize I am a bad wife. 

My new Thursday job: attach snaps, fasten and unfasten three times to test for quality before placing in the pile.

My writing is choppier here and I apologize for the jerky nature of scenes splatted together in a seemingly haphazard way. However, it reflects my life here well. There is little cohesion. Marble, dirt. Luxury, grime. Heartache, joy. And all of those things can exist in the same hour of my day.

Like I said, nothing easy about living in India. But I’m so thankful we get to do it.


Categories: India

2 replies

  1. Half a world away, a barely known Christian sister reads your life’s events, marvels at your style, your grit and speaks a silent prayer over you both.

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