I was terrified, actually, of the summer. I love my life in India... Why would I want to leave it? Ok, it'd be nice to see friends and family, but can I really live in my childhood town of Mendon again? Do I want to miss my Auroville friends for four months? Can I keep up with the US-pace of working, or have I forgotten diligence in the sun-soaked fields of Tamil Nadu?
But I must admit things have been going unbelievably smooth since our rough departure. I don't know if it's because they were bound for vacation soon, or if it's because we've finally stopped trying to make each other what we want them to be and are finally accepting who we are--but whatever the reason, my family's been remarkably cheerful They welcomed Martanda warmly; my mother gave him a big tear-filled hug, and my cousin--who has taken to calling him "Marty"--practically sat on his lap within a half-hour. The jet lag is awful but the weather's beautiful, and it's fun having flat screen TVs, iPhones, Wiis, etc everywhere. Plus, the customer service in this country is truly amazing.
But the primary goal for this trip is WORK. I'm nicely preparing for the office job, but we need to search a bit for under-the-table opportunities for Martanda. We've scoured craigslist and I've contacted almost everyone I know in the area. Today's adventure was to return phone calls and visit local farms and orchids. We started by returning some calls from craigslist.
In Auroville, one never needs to search for work. It just appears. If you have an interest, somehow, somewhere, someone will help the universe twist it's way around your desire so a related opportunity falls into your lap. In America, things are different. You have to fight, to play the game, to seduce your way into someone's check book. Having searched for many jobs in my life, I started coaching Martanda on how to make the phone calls. You could feel how nervous he was dialing the numbers, speaking to strangers, leaving voicemails. But he did it, and he did it well.
Then we showed up at the first farm. We scouted the place, saw an illegal worker, decided to ask if there was any chance for more hires. We spotted a older man looking like he owned the place and started moving towards him. In my head I had written a playful scene where Martanda and I kindly engage the man, chat so he feels like he knows us and what quality people we are, and passively ask if he has any extra work for a soon-to-have-a-visa guy (even if there's no visa in sight). But that was just in my head. Instead, Martanda quickly walked up to him and said: "Are you in charge?"
The white-haired man answered: "Yes."
So Martanda responded: "I was wondering if you have any work."
My jaw dropped. What balls! Where the hell did that bravery come from?!
And the white-haired man said: "Yea, actually, can you stay for a few hours now?"
So I'm tucked into the corner table at the Westborough Dunkin' Donuts happily sipping my first iced coffee in years, feeling really blessed by the universe's conspiracies, and laughing. Laughing a lot. I don't want to jinx it or speak to soon, but somehow I think this summer might just turn out ok. :)