I made it through the week. An entire week of teaching classes and getting back to some sort of normalcy here around the house. This was after being away for 24 days. I even made it to the pool to do laps twice and I didn’t feel like I’d taken any time off. Bonus. I did wake up one night around 1:30 a.m. Frank was awake watching TV in the other room. I remember walking down the hall and saying out loud that I felt like I was walking down my own hallway. Duh. I was. I am glad that a nice, long vacation can mess with ones brain in this way. Instead of complaining, I shall be thankful. For sure.
I flew home last Friday only to leave again the following Friday, but only for the weekend. Thank goodness. I was just getting adjusted. We headed to Bolivar, Missouri – Frank, Jordan and I to spend the weekend at a hotel for a family reunion. I missed this shin dig last year because I was in Florida retrieving my kid. This reunion of course is for Frank’s family. We stay at a hotel for two nights. The only hotel with a pool if I might add. In Bolivar. We spend our Saturday at the 4-H building eating and talking and eating some more.
This year the hotel has changed hands. The previous owners knew all of us. They had a lobby full of snacks and drinks for next to nothing. You could microwave a bag of popcorn at midnight and drink a beer by the pool. Not anymore. The new owners are Indians. As in India. A lot of folks were frustrated because when they checked in, they couldn’t communicate. Which in turn created an us against them attitude. I’m sure this poor couple, in their mid 60’s, felt like they were being squashed every time one of us blew in for a cup of coffee. That was still free and so were the tiny little donuts.
Saturday morning I practiced yoga on a sidewalk that was sort of out of the way. I had a nice little view of a garden, full of Indian herbs, beans and other things. I wondered, did these people practice yoga? But I would probably never ask. Enter Frank. If you know Frank, well, you know that he knows no strangers. At times I find his friendliness to be a bit annoying actually. Not this time. This time I thanked him.
Fast forward to Saturday evening. It rained a monsoon on that night. The Indian owners had their vehicle stowed under the guest check in awning and again, some of the folks in our party were a bit peeved. Me? I told them I liked the sticker of Ganesha on the hood of their van. They smiled at me. Frank started a conversation with the Indian man as we were all enjoying some adult beverages in the lobby. In the next few minutes Frank had the OK to take their barbeque grill out of the trash out back. They were throwing it away. They were regetarians. This is when Frank asks him to taste this great sweet tea lemonade with vodka in it (Frank wasn’t drinking it, he rarely drinks anything ever) and the Indian guy says no. He is a vegetarian, he consumes no coffee and no alcohol. This is when Frank asks him if he practices yoga and he says yes, every morning at 5:30 a.m. Uh oh.
I get invited to drink tea and practice yoga with the Indian guy and his wife the next morning at 5:30 a.m. “I unlock the door early for you, OK?” Don’t worry, it’s only 11:30 p.m. and I’m on my third glass of red wine. No problem. I can hardly sleep because I am excited and I’m a bit buzzed at the same time. What if I don’t wake up in time? Me? Unheard of. But this would be that one time that I would over sleep, I just knew it! I got up at 4:45 a.m. and showered and seriously scrubbed my dirty feet. I arrived on time in my pajama pants and the only t-shirt that I brought. Ironically the only t-shirt that I packed, had an OM symbol on it. The other tops I had with me were tanks and I wanted to cover my shoulders.
He greets me as I remove my shoes. He wore glasses and white, which is the only color I’ve seen him wear since I arrived. His wife had long, pretty hair loosely tied back and she wore gray. She also wore a red gem on her forehead. The space we were in was small. A tiny room behind the front desk area it was. In the corner sat a full sized bed, neatly made with lots of blankets folded on it. On the floor a big blanket was folded in a long rectangle about one foot wide. This is where we sat. We sat and were quiet for a few moments and were also interrupted a few times by the ring of the desk bell. They turned on their television and told me that this is an Indian broadcast station. Cool. But the yoga class is not on on Sundays. Not cool. Instead a program on Auyervedics is on. I’m all for that. We watch some of these programs together which are in Indian and subtitled in English. Some of them are actually in Indian and then spoken again in English. We take part in some of the ideas or exercises that they are talking about. His wife leaves to go put on the tea as he sees to a customer. It is now 6:30 a.m.
When she returns she hands me the best cup of Chai Tea I’ve ever had in my lifetime. I am in heaven. I ask them about their children, their life here and their life in India. We talk about yoga, about holistic medicine and about God. She says more than one time to me, “God is great. He is called many different things, but there is only one God.” I like this lady and I want to hug her. We have some trouble communicating but as we get comfortable the trouble lessens. We are laughing, we are smiling, we are crossing cultures. We watch a Satsang and it’s beautiful. They showed me a couple of traditional and modern Indian music videos as well.
They offered to fix me breakfast but our group was meeting for food at eight. Believe me, I’d rather have eaten with these people. Not to knock our crowd, not at all. It’s just that after that great cup of chai, I was wanting more. I left shortly after seven thinking to myself – I’m in Bolivar. Missouri. I just sat on the floor with some authentic Indian people. I just watched Indian programming with them and drank chai. In Bolivar. Missouri. When I turned in our room keys, they smiled so big. It was nice to see them this way. They invited me back again and I left there thinking. It would totally be worth the drive and the loot to head back down on a weekday to practice yoga with them. Maybe I’ll just do that.
I guess if you really want to go to India and cannot go at the moment. Perhaps India will come to you.