I make no bones about the fact that, as a country, India freaks me out.
Some people are drawn to the mystery and allure of this exotic place. Others crave the sense of adventure and unknown that rugged India represents. And some people are understandably obsessed with the bedazzled glamour and Bollywood mystique that is so incomparably Indian.
I appreciate all those reasons to want to visit India . But I just don't feel them.
Without a doubt, I went to India only to support my friend, Natalie, and her foster girls. Those people drew me in, pushed me past my fears, and compelled me to walk onto the plane.
But after the first week of my visit, Nat asked me an interesting question. Now that you're here, what can you find to like about India?
Fair question. I definitely discovered some fascinations with Indian life, once I settled into the rough rhythms of Hyderabad. And while most of my affections still lie close to the girls at Joy Home, here are three things that I learned to truly love in India.
^ Marble floors.
The girls' home is a nice one and every inch of the floors are smooth, cool marble. It felt luxuriously soothing to my overheated senses, and I never tired of walking across a freshly mopped room. Yum.
^ Sunlit skies.
Hyderabad lies 17 degrees above the equator. That means that the sun is much higher in the sky than at my home in Mukilteo, at a latitude of almost 48. And that means that the sunlight has a different quality, lighting the sky from the top, rather than an angle. Which results in heavens filled with a pale blue glow that never fails to sweep me right off my feet.
^ Cozy beds
The bedrooms at Joy Home fill me with, well, joy. Clean and fresh, the simple rooms are set off with brightly colored, geometric patterned bed sheets and a generous assortment of stuffed animals sweetly lined up against the pillows. These spaces remind me in all the best ways of my daughters' childhood bedrooms and even my own girlhood bed. They are every inch the cozy, cheerful refuge that every girl deserves, and I feel deeply content knowing that the Indian princesses now have such a precious place to lay their heads each night
* * * * *
Here is the full story of my trip to Hyderabad, India and my visit with the Indian Princesses: