Friday, December 14, 2007

Out and about in Kolkata

Today, we decided to see a few Kolkata sights (for as long as Anya Rashi seemed comfortable!). With baby asleep in her carrier, we did a quick jaunt (15 min., with our mandatory guide!) through the Marble Palace. It was built in 1835 by Raja Bahadur, who was an obsessive collector of Victorian statues, paintings, furniture, etc. Some family members still live in part of the mansion.

Next we went to one of my favorite places so far, the Pareshnath Jain Temple. It was built in 1867, and the entire surface is covered in mosaics of colored glass, bits of mirror, tiles, and colored stones. It was spectacularly intricate and beautiful. (Liz and Kathy H., you would've loved it!) We couldn't enter the temple itself, but the outside was gratifying enough. The Jain religion is very respectful of every living thing -- I've read just a little bit about it, and find it fascinating.

The highlight of our day, however, was Mother Teresa's house. It was so peaceful and inspiring. We heard the sisters singing and participating in Mass, and saw a new exhibit about the call on Mother Teresa's life. What a tremendous impact she's had on so many lives, all born of her love for and emulation of Christ.

After that, we went to the Victoria Memorial, the most British thing on our itinerary so far. It had extensive gardens and a huge domed building housing statues of British leaders, the Queen, and British artists' depictions of India. It also featured an exhibit about Indian independence and the experience of ordinary Indians under British rule . . . the only place we've seen that addressed this topic.

Anya Rashi did very well with our sight-seeing. Today saw the end of her 36-hour liquids strike, and she drank juice and formula with gusto! We received many stares with her in our arms, and a few people asked us directly why we're adopting her, if she was really an orphan or if we had arranged for someone to give her to us, and why we would adopt her since we already have two sons. It was interesting to try and read the thoughts and feelings behind their questions. The first of many, I'm sure.

Back in our room we put on some Bengali music and she swayed to it and clapped along with us. We plan on just chilling out with her for the rest of the night. She will get her first bath tonight with lots of olive oil to treat her skin! We hope she enjoys it. We've received strict instructions from the hotel staff about Indian baby care: namely, that she should not be immersed in water because it is too cold in winter (70+ degrees today!). Only sponge baths for our darling!


Kathy Wilks said...

Wow! What a beauty Anya is! What an experience you are having on this journey of yours. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. We love you and are looking forward to meeting Anya! Missed you this week! Kathy

Julie & Patrick said...

We are so glad that you are having such a wonderful experience in India.

Anya Rashi looks like she is settling right in!

Safe travels home!
Julie R
(Devi's mom)

Kristi said...

Sounds like you are having a great time! I'm glad that Anya is transitioning well. She seems like she has such a sweet, mellow personality. So beautiful! Love all the pics you are posting.

Kristi (Daya's mama)

Mike & Kim said...

What beautiful pictures and I love your descriptions of what you are seeing. I am so glad that she is transitioning well and have prayed specifically for her feeling comfortable and safe. Can't wait to see you all next week! Kim

JeannieJQ said...

Hey, nice outfits.
Anna Uebele would be thrilled.
She spent about a year in India.
She is from Depere but at Med school now.

Anyway have a continued safe journey. Showed my mom the mother Theresa grave site and a picture of you all and the artwork building.
I am amazed at all the work that goes into those buildings and the surrounding areas.
I'm doing an Irish dance in 2 shows at Kaukauna High School 12/15/07 so got to go to sleep. ZZZ. Voted for Denver & MHO tonight and they find out Friday 12/21/07 if they are "America's Next Great Band". The Clark brothers are also Christians, and they have one other band left too but only one band wins. Nice to see Christians have their influence on the Media and reaching out into the world, and wonderful to see you touching the world with your gifts as a family by adopting Anya into your family.
Blessings from above. Much love to you and yours.
:-) Jeannie Quall.

The Lambs said...

I have finally been able to catch up on your blog as I sit in my hotel room in Grand Rapids before heading to see/hear Sarah starring in her big Christmas musical. Thank you for including us all in your experience. Anya is gorgeous and you both look so sparkly with her in your arms. (Well, maybe not so sparkly when sleeping, Peter!) Praying your trip home is uneventful. Lots of people are praying for you, missing you, and anxious to meet and hold Anya!
Joe, Kathy and flock