Back in the USA by Adrienn Vasquez

When I close my eyes, I can take myself right there in the middle of my Delhi life in a flash—but I’m not sure I have the words to paint all that it’s like.

I’m walking in my neighborhood, hot and sweaty as usual. The sweepers create little dust-storms all alongside the road. I can’t believe they have to do this every day. How do their lungs survive that? I put my scarf on my face with annoyance. When they see me, they stop and smile, and I greet them with a loud, “Namaste ji” and hurry on with a quiet prayer on my breath.

Kids ride their bicycles, dodging cars and bikes. Young ayahs sit around a bench waiting for their afternoon duties of washing dishes and cleaning floors. Old uncles sip their chai with wise unhurriedness. Life is happening all around. I smell garlic frying on ghee, fresh ginger, ripe tomatoes. There is a rhythm to the day that we all live out together. So much happens in community, out in the open.

At the vegetable walla, the guy with the enormous round belly and sly eyes. . . I run into an acquaintance, one of the kids’ friend’s mom. We chat for a couple minutes about school, and I ask her how she cooks her bitter gourd. When I stand in line, a woman with just a couple fruits cuts in front of me. I’m tired of it, and I ask her to go to the end of the line. She does. I feel relieved and sad at the same time. I can still feel now as I’m writing the way my blood pressure would jump up at all the million daily little injustices and unknowns and differences. As it turns out, missionary life failed to turn us into perfect holy creatures.

Do we miss all the struggles and fears, uncertainties and challenges? Dengue fever, accidents, worst pollution in the world, men lording it over women? Of course not. Do we miss how those struggles put us in the same boat with friends and neighbors and brothers and sisters there, created a sense of solidarity, revealed our utter neediness for others, and thrust us on our knees before God? Absolutely. It’s hard to untangle, even as I feel it, know it, try to describe it. Delhi was an incredibly demanding and wonderfully life-shaping time for our family. It’s a relief to be under much less stress right now, and at the same time we would go back in an instant. Confusing, I know.

Now that we found our footing back in Arizona and our hearts had some time to calm down, we are taking count of all the things we are thankful for here. You don’t know how much stress you have been operating under until you leave that space and get a chance to breathe. We have been breathing here. We are taking advantage of family time: it’s been especially heartwarming to see Leila and Benicio soak up all the family love like little sponges. Most evenings, we can find Leila next to her Nani, enjoying just being in the same room with her, basking in the closeness.

We are thankful for friends, old and new. We have connected over many meals and have been encouraged and comforted by others with similar passions and dreams. Missionary life is a mourning life and a needy life, and God has shown us His care and provision through the generosity of many.

On a lighter note, we have been getting used to the orderly way people drive here—so much less stressful but we could use some more creativity. And the clouds! The clouds have been breathtaking! Almost every day we marvel at the clouds and cannot believe that God just spreads that beauty out here with such lavishness!

We are taking all this in, so we’ll have much to draw on when homesickness will strike in next place God is preparing for us.