Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oh! Kolkata.

I named this post after this restaurant that we saw next to the movie theater that we went to last night. I feel like it is very fitting for Kolkata. I couldn't have said it better. Kolkata kind of knocks you off your feet, making you say "oh!" and then you look up and you are like, "ok, ok, I get it, Kolkata. you're here." Make sense? Maybe not if you have never been here. This also applies to walking along the street here. Every time a car passes and honks it's horn riiiight in your ear, as loud as it possibly can, you can't help but say "oh!" and followed immediately with a sigh and a "Kolkata". I am trying my best to describe this city to you, but I am sure I am failing. It has a unique beauty. It's horrible and wonderful at the same time. What is like Kolkata? Nothing. So hard to explain!

Let me try once more. Hannah and I attended meditation on Thursday night at this wonderful place about 20 minutes away from our hotel. It was just about as quiet as Kolkata gets. We walked into this quiet, dimmly lit courtyard in this building in the middle of one of the busiest streets that I have EVER been on. And it's so peaceful. And THAT is Kolkata. Silence and peace in the middle of the most ridiculous chaos. How is that possible? I have no idea. "Oh! Kolkata." That's how. Haha.

Meditation was so so great for me though and I think we are going to start going to meditation with the sisters at the Mother House, as they have it every day. Being quiet with myself is so humbling. I began to realize how selfish I have been in my experience here. At the end of this trip, I get to return to my quiet street, with my comfy bed and my Western-style toilet, my private school, and my loving friends and family. Every beggar on the street, every man that heckels me when I walk by, every small boy that calls me "sexy" to try to get my attention, every stare... they are all here for good, stuck in poverty and forced to live this way in order to survive. I come from such privilege and I am so lucky... who am I to judge a culture or an individual? It's so unfair of me. And what would God have to say about that? How am I showing God's love by giving dirty looks to men who blatantly stare at me? I so easily show that love to the kids I volunteer with, but my next step is to show that to Kolkata. I cannot take volunteering out of context. It's not fair or right of me. If I show that love to the kids, I must show that love to Kolkata. Now THAT is a struggle. But I'm working on it. It happens slowly. Kinda like everything here. Except the taxis. Haha.

Yikes, another terribly long post. Happy belated Fourth of July! I hope it was fabulous for all! God bless America. I certainly do miss it :)

Thanks for following and please keep Hannah and me in your prayers!

Much love,


  1. Meditation with the sisters sounds amazing. I love that you are continously pushing yourself to gain more out of your Kolkata experience. Love love love, you are always in my prayers.

  2. Wow- i am so proud of you. I can tell this is going to be an amazing transformative experience for you. i have been thinking of you and hannah and praying for you.

    sending love your way!

  3. Hey Allison! Thanks for your thoughts and honesty. I really like how you are describing the city and I can get a glimpse of what it is like from your description of "oh! kolkata." Keep at it.

  4. buy a cord and post pictures!