Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meeting the Gupta Family

A week after meeting Daniel's son, Prabu, we got an email from him.  He said he had gotten a call from his dad the night before, and his dad told him that they were coming to NC to visit.  Prabu wanted to know if we would be interested in meeting them.  Seriously?  The family we would be staying with in India is coming to NC, and we get to meet them before we go?  You've got to be kidding!  YEAH, I think we're definitely interested!  Prabu said they'd be in town the week of Mother's Day, so I got out my calendar and marked off the whole week to make sure we would be available to meet them any time that week.  :-)

I was already a bit nervous to be traveling to India with a group of people I hadn't met, but then to be staying in the home of people I hadn't met made me more nervous.  So to get the opportunity to meet them before we went was amazing to me.  And for Scott to also get to meet them was an added bonus!  Scott wasn't real fond of two of his girls traveling alone to India, so to get to meet the people that would be our hosts while we were there would hopefully help put his mind at ease.

Prabu emailed me and we worked out a day to meet, and I invited them to our house for coffee & dessert.  I thought it would be easier and more comfortable to chat at our house than at a restaurant.  Then I started panicking about what to make for dessert.  What would they like?  I could make my specialty, Banana Pudding.  But what if they didn't like pudding desserts?  I could make something chocolate, but what if they didn't like chocolate?  I could make an Almond Streusel Pound Cake.  But what if they didn't like cake or were allergic to nuts?  So, just in case, I decided to make all of the above - Banana Pudding, Chocolate Éclair Dessert, and Almond Streusel Pound Cake.  Then I started thinking about the coffee.  They would be here in the evening, so I couldn't serve coffee with caffeine.  Easy solution... decaf coffee.  What if they didn't like it black?  Well... get creamer!  But what flavor would they like?  Okay... buy three different kinds.  So I came home with French Vanilla, Cinnabon, and Bailey's Brown Butter Pecan.  Problem solved!  I was ready and couldn't wait to meet them.

Just before they arrived, I got so nervous.  I felt like I was getting ready to meet the Queen.  Well, actually, that wouldn't make me nervous.  But what if I said something stupid?  I kept thinking I don't know much about their culture, so what if I say something offensive.  Then Scott opened the fridge and saw all the creamer and said, "What's this Bailey's stuff?  Isn't Bailey's an alcohol brand?"  I said, "Are you serious?  Is it really?  It's coffee creamer... do you think there's alcohol in it?  There can't be alcohol in coffee creamer.  Right?  Quick, read the ingredients.  Actually, better yet, put it in the garage fridge!"  Yes, I panicked!  We don't drink, so I didn't want them to think we did, so I hid it.  I went back into the house and started trying to relax.  And then the conversation went something like this:

                        Scott:  What if I don't like them?  Will you not go?
                        Me:  You think you won't like them?
                        Scott:  I don't know, but what if I don't?  Will you not go?
                        Me:  You will like them.
                        Scott:  But what if I don't?
                        Me:  Why do you think you won't like them?
                        Scott:  I don't think that.  I'm just saying what if I don't?
                        Me:  You will.
                        Scott:  But what if I don't?  Will you not go?
                        Me:  Okay!  If you don't like them, we won't go!
                        Scott:  Yeah, right!
                        Me:  UGH!

And now he's laughing at me because I'm so nervous!  But I need not have worried.  When they arrived, it didn't take very long to see that Scott was going to like them.  They were so down to earth, so kind, and so full of information and ready to answer any questions we had... which I had a million of but should have written them down cause in all my excitement I had a hard time remembering what they were!  I just kept having a hard time believing that the Guptas were actually sitting in our living room.  That God would care so much about us, to know how much it would ease Scott's mind to know who his girls would be staying with while on the other side of the world, to know how much it would ease my mind to have already met them before we went to live with them for two weeks, it was just amazing to me.  And for Ashlee to get to meet their 16-year-old daughter, Madhu, was icing on the cake.  She told Ashlee that her sisters were going to love her.  She said that usually the missionaries who came were older, so to have someone their own age would be fun for them.  Ashlee just beamed! 

Before they left, I really wanted to get a picture.  I was hesitant to ask, didn't know if they'd think I was crazy, but I knew if I didn't get one I'd be disappointed.  So I asked and, of course, they were as gracious as ever.  So glad I asked!

Daniel, Viji, Madhu, Prabu and Wendy Gupta
standing in our living room!!!!

Emilee, Me, Ashlee, Daniel, Viji, Madhu,
Prabu & Wendy

After we said bye, Emilee said, "I want to go too!"  Of course, we had already told her she could go, but the only unfortunate thing about this whole trip is that the dates overlap Emilee's first day of high school by one day.  They also overlap Ashlee's first day, but she's okay with it.  Her teachers are excited for her, and the principal said they'd catch her up when she got back.  Emilee, however, is just one year into a new school and, to top that off, it will be her first day of high school, so it's a bit of the unexpected so she doesn't want to go in late.  And she also wasn't sure she could stand to be on a plane for 21 hours, so we'll have to work on that.  Anyway, I have never not been there for a first day of school, so that's a bit of an issue as well.  I will not be here to take her to school that morning, but our flight will arrive in time for me to pick her up that afternoon.  She's a bit bummed about it, although not as much as I am, but she said she thought it was more important to do what we'll be doing in India.  And hopefully, if we get to go back, she will get to go too... if she can tolerate the flight.  :-)

How grateful I am to Prabu and Wendy for sharing with us their limited time with their family.  It was amazing to have the opportunity to meet them all, and I can't wait to see them again in a couple of months and to be standing in their living room!

So Proud

Guess who received the Christian Citizenship Award for her grade at school?  EMILEE!  Scott and I are so proud.  After being at the same school since 4-year preschool, we moved Emilee to a new school this year for 8th grade.  It was an incredibly hard move for me, but not for Emilee.  From her first day of school there back in August, 2012, she found her place and fit right in.  She has blossomed into such a beautiful young lady, both on the inside and outside.  I have watched her grow so much in the past nine months!

During the first few weeks at her new school, they held a school-wide spiritual emphasis program for three days.  Emilee came home during that time and shared so many things that she had learned every day.  A few months later she shared with me that at the beginning of the school year she had prayed and asked God to use her for Him.  Yes, I cried! 

It has been such a great year for her there.  Over the past month, Scott and I have been to the school twice to watch her be inducted into the National Junior Beta Club and the National Junior Honor Society. 

National Junior Beta Club

National Junior Honor Society
A couple of weeks ago I emailed Emilee's teacher to ask about the upper school award ceremony.  I saw it announced in the newsletter and wanted to know if it included 8th grade and, in other words, did we need to be there.  She said it did include 8th grade and said we should plan to be there.  So we put it on our calendar. 

The night before the award ceremony, Emilee said she wasn't feeling well.  It seems she had caught a bug, and she ended up with a fever and getting sick a few times during the night.  She wasn't able to be at school for the awards ceremony, and she ended up sleeping almost the entire day. 

I emailed her teachers to see if I could pick up her missed work that afternoon.  When I went to the office to pick it up, there was a framed certificate with her work.  Inside the frame was the award for the Christian Citizenship.  We had no idea she was getting this award... neither did she.  I was so bummed that she was sick and missed being surprised at the ceremony.  She had also received the award for her Literature.  When I got home, I called Scott out to show him both of the certificates before showing Emilee, and then we "presented" the Literature certificate to her.  She grinned from ear to ear!  Once she had some time to revel in that award, we presented the Christian Citizenship plaque to her.  She beamed!  We are so incredibly proud of her and are looking forward to see what God has in store for her life over the next few years!