Well, it’s hard to believe, but the time has finally come for me to say goodbye to India. it seems so unreal to think that two years have already passed by, but at the same time, it seems like so much has happened since I left home that it’s been far more than just 2 years!

These past few weeks have been really good, though hard, saying lots of goodbyes and trying to finish up things with work here and close out our house. It’s been hectic and crazy at times, but also incredibly amazing to see how God has been at work and given many opportunities to share with and encourage others, even in our final days here.

12 hours from now, I’ll be in the car with my roommates Preeti and Sophy, going to Mumbai. They’ll fly back to Delhi in the evening, and I will be flying out of Mumbai airport at about midnight tomorrow night (technically early morning Aug 1st). I’ll arrive in Lafayette that same afternoon (about 24 hours after I depart from Mumbai), and spend a little time with family before going out of town for a few days. I will be back in Lafayette by Monday, August 6th, and I’d love to meet up with any of you that are in town and available! If you want to meet up, you can email me at mandipants2@yahoo.com Right now, my plan is to stay in Lafayette for the time being and spend some time with family while I seek what God has in store for me next.

Well, see you on the flip side!

chillin with friends in thailand

goofing off with some of our friends at our apartment. we've been saying a lot of goodbyes these past 2 weeks...

goodbye party at our house

girls pic at coffee jar on Alisha's last night in town

one of the many birthdays we've celebrated in the past week. beware, if i come to your birthday part in the states, something like this could happen!!!

according to the little counter on my blog, i have less than 4 days left...i'm not sure if that means in india or until i arrive in america--either way, it's not much time.

i'm sitting on one of my big black trunks, in my near empty room, listening to john mayer, and realizing i really don't feel like i have words to describe this experience--saying goodbye, transition, two years, who i am, who i was, etc--i feel dazed by it all, and yet, somehow, also incredibly alert and focused, working hard to get stuff done, to finish details of moving and leaving and all that.

if you know me well, you'd be amazed by how smooth the packing and all is going. i'm pretty much done, except for stuff i still need. our house is fairly messy, but not out of control. somehow, this is turning out to be one of the smoothest moves i've made so far, which is saying a lot.

but i think that, while this transition has been pretty smooth so far, there is a very surface level aspect to that. it's like i'm fine now, but i can sense this heart break on the horizon, and i'm not sure how on earth to deal with it, so i'm packing and sorting and cleaning and doing things that normally i'm terrible at. i'm trying to prepare my heart, and asking God to guide me forward, but i don't look forward to the day when the reality of the end of the past two years of my life sinks in...i mean, i'm excited beyond words about seeing my family and friends. it's been almost exactly 2 years since i saw them, and i can't wait for all the hugs and laughs and stories to come. but the friends i've made here, well, they've become family too, and i'm not sure how it's going to be to say goodbye.

but even in that, i still find hope. there have been so many bad days and heartaches and frustrations in these past two years, but God has never failed to teach me through them as i've clung to Him more and more with every step. so, even though i don't know what's in store in the next few months, i have a lot of hope for good things. i mean, i survived india--nothing seems impossible right now!

there's a song i wrote back in november when my friend shannon was leaving, and it's been in my mind and heart a lot lately, so i'll share it and mabye it'll give you an idea of where my heart is now.

Reflections on the Journey, or, Joy in the Journey
(17 November 2006)

It took more than just a step of faith
To follow You to such a strange place
But now the strange has become home

A home like none I have ever known
With friends who became my family
It turned out not so different from what I left behind

But now it’s time for me to carry on
A new chapter has begun
It’s time to say goodbye to this part of my journey

And I’m torn, because I long to see what You have in store
But this broken land my heart will not release
So I’ll step out in faith like I did when I followed You here
Because this strange place has made a home in me

There is joy in the journey
Though it breaks our hearts to take some steps
In faith we find
You’ve been leading us all along

There is joy in the journey
For when we follow You
We find out who
We really are…

I’ve learned it takes more than a step of faith
To follow You to each new strange place
But somehow You make the strange become home

So I’ll rejoice in what the daybreak brings
As You teach me new songs to sing
Of Your grace, through the joy and the pain

And through the sweetest of joys and the hardest of blows
My heart can rest where Your Spirit goes
Because I know You’ll always be walking with me

They say time heals all wounds
But I pray that it leaves
A broken piece in me
To remember each place,
And who I became
Every step of this journey…

There is joy in the journey
Though it breaks our hearts to take some steps
In faith we find
You’ve been leading us all along

There is joy in the journey
For when we follow You
We find out who
We really are
When we follow You
We find out who
We really are…

my family here, goofy as ever, and amazing beyond words...