Well, good news for me is I've gotten into the full swing of things here in Bangalore. I'm fairly confident doing my different duties now, and I'm beginning to learn our area pretty well also. Still, some things get a little stressful, because we deal with booking plan tickets for our mission, and dealing with big money can raise the stress a little bit... For example, I booked 4 people for the wrong time, and then to cancel their tickets it cost a total of 6000 Rupees ($100). Woops... fortunately, I then found an alternative for their travel that was 15,000 Rupees cheaper than the flight plans I should have originally booked, so all in all I saved 9000 Rupees! That's a month's salary here in India!
Another fun, but sometimes stressful, part of my new life is that everyone expects me to have all the answers for their problems! Almost every night I get a call from someone asking if they can/should do XYZ, or what they should do to fix problem ABC. Uhhhh... I don't know what you're supposed to do! Although it's a tad bit stressful at times, it's also kind of cool having people listen to me. But really, it's kind of weird how much people listen to my opinions... haha.
One problem though is when people don't like the answer I give (or that Elder George gives), so then they call the other person, and try to get the answer they want... Good practice for parenting I suppose, when Dad/Mom gives the "wrong answer", so the child goes to the other parent. You always need to be unified, even if you disagree with what the other parent said.
So, in my apartment, we have 6 elders total, and I am the only American; the rest are Indian. One night Elder George realized this, and asked if I was lonely, being the only American in our home. I said no I'm not, and really I'm not. I'm just fine talking to and being friends with Indians, as long as they can speak English! :P Fortunately, the elders in my apartment all have pretty solid English. There is even one elder, Elder Saroha, that is from New Delhi. Delhi people are... way American. In India, the country is very divided, North against South. I can see why! South Indians act like... Indians! Where as north Indians, especially those from Delhi, are waaaay westernized. Just for example, Elder Saroha will always refer to me as "Mr. Anderson", in reference to the Matrix. Or when we were walking this morning he started singing the Star Spangled Banner! What in the world?! Also, two Delhi sister missionaries were here for MLC this week, and they also were super American! One of them even used the phrase "shenanigans"! Rest assured, shenanigans is not in the typical Indian vocabulary.
Also, here's another fun tid bit about Elder ******. So, this elder is... not the most obedient missionary in the world. In fact, most of his companions complain about him being a junk missionary... This week though, I learned something. Elder ******'s parents don't know he is on a mission. In fact, they don't even know he was baptized! He said "Ya, if my parents ever knew I was baptized... they would probably disown me." His family is Brahman, the highest caste in India. Getting baptized would ruin your prestige as a Brahman. His family is 110% Hindu.
It just reminded me how we really have no room to judge others. We have no idea what situation they are in. Maybe some of their actions aren't the best. but for all we know, that person could be much more on the path to the Celestial Kingdom than we think we are.